University of Arkansas Welcomes High School Teachers to AP Summer Institute

University of Arkansas Welcomes High School Teachers to AP Summer Institute
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The U of A’s Enrollment Services welcomed 241 teachers to the 23rd annual Advanced Placement Summer Institute earlier this summer.

The Summer Institute offered professional development opportunities to middle and high school teachers to enhance their teaching skills for Advanced Placement courses this coming school year. Teachers from around the country were trained in 13 AP subjects through the U of A’s Summer Institute.

“Advance Placement courses provide excellent college preparation for students in Arkansas and across the country,” said Suzanne McCray, vice provost for enrollment and director of the 2021 Advanced Placement Summer Institute. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to provide teacher training for this program. Advanced Placement helps open doors for students, helping them earn college credit, save tuition dollars and create space for other opportunities like undergraduate research, internships and study abroad. We actively recruit AP and IB students, and we admire the teachers who support them, so having an APSI is important outreach each year. We hope to see their students on campus in the fall of 2022.”

Due to COVID-19, the 2021 Summer Institute was offered online, and each session proved to be engaging and productive. Registration for the 2022 Summer Institute opens later this fall. U of A AP Summer Institute staff, consultants and participants are all looking forward to returning to an in-person institute next summer, with the camaraderie and casual conversation that face-to-face interaction provides.

Enrollment Services received a grant from the Arkansas Department of Education to support the Summer Institute. The grant enables the U of A to provide Arkansas public school teachers who teach AP or Pre-AP with funding to cover the cost of registration. The Department of Education also supports two other Summer Institutes in the state at Arkansas State University and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The 13 College Board-endorsed consultants modified their courses to a virtual format, and teachers spent a week learning about new educational resources and teaching techniques. 

During the Advanced Placement Summer Institute’s online training, the consultants served as “super” teachers, sharing best teaching practices for instructing high school students who are taking Advanced Placement. They provided 30 hours of instruction, and participating teachers received professional development credit for their work.

This year’s AP consultants included:

  • John Polka, biology, Huntley, Illinois
  • Dickie Thomasson, calculus AB, Fayetteville
  • David Wentz, chemistry, Fayetteville
  • Alex Schenk, computer science principles, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Bernie Phelan, English language and composition - experienced teachers, Barrington, Illinois
  • Katie Stueart, English language and composition - new teachers, Fayetteville
  • Lisa Baker, English literature and composition - experienced teachers, Wilburton, Oklahoma
  • Maridella Carter, English literature and composition - new teachers, Blue Springs, Missouri
  • Marc Reif, physics C (electricity and magnetism/mechanics), Fayetteville
  • Garry Shriver, psychology, Memphis, Tennessee
  • David Ferris, statistics, Noblesville, Indiana
  • Matt Cone, U.S. history, Plano, Texas
  • Marjorie Hunter, world history, Marion

“I am pleased that our 2021 Institute drew both teachers from around Arkansas and from across the US (as well as a few international participants),” said Emily Wright, associate director for the APSI and for the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. “We are grateful to the Arkansas Department of Education for providing grant funds for our Arkansas public school teachers to attend the Summer Institute. Over 75 percent of participants in this year’s APSI were Arkansas public school teachers, who are rigorously preparing our state’s students for college.”

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.


Emily Wright, associate director of APSI
Office of Nationally Competitive Awards

Jeremy Burns, director of executive communications
University Relations


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