Academic Discovery Institute

Academic Discovery Institute

Serious Learning. Serious Fun. Learn. Experience. Navigate. Solve.

Spend two weeks this summer at Wake Forest University discovering
how to change the way you learn, the way you think, and the way you lead. Wake Forest professors will teach you to explore complex issues and cultivate your potential to develop effective solutions. Engage in hands-on learning and inspiring conversations with like-minded peers. Sharpen your critical writing and research skills. Throughout the program, students will work in small project groups to design a community action plan that addresses a real-world need.

At a Glance

Dates: July 9th – 21st, 2017

Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors in high school and rising freshmen in college

Program Length: 2 weeks

Program Tuition: $4,000

Location: Winston-Salem, NC – Wake Forest University Campus

Residential or Non Residential: Residential

*Courses carry no secondary school or college credit. Upon completion of the program, an official Wake Forest University certificate of achievement will be awarded to all Academic Discovery participants.


What You’ll Experience

Courses Offered:

Sports and Society More Than A Game: 

  • The class will examine the mutual influence between the world of sport and the broader society. Issues include: competition versus cooperation as modes of organizing; the meaning of play; the impact of economics on sport; effects of race, gender, and class on sport; and the significance of Title 9.  The goal of the class is to enable students to understand more deeply how sport both shapes and reflects our society. Outside of class, students will analyze significant interviews and speeches while working on projects that identify rhetorical patterns and make links to other types of public speech (such as political concession speeches) that serve cultural functions (such as symbolic healing and re-consolidation of the community).

Creativity and Innovation: 

  • During this two week course, we will jump into experiential learning with both feet!  We will design things, read about how to move past the fear of making mistakes, and meet interesting people who create new ways of being in the world. We will move around and visit some strange new places, which means you will need to bring your open mind to class every day. Our textbook, Creative Confidence, is written by Dave and Tom Kelly, two brothers who founded the Silicon Valley start-up IDEO.  One of their first customers was Steve Jobs!

True Value Meals: 

  • In this course, we will learn that food is much more than simply a necessity for physical nourishment. While it is easy to take the implications of food for granted, it is a product with powerful societal and environmental impact. Class activities and discussions will focus on American food culture past and present; how changes in agricultural approaches and food industry practices have affected the availability, safety, and amount of food we eat; and the environmental and economic impact of food policies and culture. We will consider how advertising, the impact of processing, and the preparation of food affect consumer health and examine the presence of food insecurity in a land that produces plenty. In the end, our plates will be filled with servings of culture and sustainability.

Citizenship, Democracy and Education:

  • In this course, we first examine ideas about citizenship, democracy, and education in the United States and how those ideas have changed over time.  Then, with that history in mind, we discuss what the purpose of education should be in a democracy — including the purpose of a college education — and assess how well the United States provides an education that prepares people to be good, democratic citizens.  Included among the great historical and contemporary public policy issues we’ll cover are:  debates over expanding the right to vote; what roles federal and state governments should play in supporting public education; what kind of education is needed in a diverse nation of immigrants; and, what kind of curriculum is necessary to produce citizens who are critical thinkers. In addition to discussing these issues, we’ll also get to share our personal experiences of education and to think together about what the ideal educational experience would look like if we got to build an education system for democracy from scratch.


Hands-On Experience:

  • Experiential Classroom
  • Hands-On Learning
  • Energizing Discussions
  • Living Labs
  • Immersion Excursions – Visit local businesses, museums and academic settings to deepen knowledge and understanding
  • Writing Seminar – Sharpen your writing by working with faculty and community partners to deliver real-world action plans
  • Embrace new friendships, enjoy social activities, and become part of our collegiate community.
  • Experience the college environment at its best through one of our exceptional faculty members

Academic Discovery Institute Costs:

Reynolda Campus (Residential Program) | $4,000

A Day in the Life

  • 8:00 am – 9:00 am – Breakfast
  • 9:00 am – 10:30am – Core Course
  • 10:30am – 10: 45 am – Break
  • 10:45 – 12:00 pm – Oral Presentation Skills Workshop, Writing Workshop,
  • Google Tools or Library Research Skills
  • Noon – 1:00pm – Lunch
  • 1:15 pm – 2:30 pm Special Class – “What is Leadership?”, “ How to Navigate a Foreign Culture”, College 101, Admissions Workshop
  • 2:30 pm – 2:45 pm – Break
  • 2:45 pm – 4:45 pm Group Project, Lab, guest speaker or field trip
  • 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Dinner
  • 6:00 pm- 7:00 pm Free time
  • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Organized Evening Activities
  • 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm Prepare for Bed
  • 10:00 pm – Lights out

Wake Forest communication professor Mary Dalton.

Mary Dalton

Academic Leader, Academic Discovery Institute

Mary M. Dalton is Professor of Communication and Film and Media Studies at Wake Forest University where she teaches courses in critical media studies.
Her scholarly publications include articles, book chapters, and the books The Hollywood Curriculum: Teachers in the Movies, Teacher TV: Sixty Years of Teachers on Television, and the co-edited volume The Sitcom Reader: America Re-viewed, Still Skewed.
Her documentaries have been screened at various festivals, museums, galleries, libraries, and on public television. She is currently working on a longitudinal documentary project.