About the Program

 

What is the Alabama Governor’s School?

The Alabama Governor’s School is a summer residential honors program funded by Samford University, the State of Alabama and private sources. The program was established in 1987 as the Alabama Honors Academy at Samford University and patterned after Governor’s schools in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, and Kentucky. In January 1988, Governor Guy Hunt designated the Alabama Honors Academy as The Alabama Governor’s School. Thus, Alabama became the 24th state to have this nationally recognized school. The Alabama Governor’s School provides academic, creative, and leadership experiences for a limited number of rising high school seniors who have demonstrated exceptional ability and achievement in their studies. Students must show high intellectual and creative potential.

The Alabama Governor’s School is a member of the National Conference of Governor’s Schools.

Where and When is the Alabama Governor’s School Conducted?

The Alabama Governor’s School is located on Samford University’s campus in Birmingham, AL. The program covers a period of thirteen days and is held during the month of June.

What is the Curriculum?

Each student takes one morning and one afternoon seminar which focus on hands-on, experiential learning. The seminars are led by leading academic, business, and community experts in their fields. The program includes classes, seminars, workshops, self-directed studies and projects in a variety of subject areas from a) the natural sciences, b) the humanities, c) the social sciences and d) the fine and performing arts.

The program includes field trips in and around Birmingham, recreational activities, skits and a talent night.

What is a Typical Day at the Alabama Governor’s School?

Each day begins early and features a full schedule of classes and optional activities. Students engage in intensive work in a variety of interests. To the extent possible, the subject concentrations incorporate exposure to current theory and extensive “hands-on” experience or field work.

Seminars on values and issues, which deal with major national and international issues, and creative and practical experiences constitute an equally important aspect of the Alabama Governor’s School.  Although operating within a common framework and sharing certain readings, each activity has its own individual character and focus that allows for spontaneity and flexibility.

All Alabama Governor’s School students will examine options for future personal, intellectual and professional development. A wide range of cultural, social, athletic, and recreational enrichment activities meets creative and social needs of the students. Interspersed throughout the schedule are numerous opportunities for relaxing and for just talking with gifted and talented peers, faculty and staff.

In What Way Does the Alabama Governor’s School Differ From Regular School?

Students from the Alabama Governor’s School are drawn from all parts of the State of Alabama. They share a common desire to explore academic and intellectual topics and to engage in creative pursuits at a level and pace not always possible during the regular school year. A conscious effort is made to avoid presenting courses commonly available in either standard high school or undergraduate curricula.

Are Grades or Credit Awarded?

No. Neither grades nor academic credit is given at the Alabama Governor’s School. All students who complete the program successfully receive a certificate attesting to their participation.

What is Expected of Participants?

Students are required to attend and participate in classes, the central theme program, and other selected activities. All other activities are optional, although students are encouraged to utilize all opportunities available to them.

Assignments may include the keeping of journals, the preparation of essays and position papers, library research, extensive reading, and laboratory, and other projects. Some subject concentrations involve field studies, rehearsals, preparation of exhibits, participation in public performances, or production of a video, magazine, or yearbook.  Every participant should be prepared for extensive mental exercise. Alabama Governor’s School Scholars will find their participation to be one of the most challenging and stimulating learning experiences they have had.

Who is Eligible to Attend the Alabama Governor’s School?

Rising high school seniors who are residents of Alabama are eligible to attend, if they are identified by their schools as academically talented.

How Are Students Selected For the Alabama Governor’s School?

Eligible students may be nominated by their principal, headmaster, counselor, or themselves. A liaison at each high school receives information and application materials and can advise students concerning local procedures. High schools are urged to widely advertise the Alabama Governor’s School and the opportunity it represents. Nominations are made on the basis of criteria provided by the Alabama Governor’s School. Individual students who are interested in the program should contact their principal, headmaster or guidance office for further information.

Once nominated, a panel of distinguished educators carefully screens all candidates. Selections are based on the panel’s recommendations. Students and their schools are advised of the results of the selection process.

What is the Expected Enrollment?

The Alabama Governor’s School expects to enroll between 80 and 90 students each year.

What is the Cost of the Program to Participants?

Tuition, room, board, field trips, and other activities planned for the school are provided. The total cost of the program is more than $1,500 per student. However, each student is asked to pay only $485. If the student’s family is unable to pay the $485 the student is encouraged to seek assistance from church, civic, business or corporate sources in the student’s local community. Scholarships are available to supplement family and community resources.  Each student must provide funds for incidental and personal expenses, stationery supplies, and transportation to and from the school. In some cases, specific seminar supplies may have to be provided by the student.

Where Are the Students Housed?

The Alabama Governor’s School students are assigned to Residence Halls on the campus of Samford University.  Meals are provided in the University Dining Hall.

Are Recreational Facilities Available?

Students are not permitted to use Samford’s facilities, but may use its beautiful campus for running.

What Other Services Are Provided?

Group health and accident insurance, medical services, dormitory counselors, campus public safety officers, and other support services are available throughout the program.

Are Students Allowed Leave-Of-Absence From the School?

The Alabama Governor’s School is concentrated and intensive. Classes, guest speakers, performers, film programs, sports and social activities and a number of special events are scheduled for the week.  Absences over night or from scheduled activities, except in extenuating circumstances, are strongly discouraged.  Students accepting selection are expected to register at the beginning of the program, remain in residence for the duration, and participate in the concluding ceremonies.

What Are Some of the Responsibilities That the Students Must Assume?

As voluntary members of a community of learning that seeks to establish a high moral and ethical standard for its common activities and that chooses to emphasize values studied in its curriculum, participants are expected to show respect at all times for the rights of others and to conform to the code of behavior as outlined in the Student Handbook of Samford University.

Where May Further Information Be Obtained?

Further information may be obtained from the program’s director:

George E. Keller, Ph.D.
Sciencenter
Samford University
Birmingham, AL
35229-2234

phone: (205) 726-2033
fax: (205) 726-2479
e-mail: gekeller@samford.edu.