June 24, 2009
DALLAS (SMU) — The University is offering its first SMU-in-Taos’ fall semester, challenging the most committed students to a life-changing experience in the mountains of New Mexico.
SMU-in-Taos has offered short, summer education programs tailored to the region’s unique cultural and natural resources since 1973, but the rustic campus dormitories were impractical for use during colder weather.
New construction, recent renovations to housing and technological improvements will now allow students and faculty to live there comfortably during the fall and winter.
The fall program is open to students with a minimum 3.3 GPA who will be sophomores in Fall 2009. SMU-in-Taos Executive Director Mike Adler says Taos Scholars will get a very personal education experience, combined with the lessons that the Taos community can offer through its unique history.
“These students will come back as leaders, with a greater appreciation of their academic life,” Adler said. “What we do so well in the summer, we can do even better in the fall.”
Taos Scholars will take 12-16 hours of courses that meet core undergraduate requirements, including anthropology, geology, biology, statistics, accounting, photography, painting, literature and history. Each will use the region’s unique history as a platform: For example, students can visit the site of the famous siege of Santa Fe, rather than simply reading about the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
The semester will be broken into four blocks of about three weeks apiece, with five-day breaks between each block. Students can participate in outdoor adventures to places like the Grand Canyon during breaks, and SMU-in-Taos will cover the cost of one for each student.
Adler thinks one of the largest benefits to the new fall program will be the “Taos Experience” course required of all students. Running for the entire term and meeting once a week, the course will include a service learning component, allowing students to work with such groups as Habitat for Humanity, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, Taos Farmers Market, Taos Land Trust or the Dreamtree Project. A wellness program will offer a variety of activities, including hiking, biking, river rafting, rock climbing, horseback riding, fly fishing and, conditions permitting, skiing.
Students who are admitted to Taos in the fall will pay the same hourly tuition and fees as students on the Dallas campus.
Application for the SMU-in-Taos fall program requires submission of an essay and an interview. For more information contact Suellen Turner, SMU-in-Taos Assistant Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-768-3657.