Brochure

The Science of Creating Educational Value Added
Southern University and A&M College
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Summer, 1996

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

      While the authors bear the responsibility for the content of this presentation and that of the accompanying written materials herein, the support of the following agencies is hereby recognized:
      • The Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR) Grant# N00014-93-1-1368 - ONR. Program Officer: Dr. Harold Guard, Division of Chemistry
      • The Louisiana Stimulus for Excellence in Research (LaSER) Grant# NSF/LaSER-1991-HRD-04 and NSF/LaSER(1993)-HRD-05 - Program Officer: Dr. Jerry Draayer
      • The National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant# HRD-9108590
      • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Undergraduate Student Researchers Program (NASA-USAR)
      • The Physics Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Grant# 4T4010 and #2T1014
      • The United States Department of Energy (DOE) through the Center for Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology at Southern University and A&M College System, directed by Dr. Lovenia DeConge-Watson
      • The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
      • The Environmental Technology/Consortium (ETC)
      • The Minority Undergraduate Training in Energy-related Careers Program (MUTEC) of The US Department of Energy (DOE)
      • Southern University and A&M College - Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge (SUBR) is an autonomous unit of the Southern University and A&M College System.

The brochure, application form, publication list, and selected results of the Timbuktu Academy are available at http:/www.phys.subr.edu on the world wide web. 

 

INTRODUCTION

OBJECTIVES

The Timbuktu Academy is named after the former University of Timbuktu , on the banks of the Niger River, in the city of Timbuktu, in Mali (West Africa). In the middle of the 2nd Millennium A.D., this University was a bastion of scholarship and intellectual accomplishments in fields ranging from medicine and religion to literature. The most celebrated scholars and professors of the University were a Mandingo (Black ethnic group of Kounta Kinte'), A. Bakayoko, and one of his many students, A. Baba. It is in the tradition of this august University that the Timbuktu Academy is established

  1. to produce first-class scientists and engineers who pursue Ph.D. Degrees and many of whom are expected to belong to minority groups currently underrepresented in mathematics, science, and engineering fields and careers;
  2. to produce, organize, and disseminate knowledge through research, publications, and presentations;
  3. and, to render professional services to the educational, corporate, and other communities.

The formal establishment of the Academy was in 1990-91 with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF, Grant# HRD-9108590) and the Louisiana Stimulus for Excellence in Research (LaSER). Major funding from the Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR, Grant# N00014-93-1-1368), in the Fall of 1993 was pivotal in the strengthening of the Academy and its expansion to Engineering and Chemistry, in addition to Physics. Sustained support from the Physics Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, Grant# 2T1014) and by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) greatly enhanced the academic year and particularly the Summer research participation of several scholars. The Timbuktu Academy, as a result of the expansion made possible by ONR support, became a part of the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies (CEES) at Southern University and A&M College - Baton Rouge, LA. CEES, under the direction of Dr. Robert Ford, provides financial management and other support to the Academy.

The Timbuktu Academy recruits, advises, mentors, supports, involves in research, and guides toward graduate school and scientific and technical careers students who meet its standards and who accept responsibilities and challenges. The Academy's activities are based on a dynamic sum of current tenets in education and in research.

The Academy scholars are selected based on the soundness of judgment (knowing what and what not to do; as determined by recommendations and results), the goodness of character (self discipline, hardwork, and ethical behavior; as determined by recommendations and results), and academic accomplishments (English, Science, and Mathematics courses taken and related GPA, along with the ACT/SAT individual and composite scores; as determined by transcript and ACT/SAT reports).

The Academy is located at Southern University and A&M College-Baton Rouge, LA (SUBR), which has an undergraduate student population of 10,000. Southern University at Baton Rouge is a historically Black, public, Land Grant institution of higher education whose mission comprises quality instruction, research, and service. Departments of the College of Sciences include those of Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science, Mathematics, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Speech Pathology, Audiology, and Physics. The Baton Rouge Campus is an autonomous unit of the Southern University and A&M College System with additional campuses in Shreveport-Bossier City (SUSBO) and New Orleans (SUNO). 

 

THE PARADIGM OF THE TIMBUKTU ACADEMY

The foundation of the Timbuktu Academy rests on fundamental principles with pervasive implications in teaching and learning. The set of these principles and of activities and processes designed to heed them constitutes the Paradigm of the Timbuktu Academy. We provide below four of the working principles that undergird the operation of the Timbuktu Academy.

  1. The Primacy of Languages - This states that the learning of science greatly benefits from a mastery (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) of the applicable language. In an age of information explosion, a learning that does not entail "learning to learn" is likely to leave much to be desired.
  2. The Integrated Law of Human Performance - This is an extension of the power law of performance well known in cognitive science. When one applies the power law of performance to the acquisition of several forms of knowledge content and skills, over a long period of time, it leads to the quintessential discovery that "ability is partly begotten and certainly enhanced by practice." (The Dynamics of Student Retention...Education, Vol. 115, No. 1, pp. 31-39, Fall, 1994).
  3. The Postulate of Timbuktu - The Postulate states that there is no known limit to what a given individual can learn or discover. It adds that what a person learns or discovers, however, is partly determined by that person's priorities, determination, focus, courage, and perseverance. "Genius is the manifestation of sustained attention."
  4. Cognitive Condensation - This is a practical tool for not only increasing learning efficiency, but also the long-term mastery of a topic. An essential outcome of its implementation, in addition to increased learning efficiency, consists of the continued honing of the rational powers of the learners ("Cognitive Condensation for Mastery Teaching and Learning," Education, Vol. 115, No. 1, Fall 1994).

It cannot be overemphasized that the success of the Timbuktu Academy to date is keyed to the rigorous and holistic adherence to the above paradigm. The extensive report writing, presentation, and conference attendance by the Scholars address both principles 1 and 2. The year long research participation and preparation for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), starting in the freshman year, are directed linked to the attainment of objective 1 and to principles 2 and 1 in that order. 

 

PROGRAMS OF THE ACADEMY

The Timbuktu Academy currently supports and mentors one hundred (100) undergraduate scholars (Physics, Engineering, and Chemistry) in its Undergraduate Research Program (URP). The Summer Bridge Institute (SBI) is a research and mentoring program for high school graduates. The Summer Science Institute (SSI) is an extensive six-week residential program for rising 12th graders. The Summer Science Institute-Middle (SSI-M) is an extensive three week non-residential hands-on enrichment program for middle school students. The Educational Services Program (ESP) reaches per year over 5,000 precollege students, teachers, and parents through publications, mentoring, presentations, etc.

Summer Science Institute (SSI) and Summer Bridge Institute (SBI) scholars, in addition to fifty (50) of the undergraduate scholars, are supported by the Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR). The Undergraduate Research Program (URP) of the Academy works very well with the Honors College at SUBR. This College provides financial support to several undergraduate scholars and educational enrichment and challenge, partly through the Honors Colloquia, to most scholars. 

 

ACTIVITIES OF THE ACADEMY

The activities of the Academy are designed and integrated, based on research results, to heed the Paradigm of the Academy rigorously. The specific Undergraduate Research Program (URP) activities, which moderately convey the essence of the Academy, are listed below.

  1. Financial support is provided to the scholars from a variety of sources - Proper advisement guarantees the use of the resulting "time dividend" for studies, research, and related enrichment activities on a full time basis..Continued support from the Academy, for a scholar, requires full time "studying and research" during the academic year.
  2. Communication skill enhancement - A host of writing, reading, and related activities are aimed at developing the mastery of the applicable language (English), vehicle of thought.
  3. Scientific Advisement - The proper sequencing of courses is treated with the utmost care. Indeed, the internal rigidity of science, engineering, mathematics, and technology (SMET) disciplines requires this approach. Empowering the learner is a central aimed of mentoring. This empowerment includes grasping the power law of performance [(T=A+B(N+E)-P)] and its extension, the integrated law of human performance; understanding and applying cognitive condensation for meta- and mastery-learning; and knowing a few time-tested quotes like the Jaime Escalante Equation and its corollary and the Postulate of Timbuktu . The Uri Treisman discovery in calculus, at Berkeley, is an indirect support of the power law of performance (the degree of alertness and of practice is expected to be higher in a group or cooperative learning environment).
  4. Tutoring. Tutoring by faculty members and particularly by peers has to be available to the students or scholars who need it. (In fact, regular tutoring areas are often taken over by self-organized study groups!) Tutoring is for excellence, not for remediation; it is to address holes in a background and not a sign of any lack of smartness, so says the power law of human performance.
  5. Generic research activities - Rigorous literature searches are conducted by the scholars on several subjects. They master search algorithms, electronic searches, and related iterations. The scientific literature is an unlimited source of research questions!
  6. Specific research project execution by scholars of the Timbuktu Academy - Faculty members and researchers at Federal and industrial laboratories serve as research supervisors and mentors to Academy scholars, year round. According to the integrated law of human performance, reseach experiences prepare for graduate studies and for productive research careers. Seeking Summer research opportunities on-line, at conferences, and through visits to various laboratories and agencies is one requirement for a mentoring program. Assisting scholars to apply vigorously and professionally for these opportunities is another. Maintaining adequate files on each scholar, partly for the purpose of writing substantial (as opposed to general and vague) recommendations is a third requirement. On average, forty (40) Timbuktu Academy Scholars conduct research, off-campus, during the Summer.
  7. Development of a professional culture -Every scholar is exposed to discussions that explore the dimensions of ethics in science. Immersion in a professional culture demands a regular reading of technical journals and appropriate magazines of professional societies, conference attendance, and collaboration with others. Current awareness needs no explanation in an era of information explosion. Professional practices and standards are set and seen in publications, seminars, and at conferences. As for collaboration, we claim that no one individual has built or operated a nuclear submarine, an aircraft carrier, or a space shuttle!
  8. Development of Computer and Technological Skills. The mastery of productivity tools, including wordprocessing, spreadsheet, database, graphics and other application programs is needed in the first weeks of the freshman year. Electronic communication and productive surfing of the web are needed by the middle of the first semester. Advanced exposured has to include a programming language. (The need for these activities is given by the environments to which the students are to go, i.e., graduate schools and the global market).
  9. Monitoring. With monitoring, throughout the semester, potential problems are avoided before they become permanent Fs. Preventive measures include concentrated efforts, extra-tutoring, and the last resort, dropping a course. The former two steps are best when they are taken as earlier as possible. The latter step is not an available option past a certain date after mid-term! The monitoring of research participation and performance is critical for another reason: the development or reinforcement of non-cognitve skills that undergird success (self-discipline, hard-work, assiduity, working well with others, etc.). Monitoring and evaluation are part of a professional existence, without them, who will know what beautiful a job is done!
  10. Guidance to Graduate School - It begins the freshman year, includes research experiences, conference attendance, GRE preparation starting the freshman year, and opportunities for financial support for graduate studies. Placement in graduate programs follows steps similar to those for Summer placement. The number and the extent of the opportunities depend on the cumulative grade point average for the B.S. degree, the courses taken, research experiences and results, and the GRE score. These measures of preparedness for graduate studies are also indicators of self-discipline, focus, the quality and scope of exposure to subject content, and research skills. They are, hence, indicators of the likelihood that a propective graduate student will pass the required courses and will make contributions in research!

Retention models discussed in publications of the Academy (i.e. Education, Vol. 115, No. 1, pp. 31-39, Fall, 1994) undercored the need for academic and social integration. The above activities mainly addressed the academic integration. It should be noted, however, that there is a vital social dimension to participation in seminars, study groups, conferences, and research groups. There are also social dimensions to the off-campus research experiences during the Summer. A few picnics and annual award banquets are some designed social activities. Let it be noted here, however, that a functional social integration, for the purpose of generating educational value added, is the aim.

    1. "Practice partly begets and certainly enhances ability."
    2. "At some stages, all learning is individual."
    3. "Genius is the manifestation of sustained attention or practice." Unknown source.
    4. "Determination plus discipline plus hard work equal success." Jaime Escalante.
    5. "Luck is very often the result of PREPARATION meeting or making, recognizing, and acting on opportunity."

Please refer to the home page of the Timbuktu Academy at http:/www.phys.subr.edu, for additional information on the Academy, its paradigm, programs, activities, publications, and results. The application form for SSI, SBI, and URP is available at the above web site. 

 

PRECOLLEGE RESEARCH PROGRAM No. 1

A. Name of Program: Summer Science Institute - Middle School Component (SSI-M)

B. Target Audience: Middle School Students (Grades 6 - 8)

C. Date of Implementation: 1993 - PRESENT

D. Funding Source(s): The Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR); the United States
    Department of Energy (DOE); and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

E. Brief Program Description (Including Objectives and Expected Outcomes):


The goals of the Summer Science Institute - Middle School Component (SSI-M) consist of increasing, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, the preparation of students for the pursuit of careers in science, engineering, and mathematics (SEM) fields, including energy and environmental disciplines. The program enrolls forty (40) middle school students in a three (3) week non-residential program on the Southern University and A&M College-Baton Rouge Campus. The multi-faceted focus of the Institute includes:

-Academic emphasis on science and mathematics

- Exposure to the computer and its capabilities

- Enhancement of language, critical thinking and of comprehension skills

- Enhancement of communication skills (languages)

- Emphasis (for parents) on middle school English and Mathematics courses

- Emphasis (for parents) on need for support and of adequate time students must spend on learning tasks (homework, reading, writing, mathematics) as dictated by the integrated law of human performance

F. SSI-M (6th, 7th, and 8th) Grade Daily Activity & Schedule: 

                Monday          Tuesday         Wednesday       Thursday        Friday

8:30-10:00      Computer        Crit. Thinking  Computer        Crit. Thinking  Field
Trips

                Math*           Math*           Math*           Math*



10:00-11:30     Math            Math            Math            Math            Field Trips

                Computer*       Crit. Thinking* Computer*       Crit. Thinking*



11:30-1:00      Lunch           Lunch           Lunch           Lunch           Field Trips



1:00-2:30       Science Lab     Science Lab     Science Lab     Science Lab     Field Trips


NOTE:

         An asterisk denotes the courses taken by Eighth Grade SSI-M scholars 

 

PRECOLLEGE RESEARCH PROGRAM No. 2

        • A. Name of Program: Summer Science Institute (SSI)
        • B. Target Audience: High School Students (Grades 11-12)
        • C. Date of Implementation: 1991 - PRESENT
        • D. Funding Source(s): ONR, MUTEC, DOE, and ET/WM, ETC
        • E. Brief Program Description (Including Objectives and Expected Outcomes):


The Summer Science Institute (SSI) is a six week, residential science program which stresses areas of energy and environmental concern. The overall goal of the program is to increase the pool of qualified, well-trained minority scientists and engineers. The program seeks to further this interest and encourage participants to pursue careers in these areas. In achieving the program's goals, the focus of the institute is multi-faceted:

        • Academic emphasis on Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and English -
        • Hands-on laboratory experimentation -
        • Development of computer and test-taking skills (ACT preparation workshops) -
        • Enhancement of critical thinking and comprehension skills (reasoning logically, analyzing data, drawing inferences, and problem solving) -
        • Enhancement of communication skills (English usage, writing, and reading)

The program provides for living expenses and for stipends ($1,000 per scholar). Students gain insight into various scientific careers through visits to scientific and industrial sites and interaction with successful, practicing minority science professionals who serve as guest speakers and role models.

The scholars are selected based on the soundness of judgment (knowing what and what not to do; as determined by recommendations and results), the goodness of character (self discipline, hardwork, and ethical behavior; as determined by recommendations, results and a written statement of interest in pursuing a career in science or a science-related discipline), and academic accomplishments (English, Science, and Mathematics courses taken and related GPA, along with the ACT/SAT individual and composite scores; as determined by transcript and ACT/SAT reports). 


                Monday          Tuesday        Wednesday        Thursday        Friday

8:30-11:00      Chemistry       Research        Chemistry       Research        Field Trips

11:00-12:30     Math            Physics         Math            Physics         Field Trips

12:30-1:30      Lunch           Lunch           Lunch           Lunch           Field Trips

1:30-3:30       Computer        Research        Computer        Research        Field Trips

3:30-4:30       Free            Research        Res. Seminar    Research        Field Trips

6:30-8:00       English         Study Hall      English         Study Hall      Field Trips

 

COLLEGE RESEARCH AND MENTORING PROGRAM No. 1

  • Name of Program: Summer Bridge Institute (SBI)
  • Target Audience: Recent High School Graduates
  • Date of Implementation: 1993 - PRESENT
  • Funding Source(s): The Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR, Grant# N00014-93-1-1368)
  • Brief Program Description (Including Objectives and Expected Outcomes): This program is aimed at recruiting top high school graduates (GPA and ACT, respectively, 3.0/4.0 and 24 or higher) for early Summer enrollment in the Honors College at Southern University and A&M College - Baton Rouge Campus. Tuition, room and board, and $1,500 stipend are part of the basic merit SBI award. However, a minimum of 7-9 college course hours, depending on research schedule, is required. Honors Colloquium, a weekly Research seminar, and discipline-specific honors courses constitute the essence of the Summer activities. Most SBI scholars get full scholarships to participate in the Undergraduate Research Program (URP) of the Timbuktu Academy.


If any scholar is not ready to enroll in a calculus course in the summer, he or she must take the applicable pre-calculus courses to better prepare them in Calculus the Fall semester.

The scholars are selected based on the soundness of judgment (knowing what and what not to do; as determined by recommendations and results), the goodness of character (self discipline, hardwork, and ethical behavior; as determined by recommendations and results), and academic accomplishment (English, Science, and Mathematics courses taken and related GPA, along with the ACT/SAT individual and composite scores; as determined by transcript and ACT/SAT reports).

If and when the basic needs of a scholar are met, gainful employment is forbidden for that scholar whose full time job is to study and to conduct research.

COLLEGE RESEARCH AND MENTORING PROGRAM No. 2

  • Name of Program: Undergraduate Research Program (URP)
  • Target Audience: Undergraduate Science and Engineering Students
  • Date of Implementation: 1993 - PRESENT
  • Funding Source(s): The Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR, Grant# N00014-93-1-1368), NSF, NIST, NASA, and SUBR
  • Brief Program Description (Including Objectives and Expected Outcomes):


This program is aimed at supporting (finances, mentoring, involvement in research) and guiding to graduate school fifty (50) high achieving undergraduate Physics, Chemistry, and engineering majors. High GPA (over 3.0/4.0) and research performance results are key criteria for continued support from one year to the next.

The support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the Model Institution of Excellence Program is expected to lead to the replication of the national model of the Academy in other Science, Engineering and Mathematics (SEM) Departments and units of Southern University and A&M College.

  • Activities of the Undergraduate Research Program (URP):
    • Financial support is provided to scholars from a variety of sources
    • Communication skill development
    • Generic research activities
    • Specific research project execution by scholars of the Timbuktu Academy
    • Development of a professional culture
    • Advisement by the Director
    • Guidance to Graduate School


NOTE: For a detailed explanation of the activities of the Undergraduate Research Program (URP), see "Activities of the Academy" in the Introduction.

 

COLLEGE RESEARCH AND MENTORING PROGRAM No. 3

  • Name of Program: Educational Services Program (ESP)
  • Target Audience: Precollege Students, Teachers, and Parents
  • Date of Implementation: 1990 - PRESENT
  • Funding Source(s): National Science Foundation (NSF, Grant# HRD-9108590), Louisiana Stimulus for Excellence in Research (LaSER), the Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (ONR, Grant# N00014-93-1-1368), the Physics Laboratories of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, Grant# 2T1014), NASA-USAR, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE, Grant#), and SUBR
  • Brief Program Description (Including Objectives and Expected Outcomes):


The Educational Services Program (ESP) provides a host of services to the educational community. The diverse services include the following:

  1. Precollege information services: (a) presentations to K-12 grade students on the power law of performance and the needed educational background for various career options; (b) workshops for teachers and/or counselors on reform-guided teaching and learning, advisement, or proposal development.
  2. Learning support services for undergraduates, including daily 1 P.M. to 5 P.M. tutoring.
  3. The publication of reviews, new knowledge ("Cognitive Condensation" and "A Paradigm of Education" in Education Vol. 115, No. 1 - Fall 1994), and newsletters (INFOBIT) to inform local and national education stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, counselors, policymakers, funding organizations, etc.)

 

TIMBUKTU ACADEMY PERSONNEL

  • Dr. Diola Bagayoko, Director of the Timbuktu Academy, Chancellor's Fellow, Professor of Physics at Southern University and A&M College-Baton Rouge.
    Contact: Diola Bagayoko, P.O. Box 11776 Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA 70813 Tel: (504) 771-2730/-4130, Fax: (504) 771-4341, Internet: Bagayoko@stark.phys.subr.edu

  • Dr. Robert Ford, Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies (CEES) at Southern University and A&M College-Baton Rouge

  • Dr. Ella L. Kelley, Co-Director of the Timbuktu Academy, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Southern University-Baton Rouge, Director, SSI-M and SSI

  • Dr. Reza Mirshams, Co-Director of the Timbuktu Academy, Recipient of 1995 Chancellor's Renaissance Award, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Southern University and A&M College-Baton Rouge

  • Dr. Beverley Wade, Dean of the Honors College at Southern University and A&M College-Baton Rouge

  • Debbie Elliot, Counselor for Honors College/Timbuktu Academy, Instructor of Honors Colloquium

  • Larry J. Knight, Graduate Assistant for the Director of the Timbuktu Academy, Editor of INFOBIT

  • Jonalyn Nunnery, Science Instructor for SSI and SSI-M, Science Instructor at Southern University Laboratory School

  • Karen Simms, SSI Instructor, Ms. Simms also served as Assistant to the Director.

  • Karen Stephens, Chemistry Instructor for the Summer Science Institute (SSI), Environmental Technology Consortium (ETC) Coordinator

  • Dawn Stephens, Student Assistant for the Timbuktu Academy

  • Joseph Stewart, Computer Laboratory Technician


Scholars and Affiliates responsible for the design, implementation, and operation of the Departmental network and of the Timbuktu Academy homepage are Carl R. Grant, Louis Beathley,Liling Xie, Monika Wright, and Paul Hilliard III. Mr. Rahman Tashakkori has significantly contributed to these efforts. 

 

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