2013 Summer Academy - Annapolis
Annapolis: The City and St. John's College Campus
Since its founding as King William’s School in 1696, St. John’s has been situated in the colonial seaport town of Annapolis, capital of the State of Maryland. Its population of 40,000 people is occupied principally with the government of the state and of Anne Arundel County; with the training of midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy; with the fish, crab and oyster industry; and with the sailing and recreational activities of the Chesapeake Bay. The 36-acre campus lies in the historic district, adjoining College Creek, one block from the State House and across the street from the U.S. Naval Academy yard. The college’s campus includes 18th-century historic homes, 19th-century Victorian structures, and 20th and 12st-century buildings designed to complement the older ones.
St. John’s College’s Mitchell Gallery presents museum exhibitions by artists of reknown. Athletic facilities on campus include playing fields, tennis courts, a gymnasium with a well-equipped weight room, a dance studio and a suspended running track. The college also has a coffee shop and several common rooms available to all students. In addition, there are smaller, comfortably furnished social rooms in the dormitories and elsewhere on campus.
Summer Academy students in Annapolis can explore the rich heritage of colonial America. Because of its location at the confluence of the Severn River and the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis has long been a sailing center. Academy students will take a guided boat tour of the city, and have the opportunity to participate in sailing and individual rowing. Summer Academy participants will have the opportunity to explore both the nation's capital and the cultural attraction of Baltimore through different various cultural excursions.
The St. John's Summer Academy Classroom
The academic program on the Annapolis campus consists of seminar, a mathematics tutorial and a language tutorial. The aim is to recreate as much as possible in a single week the St. John’s undergraduate experience. Each class meets four times; mathematics and language for 90 minutes each and seminar for two hours.
Seminar is at the heart of the St. John’s Program. It is a serious and sustained discussion of a reading held between two faculty members and 16-21 students seated around a table. The seminar begins with a question asked by one of the leaders. Thereafter the seminar consists mostly of student discussion. Students talk with one another, not just to the leaders. They do not raise their hands for permission to be heard, but enter the discussion or withdraw from it at will. The course of the discussion cannot be fixed in advance; it is determined rather by the necessity of “following the argument,” or facing the crucial issues, or of seeking foundations upon which a train of reasoning can be pursued. Spontaneous learning and discovery distinguishes seminar from a typical learning environment; everyone collaborates to reach insights far beyond the initial views held by any of its members. The resulting informality is tempered by use of formal modes of address. Except for the requirements of common courtesy, there are only two rules: first, all opinions must be heard and explored, however sharply they may clash; second, every opinion must be supported by argument – an unsupported opinion does not count. We intend to learn how to make points justified by textual evidence and to pose questions provoked by texts in the hope of gaining a deeper understanding of the work. Because careful reading is essential, we will have individual reading time daily to complete assignments.
In the mathematics and language tutorials, about 9-12 students study and learn together under the direct guidance and instruction of a tutor. As in the seminar, students talk freely with one another and with the tutor, but the discussion focuses sharply on assigned tasks. Whether through demonstrating a mathematical proposition or developing sensitivity to the language in a poem, the aim is to understand what is at stake. We seek to engage in a close and careful reading that will foster rewarding insights and deeper questions.
In addition to the academic offerings, students will have multiple opportunities to meet and network with members of the St. John’s admissions staff. Though we have not built any formal workshops into the schedule, the office will be available for students to schedule individual meetings to receive help in planning and preparing for the college application and subsequent financial aid process. Additionally, the Admissions staff will accompany Academy students as chaperones on their off-campus activities. These opportunities will enable each student to meet and network with their Admissions Counselor and answer any questions which arise about the process; it will serve as a chance to make lasting connections with staff who can provide assistance long after the summer ends.
A Week in Annapolis
Download the Summer Academy Schedule for a detailed list of planned activities and excursions.
Extracurricular Events and Activities
If you love to read and share your thoughts with others, it might be hard to decide which is more fun—your time spent in the classroom or out. The collaborative intellectual engagement fostered at St. John’s College tends to spill over into all activities, blurring the line between what is serious and what is playful.
During your week at St. John’s, you will have a chance to cross intellectual boundaries, exploring outside the lines of narrow, isolated disciplines. You’ll have the opportunity to express yourself in small groups, and to converse, relax and recreate alongside other college-bound students. You will join fellow Academy students in a wide range of on and off campus extra curricular events, potentially including:
There will also be time to simply explore the vibrant waterfront town of Annapolis. Check this year’s schedule for specific event opportunities.
Summer Academy students will live in the college dormitories. Men and women will live on separate floors in double rooms and roommates will be assigned randomly unless a student requests a particular roommate. Select students from St. John’s College will serve as Resident Assistants—each one will be responsible for five to six students. These Resident Assistants will share life in the dorms, participate in and lead extra curricular activities, assist during study time, and share their understanding of the program. In addition to these undergraduate mentors, an adult Senior Resident Assistant will be on duty at all times. Though undergraduate classes are not in session during the summer, the general college support staff with be available, including the Health Center and Assistant Dean’s Office. Quiet hours on campus are from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m.
Meals are provided by Bon Appetit, the campus food service provider. Students will be given three meals per day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, during the week. Bon Appetit provides a variety of cuisines, including vegetarian and vegan, and is able to accommodate dietary restrictions.