Our pre-college training and first-year support curriculum, developed and refined over more than a decade, is at the heart of both the Act Six and Academy programs. The training prepares underrepresented students for the challenges of college while promoting cultural integrity and nurturing a strong sense of purpose and commitment to service. With a detailed facilitator guide, accompanying video of actual sessions, and recommended facilitator training workshops, program staff and coaches have all the resources they need to equip and support their students for success and leadership through college.
PRE-COLLEGE TRAINING OVERVIEW
Welcome and Celebration
Scholars gather for the first time in a welcome and celebration of their selection and participation in the Academy.
The initial retreat provides the first real opportunity to begin to build community and a sense of team within the cohort. It also provides an important opportunity to help scholars wrap their arms around the broad vision of the Act Six Academy. Through a variety of activities, scholars begin to explore the seven themes of Act Six and how they will be woven throughout their college experience.
Time Management and Presentation Skills
Scholars will explore the alignment between their core values and their use of time. Scholars will examine some of the differences between high school and college environments and expectations. Scholars will be introduced to college syllabi and learn how to use semester and weekly calendars to prioritize, schedule and manage tasks effectively.
Study Strategies for College
Scholars will be introduced to and practice the “Preacher’s Method” as an effective study strategy that stresses active preparation, engagement and review applicable to a wide variety of learning activities.
Culture and Difference
Scholars will look at ways that our cultural shapes the way that we see the world and interact with others. Through the use of a survey scholars will examine some of their own culturally influenced behaviors and beliefs. Scholars also will examine some of the ways that cultural differences can lead to misunderstanding and conflict between people.
Scholars will examine six different cultural lenses that shape their attitudes, interactions, and behaviors. Scholars will also learn an important distinction between culturally-based and personality-based behaviors and how this tension can play out on a college campus.
Race and Privilege
Scholars will see that power distributed unequally to different cultural groups often results in unjust systems of privilege and oppression. Scholars will discover that race has no biological basis, but is instead a socially constructed idea created to justify and perpetuate unequal and unjust social systems as natural. Scholars will understand that while race as biology is not real, race is still a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources and that colorblindness or pretending that race doesn’t exist does not create equality.
Scholars will distinguish between the ideas of individual prejudice and racialization or racism. Scholars will explore how to challenge stereotypes that are often associated with their identity, as well as recognize how privilege and lack of privilege shapes their identity and opportunities. Scholars will learn how well-intentioned people and institutions, particularly predominately White institutions, can often unknowingly continue to propagate social inequality and create difficult environments for those different than the dominant culture.
Scholars will reflect on the major concepts that have been covered in the first two sessions, including cultural difference and power differentials, race as social and not biological, privilege, and good intentions at predominately White institutions, among other ideas. Scholars will consider how the ideas of anti-racism and reconciliation can build the road forward.
Money Management and Strengths Assessment
Scholars will apply basic principles of money and credit management to make good financial decisions and form good habits in their spending and use of credit. Scholars will also create and review with their parents a working budget for their first year of college to ensure that they are making healthy spending decisions within their means in accordance with their values.
Frameworks for Leadership
This session challenges scholars to begin to think critically and strategically about leadership. It begins by looking at different definitions of leadership. It then explores six distinctly different styles of leadership as well as formal and informal leadership. The session examines the strengths and weaknesses of each style and its suitability in various situations. Scholars are challenged in a homework assignment to analyze leadership settings in their own lives in order to become increasingly aware of the multitude of leadership styles and their relative effectiveness.
This session uses StrengthsFinder 2.0 to uncover each scholar’s top five leadership strengths. Scholars are challenged to focus on enhancing their strengths rather than worrying about their weaknesses, and to value being a part of a well-rounded team rather than trying to be a well-rounded individual. As scholars compare their personal strengths with those of their cadre members, they begin to learn how to work together as a team to leverage each person’s strengths for the betterment of the cadre.
Frameworks for Service
This session challenges scholars to consider the complexities involved in serving their communities. It explores Christian motivations for service and challenges scholars to examine their own motivations for service. It evaluates three different levels of individual service: charity, compassion, and advocacy, as well as three corresponding levels of institutional service: relief, development, and justice. Scholars then use a homework assignment to explore their own communities for opportunities for service at each of the different levels.
Individual and Community Transformation
Scholars will look realistically at their campuses, recognizing that most of their campuses were designed with the dominant culture in mind. They will consider the implications of this for themselves as they enter the next four years of campus life. Scholars will explore a holistic view of their communities, acknowledging both the assets and the defects of the communities. They will discover that a love for their campuses and communities will lead to active involvement in the transformation of both.
Scholars will revisit their leadership strengths as they recognize that opportunities for transformative leadership arise daily. They will acknowledge ways in which they have changed and explore the value of relationships in bringing about change. Scholars will differentiate between problems requiring technical solutions and those requiring adaptive change.
FIRST-YEAR SUPPORT OVERVIEW
September: Establishing Yourself on Campus
Scholars will reflect on their first experiences on campus and explore the identity they are bringing to the campus community. Scholars will also explore the course catalog to ensure that they are aware of important campus dates, rules and expectations.
October: Navigating Academic Challenges and Planning for Success
Scholars will examine how excuses hold them back from academic success, dissect an academic challenge, and plan for how to navigate academic challenges in the future.
November: Navigating Personal Challenges and Seeing New Possibilities
Scholars will examine how they approach and deal with personal challenges, and will revisit their personal mission statements from the summer Act Six training.
December: Living a Dual Life
Scholars will anticipate and prepare for the “bumps” and tensions they will most likely encounter upon returning to their home communities. Scholars will also create a detailed plan for how to academically prepare for finals.
January: Maintaining Mental Health
Scholars will explore the current state of their mental health, and will explore strategies for maintaining mental health and managing stress.
February: Culture, Identity and Conflict: Evolving Cultural Identity
Scholars will examine how their objective culture (practices) and subjective culture (values) have been challenged, modified or solidified in college. Scholars will also begin to examine their experiences of culture and difference.
March: Culture, Identity and Conflict: Engaging with Cultural Differences
Scholars will examine an experience when “culture and difference” has led to conflict, and will explore ways to deal with that conflict.
April: Individual and Collective Leadership
Scholars will examine the individual and collective leadership roles that they have taken on during their first year on campus. Scholars will also create individual and collective leadership goals for the future.
May: Reconnecting With and Recommitting To the Act Six Vision
Scholars will reflect on their experiences as first-year college students. Scholars will also retell the Act Six story and will remember and reconnect to the Act Six values and vision.