Summer Academies Return with Record Numbers

Students and their families check in for a summer session of the Joseph Baldwin Academy. In-person camps returned this summer and participation levels were greater than pre-pandemic levels.

While the pandemic continues to affect nearly all aspects of life, one sign of returning normality is the success of Truman’s summer academies.

Truman hosted students for the Joseph Baldwin Academy (JBA), JBA Jr. and the ATSU-Truman Healthcare Academy. Last year, JBA transitioned to an online format, and the other summer academies were suspended altogether. This year, all three programs saw participation levels at or exceeding pre-pandemic numbers.

Truman’s approach to the 2020-21 school year successfully mitigated the effects of COVID-19 on campus, and the University was able to complete both semesters without any pause in learning or shift to online-only options. That success enabled the Institute for Academic Outreach to offer the summer programs in their normal in-person formats.

“The JBA numbers are on par with pre-COVID numbers,” said Jeanne Harding, director of the Institute for Academic Outreach. “In other words, we’re fully back. The health care academy was larger than ever.”

At 82 students, the health care academy was double that of its previous largest class. This was due to an increase in the number of available spots, as well as A.T. Still University’s Dreamline Pathways Program, a grant-funded initiative which allowed for 25 additional historically underrepresented students from St. Louis to attend.

Although summer academies returned, they were not entirely “back to normal.” All University protocols were still in place, including social distance guidelines, facial coverings and more meal options, such as eating outside or in the student’s residence hall room. For JBA, the closing reception and scheduled family visit day were also suspended to reduce travel to campus. Despite those challenges, participants and their families were glad to be back.

“Last year, the virtual JBA program got very positive feedback from those who participated, but students and their families were disappointed it was not in person,” said Jared Young, coordinator of summer academies. “This year, parents were excited to have these opportunities for their students and appreciated the in-person programming.”
In addition to the Institute for Academic Outreach academies, several Truman athletic teams hosted on-campus camps. The return of in-person summer camps and academies is a positive sign for long-term recruitment efforts as well. Many students who participate ultimately make Truman their college of choice.

“If JBA was a high school, it would be Truman’s largest feeder school,” said Young. “We always have 100 or more students on campus who attended JBA as a middle school student for one or more years. We will be tracking the health care academy numbers closely this year for future reference.”

The ATSU-Truman Healthcare Academy is a week-long residential program for students in grades 9-11, introducing them to the methods and skills of a variety of health professions. The Joseph Baldwin Academy for Eminent Young Scholars is a three-week residential program that offers challenging curriculum for students in grades 7-9. Both programs require students to be nominated for participation.

For more information about summer academies offered through Truman, visit the Institute for Academic Outreach website at
Previous Next