Academic Life

students working together in class


CRISIS uses a variety of hands-on, inquiry-based learning techniques that engage and challenge academically talented students. Students participate in simulations of real-world activities, taking on the role of a professional for the entire week. They also use debates, round table discussions, laboratory projects, and out-of-the-classroom field experiences. Each research team contains eighteen students and meets for six hours a day during the week. Participants also spend forty-five minutes each day collaborating with other research teams as they work to solve the crisis. This gives students the opportunity to explore how all the roles works together in solving the crisis.


Duke TIP Instructors are a diverse and talented group of individuals who embrace their role in the academic development of young scholars. Instructors are selected for their expertise in their field of study, and typically include:

  • exceptional graduate students enrolled in master’s or doctoral programs
  • outstanding teachers from public and private schools
  • accomplished college and university Instructors

Each Instructor is part of an instructional team that works to provide students with a unique learning experience.

Evaluation at Duke TIP

Duke TIP does not assign letter or numeric final grades, nor offer course credit. The nongraded approach encourages a less competitive environment in which students will become comfortable taking intellectual risks that they might avoid in a stressful grade-driven environment. During the course, instructional teams will holistically evaluate performance using criteria such as journal entries, presentations, individual research, and class projects. 

End-of-program evaluations

Instructional teams evaluate students on areas such as:

  • intellectual processes
  • work habits
  • peer interactions
  • products generated in the course, such as tests, essays, or visual projects

Students who successfully complete the program per the participation policies will have access to this end-of-program evaluation in the online student portal

Parent involvement

Parents are an integral part of student successes. You will:

  • attend an orientation session on arrival day led by the administrative and instructional staff of the program
  • have access to a special program website updated daily with classroom, residential, and program information
  • be able to call the on-site office during the week if you need to speak with your student’s Instructor

“It is an amazing experience and you get to make new friends and learn new things, plus you get major bragging rights because you can say you were a college student!”
— CRISIS student


CRISIS is a residential summer program for fifth and sixth graders enrolled in TIP’s 4th–6th Grade Talent Search. The program lasts one week and takes place at five college campuses. Students assume the role of a professional on a specific occupation-based research team, collaborate with their peers, and participate in activities that build their academic, leadership, and teamwork skills.