Academic Life

students working together in class
Student Video

Student Video

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.

Academic model

Duke TIP is committed to creating academic experiences that challenge and inspire students through rigorous learning opportunities in different topics and areas of interest. We recognize that gifted students are a unique group with high intellectual abilities who need and benefit from appropriately paced, advanced learning opportunities. Duke TIP staff strategically work with content and field experts to create learning experiences that lead students through innovative and collaborative academic exploration. Students are encouraged to be creative and take chances, giving them confidence to push their academic limits and develop talents to solve real-world problems. 

Curriculum follows our TIPster academic life model, focusing on five main criteria.

1. Rigorous Curriculum

Advancing the classroom experience through high expectations, academic challenge, critical thinking, and application of knowledge.

Sample activities include above-grade-level work, upper levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, student-led decision making, hands-on learning, differentiated instruction, alternative assessment, research, laboratory work, and experimental writing.

2. Critical Inquiry

Analyzing ideas, facts, and contradictions while exploring academic curiosity to develop and communicate informed perspectives.

Sample activities include process creation, design development, comparisons and contrasts, fact-finding, revising, and experiments.

3. Authentic Experiences

Connecting students with academic opportunities to interact with and respond to real-world situations.

Sample activities include field trips, guest speakers, field observations, interactions with professionals, simulations, real-world scenarios, and student-created media.

4. Collaborative Learning

Building academic community with shared goals and engaging intellectual endeavors.

Sample activities include interdisciplinary learning, team presentations, group projects, debates, mock trials, discussions, and seminars.

5. Creative Thought

Generating innovative and original ideas, products, or solutions.

Sample activities include problem-solving with multiple solutions, computer programming, artistic expression, technological solutions, sensory engagement, sketches, videography, and public speaking.

Instructoral teams

Duke TIP Instructors and Teaching Assistants 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, and
  • accomplished college and university instructors.

Teaching Assistants have at least two years of college coursework and are dedicated to supporting the academic growth and development of the students in collaboration with the Instructor. 

As an additional resource, each site has an Academic Coordinator. The Academic Coordinator supports all elements of the instructional program, assisting with curriculum development, visiting classes regularly, providing feedback to the instructional teams, and helping support the student 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 complete an end-of-program student evaluatation on areas such as 

  • intellectual processes,
  • work habits,
  • peer interactions, and
  • 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.

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; and
  • be able to call the on-site office during the week if you need to speak with your student’s Instructor.

CRISIS is a residential summer program for fifth and sixth graders. Students assume the role of professionals and collaborate with their peers to solve a hypothetical community crisis