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 Tuesday, October 10, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Residential Academic Program Spotlight - Baker RAP
By Corey Jones, sophomore, Pre-Journalism

Residential Academic Programs (RAPS) can be found in residence halls all across campus, connecting diverse students with similar interests while promoting extensive understanding in a vast range of subject areas. In this new series, we explore these innovative programs that provide many undergraduates with close social and intellectual communities and shared learning and living experiences. Part one of this series features the Baker Residential Academic Program.

The Baker Hall RAP reaches out to students interested in natural and environmental sciences, and it also gains much popularity from students who simply enjoy nature and the outdoors.

"Baker has a large RAP because Boulder has such a strong commitment to the environment," said Darin Toohey, who started his second year as program director this fall. Toohey is a professor in the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences as well as the environmental studies program.

About 460 students are involved in Baker RAP this year, and the number of applicants has been growing continually with longer waitlists each year. "I use the term 'self select,'" said Toohey. "Participation is not an assignment for the students; it is a choice, and that helps us generate a lot of enthusiasm."

Natalie Troy is a student coordinator for the RAP. "The entire program creates a homey feel for the residence hall environment," said the junior.

The RAP provides an interdisciplinary curriculum in the natural sciences, with classes limited to 25 students.

Baker RAP also offers many opportunities to explore the natural world outside the classroom, including rafting trips, camping at the Great Sand Dunes, and studying the behavior of elk during the annual bugling ritual.

"We try to have both educational and adventurous activities," said Troy. "The students are open to new activities and ideas that are presented to them either during classes or events."

Additionally, the program emphasizes the role of human societies in environmental change.

"Environmental issues are a high priority for students at CU, as well as the citizens of the state of Colorado. Hence, being good stewards of the environment is a great positive message that the students of Baker RAP can take with them into the community at large when they graduate from CU," he said.

For more information, visit the Baker RAP website.


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