Summer Enrichment Program (University of Colorado)

The Summer Enrichment Program[1] (SEP) is a summer camp for gifted and talented children entering grades 5 to 10, located at Center for the Education and Study of the Gifted, Talented, Creative at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado.

SEP consists of one two-week session in mid-July, during which students reside in the university dormitories and eat in campus dining halls, supervised by camp counselors assigned to each grade. The students choose four classes which they attend every day from Monday to Friday. After class, they participate in a wide variety of fun activities provided by the counselors, from sports to crafts. On the weekend in residence, special activities are planned for Saturday, with guest teachers and sometimes special guest presenters. Sunday is a day off for rest and relaxation. On the final Friday, parents are invited to visit the SEP Showcase, an afternoon of demonstrations, displays and performances in which the students share their projects and accomplishments with their friends and family. Thousands of students, from most American states and many foreign countries, have attended SEP.

Typical classes include art, computers & technology, creative writing, cultures, debate, drama, dance, history, mathematics, music and science. There is minimal textbook instruction, but emphasis is instead placed on hands-on activities, for example (during sessions in the late 1980s and early 1990s):

More recent classes (2000–2010) have included:

  • music—song-writing and music recording, glee club, avant-garde vocal ensemble
  • chemistry—investigating molecules that changed the world, chemistry in the kitchen
  • literature—writing and performing poetry "slams", journalism
  • literary theory—finding parallels between classic stories and "trash culture"
  • multi-media—documentary film-making, web page design
  • engineering—building bridge models
  • theatre—re-enacting medieval folk plays, musical theatre
  • environmental issues—ocean pollution, tornadoes

The associated Young Child Program is designed for gifted and talented children from age 4 until the 4th grade. It is a day camp founded in 1980 to precede attendance at the Summer Enrichment Program. The Leadership Enrichment Program is designed for gifted and talented high school students entering grades 11 and 12. It is a program to succeed attendance at the Summer Enrichment Program.

SEP was started in 1977 by Dr George Betts[2][3] (Ed.D.), a Professor of Special Education at the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at UNC. He is a key figure in the development of the Autonomous Learner Model[4][5][6] (ALM) method of teaching, popular in many countries (United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, ...[7]), and is also closely associated with the Life-Long Learner approach.

The Education Director for SEP is Dr. Stuart Omdal,[8] Professor of Gifted Education in the School of Special Education at the University of Northern Colorado. He is the assistant director of the Center for the Education and Study of Gifted, Talented, Creative Learners.[9] He serves on the boards of the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented,[10] the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students[11] and the National Association for Gifted Children.[12] His interests include the underachievement of high-ability students, the development of appropriate curriculum for high-ability students and the role of creativity in gifted and talented education.


  1. SEP homepage, University of Northern Colorado, USA.
  2. Archived February 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. " – is for sale". Alps Publishing. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  4. Betts, G.T. & J. Knapp. "The Autonomous Learner Model." National/State-Leadership Training Institute for the Gifted & Talented, 1981.
  5. Betts, G.T. "Autonomous Learner Model for the Gifted and Talented." Autonomous Learning Publications and Specialists, 1985.
  6. " – is for sale". Alps Publishing. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  7. Archived from the original on October 14, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. Archived April 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  9. "Center for the Education and Study of the Gifted Talented and Creative". Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  10. "Colorado Gifted And Talented – Home – Colorado Gifted And Talented". Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  11. "About AEGUS". 2004-01-01. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  12. "National Association for Gifted Children | Supporting the needs of high potential learners". Retrieved 2015-12-17.
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