LAWRENCE — Roberta Pokphanh has been selected as the academic director of the University of Kansas Academic Accelerator Program. Pokphanh currently serves as assistant dean of the Office of Graduate Studies at KU. She will begin her new role Monday, June 22.
The KU Academic Accelerator Program (KUAAP) is a preparedness program for international students developed in partnership with Shorelight Education. It combines English language instruction and support with academic instruction and acculturation for new international students recruited to KU by Shorelight.
“Roberta Pokphanh’s experience and long history with KU make her a great choice to lead this program,” said Sara Rosen, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “Her broad understanding of campus offerings and prior work in curriculum development and assessment of programs will allow her to focus on developing innovative guidance and direction that will set KU apart from other institutions around the world.”
In her new role, Pokphanh will work with KU administrators and faculty members to ensure students in the KUAAP program receive a high-quality academic experience. KUAAP’s 12-month curriculum provides integrated English language instruction and coursework in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for international students who meet a minimum advanced language proficiency level. In addition to coursework, KUAAP students receive an ongoing academic orientation to cultivate success at KU and cultural programming to help them better understand American practices and customs.
The academic director fosters progression through the program and works with the director of the KU Applied English Center to develop and implement English language courses and effective student support in English instruction and tutorials. Students who successfully complete the three-term program can enroll at KU as sophomores with more than 30 credit hours toward an undergraduate degree.
During her time at KU, Pokphanh has held a variety of roles with increasing responsibility. She joined KU full-time in 2005 as an assistant program coordinator in the Office for Diversity in Science Training and later was coordinator for the postbaccalaureate research education program. In 2008, she joined the Office of Graduate Studies to lead professional development efforts for graduate students. She was named assistant dean in 2012 and oversees student services, fellowships, appointments, data collection and more.
Pokphanh earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees — all in history of art from KU — in 1994, 1996 and 2009, respectively.
KUAPP soon will begin its second year. Antha Cotten-Spreckelmeyer, who served as interim academic director, will return to her role as associate director of the Humanities and Western Civilization program at KU.
“Antha did a wonderful job leading the program during its inaugural year,” Rosen said. “I truly appreciate the guidance she brought to this innovative effort. Her hard work laid a foundation that will inspire continued success for KUAAP.”