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MSJ offers dual enrollment for high school students

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Friday, February 26, 2010

By Eileen Connelly, OSU

ST. LAWRENCE DEANERY — A new program at the College of Mount St. Joseph is giving area high school students an academic edge as they prepare for the next step in their education.
MSJ has developed a dual enrollment program with four area high schools — Seton, Elder, McAuley and Mother of Mercy — that enables students to earn college credit for the advanced placement (AP) courses they’re taking as juniors and seniors. The program, started in 2009, is geared toward, “building stronger relationships with the students who come to us from Greater Cincinnati parochial schools,” said Judi Heile, assistant academic dean at MSJ.

Criteria for the program begins with establishing whether a high school class, typically an AP course, would be college credit worthy, explained Heile. The appropriate MSJ department chair then evaluates the high school teacher’s credentials, which require that the teacher would be qualified to also teach at the college level as an adjunct professor. The MSJ faculty member also reviews the syllabi for the high school class and compares it to the college course to ensure the same learning outcomes are achieved, said Heile.
With everything approved and, if the high school is interested, then students are recruited. The course gives the students the option of not taking the AP exam if they so chose. Once the students have completed the course and passed their comprehensive high school exam, they are granted the college credit. The credit is transferable to virtually any college or university in the United States in the event the student chooses not to attend MSJ.
To date, students at McAuley are able to earn dual credit in chemistry and biology; in calculus at Mercy, Seton and Elder; and U.S. history at Mercy. There are currently 46 students enrolled in the program. All earned an A or B for their first semester, Heile said. The history and science classes are semester-long classes, with calculus spanning a year to equate with a college-level course. The students earn three credit-hours for the history and math classes and four for science as lab courses. Cost for the classes is $45 per credit hour, which Heile notes, is significant savings over college-level course tuition. “They pay a small amount for the classes and the ultimate goal is that they are ready to jump into college at the sophomore level and, hopefully, save some money.”
Besides the opportunity for the students to earn dual credit, an integral part of the program involves “engagement activities” with the high schools, Heile said. For example, MSJ professors have done guest lectures, and a male nursing professor from the college participated in a career fair at Elder at the school’s invitation.
Heile said she hopes to work with additional Catholic high schools in the spring, along with increasing the number of available courses. “I think the high schools have really embraced this concept,” she said.

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