University of Cincinnati News: Aiken Students Earn UC Credit in Their Own Classrooms
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Aiken Students Earn UC Credit in Their Own Classrooms

Date: Jan. 2, 2001
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: General News

A partnership between the University of Cincinnati's University College and Aiken High School has high school seniors earning early college credit without even coming to college.

The General Electric College Bound Program brings the University College courses, Principles of Psychology I and Principles of Sociology I to 16 Aiken seniors. The students started the psychology course last fall and will finish that course in mid-January. The sociology course will begin Jan. 29. Each course is a three-credit hour college course.

The Aiken students are earning both high school credit as well as college course credit through UC. Funding for the program, including the cost of college tuition and books, comes from a General Electric sponsored grant to Aiken High School.

GE's relationship with Aiken spans 15 years. "In communities where there's a GE plant, the company offers its College Bound Program where there's an economic need, and Aiken is the only school in the Cincinnati Public School district that works with this grant," explains Dawn Shepherd, program director of Aiken's College Bound Program. "We're now in the College Bound II phase of the program, which brings University College into the expansion and prepares students to matriculate to colleges and universities."

"Currently, only about 38 percent of students graduating from Cincinnati Public Schools go on to college, and a large portion of these students come through Walnut Hills and the School for Creative and Performing Arts. But other Cincinnati high schools also graduate students who are bright, capable, motivated and should be college-bound," says John Bryan, dean, University College. "Our work with Aiken adds a new dimension with our ongoing partnerships with Cincinnati Public Schools."

"We want to get high school students involved in college work so they'll think, 'Oh, I can do this,'" continues Catherine Strathern, head of the department of humanities and social sciences in University College. "Those are the students we really want to service."

The courses are offered as electives for the 16 honors level high school seniors enrolled in the program. The two-hour classes are carried in a block sequence Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays one week and Tuesdays and Thursdays the next.

Mardi Fallon, University College adjunct instructor of psychology, started class at Aiken at 7:30 a.m. "I think the only approach I've taken differently with the high school students is I've slowed down the pace, making sure they have the information. They get the same exact information as the college students who take Principles of Psychology, and they get the same test. They're very interested and motivated to learn." Mel Posey, University College adjunct instructor of sociology, will teach the next at Aiken.

"A number of our students continue their education at UC, and now our current students have a contact," says Shepherd. "They're working with a UC professor, reading college textbooks and working with UC forms. All of this gives our students a higher level of comfort when they think about college."

As part of the program, the Aiken students also are looking forward to a field trip to UC's campus for a tour, lunch, and an information session with University College students.

Shepherd adds she's spoken with parents who are thrilled their children are getting a head start on college. "I just met with some of the parents during a mentor meeting with GE. One of them said no one from the family had ever gone to college, so they were thrilled their child was being prepared for college on a high school campus, experiencing the learning expectations of college, working with a syllabus and taking college level exams."

On Dec. 21, GE announced a new $250,000 grant to the Aiken College Bound Program, part of which will support the partnership with UC. GE's total funding of the Aiken College Bound Program amounts to more than $1.5 million.


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