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Many high school students take advantage of the University of Kentucky’s rich curricular offerings by enrolling in UK courses while finishing up their high school diplomas. However, this tradition in dual enrollment could be more adequately supported if offered within a formalized dual credit program. The Division of Undergraduate Education encourages UK faculty and college leadership to offer qualified students the opportunity to earn college credit as part of their high school curriculum. The purpose of a formal UK Dual Credit Program is to provide academic enrichment opportunities to high school students who are ready for the rigors and challenges of coursework in a research university. In addition, the Program serves as an immersive professional development opportunity for our partner secondary school educators and counselors who learn first-hand the transitions issues inherent in the success of their students moving on to a public Research I university.
For UK Faculty the benefits in crafting a formal dual credit program include:
UK's professional advisors in Undergraduate Studies are responsible for intrusive intervention when a high schooler takes a UK course, providing a more rigorous and consistent advisement including an academic career plan based on that student's overall preparedness for UK (not just test scores and grades).
UK’s outreach programs which currently deliver challenging and innovative programming in Kentucky schools will provide a seamless pathway to admission to the state’s flagship institution and offer especially those high caliber students with low socio-economic status and/or underrepresented minority status who are excelling in those learning experiences to continue in their academic career with nationally ranked faculty here at UK.
UK’s students who are continually enrolled in a UK dual credit program and who transition from non-degree-seeking status after high school graduation to a full-time degree-seeking status at UK will be counted as first-time freshmen and thus included in UK’s official retention and graduation rates, helping to raise UK’s national standings.
A UK Dual Credit Program builds an academic connection between the UK faculty of a particular department and an accredited high school. This connection allows students to take a course while in high school and get both high school and UK credit for it. This opportunity for high school students should be transparent in its academic rigor and review. The process and procedures should flow as naturally within UK’s department and college curriculum development and review process as possible. Documentation supporting that effort would be archived in the department, college and Undergraduate Council. In addition, the UK Department associated with the course must evaluate it according to its own policies, which it might tailor to specifically address the quality and academic rigor of dual credit courses. The sponsoring UK Department may require more than the guidelines suggested 70% course coverage or may require the use of common exams. If the dual-credit course fulfills any prerequisites for other UK courses, including prerequisites fulfilled by courses cross-listed with the one the student took, the UK department faculty needs to make sure that the course prepares its students adequately. The UK department faculty may set a grade hurdle for successful completion of a dual-credit course that serves as a prerequisite for other UK courses.
Course evaluation and review for a dual-credit course must at least satisfy SACS policy and guidelines, which include evidence of continual improvement. The Division of Undergraduate Education will oversee the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement for a Dual Credit Initiative and submits the original document to The Office of Vice President for Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness. The Division of Undergraduate Education will periodically review the central repository of dual credit initiatives and request information from the departments regarding the status of their periodic reviews with the dual credit partners. The communications about the process should be welcoming of all disciplines and inviting enough for high school instructors to want to generate new initiatives with UK, especially for those that can scale to a state or national level. Ultimately, the University should strive to encourage rather than discourage dual credit initiatives by making the documentation and oversight process easy and conducted in a timely manner.