The Advance College Project, IU’s dual-credit program, will now offer up to six credit hours of free graduate courses per year to high school teachers.
Dual credit programs allow students to take college-level classes in high school and receive college credit for them. Previously, high school teachers who taught dual enrollment classes only needed a master's. Now, per Higher Learning Commission guidelines, some may need to complete an 18-credit preparation program.
“We want the teachers to feel we have prepared them well,” said Mike Beam, director of IU's Advance College Project.
High school teachers will take classes through IU and teach what they learn to their students.
IU’s dual credit program enrolls more than 15,000 students each year.
Freshman Grace Todd said she thinks it is good that IU is doing something to maintain the dual-credit program, especially in terms of college preparation.
“It overall gave me a view of the workload,” Todd said. “It’s a nice buffer.”
Instructors who do not have a master's in the subject they teach much complete the 18-credit program by 2022. Fewer high school teachers will be able to teach dual-credit.
“We anticipate adding some teachers and schools we haven’t worked with in the past,” Beam said.
Part of the free tuition is funded by an $870,000 grant focused on STEM subject areas from the Higher Learning Commission, according to a press release. The commission wants to improve teaching in science, technology and math-related fields.
“It really allows us to expand the reach of the project,” Beam said, adding that the project is not limited to STEM subject areas.
This opportunity for high school teachers starts in the spring of 2018 with the introduction of a few classes, but the majority of online graduate courses for these teachers will be introduced in summer and fall of 2018.
The courses will be online mostly, but teachers who live close enough to one of IU’s campuses can choose to take their classes onsite.
“The ultimate goal is that teachers can reach those required hours,” Beam said.
Beam said IU’s dual credit program stresses the importance of training high school teachers with IU faculty to make them feel qualified in teaching the course.
“The level of training is unique to IU,” Beam said.
Beam said the Advance College Project program consists of mostly Indiana high schools. More than 500 teachers currently teach in the Advance College Project program, and the number is continuing to grow, Beam said.
“It creates this really incredible continuity between graduate courses and the courses taught in high schools,” Beam said.