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Center for Next Generation Leadership Developing New UK Dual Credit Program

Instructor Sy Bridenbaugh teaches an online course
Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation instructor Sy Bridenbaugh teaches Theories of College Student Success from an office at the UK College of Education. High school students in Fayette and Marshall counties participate in the course live via an online program. (Photo by Beth Goins)

Digital technology is putting a new perspective on courses for high school students. With the University of Kentucky’s new dual credit program, taught by both high school teachers and UK professors, students can earn both high school and college credits.

Through the new program at the university, juniors and seniors at some Kentucky high schools can become UK Next Generation Scholars, taking “live” UK classes in which college instructors help to teach the courses via interactive video.

Typically, in dual credit courses, a high school instructor teaches the college material, but the UK model partners college faculty with high school teachers and allows for virtual “face-to-face” instruction.

The dual credit approach was developed by the UK Center for Next Generation Leadership at the UK College of Education.

“Schools are paying particular attention to what it takes to prepare students to meet the demands of a fast-changing career landscape,” said Lu Young, Center for Next Generation Leadership Executive director and associate clinical professor in the UK College of Education. “School leaders who are part of the UK Center for Next Generation Leadership Network tell us they joined the effort to help all students develop 21st century skills and have a smoother transition to college and careers, and we see dual credit as a way to help pave that path.”

photo of student taking online class
Fayette County STEAM Academy senior Aisha Ndayishimiye reacts to a comment in her online class. (photo by Amanda Nelson)

In the decade since the center began at UK, hundreds of Kentucky school leaders have worked with the center to redesign the school experience for contemporary life, learning, and careers.

“Offering dual credit became a logical next step for these schools as they work to improve the high school experience and better prepare students for college transitions,” said Justin Bathon, co-director of the UK Center for Next Generation Leadership, and an associate professor of Educational Leadership Studies at the UK College of Education.

“We will be working with a diverse population of high school students to increase college-going rates across the Commonwealth,” said Christine Harper, associate provost for enrollment management.

Four of the schools that have participated in UK’s Center for Next Generation Leadership Academy are serving as pilot sites for the dual credit initiative: Paris Independent High School, Marshall County High School, Elkhorn Crossing School in Scott County, and STEAM Academy in Fayette County. Additional high schools will be added in Fall 2020.

Students taking dual credit courses from UK will have an advisor from the UK Next Generation Leadership Academy who checks in on their progress, helps complete college applications and supporting materials, and promotes a successful transition to college.

photo of two students taking online course
Fayette County STEAM Academy students interact with students in Marshall County and UK instructor Sy Bridenbaugh during their online course. (photo by Amanda Nelson)

“We believe this is a game changer,” said Patrice Thompson, chief academic officer at Paris Independent Schools. “Many of our students have never thought of themselves as UK-eligible and we want to change that perception. The wrap-around support provided by an advisor at UK, coupled with support at our school, is more support than our students would ever experience as a freshman at any university. I believe we are setting them up for success and completion of a university degree.”

Next Gen Scholars will apply for admission to UK as non-degree seeking students. Theycan take up to a maximum of 10 UK courses while in high school. The UK courses will be delivered both online and by high school teachers who have been trained by UK faculty to teach the curricula. Tuition for courses in the dual credit program, in alignment with state determined dual credit rates, may be paid by either the school or the student, as determined by each district’s policy. Districts will be expected to provide tuition support to qualifying free or reduced lunch students per the CPE policy.

UK dual credit courses are developed and offered primarily by UK academic departments with the support of local high school staff. UK colleges contributing to the available courses include:

College of Arts and Sciences

College of Communication and Information

College of Design

College of Education

Additional information about UK’s dual credit program can be found at https://www.uky.edu/sal/dual-credit