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College in the Schools

I spent this morning at a meeting to examine the feasibility of offering math and science through College in the Schools. According to the mission statement distributed at the meeting,

College in the Schools at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, is a concurrent enrollment program serving high school students, teachers, and schools by increasing access to college learning, supporting excellence in teaqching, and strengthening high school-University connections.

College in the Schools (CIS)...

  • Gives students firsthand experience with the high academic standards and increased workload typical of college education as well as the personal responsibility required to be successful in college study.
  • Provides teachers with ongoing, University-based professional development workshops that are directly related to the content, pedagogy, and assessment of the University of Minnesota courses they teach through CIS.
  • Strengthens curricular, instructional, and professional ties between high schools and the University of Minnesota.

In 2004-05, CIS served 3,385 individual students in more than 5,300 U of M courses. It worked with 165 high school teachers in 65 high schools. Teachers received an average of 21 hours of discipline-specific workshops, all planned and led by U of M faculty and staff. Courses were offered in English language arts, social studies, and world and classical languages.

Strikingly, no courses are offered in math or science. It is clearly possible to do so, as evidenced by the presentations of Profs. Terry McConnell (Math) and Marvin Druger (Biology) from Syracuse University, who talked about "Concurrent Enrollment at Syracuse University: Why we do it. How we do it." The introductory talk, by Alex Cirillo, Vice President for Community Affairs at 3M, made it clear that getting more students interested in the science/math/engineering disciplines is key to our future. One may hope that meetings like the one today will figure out ways to do it.