A first-of-its-kind partnership between the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge School District No. 51 promises to create new learner pathways for high school students and better prepare them for the transition to post-secondary studies.
The creation of a Dual Credit program will allow students to take university courses as part of their usual high school schedule, earning credits at both the high school and post-secondary level. The program began as a three-year pilot project in September 2014, with planning taking place in the first year, and will initially involve students from Lethbridge Collegiate Institute (LCI).
“We feel that the relationship the students build with the course content, rigorous classroom environment, university instructors and the university itself will strengthen the likelihood that our students will see university as a potential learning pathway after high school,” says Dr. Cheryl Gilmore, Superintendent, Lethbridge School District No. 51. “We hope that through this program our students examine their future career planning and post-secondary possibilities, including the many programs at the University of Lethbridge.”
Two courses will be offered at the outset of the program, Supply Chain Management 1850 and Liberal Education 1000. Students will meet with a university faculty member two times per week at LCI, and have an additional four hours per week of study time dedicated specifically to their class. Students will also have supervised access to the University of Lethbridge campus, facilities, instruction and other resources.
“This partnership is an excellent opportunity to engage local high school students with the University and our outstanding faculty,” says University of Lethbridge Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Academic) Dr. Bob Boudreau. “One of the fundamental philosophies of the U of L has always been to provide access to a quality post-secondary education and this is another way of creating these pathways for students. The program also creates a comfort level for students with the University and the demands of a post-secondary environment, which can only lead to greater success in the future. Both of the courses offered will provide students with basic skills and knowledge to help them succeed in any extended learning or career choice.”
Funding for the Dual Credit program is from a variety of sources, including the Alberta Government Dual Credit Tri-ministry Council, consisting of Alberta Education, Alberta Innovation and Advanced Education and Alberta Human Services. The U of L and Lethbridge School District No. 51 are supplying funds, while industry partners Haul-All and West Jet are also on board with their support for the program, as it furthers the process of preparing students for their eventual entry into the workforce.
“We are pleased to be partners in this exciting initiative,” says Kevin Neufeldt, chief operating officer of Haul-All Equipment. “Through this innovative approach to educating high school students, industry partners are able to support students in understanding the need for extended learning in order to succeed in future careers. We can directly provide students exposure to our industry, outline the skills and education we are looking for in future employees and present them with career opportunities.”
Haul-All and West Jet will host field trips and provide in-class guest speakers to further highlight to students industry overviews, needs and opportunities.
A total of 40 students are expected to take part in the pilot program in the first year of instruction.