The project will work to increase the long-term value of dual-credit programs.
Texas Tech University is launching a new partnership with the University of Texas at Austin to ensure Texas students get the most out of dual-credit courses. The project brings together leading educational innovators from across the state to identify best practices for high-quality dual-credit instruction and coursework that helps students reach their postsecondary goals.
The TEXAS OnRamps Dual Credit Innovation Collaborative (DCIC) partners include Austin Community College, El Paso Community College, Houston Community College, Texas Tech and the University of Texas at Austin, which will work together to increase the long-term value of dual credit for students, institutions and the state.
Dual-credit courses enable students to earn college credit while they are still pursuing their high school diplomas. During the past 15 years, the popularity of dual-credit courses in Texas has risen dramatically, with student enrollment increasing by 650 percent from 2000 to 2015. The rapid expansion of dual credit has raised questions among policymakers who worry about the quality of dual-credit coursework and its value to students, their families and the state's college completion policy agenda, 60x30TX. The 60x30 plan aims for 60 percent of Texas adults to hold a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030.
"Texas Tech is excited to participate in the Dual Credit Innovation Collaborative," said Genevieve Durham DeCesaro, vice provost for academic affairs at Texas Tech. "We are committed to creating and sustaining innovative practices and partnerships that support quality and rigor in dual-credit education in the state of Texas."
The DCIC will:
- yield great insights for diffusing dual-credit innovation and fidelity in Texas;
- serve as a hub for instructional excellence and best-in-class professional learning and preparedness for dual-credit educators;
- connect leading dual-credit innovators, promoting the exchange of cutting-edge ideas across the state;
- create and endorse institutional systems for Texas dual-credit fidelity, monitoring and accountability;
- provide scalable models for increasing the long-term value of dual credit for Texas students.
The purpose of the collaboration is to identify best practices for quality, rigor and innovation in dual credit and to scale those findings in a three-part model. The model will include a framework and endorsement infrastructure for defining dual-credit standards and metrics for instructional excellence, quality, rigor and innovation in Texas. The model will also include a dual-credit faculty fellowship during which select faculty from partner institutions will participate together in innovative professional development institutes.
"Houston Community College has transformed its dual-credit program and is experiencing tremendous enrollment growth and structural success as a result," said Catherine O'Brien, DCIC project chair and associate vice chancellor of college readiness for the community college. "We see very clearly the current and future impact taking dual-credit classes has on students' lives. We are excited to participate in this collaborative and make an impact on dual-credit programs throughout the state of Texas."
This unique cross-institutional collaboration will have a targeted focus on accelerating educational innovation and bolstering the quality of dual-credit opportunities throughout Texas while ensuring alignment with regional and national accrediting bodies.
"At the University of Texas at Austin, we are enthusiastic about working with our community college colleagues in Austin, Houston and El Paso, and our first OnRamps replication partner Texas Tech, to ensure students and institutions across the state can experience the educational benefits of high-quality, dual-credit coursework," said Harrison Keller, deputy to the president for strategy and policy and DCIC project sponsor at the university. "We look forward to sharing what we are learning through TEXAS OnRamps and other initiatives, collaborating with these community colleges to expand access to high-quality opportunities for Texas students and developing new knowledge about effective approaches to delivering college-level learning experiences in high schools."