BUILDING AND MANAGING RELATIONSHIPS WITH SECONDARY SCHOOLS THROUGH DUAL-CREDIT COLLABORATIONS
In order to be a successful recruiting tool, the academic and enrollment management aspects of the collaborative relationship must be closely managed. Control of curricular content and pedagogical process is the responsibility of the sponsoring department. A frequent point of conflict between the university and the secondary school is in the certification of the teacher. Defining clear standards for certification is the first and most essential step in the process. Geoscience departments often face the challenging reality that only a relatively small number of high school teachers possess advanced degrees (or in many states even BS degrees) in the geosciences. Dual-credit courses can only serve as a pipeline of future majors if the high school teacher can be certified to teach the course. Creating pathways to certification that ensure adequate content knowledge is the only solution to the lack of professional credentials among potential teachers. Once the teacher is certified the sponsoring geology department must continue to play an active role in the process of course and laboratory design in order to ensure course equivalency with on-campus sections.
In many states dual-credit offerings have expanded dramatically in recent years. In Indiana school districts are under intense pressure from the State Department of Education to increase the number of students graduating with an honors diploma. A cornerstone of the honors requirements is the completion of the equivalent of two college-level courses either through AP, on campus enrollment, or most commonly dual-credit. Schools are increasingly recognizing that in order to grow the number of students receiving the honors diploma they must expand their offerings in dual-credit. As such, opportunities exist for collaborations beyond calculus and freshman writing courses that currently comprise the majority of dual-credit enrollments.