A few years ago, when I was serving as a university center dean, we offered a small number of dual credit options to a private local high school. We struggled to make this happen, mainly because of the difficulty in finding and scheduling instructors. Our regular college classes were scheduled one night per week for anywhere from 5-10 weeks (5-10 total meetings). In order to fit our college classes into the high school schedule, we had to build our classes in 40-50-minute segments, five days per week, for 15 weeks (75 total meetings).
There is a great and increasing demand for dual credit classes across the country. The problem, of course, is: How do you find a qualified instructor who is willing to drive to a high school to teach 75 class-meetings for one course for the same wage they receive from teaching 5-10 times (although each class is 3-4 hours)? Simply calculating the average gasoline usage alone burned up the paycheck. Needless to say, this was not an easy hurdle to overcome.
The only viable solution was to either find qualified instructors within the school (with a Master’s Degree and at least 18-graduate hours in the dual-credit subject area) or find someone with the same credentials who lived or worked close by the school and was willing to make that enormous commitment. We ended up offering only a handful of classes during my five-years at the university.
One day, at a lunch meeting with one of the Vice Presidents of the Alamo College System (which has more than 60,000 students), I asked what the system’s greatest needs were. She said that one of their extreme needs was to find a way to bring high-school teachers up to the qualifying masters level, where they could then teach dual credit. She said that finding a college that could flexibly and affordably meet this need would be a huge help for high schools and community colleges.
I eventually found a university that offered an online Masters of Education with the 18 graduate hours in the disciplines of English, Science, Social Studies, and Instructional Technology that cost less than $17,000 for the entire program (Which is much less than the national average and most people use federal financial aid to attend – find extensive information on college pricing and financial aid at trends.collegeboard.org and www.FinAid.org).
Now, we are getting the word out. If you need some help preparing more dual credit instructors for your college, give Wayland Baptist University a call at: 210-202-1104. Or, you may visit www.wbumed.org.
Other universities are now becoming aware of this increasing need. I believe, as do many other administrators in higher education, that colleges and universities should be more directly connected – and rapidly responsive to – the needs of businesses, communities, organizations and even global educational needs. We need to make a habit of asking the important questions and finding ways to fill the many emerging needs.