WSU considers offering dual credit classes to high schoolers

Program would pair WSU faculty members with high school teachers to deliver content



WSU Global Chancellor Dave Cillay said a dual-credit program could raise awareness of the WSU Global Campus.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor

WSU could soon be offering college classes to high school students in rural areas of Washington.

WSU Global Chancellor Dave Cillay and President Kirk Schulz spoke to the Board of Regents Thursday about the possibility of offering dual-credit classes to high school students through the WSU Global Campus. Cillay has been meeting with Chris Reykdal, Washington superintendent of public instruction, to create this program.

“This is still in the exploration phase. We’re still trying to figure out all the different variables; we’re still trying to figure out if this is the right direction,” Cillay said.

WSU would contract with high schools to facilitate the programs. A WSU faculty member would provide the content and grade for the course, he said.

Cillay said WSU would like to start the program in rural communities without access to a community college. The course offering would be small and then gradually expand.

The goal is to make it affordable, Cillay said. There would be no textbooks involved.

This program would differ from the College in the High School programs offered by University of Washington. College in the High School requires a high school teacher to have a master’s degree in the subject they are teaching, Cillay said. Not every high school has the qualified staff to offer College in the High School courses; this is why WSU is seeking to provide a faculty member to collaborate with a high school teacher in order to offer this program.

Another form of dual credit in the state of Washington is the Running Start program, which allows high school juniors and seniors to attend one of Washington’s 34 community or technical colleges to earn high school and college credit, according to the state superintendent’s website.

Students at Pullman High School can do running start at WSU, according to the school’s website.

Schulz said WSU will be smart about implementing this program, and they do not wish to be in direct competition with community colleges.

Other public state universities have similar programs across the country. In some states, the state schools missed out on the opportunity to deliver a dual-credit program because a private college beat them to it, Schulz said.

“Make no mistake, there will be somebody who is going to do this in the state, and I’d rather it be us than anybody else,” Schulz said.

Cillay said he hopes a dual-credit program like this would raise awareness of the WSU Global Campus.

Regent Ron Sims said his daughter took college courses in high school offered by UW. These courses provided a seamless transition to college.

Sims said he is happy the university is exploring the opportunity to offer dual-credit classes.

“It’s a door opener to a lot of students,” Sims said.

Regent Jenette Ramos said she was one of the first International Baccalaureate graduates in the state of Washington, and she credits taking college courses in high school with her smooth transition to college. Ramos graduated from WSU with a bachelor’s degree in science.

“This really fits where I think a land-grant university ought to be,” Schulz said.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include information about Running Start.