OCU profs to teach classes at Teays Valley, Circleville High Schools

Professors from Ohio Christian University will head off campus next year to give Pickaway County students new opportunities in higher education right in their own high school classrooms, according to Michael P. Egenreider, vice president for enrollment at OCU.

"We already have some county students taking advantage of post-secondary opportunities on our campus and by taking Trailblazer Academy classes Online," Egenreider said. "But for this program, our professors will actually teach on their campuses for the convenience of their students."

Circleville and Teays Valley have already committed to offering the program in the 2010-11 school year, selecting classes that will provide students credit toward their graduation requirements as well as college credits before they ever leave their high schools.

"We offer semester-hour classes," Egenreider said. "If they take an English Comp class, for example, over a 15-week semester, that class will be worth three credit semester hours. At the end, we will provide a transcript to show they have three credits in English that they will be able to take when they go to any major college and transfer those courses in."

Students or parents interested in the dual-credit courses should contact their school's guidance office for the necessary paperwork for state financial approval, Egenreider said. Once approved, the state pays 100 percent of the student's cost billed directly by the university, so students are earning college credits for free.

John Keel, principal of Teays Valley High School, said Teays Valley will offer Sociology and Oral Communications next year from the list of classes offered by OCU, which will provide one elective English class and one elective Social Studies class that students may choose.

"We're going to start off with this and see how things go," he said. "If we determine there is a benefit to adding more courses, we will definitely keep an open mind to that and look for future options."

A recent meeting about post-secondary and dual credit options drew 123 students and their parents interested in discussing the opportunities, Keel said.

"We think we will be able to target a whole new audience of students who either aren't ready to go off and take courses on a college campus or because of things they're involved in within our school aren't comfortable leaving our campus," he said. "This will really expand the opportunities for our kids."

Keel said he considers the partnership with OCU to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.

"We're doing things to expose our kids to higher education, and they're doing things to assist in the development and promotion of Pickaway County students moving on to higher education opportunities," he said. "I think it's a great thing."