By Wesley Walter, News editor
The University of Montevallo will be partnering with Shelby County Schools to offer an online dual enrollment course in health concepts beginning in the fall 2023 semester. The semester-long one credit hour course will be offered as an optional addition to the typical health course required by the Alabama State Department of Education.
UM Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Courtney Bentley said of the new partnership, “Mutually beneficial partnerships are key, and we’re extremely grateful for the collaboration and opportunity to work with their teachers as we seek to expand student access to dual enrollment offerings.”
According to Bentley, the course will be taught asynchronously by Shelby County Schools teachers who have been, “credentialed per our faculty qualification policy and trained by University of Montevallo faculty course leaders in collaboration with Shelby County Schools teacher leaders.”
The online course available to students on Shelby County Schools campuses differs from previous dual enrollment offerings at UM, which have solely been held on the university’s campus. Bentley said holding courses at Shelby County Schools gives the district more freedom in scheduling classes and removes transportation concerns for students.
This new course is just one of the recent steps UM has taken to promote dual enrollment between the university and Shelby County Schools. During their September 2022 meeting, the UM Board of Trustees voted to reduce the standard cost of dual enrollment courses with Shelby County Schools from $175 per credit hour to $25.
Bentley said that the university is planning to expand dual enrollment offerings both on and off UM’s campus and currently has plans for future training of Shelby County Schools teachers in collaboration with UM faculty.
According to Bentley, this initiative includes the goal of offering more dual enrollment courses during the 2024-2025 academic year and the university is currently, “finalizing a staffing search for an inaugural Director of Engaged Education and Public Service who will work with local education agencies to meet these goals.”
To enroll in the class, students must have completed their sophomore year and have a 3.0 grade point average or higher. The course will be provided free of cost to participating students during the 2023-2024 school year and will also include a college visit to UM.
The completion of the course will also give students an opportunity to earn a College and Career Ready indicator, a new requirement for graduation mandated by the ALSDE in November 2022 and taking effect with seniors in the class of 2028.