Newman University faculty mingled with high school teachers during an annual banquet on Oct. 18 to say thank you for their collaboration and hard work as part of the university's advanced standing program.
Although showing gratitude is a large part of the evening, the event gives the Newman staff and faculty a chance to assess and reinforce the integrity of the program. Newman has offered advanced standing credit, also knows as concurrent credit, to high school students in Wichita and the surrounding areas for many years, and there continues to be growing interest from high-schoolers each year.
Advanced standing courses allow students to get a head start on fulfilling college credit requirements while working toward their high school diploma. This year, more than 1,000 students from 22 area high schools are enrolled in the program.
Newman Advanced Standing Coordinator Elaine Schmeidler said there are a number of benefits.
"Students who enroll in concurrent credit are much more likely to enroll in college immediately following graduation per NACEP," said Schmeidler. "Students can experience college-level work prior to matriculation, thereby lessening the transition issues. There is also a cost saving as there is a potentially shorter time to earning a degree. In addition, Newman University offers these class at a reduced tuition."
While students are enrolled in the advanced standing program, they are considered official Newman students and as such, receive a student I.D. and have access to the Dugan Library research database, free tutoring and e-coaching for writing. Their student I.D. also acts as an all-access pass to athletic games, theater productions, fine art galleries and more.
Two-time Newman graduate Sherry Pfeifer '88, '90 has been teaching at Maize High School for more than 20 years. She said the advanced standing program is something the students ask for in her school.
Pfeifer explained, "Some of my students came to me and said, 'We can take English and math courses for college credit, so why can't we take speech?'
I thought that was a great idea so I decided to ask around and talk with our counselor. She made contact with Newman and before we knew it, we had a syllabus and here we are. The kids really love it because they are earning three hours of college credit."
Benefits to the students was a common theme when talking with the teachers at the banquet.
Brad Cline is a chemistry and physics teacher at Goddard High School and has been working with the Newman advanced standing program for many years.
"Newman has been a joy to work with," said Cline. "The professors at Newman work with me and the other teachers one on one, and I feel like I have a good support network here. I've enjoyed the ability to offer the courses I wanted to offer.
"Students are shocked they can get 10 hours of credit from my course. We do five hours per semester — I'm teaching general chem 1 and II. They are getting the same equivalent full freshman course as they would at the university. By taking the courses in high school, they're working with teachers they know and in an environment they are already familiar with."