By Nicole Ouellet
The University of Calgary opened its doors this summer to local Grade 11 and 12 students, who completed a fully-credentialed university course—before they graduated high school.
“This pilot project was created to open new pathways to post-secondary education,” said U of C president Harvey Weingarten. “It gives high-school students a window on the vast array of post-secondary opportunities open to them and a leg up on their coursework.”
All 13 of the students in the course graduated, and because of its success, the course will be offered again next July. The course, Psychology for Everyday Life, was created by Michael Boyes, a psychology professor at the U of C, and developed as a partnership between the university and Chinook Learning Services. Because it is a regular credit course, it can be used toward coursework at any university in Canada.
“Transitions from secondary school to post-secondary school are a high priority,” says Greg McKenzie, director of Chinook Learning Services. “The recent collaboration between the U of C and the CBE has been a resounding success and opened the door to other initiatives in fine arts and languages.”
The project’s success was marked by the recent signing by the U of C of the Talloires Declaration, which states that universities will “establish partnerships with primary and secondary schools, and other institutions of further and higher education, so that education for active citizenship becomes an integral part of learning at all levels of society and stages of life.” The Talloires Declaration has been signed by more than 350 university presidents and chancellors in over 40 countries.
The five-week course, offered at Sir Winston Churchill High School, gave students a complete university experience in a classroom-style setting using university software programs such as Blackboard.
Students visited the university on three occasions and received a campus tour by student leaders.
“The course really prepared me for what university would be like especially being able to visit the campus and learn about the course software,” says Vin Mahtani, now a first-year science and business student.