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Project Advance Celebrates 40 Years of Transforming Students’ Lives
Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Friday, May 17, in typical SUPA fashion—a morning of intellectually stimulating seminars for high school instructors followed by a luncheon. Yong Zhao, presidential chair and associate dean for global education in the College of Education at the University of Oregon will speak at 12:30 p.m. to more than 250 high school instructors, SU faculty and SUPA staff at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center, 801 University Ave.
SUPA began 40 years ago as an attempted cure for “senioritis”—the malady that affects high school seniors after they have completed their college admissions process and wind down their high school careers. SUPA worked with Syracuse-area high school administrators and teachers to develop a program where academically rigorous SU courses could be offered to seniors to keep them intellectually engaged while giving them a taste of a real university curriculum.
This model, commonly called “concurrent enrollment,” has gained popularity in recent years as high schools around the country and the world seek to better prepare their students for the academic rigor of college. SUPA has grown into one of the largest concurrent enrollment programs (CEP) in the country, offering 39 Syracuse University courses in 200 high schools, including schools in Dubai and Vietnam. More than 10,000 students registered for SU courses for the fall 2012 semester, resulting in almost 15,000 course enrollments—and all at a fraction of what the course would cost on campus. SUPA offers SU courses for $110 a credit hour, and all SUPA courses are free to Syracuse City School District students.
But SUPA is not just concerned with growth. Beyond the standard CEP model, SUPA offers an “enhanced” CEP program, providing advanced technological and educational support to their partners to improve outcomes and strengthen the high school-university relationship.
“SUPA’s growth over these past 40 years hasn’t just been a matter of posting ever-rising enrollment numbers,” says Gerald Edmonds, SUPA director. “We have striven to add key enhancements that contribute to the intellectual growth of students, the professional development of teachers and the strengthening of learning communities within schools. Our model includes developing learning strategies workshops, making available the latest online instructional tools and providing assistance to schools with administrative and evaluation functions whenever we can.”
Edmonds has been director of SUPA since 2002 and a champion of the CEP movement. He was instrumental in starting the National Association of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), serving as founding president. He has served other roles for NACEP and frequently consults with other CEP programs across the country.
“Dr. Edmonds has been a driving force in the advancement of concurrent enrollment and a valuable resource for our members,” says Adam Lowe, executive director for NACEP. “SUPA is a great example on how concurrent enrollment programs should work and how they can have a positive effect on education.”