President furthers focus on outreach

President Randy Dunn announced new University initiatives in the fall. || File photo

President Randy Dunn proposed adopting the K-12 Connect dual enrollment program at last fall’s state of the University address, which will be implemented for the 2012-13 school year.

Racer Academy, an initial part of the president’s dual enrollment program allows high school juniors and seniors to take advantage of dual credit courses, online and on-campus courses offered by Murray State.

Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, said the Racer Academy was created to allow high school students to take classes at Murray State for college credit and will work in conjunction with the K-12 Connect program.

There are 47 courses offered for high school students through Racer Academy.

Josh Jacobs, chief of staff, said the details of K-12 Connect are still being worked out, but the focus will be on K-12 schools in the 18-county service region.

“In many cases, we are taking the classes to the school we’re providing it to at a very affordable cost,” Robertson said. “We are allowing those students to come into college with already having credits.”

He said it is important to school systems, allowing students coming out of high school to be better prepared for college. Whether it is Murray State or wherever they go, their preparation is going to be much better.

“I think it is creating a connection with the University,” Robertson said. “We are having our teachers go over and teach classes. That benefits our faculty – being in the schools, which I think has some ripple benefits, too.”

He said Dunn’s focus is on strengthening area schools; what kind of service the program can provide and how can the administration make better partners with schools.

Dunn said the University has had great success in starting the Racer Academy dual-enrollment program.

Racer Academy brought in more than 400 students to early credit-bearing coursework at the University in the program’s start last semester.

“We’ve entered into a partnership between the College of Business and Junior Achievement to house their program offices serving junior and senior high school students in the region,” Dunn said.

The University is supporting a Junior Achievement program through the College of Education that serves regional schools.

“What I’m hoping we’re able to do is find a source of some funds, reallocate some funds that we could have someone on a part-time basis to oversee this,” Dunn said. “It would operate much the way our Regional Outreach does, only with work specifically targeted to our K-12 school systems.”

He said another project is the Reggio Emilia Early Childhood Program, which is in conjunction with the Henderson Community College and will kick off during the 2012-13 school year.

“We are supporting efforts with the Four Rivers Scholarship Program serving the challenged high schools in our river region,” Dunn said. “This is a successful program that is getting students ready and into college right now.”

Dunn said the University will continue to pursue more primary and secondary school partnerships under a K-12 Connect branding and coordination project jointly overseen between the College of Education and the Office for Regional Stewardship Outreach, an initiative that will begin building in 2013.