It is no surprise that Saint Augustine’s University is making many changes on its campus since Dr. Ward took office first as an interim president and now as the eleventh president of our institution. There are changes in academics and our surrounding community and on campus. There is outreach to younger generations to give them the jump-start education that they need to set themselves apart when they enter college and their career. This is evident in the Early College Program that was started at Saint Augustine’s University last year in August and still thrives today.
Students from Wake Young Men’s and Women’s Leadership Academies who are successful in completing their prerequisite core classes begin their junior year at Saint Augustine’s University in the fall where students take a combination of college and high school courses on campus. This is made possible by the Wake County Public School System staff being stationed on campus where they teach sections of Honors English III and IV, Honors American History I and II, and Honors CC Math IV. This combination of college and high school classes allows students to accumulate 64 credits which add up to two years worth of college credits that count towards a bachelor’s degree. In addition to that, students will also complete an internship and perform community service and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
The program’s beginnings started when Dr. Dianne Suber was still in office and jumpstarted when Dr. Ward was instated as interim president, with Dr. Ronald Brown, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, being heavily involved. Mr. Reginald Towns, University Liaison to the Early College Program, is acting as advisor and he is helping early college students communicating between them and their teachers. The early college program concept was brought to Wake County about three years ago from Washington D.C. This program is very important because it is very diverse in race, faiths and religious backgrounds, and maturity levels and some are first generation college bound students. There are 113 students participating in this program here at Saint Augustine’s University with the first class to graduate from the program to happen in May 2016. This Early College Program is very leadership driven and career based with research components. Valerie Green, a junior and representative of the Business Alliance has been apart of Saint Augustine’s University’s Early College Program since January 2015. She has great things to say about the program and her experiences, “The program here leaves a lot of room for growth and leadership. I have been to a different early college program previously that was just focused mainly on the college classes but this program focuses more on getting you connected with the work force by way of internships”. She goes on to say, “I feel more prepared because I’ve been exposed earlier and I can make progress without being rushed.”
Mr. Towns is very excited for the progression of this program, “I am very pleased with the feedback from the faculty. The early college students bring a different perspective in the classroom culturally and age wise. This in turn can lead to a higher level of learning. When there are class discussions the conversation is more hearty.” With the first graduation of the early college students happening in May, Dr. Brown and Mr. Towns can look forward to the first super senior class of early college students happening in the Fall 2016 semester that consists of at least 20 current early college students. Thus encouraging the program to continue for many more years to come.
— Cianna Fisher