A group of high school students in Ottawa have taken a step ahead in their postsecondary studies following the wrap of an advanced learning pilot project.
The Humanities and Social Science Dual Credit program is a new agreement between Trent University and the Ottawa Catholic District School Board (OCDSB) that offers Grade 12 students the opportunity to earn a first-year university arts credit from Trent, while also completing a 4U high school course.
“This program reflects Trent’s long-standing commitment to elevating arts-based perspectives in education across a range of topics,” said Dr. Mark Skinner, dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Trent University. “This program brings the importance of a liberal arts education and what Trent has to offer as Ontario's number one undergraduate university to the attention of university-seeking students. It is also a great example of how Trent builds positive partnerships with the communities we serve across the province."
The Pilot Program
In the fall, a Grade 12 Challenge and Change in Society class (HSB4U) at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Ottawa partnered with Canadian Studies professor Dr. Mark Dickinson to explore the newly emerging field of the environmental humanities.
Across all four sessions, the Holy Trinity class of nearly thirty students joined Professor Dickinson in outdoor spaces for the lectures, to learn on the land in an effort to better incorporate the non-human world into the learning experience.
Each session began with the sharing of a snack provided by Holy Trinity staff. Students had an up-close look at a Cooper's hawk, learned a handful of bird songs, observed the progression of the fall colours, and, at their last session beside the Ottawa River, had a memorable encounter with a porcupine.
“I heard the students talk about the importance of following "golden threads" in life and they had an unscripted and profoundly meaningful conversation about how COVID-19 impacted the last two years of their high school careers,” said Prof. Dickinson. “More than one student noted that they could finally breathe while out on the land. This approach of putting nature at the centre of human experiences doesn't just make for good pedagogy. Being in the right relationship with a specific place is key to human character formation."
The entire Challenge and Change in Society class participated in Prof. Dickinson’s lectures, but students chose whether to complete an essay and other additional criteria to demonstrate university thinking and knowledge. Students who finish the HSB4U course with a final grade of 80% or higher and complete the Dual Credit program requirements will earn a 0.5 general arts credit that can be applied to a Trent degree.