Professor Jeff Shires to Head Purdue Northwest Program that Enables High School Students to Jump Start their College Education

By: Purdue University Northwest Last Updated: July 5, 2016

Professor-Jeff-ShiresIn response to an Indiana objective to increase the number of in-state college graduates, Purdue University Northwest has appointed an executive director of concurrent enrollment/dual credit.

Jeff Shires, a PNW associate professor of communication, began his new appointment July 1. His responsibilities include providing program leadership and strategic vision, managing daily operations and facilitating partnerships with local school systems. Shires, a resident of Lake Station, brings noteworthy experience serving the concurrent enrollment/dual credit program offered at the former Purdue North Central.

4,000 students earned dual credit
During the 2015-16 academic year, some 4,000 students from more than 55 Northwest Indiana high schools earned Purdue academic credit by satisfactorily completing dual credit courses through PNW’s North Central and Calumet campuses.

“As former chair of the Faculty Senate at our North Central campus, Jeff brings excellent leadership skills that will be valuable ensuring rich opportunities for local high school students to learn and gain high school and college credit,” Purdue Northwest Chancellor Thomas Keon said.

According to PNW standards
Dual credit or concurrent enrollment courses provide opportunities for qualified students of partnering high schools to earn high school and college credits concurrently. Dual credit courses are taught at high schools by high school faculty who have been trained to present course curricula according to Purdue Northwest standards.

“Since the Indiana Commission for Higher Education began endorsing dual credit opportunities, we have seen some very impressive outcomes of recent high school graduates enrolling on our campuses with up to a full year of college credit,” Keon said.

More likely to graduate in four years
Noting the importance of offering a quality concurrent enrollment program to local students, Shires said, “Students who enroll in concurrent enrollment courses, not only receive Purdue credits on their college transcripts, but also get a head start to completing their college degree. These students are more likely to remain enrolled in college courses and are more likely to earn their degrees in four years. Because they are entering college with credit hours, these students also are able to pursue minors and double majors and take advantage of study abroad opportunities.”

Shires added, “The concurrent enrollment program can become a signature program for PNW. We have a solid foundation on which we can build together. I look forward to working with the faculty and staff of PNW and with the superintendents, principals and teachers of our partner schools in creating a bright future for the program.”

‘A winner for all stakeholders’
School City of Hobart Superintendent of Schools and Purdue Calumet alumna Peggy Buffington called early college through dual credit “a winner for all stakeholders.”

“The School City of Hobart and other school districts are seeing dual credit students graduating with a semester or a year of college under their belt,” she said. “The financial savings is fantastic. What is extremely important to take note of is the success these students have with rigor and the drive to go the distance in college. The data shows dual credit students have higher GPAs in college and the persistence to make it.”