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New program brings high school students to UIC campus to earn college credit

New program brings high school students to UIC campus to earn college credit Heading link

Aremu Smith, a UIC PhD student, teaches Introduction to Black Studies to high school students. (Photos: Jenny Fontaine/University of Illinois Chicago)

When the high school students walked into the Introduction to Black Studies class at the University of Illinois Chicago recently, they were greeted by instructor Aremu Smith, who began class by discussing the history of hip-hop music and comparing it to different and sometimes opposing schools of Black thought.

Smith, a UIC PhD student teaching the introductory class, was able to compare the various regional identities in the music — New York vs. Atlanta vs. California — to topics such as abolitionism, Black radicalism and double consciousness.

The students are part of a new dual enrollment program that is the first to bring high schoolers onto the UIC campus to earn college credit. The pilot program, which has been extended to the spring semester, offers students a free opportunity to take either an Introduction to Black Studies class or an Introduction to Public Health class for college credits while attending their high schools. Students have the opportunity to take the other class during the spring semester.

“I’ve seen such a dynamic, diverse group of students of all talents and backgrounds come together and really contribute to the class mission, which is to make more sense of the Black lived experience,” Smith said.