For the first time in its history, the University of South Carolina will allow high school students at an international school in Asia to earn credit toward a degree. This summer, the university’s Board of Trustees approved a memorandum of understanding between the College of Education and Singapore American School (SAS) which outlines the partnership. SAS is an independent P-12 American curriculum school, considered to be one of the most prestigious and competitive international schools worldwide.
Now, junior and senior high school students at SAS who enroll in an Advanced Topics (AT) Kinesiology Course, taught face-to-face by faculty at their own campus, will have the opportunity to earn credit toward the Bachelor in Science in physical education at South Carolina. AT Kinesiology closely aligns with, and offers equivalent types of learning experiences to, an introductory course required for undergraduate physical education majors at South Carolina.
We see this as another way to prepare physical educators and promote research that will benefit South Carolina students as well as students around the world.
Collin Webster, associate dean of research and innovation
The AT Kinesiology course is one of several new AT courses offered at SAS, and the first to provide students with the opportunity to earn college credit. AT is an alternative to the traditional and widely adopted Advanced Placement (AP) program offered in secondary schools both in the United States and overseas.
“The distinctive feature of AT is its increased emphasis on hands-on and real-world learning experiences that take students beyond the classroom and into their communities,” says Collin Webster, associate dean for research and innovation.
SAS decided to invest in AT initiatives after conducting extensive research into the most promising educational programming and practices. This research involved a group of school administrators and teachers traveling around the world to visit highly innovative and successful schools.
Physical education teachers in the school’s high school division designed the AT Kinesiology course in consultation with Collin Webster, associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Education. Webster formerly served as chair of the Department of Physical Education, which was ranked number one among sports science programs in the United States for the past three years by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as the Shanghai Rankings.
The memorandum of understanding with SAS also articulates possibilities for additional initiatives. Some examples include having South Carolina teaching majors do practicums and internships in Singapore, creating a strand within the online Ed.D. program that would be tailored to cohorts of SAS faculty, establishing a student exchange program, and conducting collaborative research.
“As the partnership continues to mature and expand, there may be other international schools in the region that develop an interest in similar kinds of initiatives with South Carolina,” says Webster. “We see this as another way to prepare physical educators and promote research that will benefit South Carolina students as well as students around the world.”
SAS is one of six schools in southeastern Asia that belong to the same conference. Webster says they could serve to strengthen the bridges South Carolina is building with international education and increase global awareness of the university’s exceptional programs.