New Partnership at IUPUI Allows High School Students to Earn College Credit from Their High School Classroom

INDIANPOLIS, IN (November 2011) – The School of Science and the University College Special Programs for Academic Nurturing (SPAN) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) will be working collaboratively with the national program, Project Lead the Way (PLTW), to offer Biomedical Sciences certification to high school teachers and special credit opportunities to high school students. For the past four years, the School of Science has hosted the PLTW Summer Training Institute. These training programs have certified over 300 high school teachers per year from 32 states to teach the PLTW curriculum in biomedical sciences. This new partnership between the School of Science and SPAN will expand this successful program, allowing academically qualified students who complete the biomedical coursework at their high school to earn college credit at IUPUI.

PLTW provides rigorous and engaging Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education curricula for middle schools and high schools across the country. Developed collaboratively by high school and university educators and biomedical professionals, the curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, innovation, and real-world problem solving. The hands-on learning engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they may not otherwise pursue, and provides them with a foundation and proven path to post-secondary training and career success in the STEM-related industries that are driving economic development in the twenty-first century.

“PLTW students achieve significantly higher scores in reading, mathematics, and science,” said Jeffrey Watt, PhD, the university director for the program and associate dean in the School of Science. “These students also earn higher GPAs as freshmen in college and have a higher retention rate in college engineering, science, and related programs than non-PLTW students.”

SPAN division director J.R. Russell said that, in addition to advancing STEM education, this partnership will serve as a great recruitment tool and enable early contact with high-achieving high school students to encourage them to come to IUPUI and pursue a college education in a STEM area. The IUPUI SPAN Division works to reach out to high-achieving middle and high school students, encouraging them to consider going to college by offering college courses and an opportunity to start their college education while they are still in high school. Over 500 high school student applicants were admitted to IUPUI through SPAN this fall semester and were awarded IUPUI special credit. “We can impact change and provide an opportunity to give students an idea of what biomedical sciences look like,” Russell said.

The School of Science at IUPUI is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service in the biological, physical, behavioral and mathematical sciences. The School is dedicated to being a leading resource for interdisciplinary research and science education in support of Indiana’s effort to expand and diversify its economy. For more information go to

University College is the academic unit at IUPUI that provides a common gateway to the academic programs available to entering students. University College coordinates existing university resources and develops new initiatives to promote academic excellence and enhance student persistence. It provides a setting where faculty, staff, and students share in the responsibility for making IUPUI a supportive and challenging environment for learning.


For more information, contact Harriett Bennett at 317-274-5036 or email