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Home | Tag Archives: University of Texas at Austin

Tag Archives: University of Texas at Austin

El Paso ISD Expands ‘OnRamps’ Program; Offers Students UT-Austin College Credit Opportunities

Thanks to an expanded program, students in every EPISD high school can complete their graduation requirements and enroll in courses taught by professors at the University of Texas at Austin to earn some college credits at the same time.

EPISD joins Clint ISD, Socorro ISD, Ysleta ISD as well as Harmony Science Academy in El Paso, in offering the OnRamps program.

The OnRamps dual-credit program allows students to earn hours toward a bachelor’s degree during their high-school years under the instruction of accredited professors at UT-Austin.

The OnRamps program began in EPISD last year at Chapin, Austin, Jefferson and El Paso high schools. This year, it expanded to all EPISD traditional high schools and Transmountain Early College High School.

“We just saw it as another opportunity for students to get dual credit,” said Jason Long, EPISD’s executive director of college and career readiness and innovation. “There’s some constraints with the traditional dual-credit program most high school currently offer.  The UT OnRamps program removes those boundaries for students.”

Unlike the traditional dual-credit classes, the OnRamps program does not require that students pass the Texas Success Initiative. Also, because the courses are taught by professors at the Austin university, EPISD is not required to hire teachers with master’s degrees.

OnRamps courses are free of charge to EPISD students, allowing parents to save up to $1,100 in tuition and textbooks per class. Courses include physics, ELA, pre-calculus, college algebra, statistics, history, computer science, geoscience and art & entertainment technology.

Students interested need to check with their counselors to see which OnRamps courses are available at their campus.

Chapin High School teacher Ben Mendoza began working with the program last year. His role in the OnRamps physics course is to be a liaison between UT-Austin and the students who enroll in the course.  He helps monitor labs, facilitate exams and assist with homework.

“They have to take ownership of their education,” Mendoza said. “I like seeing that and how it transforms them from the beginning to the end.”

Mendoza also promotes the program among his students at Chapin and hopes more OnRamps course offerings become available.

“It gives you a leg up on other students because you get to have that college experience beforehand,” he said. “There’s no risk, so why not take it? You can get two things done at once and gain some experience.”

Chapin senior Mia Flores, who plans to attend UT-Austin next fall, liked the opportunities afforded through the OnRamps program. She earned college credit for the physics course she took last year.

“What I liked about taking the honors classes that it was a lot more independent than my regular courses,” Flores said. “I got to be exposed to what a real college course was like. It’s a lot of learning on your own and I really appreciated that aspect.”

Chapin junior Alexia Morales took Mendoza’s OnRamps course for the challenge.

“I want to attend UT-Austin so I felt if I excel in this class I will be able to use the credit,” Morales said. “So far, it’s been challenging. It’s a great class and great experience. I look forward to taking more OnRamps classes.”

Story by Reneé de Santos | Photos by Leonel Monroy  – EPISD
**EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that EPISD was the only district in the area offering ‘OnRamps’  The story has been edited to add the correct information.**

UTEP Cheerleaders Win First Place in Summer Camp Competition

The University of Texas at El Paso cheerleading squad earned first place in the fight song competition and third place overall for game day performance at the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) summer cheer camp held in East Texas.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for a cheer program to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to other teams,” said Bianca Marquez, head cheer coach at UTEP.

“UTEP Cheer is comprised of 100 percent local talent – the majority of males do not have a cheerleading background – and this camp is a great way to expose them to the realm of cheerleading at the collegiate level. It also gives them the opportunity to practice alongside athletes from prestigious cheer programs and learn new tricks and different techniques.”

The annual camp draws teams from universities all over the region, including The University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, The University of Oklahoma, Louisiana State University, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and The University of New Mexico.

The material taught at camp is structured over four days, and teams rotate among several classes, which include stunt/pyramids, sideline chant, band cadences and game day.

On the final day of camp, a competition is held for several elements involved in a typical game day such as sideline chant, fight song, and band cadence.

A fourth award is given for overall game day performance.

SMU Ties UT, Baylor Passes Texas A&M in 2017 U.S. News College Rankings

The latest version of the U.S. News and World Report college rankings are good news for Texas private schools. Not so for the state’s top public universities: All of them dropped in the influential list of the best schools in the country.

SMU is now tied with the University of Texas at Austin as the second-best university in the state Meanwhile, Baylor University has surpassed Texas A&M University to become the No. 4 college in the state

Rice University, which is ranked 15 nationally, remains the clear No. 1 in Texas. It climbed three spots from 18 last year. SMU and UT-Austin are far behind in a tie for 56. Last year, SMU was 61 and UT-Austin was 52.

The U.S. News and World Report rankings are highly controversial. Critics call them too simplistic and say students and school administrators pay too much attention to them. But there is no question that the rankings are important. Gov. Greg Abbott has said he wants to see five Texas universities among the top 10 public schools. (Currently, there are none.) UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven has often cited the rankings during discussions of higher education policy in the state.

The biggest climber in the state was SMU, not counting Dallas Baptist University, which wasn’t ranked last year but came in 214 this year. The biggest fall came from Texas Tech University, which dropped eight spots to 176.

Here’s a list of the Texas schools. Their rankings last year are in parentheses. 

15. Rice University (18 last year)

56. SMU (61)

56. University of Texas at Austin (52)

71. Baylor University (72)

74. Texas A&M University (70)

82. TCU (82)

146. University of Texas at Dallas (140)

176. Texas Tech University (168)

194. University of Houston (187)

214. Dallas Baptist University (unranked last year)

Read more higher education coverage in the Texas Tribune:

  • Read our series The Price of Admission, a look at the history and impact of the Top 10 Percent Rule in Texas.
  • How UT-Dallas transformed itself into one of the best public universities in Texas.
  • Less screaming, more diversity: Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets is rebooting for the 21st Century.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Rice University, Texas Tech University, the University of Houston and Southern Methodist University have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Author:  – The Texas Tribune

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