Community colleges fill gap for UW students needing remedial coursework (277)


More than 400 University of Wyoming students are enrolled in developmental math courses through Laramie County Community College. They join an additional 1,000 LCCC students.

As part of its academic policy, UW does not offer remedial or development classes and outsources instruction to community colleges across the state. The university offers its Synergy program for students “admitted with support.”

“That’s the role of the community colleges, to offer those courses,” UW Communications Director Chad Baldwin said. “While we certainly offer support, the situation we have now is ideal. We have a willing partner who provides those services and it works out for everyone.”

UW students can sign up for dual enrollment at LCCC, whether fulfilling basic requirements for advanced classes or earning an associate’s degree. Nycole Courtney, student services coordinator at the LCCC Albany County Campus, said UW students can take up to 15 credit hours while still enrolled at the university.

Courtney said the community college works closely with UW to make sure class rigor and curriculum are up to the university’s standards. She said students basically take UW classes, just on the community college campus.

Prior to stepping onto UW’s campus, high school students can sign up for concurrent enrollment to earn up to 12 hours of college credit, usually knocking out the basic general education requirements, Courtney said.

She added it’s possible for some high school students to earn their associate’s degree at the same time if they participate in both dual and concurrent enrollment and Advanced Placement classes.

“Personal needs for education can be different things,” Courtney said. “We partner with UW to make sure we’re the meeting same core directives and aligning our mission with theirs.”

UW’s Synergy program is designed to continue and boost the basic education students have upon entering the university.

Synergy is a first-year program with smaller classes taught by faculty who are focused on supporting students, Synergy Director April Heaney said. It was founded in 2001 as a pilot program meant to last three years and was continued because of its success. There are currently about 300 students in the program. 

Students who are admitted with support — students who meet most admission requirements, but might be on the cusp of others — sign up for Synergy at summer orientation. These classes are integrated with UW’s First Year Interest Groups. Heaney said Synergy classes and the Interest Groups are designed to create a community for students who might not be as ready for college as others.

Heaney added there is a great need for developmental courses and programs like Synergy. While Synergy is not considered developmental, the program is designed to boost students’ skills, she said.

“The most successful programs look at the whole student,” she said. “An integrated model of student support has the best chance of seeing students persist and complete their degree. UW is committed to access and wants to serve the state.”

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