To improve the academic readiness and college literacy among Texas high school students who are underrepresented at institutions of higher education. The program works to prepare students for academic success through credit-bearing, college-level, concurrent-enrollment rhetoric and writing curriculum.
Established in 2005, SPURS students experience the pace, rigor, depth and expectations of a UT Austin rhetoric and writing course. The courses are designed for both new and intermediate college writers, offering beneficial exposure for high school students to critical reading and writing habits crucial to college success across majors.
Students who successfully complete the year-long program earn six credit hours on UT Austin transcripts. Motivated and experienced high school teachers implement the daily coursework in their classrooms with robust, continuous support from both the Department of Rhetoric and Writing and Pre-College Academic Readiness Programs (PCARP). The support includes intensive professional development for teachers and arranged interactive campus visits for students.
College Credit: Two semesters of concurrent-enrollment rhetoric and writing coursework for high school students with three credit hours offered each semester Rhetoric and Writing – RHE306 – in the fall and Topics in Rhetoric – RHE309K – in the spring. These courses generally transfer as ENG1301 and ENG1302 in the Texas Common Course Numbering System.
Professional Development: Five-day summer and two-day winter teacher professional development trainings focus on curriculum, pedagogy, learning management technology and program procedures. Continuing professional education certificates are provided for participating teachers.
UT Austin Visits: SPURS students visit UT Austin for a full day that includes classroom observations, college literacy activities, guided campus tours and interaction with college students, staff and faculty.
Experienced Instructors: Experienced college writing instructors provide feedback and assessment on student writing.
SPURS served 91 students during the 2016-17 academic year. Three high schools participated in the program. Based on survey results, 100% will matriculate to a post-secondary institution immediately following high school graduation.
Program Participants by Ethnicity
African American 2%
Asian American 2%