ALLIANCE, Ohio — The University of Mount Union recently hosted two visits with students from Akron North High School to participate in interactive experiences with University students, faculty and staff. These events are part of the partnership in which Mount Union is a sister university to North.
During the first visit in November, 24 College Credit Plus students from North participated in a unique scavenger hunt-style campus tour and worked with faculty members on hands-on projects to learn about the college experience.
“The scavenger hunt idea came from a desire to avoid a long day of passive listening. I wanted the students up and doing things,” Dr. Gwen Gray Schwartz, professor of English at Mount Union said. “When they found an answer to a question, they took a selfie as evidence, and those pictures became part of the collages each group made to represent what college is all about. The collages were taken back to North to hang in the halls for others to see. No matter what a student might want to do, it's important for everyone to see what a residential college looks and feels like, as there's so much going on at all hours of the day.”
The second visit in early December brought roughly 90 North students to Mount Union to attend the University’s Christmas Festival and participate in workshops led by faculty in the visual and performing arts. North students learned how to play the steel drum, tap dance and the basics of theatre set design. The high school students also joined in a question-and-answer session with Mount Union music students and faculty following performances from Mount Union students Tim Topoly, of Northfield, and Alejandro Elias, of Peru.
“It was thrilling to host so many high school students in our performing arts facilities,” said Dr. Jerry Miskell, professor and chair of Mount Union’s Department of Performing Arts. “Through interactions with our faculty and students our visitors experienced the vitality and diverse offerings of our department. Our students deserve a lot of credit for their enthusiastic participation. Akron North found out that Mount Union is a place where students can pursue their creative passions and thrive in any major.”
As a sister university, Mount Union also works closely with North teachers to develop classroom lessons that have integrated, career-themed content; design and present problem-based learning opportunities that incorporate thought-provoking, real-world problem-solving activities; and support the implementation of a college admission testing preparation program.
Mount Union faculty are currently working with North faculty and staff on teaching college-level courses to groups of North students. Mount Union’s Doug Henry, mathematics lab coordinator, and Schwartz are University mentors in College Algebra and Pre-calculus, and College Writing, respectively, with colleagues from North.
“This partnership has really provided these students a unique opportunity to engage and embrace the Mount Union experience,” said Henry. “Visiting the University was an inspiration to the students and invigorating for myself, as together we learn from and about one another while working to make the delivery of undergraduate education as optimal as possible.”
Mount Union’s partnership with North High School began in March of 2020 and was formed in collaboration with the United Way of Summit County.