Head of UW in the High SchoolLeading
the Way

driving the national conversation on dual enrollment

While many high school students are focused on being college-ready, there are thousands of students across the state of Washington who already have one foot in the door. UW in the High School (UWHS) allows Washington high school students to earn college credit by taking UW courses on their high school campus, taught by their school’s teachers.

Tim Stetter is working to make sure these students get what they need.

Stetter began his career at the UW in 2005 as an educator at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, shifting in 2009 to director of UWHS in what was then UW Educational Outreach (now UW Continuum College). Over the last eight years, he’s worked to grow the UWHS program at both the state and national levels.

“Right away I saw NACEP [National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships] as the association for programs like ours, offered by more than 500 colleges and universities all over the country,” says Stetter. Founded in 1999, NACEP is the accrediting body for programs like UWHS, with the mission of “advancing quality college courses for high school students” around the nation.

Tim Stetter speaking

In 2012, the UW hosted the alliance’s national conference in Seattle and, soon thereafter, Stetter guided UWHS through re-accreditation. In 2014 he was elected to the NACEP board of directors as the four-year public post-secondary representative, then to president-elect in 2015. He is now serving as president — a two-year term that runs through October 2018. “It’s really good for our program to have opportunities for leadership, to demonstrate that UW is associated with the leading association for this very important and growing model for high schoolers,” says Stetter.

Currently in Washington state, the UW and Everett Community College are the only two colleges offering NACEP-accredited programs.

“UW in the High School is an ideal example of Continuum College’s mission to provide ‘the right education to the right student at the right time’,” says UW Continuum College Vice Provost Rovy Branon. “We are fortunate to have an expert like Tim leading the UWHS program, and we’re proud to have him represent the University in his chairmanship of NACEP.”

UWHS serves more than four thousand Washington high schoolers through UW coursework at 100 schools across the state. From UW biology to computer science, math to Japanese, it’s a quiet but high-demand outreach effort for the University.

“It’s an excellent program,” says Britta Simon, director, UW Continuum College Academic Partnership team. “We work with high school principals and teachers to help guide course selection, and all UWHS teachers are trained here on campus by UW faculty who also visit, observe and give feedback throughout the year.”

As programs like UWHS look ahead, Stetter and the NACEP board took a national approach to evaluating the future of dual and concurrent enrollment programs and outlined their findings in the organization’s 2017–2019 strategic plan. Other models to be considered for NACEP accreditation include programs where students travel to college campuses, and enroll in online or hybrid learning scenarios.

“To remain the most member-serving professional association we can be, and offer accreditation and quality assurance, we must expand to include other models,” says Stetter. “We want to authenticate them so that those college credits have standing and students get the credit recognition they deserve.”

Outside of work, Stetter enjoys cycling (he bike-commutes to work at the UW year-round!) and playing acoustic guitar, including at the inaugural UW faculty and staff talent show Ovations in 2013. He’s played guitar for more than 30 years, though he’s never taken formal lessons, and Stetter credits music with enabling him to tap into an improvisational and creative space.

Tim Stetter playing guitar

“The kind of playing I do is where there is some element of structure but very much a feel of exploration and following a path. Sharing that with the University community at Ovations was very fun,” he says.

Stetter not only values the ability to share his talents and time with the UW community, he also considers his stewardship of UWHS and his leadership role at NACEP a privilege.

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity for a UW Continuum College staff person to receive support to take a leadership opportunity like this serving a national education association,” says Stetter. “With the responsibilities that I have as president of NACEP, UW Continuum College is encouraging us as leaders to be connected to the bigger picture in the state and the nation, so that we are seen as leaders helping to drive innovation and change in the education landscape.”

For more information on UW in the High School, check out this video featuring student and teacher testimonials. To contact UWHS, email uwhs@uw.edu.

Since 1912, University of Washington Continuum College has provided innovative learning paths that boost career success and inspire more meaningful lives. With a flexible approach to delivering the right programs for the right people at the right time, Continuum College provides over 50,000 students each year with a high-quality University of Washington education that’s relevant for today’s world and accessible to learners in Seattle and around the globe.