6/28/16 ACC partners with Elon Academy

ACC partners with Elon Academy
By Jessica Williams, The Times-News 6/28/16  
Reprinted with permission.      

   For the first time, Alamance Community College is offering a class for students of Elon Academy, a nonprofit program for academically promising high school students with a financial need and/or no family history of attending college.

   The three-credit, four-week course is called “Introduction to Jazz” and was chosen by Elon Academy students out of the multitude of courses offered by the ACC Career and College Promise program.

   Kim Pyne, assistant director of Academic Programs at Elon Academy, said there was also strong interest in psychology and sociology courses, but the faculty ultimately chose a music course because it was the only one that isn’t readily available to students through other programs.

   ACC music professor Roger Lane is teaching the class, which started June 13 and meets from 9:20 to 11:20 a.m. every day. An additional hour is set aside for time with the teacher’s assistant, Shelby Allen, who was brought in to assist the students with adjusting to the rigors of college work.

   Lane says the course is probably more than the students bargained for since jazz classes involve much more than sitting around listening to music, but they’ve adjusted well.

   “You learn philosophy, religion, art, history — there’s a lot to be learned in a music course,” he said. But “just in the few hours we’ve met, their entire perspective on jazz has been enhanced, and they’re already seeing it for the multifaceted fine art is has evolved into. They are, without exception, excellent participants in class — full of curiosity, spontaneity, and drive.”

   Pyne says she’s been happy with the results so far, and much of the credit goes to Lane’s ability to work with the students.

   “Dr. Lane has been remarkably flexible and kind and has helped them a great deal to settle into the expectations of a college class,” she said. “Everyone feels like they understand music because they listen to it all the time, but jazz has a unique history… so it’s been really eye-opening.”

   Even when difficult subjects arise, Lane says the students have been mature and responded well.

   “Since [jazz] deals so much with race, … you can’t help but have a lot of talk about racial issues and how African Americans had to rise up out of slavery, and it’s difficult sometimes. It takes a lot of maturity to do that well, but I’ve also learned that doing it also brings about the ability to do it,” he said.

   As for future partnerships between Elon Academy and ACC, Pyne says this is the pilot. Provided things continue to go smoothly and the students respond well to the class, there could be many more classes and collaborations.

   “Our hope is that we can continue this partnership. So far it seems like it’s been a very good thing,” she said.