by Pamela Young, Published June 27, 2013
YPSILANTI - David Dugger, director of The Early College Alliance @ Eastern Michigan University (ECA), will be honored with the David A. Skiven Leadership Award by the Engineering Society of Detroit during its annual meeting June 27 at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.
He is one of 21 local individuals who will be recognized for their commitment to their industries, dedication to their craft, their innovative ideas and the impact they've had on Michigan and their communities.
Dugger was chosen for his service and contributions to both the engineering society and the Engineering Society of Detroit Institute's recent STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) symposium. The symposium dealt with the innovative benefits of early college programs to foster the next generation of talent in Michigan.
"I was quite surprised and honored to be chosen for the award," said Dugger. " I find the work that they are engaged in fascinating and of great import. They are committed to finding a better way to educate students in Michigan and to be associated with them and their efforts is an honor."
The award is named for the late David Skiven who co-founded The Engineering Society of Detroit Institute and served as its volunteer co-director from 2008 until his death in November 2011. Skiven also was a board member of the engineering society from 1998 to 2008.
Dugger, one of Michigan's most experienced educators in developing and managing early/middle college programs, has been program director for the ECA since 2007.
The ECA is a consortium of seven Washtenaw County school districts, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) and Eastern Michigan University that offers students an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and college credits from EMU. Students from partnering districts are chosen through a lottery.
Under Dugger's leadership, the ECA students ranked first in 2011 in Washtenaw County's ACT/Michigan Merit Examination in math, science, and social studies, and in second place in the county in reading and writing. The program, in its fourth year of operation, was named the 6th best school in Michigan in terms of combined ACT math and reading scores.
"The Early College Alliance program is an excellent example of secondary and post secondary collaboration," Dugger said. "The goal is to provide relevant and rigorous educational options, improve student achievement and collaborate with community leaders so that students remain in the state after graduation."
Sam Tenka, a student at Ann Arbor Public Schools, has been an ECA student for three years. He entered the program at age 12 through an early admission process that has only been granted twice in ECA history.
Now 16, he recently joined an elite group of students from around the country who have earned a top composite score of 36 on the ACT. Tenka says that being allowed to take college courses for high-school credit through the ECA program has been a big factor in his success.
"I also credit my parents and teachers who have helped me pursue my scholastic interests, and I especially want to thank Mr. Dugger for letting me participate in the ECA program," said Tenka.
Dugger notes that unlike traditional educational programs, the ECA in non-time centric.
"We let the fast runners run, and Sam exemplifies what is possible in public education programs where students advance based on skill rather than age and credits," Dugger said.
There is a huge cost savings by combining high school and college, he added. The ECA offers struggling school districts a way not only to increase graduation rates, but also save money and leverage state funding to provide educational options.
"The program educates its students for less than 100 percent of the per-pupil state allowance, and students earn up to 60 college credits at no cost to themselves and their families," Dugger said. "The program currently receives 95 percent of the state foundation allowance from its seven partner districts and all resources are used to educate the students."
For more information on the Early College Alliance, see extended.emich.edu/ECA/index.aspx