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Our Collaboration with Queens College

Since 1984, the Collaboration between Queens College and Townsend Harris High School has been a successful, thriving example of a secondary/higher education partnership; and, as of 1995, the opening of THHS on the QC campus has enhanced that relationship. The Collaboration is administered by the Office of College Preparatory Programs.

Each year, College Preparatory Programs (CPP) supports various collaborative projects – some have become annual “events” and some vary with interest, opportunity, and budget.

CPP also coordinates the “Bridge Year” program for Townsend Harris seniors, which includes a year-long team-taught Humanities Colloquium at the College and enrollment in QC electives.

One of the highlights of the Queens College / Townsend Harris High School Collaboration is the Bridge Year program. During their fourth Year at THHS, all the seniors are enrolled at the College as non-matriculated Queens College students, taking up to six credits per semester of college-level courses on campus with other Queens College students. These courses are accredited and are beyond the usual Townsend Harris curriculum requirements. THHS offers fewer Advanced Placement classes than other high schools because of this opportunity. The college courses are more demanding and offer more preparation for college than the usual AP courses. Three of each semester’s QC credits are earned in college electives of the student’s choice. The other three are earned in Honors in the Humanities (HTH) 101 & 102: the Freshman Humanities Colloquium — a “great books” honors course that is team-taught in a seminar setting by a member of the Queens College faculty and a member of the THHS faculty. The HTH classes are supplemented by an eight-lecture series presented by QC professors from the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions to the entire senior class and Colloquia faculty. The seminars emphasize reading, writing, and student-led discussion. They are patterned on Queens College’s Honors Program seminar, as well as the seminar programs at St. John’s (Annapolis) and the University of Chicago.

The main goals of the Bridge Year are to ease the students’ transition from high school to college and to give them an opportunity to do college-level work. They are able to adjust to the much greater freedom that exists on college campuses and at the same time to learn the responsibility necessary to handle that freedom. Thanks to the Bridge Year program, seniors can get a real taste of college life while still in high school.

The Freshman Humanities Colloquium, commonly referred to as the “Humanities Seminar,” is the centerpiece of the Bridge Year. Each Townsend Harris High School senior is required to take a two-semester seminar that is team taught by a member of the Queens College faculty and a member of the THHS faculty. Together, in a unique setting where teachers facilitate but do not dominate, students engage in a series of discussions. The seminars are patterned on Queens College’s Honors in the Humanities senior seminar, as well as the seminar programs at St. John’s (Annapolis) and the University of Chicago.

The texts under study and discussion include many traditional "great" works as well as a number of more recently recognized works of intellectual value.

The seminar discussions are based on textual analyses and writing assignments that lead students to develop critical thinking and analytical skills. The teaching team provides a rich mixture of intellectual and pedagogical possibilities not readily found in a more traditional setting.