For concurrent enrollment, collaboration, not alignment, is the better story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: As concurrent enrollment (CE) programs continue to expand in the USA, a growing share of English teaching at the first-year university level is taking place in secondary schools. Though much of the discourse surrounding CE courses relates to quality control, the purpose of this paper is to argue for a reconsideration of the terms by which these courses are valued, calling for a shift from alignment to collaboration as the crucial work for participating English teachers. Design/methodology/approach: This essay responds to scholarship and primary source documents related to CE programs in light of the author’s experience as liaison for a CE literature course at a Midwestern regional university in the USA. Findings: An ethic of alignment pervades discourse about CE programs. The quality control promised by this “alignment story” presupposes a stable university course to be aligned with and the emulation of college faculty pedagogy as the high-priority intellectual labor. This alignment story is undermined by the variation within and between on-campus and high school iterations of the literature course. Rather than justifying an alignment ethic, this variation continually renews important questions about what constitutes college-level engagement with literature and how to best help students achieve it in a particular setting. These questions call for deliberation among a community of English teachers, not alignment of one constituency to another. Originality/value: This essay builds on previous scholarship about the importance of alignment and the opportunity for collaboration in CE by exploring how an emphasis on the former misrecognizes the importance of the latter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-454
Number of pages12
JournalEnglish Teaching
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 31 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Concurrent enrollment
  • Constructions of English
  • English teaching
  • Teacher professional development
  • Teaching literature


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