Alumni from Bachelor of Innovation see success after college, discuss program benefits

October 3, 2017

Sarah Bubke

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     This semester, 500 students in the College of Business, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences are pursuing Bachelor of Innovation degrees.

     Freshman inclusive early education major Kelsey Brostrom is pursuing a B.I. degree, which she believes will help advance in her career after college.

     “I thought it would give me more career options after college and that I could possibly find a better job than just with the bachelor’s degree,” Brostrom said.

     The Bachelor of Innovation program is a family of degrees with a core of innovation-related classes that supplement the six other major areas of study. UCCS offers 13 B.I. degrees, including inclusive early childhood education, computer science and music, among others.

     Last spring, 151 students were enrolled in the B.I. degree program.

     Alumni from the program, like alumna Kirsten Martin, who graduated with B.I. in inclusive early childhood education in 2016, have already seen the benefits of choosing it to enhance their studies

     “I feel like the Bachelor of Innovation really gave us real-world, hands-on experience that we wouldn’t have gotten in other classes,” said Martin, who works as a teacher at Buena Vista Elementary School.

     “We got to work with the actual clients and work in teams. It really set us up to what we were going to face when we graduated college.”

     Martin believes that her BI degree helped her get her job.

     “I think it is a unique degree only at UCCS, so they were intrigued by that,” she said. “They were happy to know that I already had team experience.”

     The B.I. program allows students to work in multidisciplinary teams for start-up and non-profit companies and the university, according to Nina Polok, director of the B.I. degree program.

     The collaborative teamwork component of the program helps students to develop important skills, like leadership, according to Brostrom.

     “That team mentality that we had in the Bachelor of Innovation taught me to work in teams and how to be a leader at my school,” she said.

     Polok has heard similar feedback from graduates of the program as well. The skills that students learn in teams has helped them in interviews for job positions, according to Polok.

     “We get pretty constant reports in our exit surveys that the team sequence is the most impactful piece of that innovation core for the students because they learned things they didn’t know that they didn’t know,” said Polok.

     For more information on the B.I. program,