CU’s Board of Regents approve three new UCCS certificates for students and community members

At the Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 8, three new certificates were approved and can start being offered in Fall of 2024.

The first certificate is a graduate certificate in Space Cyber Enterprise Management. The other two certificates are in Geographic Information Sciences, one for undergraduates and one for graduates. All three certificates are classified as financial aid eligible, stand-alone certificates, meaning they will be available to members of the community along with UCCS students.

The two certificates in Geographic Information Science were proposed by Associate Professor Diep Dao in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies.

According to the certificate approval form, “GIScience is the spatial and temporal data science that integrates multiple sources of geographical (location-related) information gathered through remotely-sensed imagery, global satellite navigation systems, mapping and wireless technologies and cellular systems.”

Both certificates are 20 credit hours and are estimated to take four semesters to complete.

UCCS has offered undergraduate GIScience certificates since 2011 and graduate GIScience certificates since 2017, but the previous certificates were course of study certificates, meaning they were only available to students enrolled at UCCS.

David Havlick, chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, said course of study certifications can be very limiting. The department has received requests from people working in GIScience-related field asking about the certificate, but, until now, those people have been unable to pursue the certificate.

“We’re excited to finally have a chance to be able to connect with the community outside of UCCS to offer these courses,” Havlick said.

Another benefit of shifting the certificate from a course of study certificate to a stand-alone certificate is that it allows students to pursue the certificate even after graduation. Past undergraduate students interested in pursuing the certificate who were close to graduating had to delay graduation to complete the certificate.

“Now, with this new version, they can actually graduate and then just take the graduate certificate. They don’t have to delay their undergraduate career to do that,” Havlick said.

He also hopes the stand-alone certificate will encourage students outside of Geography and Environmental Studies to pursue the certificate.

“The majority of people we’ve had have been geography majors because that’s the most seamless, but whether you’re in the school of public service, nursing, education — there’s actually quite a few places around campus where this can add value to your studies but also your career prospects,” he said.

The certificate could benefit students wanting to pursue careers in digital mapping, defense and security. It is also applicable to industries like public health, conservationism, urban planning and parks and recreation planning. The current certificates have an 80% employment success rate.

The new version of the certificates should not come with any added cost to the university because the department already has the courses, along with the faculty and teaching capacity, to complete them. Havlick hopes the new certificates will financially benefit the university by drawing in a new demographic.

The Space Cyber Enterprise Management certificate was proposed by associate professors Martin Key and James Van Scotter II in the Department of Marketing, Strategy and International Business.

According to the certificate approval form, the certificate will prepare its students to “be able to craft business policy, understand the complex legal and technical environment for cybersecurity, space and space cyber operations and … effectively manage space mission projects and teams of technical experts with a strategic business perspective.”

The College of Business already offers the classes required for the Space Cyber Enterprise Management certificate for MBA students, so no new classes will need to be structured to implement the certificate.

The certificate is 12 credit hours and is estimated to take one year to complete. All courses for the certificate will be offered online.

Students and community members interested in the new certificates can contact the UCCS Office of Admissions by calling +1-719-255-3084 or emailing [email protected].

Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash.