New bachelor programs at UCCS gain student enrollment, offer new degree experience

September 12, 2016

Rachel Librach

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     UCCS added three new degree programs to its curriculum in 2015.

     These programs, which opened enrollment for students this fall, are the Bachelor of Science in engineering education, the Bachelor of Arts in inclusive elementary education and the Bachelor of Science in exercise science.

     UCCS now offers 45 bachelor degrees, 22 master programs and five doctoral programs.

Bachelor of Science in exercise science

     The exercise science degree, a five-year long program, has over 100 declared students, according to Andrew Subudhi, chair of the biology department.

     The degree is geared toward students intending to enter the pre-professional field for occupations such as sports medicine or physical therapy.

     Although a joint partnership between the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences and the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Department of Biology will provide over half the credit hours for the degree.

     The program will give students a pre-professional foundation that other degrees in the nation do not offer at an undergraduate level, according to Subudhi.

     These pre-professional requirements ask for one year each of biology, chemistry and physics.

     Terry Schwartz, associate vice chancellor for Academic and Faculty Affairs, said that many colleges throughout the nation have started to develop interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary degrees that include great benefits for students.

     “Students can gain many different perspectives from professors by entering into these cross-disciplinary studies,” Schwartz said.

Bachelor of Arts in inclusive elementary education

     This fall, over 120 students registered for the inclusive elementary education degree program which was created as a result of high demand from the community.

     Sarah Kaka, director of teacher education, explained that there was a concern about elementary teacher shortages in the country who are trained in special education and work with English-language learners.

     UCCS is the first university to offer this type of program in Colorado, according to Kaka. The new degree provides students with an elementary initial licensure, an endorsement in special education and an endorsement in English language learners.

     Other universities focus on one of these at a time, while this program incorporates all three over the course of four years, said Kaka.

     The program also works with partner schools, so students can gain experience in the field over the course of four semesters.

     This program officially started in January, but the first incoming freshman class was enrolled this fall, which has well exceeded the department’s expectations, according to Kaka.

Bachelor of Science in engineering education

     The College of Education and UCCSTeach partnered to offer the multidisciplinary Bachelor of Science in engineering education.

     In this program, students will become qualified in math and science while earning a STEM teaching license within four years, according to Robert Block, assistant dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

     Getting a licensure to teach takes five years, but this degree wants to avoid the extra time, said Block.

     “This makes you highly desirable to school districts and the job market right now is great for STEM teachers. If you can become highly qualified in both science and math, that is the person these districts will fight over,” Block said.

     “We intentionally designed this trying to be very efficient and effective while allowing students to focus on subjects that interest them and finish in four years.”