New bachelor’s degree in human services

5 March 2019

Tamera Twitty

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    A new Bachelor of Arts degree program in Human Services was approved by the Board of Regents on Feb. 13. After state approval by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education is confirmed, the Human Services major will become the 47th bachelor’s degree offered at UCCS.

    The new degree program was designed in order to meet the growing need of social work and counseling to various communities in the surrounding Colorado Springs area.

    “We try to offer a wide range of degree options to meet both the needs of our students and of our community. This degree expands opportunities for our students at the same time that it addresses critical needs in our community,” said Provost Tom Christensen.

    Taking on this major will make students eligible to get the Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner credential and join a discipline that is expected to grow between 29 and 33 percent over the next six years, according to the Department of Labor Statistics.

    The College of Education already offers a Human Services minor, but the major will give students a more in depth experience, as well as allow students to emphasize their studies. The College of Education described the Human Services discipline as “uniquely approaching the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations.”

    Examples of occupational titles of Human Service workers include case workers, probation officers, substance use workers, military benefits counselor, etc. after graduation.

    The new degree will offer several emphasis options for students.

    “Students will have a choice within the degree of emphasizing in addictions counseling, supporting military and veterans, career services or student affairs in higher education,” explained Christensen.

    The addictions counseling portion of this degree track will be the first of its kind in Colorado Springs and second in the state.

    Aspen Ridge North, a Colorado rehab facility, reports Colorado as having the 12th highest consumption rate of illegal drugs in the U.S. The facility also reports overdose statistics are above average in Colorado. The degree emphasis in addictions counseling gives students the ability to study a field that has quite a bit of local need.

    With five military bases in the area, the active duty and veteran community in Colorado Springs is large and diverse. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Pikes Peak region is home to around 80,000 veterans and 40,000 service members. The Human Services emphasis on veteran and military support offers an in-state opportunity to serve that community.

    If the degree is approved to begin enrollment for fall 2019, it is expected to attract more students to the ever-growing UCCS population. As the only Human Services degree offered in Southern Colorado, the department is expecting major growth in the 2019-2020 school year.