Published: Aug. 22, 2016
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Beginning in 2017-18, undergraduates at the University of Colorado Boulder will have two new degree options for pursuing enriching careers in education and leadership — the Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and the Bachelor of Arts in Leadership and Community Engagement, both conferred by the School of Education.

The new majors were strategically designed to offer important new pathways for students interested in serving high-needs communities and working with youth.

“We are excited about the two new majors,” said Kathy Schultz, dean of the CU Boulder School of Education. “As a school, we are strongly committed to the preparation of educational leaders—in the classroom and outside of schools—who will work to provide educational opportunities for all children and youth. These majors are another step toward that goal.”

The timing is right for the new Elementary Education degree, as Colorado and the nation continue to face growing teacher shortages, particularly in high-needs areas and among teachers trained to work with diverse populations and English language learners.

The state of Colorado changed regulations in 2014, allowing universities to grant undergraduate degrees in education and ushering in the opportunity to offer the BA for the first time since 1985. Officially approved by the Colorado Board of Regents in June and the Colorado Commission of Higher Education in August, the new degree at CU Boulder will is stand out among other programs because candidates will earn their degree in conjunction with the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) endorsement.

Students gain experience through coursework and extensive hands-on work in the classroom under the direction of Associate Dean Elizabeth Meyer and the teacher education team. The Elementary Education degree provides an efficient and rigorous path for students interested a rewarding career as an elementary teacher. Students interested in a degree in another area combined with licensure can continue to enroll in our teacher licensure program.

Similarly, the Leadership and Community Engagement degree will support students on their way to meaningful careers in non-profit and community sectors, such as higher education, international development, urban planning, social work, and government.

Created in response to societal needs for ethical, skilled leaders who can bridge differences and contribute to public work, the program will prepare students to become leaders in addressing complex public challenges in Colorado and beyond.

Students will develop deep conceptual understanding of theories of leadership, public policy, and social change, acquire expertise in applied research methods, and become skilled at community collaboration, policy analysis, and strategic planning. They are required to complete a dual major in a related field, such as sociology, ethnic studies, or Spanish, and they will work in community settings culminating in two-semester capstone that addresses a leadership challenge.

The degree program builds on the existing Leadership Minor and the work of CU Engage: the Center for Community-Based Learning and Research, each directed by Associate Professor Ben Kirshner. While CU and other Colorado campuses offer leadership minors, this is the only leadership major in the state, and CU Boulder is part of a small number of institutions nationwide to offer these emerging and attractive degrees.

Both degrees harness the existing strengths and resources of the School of Education, which is widely recognized for its rigorous, evidence-based academic programs and its commitment to diversity, democracy, and social justice.

Recruitment is now underway for freshmen aiming to enroll at CU Boulder in the fall 2017. Contact our advisors at 303-492-6555 or to learn more about these new degree pathways. To apply, visit the CU Boulder Admissions website

In the News: Read “The World Needs More Teachers” in the Daily Camera.