Welcome from the Dean
Welcome to the College of Education
Greetings students, alumni, community partners, parents, and friends. I am honored to serve as the dean of the College of Education at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Over the past six years, we have renewed and strengthened relationships with students, alumni, faculty, staff, donors, and community partners. I have been inspired and energized by what I have learned, and through our work to develop a collective vision for the future! We have faced some tough challenges and realized success.
Our work is grounded firmly in the College of Education’s mission of preparing teachers, counselors, and leaders educating the whole person, professional formation, and empowering leaders for a just and humane world. Throughout, we have held fast to our core values of Equity, Inquiry, and Innovation.
The College of Education has successfully launched four new undergraduate degree programs. In 2014, we launched our first undergraduate degree: a Bachelor of Innovation in Inclusive Early Childhood Education. In 2016, we began offering a Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Elementary Education. Next, we launched a BA in Human Services. Our most recent undergraduate degree is the BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education, which can be completed 100% at a distance. We now enroll more than 400 undergraduate students in these programs.
There is still much work to be done! This positive trend in enrollment is in direct conflict with national trends. Data from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) cited overall enrollment declines in teacher preparation programs. According to the report: “The number of undergraduate education degrees awarded annually peaked at almost 200,000 in the early 1970s and is less than 100,000 today” (King, 2018, p.3).
In Colorado, the issues are similar; however, magnitude varies. The Colorado Teacher Shortage Report identifies teacher shortages in early childhood education and care, science, math, world languages, special education, and art/music/drama. According to Colorado’s Teacher Shortage Strategic Action Plan: We lack minority educators throughout the state. The shortages are more pronounced in rural and remote rural areas where we find unique challenges driven by inadequate teacher compensation, lack of affordable housing, and difficulty attracting new teachers to rural communities.
It is critically important that we align our programs with partner needs. We recognize the growing social and emotional support needs in our community and region. That’s why we launched Campus Connections during the 2019-20 academic year. Campus Connections is a therapeutic mentoring program for youth providing experiential education for graduate students in Counseling and the BA in Human Services. The Bachelor of Arts in Human Services has four emphasis areas: Addictions, Career, Military Support Services, and Student Affairs.
We have renewed our commitment to the region by offering pilot cohorts with a number of districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). We are especially excited to be part of a new UCCS Community Partnership. The College of Education is offering an innovative seminar series in the new UCCS Downtown presence.
UCCS is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The College of Education is authorized to offer programs leading to licensure by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and the Colorado Department on Higher Education (CDHE). The UCCS College of Education is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). For more information about our accreditation, please visit our Accreditation page.
We advocate for education and community-centered goals and initiatives that align with our mission, vision, and values and strive to achieve positive academic and community-focused outcomes. We serve Colorado Springs and the southern region of the state of Colorado, fostering an academic community that embraces equity, inquiry, and innovation. Beyond Colorado’s borders, our students come from 21 other states and 13 countries, enriching the diversity of educational experiences for all students.
Dean Valerie Martin Conley, Ph.D.
Professor Leadership, Research and Foundation