ASU Trustees approve four new academic programs


Adams State University's second doctoral degree and three other new academic programs were approved by its Board of Trustees at its regular meeting, December 18.

"These programs all address workforce needs within Colorado and the San Luis Valley and help prepare our students for growing careers fields," said Board Chair Arnold Salazar.

The programs include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education - Licensure
  • Masters of Arts in Humanities - Public Administration
  • Doctorate in Education - Leadership
  • Master of Arts - Applied Sport Psychology

Adams State President Beverlee J. McClure emphasized, "All of these programs are great examples of Adams State's commitment to rural areas. They use online and off-campus delivery to provide students with schedule flexibility, in keeping with our mission to serve rural areas and underserved students."

Adams State Vice President for Academic Affairs Frank Novotny said the Early Childhood and Public Administration programs are planned to begin in summer of 2016, the Applied Sports Psychology program, in fall of 2016, and the doctorate in education at a later date. He noted all four programs must be reviewed by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE). In addition, the Early Childhood Education program must be reviewed by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). The doctoral program requires approval by the Higher Learning Commission, which accredits the university.

Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education - Licensure

The Department of Teacher Education will offer the Early Childhood Education - Licensure program. It will provide the final 60 credit hours of a bachelor's degree for those who hold an AA, AS, AGS, or AAS in Early Childhood Education from an approved Colorado community college or four-year institution. The program is designed to meet the needs of professional personnel working in Head Start programs; half of those teachers are federally required to hold a baccalaureate degree. Students working in early childhood education expressed desire for teacher licensure, to qualify them to teach in a public school setting, noted Dr. Ed Crowther, chair of the Teacher Education Department.

"This program has already been vetted with the CDE, and we have cohorts of students anxious and ready to go with this program," he added. "This field is simply exploding, and we anticipate this need is going to continue. We have come to recognize that f

Adams State is among the first institutions to offer such a program, Novotny added. It will be offered in a hybrid format, with classes off campus and online, and include a three-week summer residence component.

Masters of Arts in Humanities - Public Administration

The Masters of Arts - Humanities degree with an emphasis in Public Administration will be a 36-credit hour, online program offered through the Department of History, Anthropology, Philosophy, Political Science, and Spanish (HAPPSS). It will help professionals acquire credentials to serve as county and city administrators - including the job of city manager - and provide credentials to those already performing such duties.

"We have made this affordable; tuition is about one-quarter that of our nearest priced competitor," noted Crowther, who also chairs the HAPPSS department. He added the program was specifically requested by the Executive Director of the Colorado Municipal League (CML), Sam Mamet, who is an Adams State alumnus.

Novotny explained the program is unique in that it will put theory into practice by aligning coursework with the candidates' practica experiences. The intention is to expand the program into New Mexico and the rural regions of the Rocky Mountains in general. Trustee Val Vigil, who is a city council member for the City of Thornton, noted the program is well timed, because a large proportion of public servants are nearing retirement age.

Doctorate in Education - Leadership

The Doctorate in Education (Ed. D.) in Leadership is designed for educational leaders at all levels, particularly those educational reformers, policymakers, and teachers who are interested in conducting advanced level research to enhance their professional practice. Offered online with a summer residency on campus, the 54-credit hour program is geared for those who are unable to attend an on-campus program, due to their geographic location or work schedule.

"This program is the next progression for the university, building on our educational leadership endorsements for school principals and administrators," said Dr. Anthony Romero, asst. professor of teacher education. "We were missing global aspect. I wanted education leaders to be able to address the global economy." He noted this will be the only program of its type available in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.

This program will link theory to practice, emphasizing such areas as cultural diversity, equity, school law, finance, school safety, community relations, 21st Century workplace skills, and educational globalization.

Master of Arts - Applied Sport Psychology

The Masters of Arts in Applied Sport Psychology is a 36-credit hour, online program offered by the Department of Human Performance and Physical Education (HPPE). It will be the only such online program in Colorado, designed to prepare students for careers as applied sport psychology consultants.

"Applied sport psychology puts the emphasis on mental training. It's the same as strength building, only it builds mental aspect and teaches coaches and athletes how to perform better," said Dr. Brian Zuleger, asst. professor of HPPE and a certified consultant for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. "This is the only program like this in country. Very few people are trained effectively in this field. The program will be unique in that it will allow students to fulfill all the requirements for AASP certification."

Applied sports psychologists may work with athletes, coaches, and teams, as well as in sport and fitness related settings with recreational participants. It will also help prepare individuals for doctoral study. "There's not a profession I can think of that this wouldn't help. We can diagnose physical problems, but in many cases we don't understand the human, psychological aspect," Zuleger added.

By Julie Waechter