DHE awards Adams State grant for Concurrent Enrollment Teaching Initiative

(01-20-2015)

Teachers and, ultimately, students in rural Colorado will benefit from a Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) grant awarded to the Adams State University Foundation to support the Concurrent Enrollment Teaching Initiative. The $100,000 grant will cover tuition costs for qualified educators throughout the state who wish to become concurrent enrollment instructors, according to Dr. Ed Crowther, chair of Adams State's History Department.

Colorado has successfully expanded concurrent enrollment (CE) courses, which offer high school and college credit simultaneously, at little or no direct cost to the student. But, Crowther noted, nearly 95% of current Colorado high school teachers lack graduate work in a specific academic discipline (e.g. chemistry, history, mathematics), which is required by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). While many educators hold a master's degree in the field of education, very few have also completed the required 18 hours of graduate level instruction within their specific content area.

Although Adams State's graduate program in American history is offered primarily online, students regularly visit historic sites.

The grant was awarded from Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, which was allocated $3.4 million last year by Colorado General Assembly to support Colorado students - especially those from low-income and/or underrepresented backgrounds - on the path to and through college and into the workforce. This historic state investment aims to address workforce readiness, the degree attainment gap, and affordability issues that put a college degree out of reach for too many Coloradans.

"Starting this June, a cohort of 15-20 social studies teachers will be enrolled in Adams State graduate courses leading to concurrent enrollment instructor eligibility," Crowther said. Adams State's Master of Arts in Humanities - American history emphasis is Colorado's only on-line master's degree in a discipline taught in the secondary environment. "The grant will fund teachers who already have an M.A. to complete 24 hours of coursework in history. CDHE is exploring how they might create similar opportunities in other disciplines," he added.

Crowther explained most teachers have not had content-specific coursework since their sophomore year of college. With the average age of a teacher in Colorado at 42.2 years, that means many have not taken a history-specific content course since 1994. Updated coursework would enable them to address the post-Cold War and post-9/11 world - key components of the Colorado Academic Standards.

Adams State's online program in American history was selected because it is accessible state-wide and relates to the general education requirement associated with U.S. history in Colorado's two and four-year institutions.

Eighty-five percent of Colorado's 178 school districts are considered rural. It's estimated 70 percent of students in these districts are first generation, low income, or students of color. Evidence shows that students who complete concurrent enrollment coursework are more successful in their post-secondary education, Crowther said. Teachers from the following districts are eligible to participate in the Concurrent Enrollment Teaching Initiative:

  • Campo RE-6
  • Cheraw 31
  • Cotopaxi RE-3
  • Creede Consolidated 1
  • Crowley County RE-1-J
  • Denver Public Schools
  • East Otero R-1
  • Edison 54JT Greeley 6
  • Hanover 28
  • Karval RE-23
  • Kim Reorganized 88
  • LamarRE-2
  • Las Animas RE-1
  • North Conejos RE-11
  • Pawnee RE-12
  • Prairie RE-11
  • Rocky Ford R-2
  • Silverton 1
  • Walsh RE-1
  • Wiggins RE-50(1)
  • Woodlin R-104
  • Yuma 1 T

To qualify for the program, teachers must:

  • Have taught for at least three years in the same district
  • Have support of their administration to provide concurrent enrollment instruction in their current school once they become qualified
  • Teach in a discipline that is supported by graduate level instruction that is delivered in an online format

For details about the Concurrent Enrollment Teaching Initiative, please call the Adams State History Department, 719-587-7771.

By Julie Waechter