Regents University Affairs Committee advances proposals for new degree, two department designations

By Staff

A new degree at CU Boulder and designation of two UCCS programs as departments were among the proposals the Regents University Affairs Committee advanced during its Sept. 1 meeting.

The items are scheduled to be voted on by the full Board of Regents during its meeting today and Friday at CU Denver.

At last week’s committee meeting, held via Zoom, Kathy Schultz, dean of the School of Education at CU Boulder, presented plans for a new degree. As proposed, students majoring in a content area, such as physics or history, would be allowed to double major and earn a bachelor’s degree in middle and high school teaching from the School of Education. She said the aim is to attract more students to careers in middle and high school teaching, addressing the shortage of educators in the state.

Proposals at UCCS would change two current academic programs – Technical Communication and Information Design (TCID) and Women’s and Ethnic Studies (WEST) – into departments.

Unlike a program, a department can be a tenure home for tenure-track faculty. Michael Lightner, vice president for academic affairs, said department status also is likely to attract greater interest from faculty and students.

Alex Ilyasova, professor and interim director of TCID, said the change is an appropriate response to growing enrollment and industry demand for technical communication and information design.

Heather Albanesi, professor and director of WEST, said the program is home to a unique aggregation of topics that would benefit students by being available in one degree and one department.

The committee also approved its work plan for the coming year, advancing it to the full board for approval at this week’s meeting.

The committee heard two presentations on artificial intelligence (AI). Sidney D’Mello, professor, Institute of Cognitive Science, Department of Computer Science and Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at CU Boulder, discussed the NSF AI Institute for Student AI-Teaming. Beth Rudden, founder of and keynote speaker at the recent COLTT conference, spoke on how people can be augmented by trusted AI.