BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)

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BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)
BA in IECE Online/Distance Education New Program Proposal           Version: 12/21/2020

         COE Department of Teaching and Learning

         BA in Inclusive Early
         Childhood Education
         New Program
         Proposal (BA IECE)
         Multi Credential Undergraduate Degree Program Proposal: A teaching licensure
         plus endorsement and administration credential early childhood professional
         preparation program

       Submitted by Lissanna Follari, on Behalf of the College of
       Education, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
       REV 10-16-20
       REV 12-21020

BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)
BA in IECE Online/Distance Education New Program Proposal             Version: 12/21/2020

                                       Table of Contents

    Executive Summary
    A. Description of the Program
      A1. Background and Basic Design of the Program
      A2. Student Learning Goals
    B. Student Demand and Workforce Demand
      B1. Student Demand
      a. Enrollment projections and table
      b. Design to meet part time, working, and military students
      B2. Workforce Demand
    C. Role and Mission
    D. Duplication
    E. Statutory Requirements
    F. Admission, Transfer, and Graduation Standards
      F1. Admission requirements
      F2. Transfer requirements
      F3. Enrollment restrictions
      F4. Continuing program requirements, graduation requirements
    G. Curriculum Description and Assessment Process
       G1. Program requirements and credit hours
       G2. Course list
       G3. Program planning guide
       G4. Assessment plan
    H. Professional Requirements or Evaluations
      H1. Professional and licensing requirements
      H2. Timetables to meet new requirements
      H2. Qualifications of program faculty
   I. Institutional Factors
      I1. Diversity goals
      I2. Impact on other instructional, research, or service programs at UCCS or other campuses
      I3. Impact on existing resources
      I4. Dependencies on other departments/colleges
      I5. Partnerships
   J. Physical Capacity and Needs
      J1. Space estimates table
      J2. Program delivery and space requirements
   K. Cost Description and Source of Funds
      K1. Cost estimates and sources table
      K2. Program costs- start up and operating
   L. Other Relevant Information
Appendix 1: Faculty CV (abbreviated)
Appendix 2 Letters of Support
Appendix 3: National Professional Standards: NAEYC and CEC-DEC
Appendix 4: Colorado Teacher Licensing Regulations and Teacher Preparation Requirements

BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)
BA in IECE Online/Distance Education New Program Proposal               Version: 12/21/2020

Executive Summary
This proposal is for a new online Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Early Childhood Education (BA in
IECE). The UCCS College of Education (COE) currently offers a face-to-face Bachelor of
Innovation (BI) in IECE as the sole teacher licensure program for early childhood education (ECE)
and early childhood special education (ECSE) state teaching license preparation. The onset of the
BA in IECE online program will allow the COE to shift the BI in IECE to focus on early childhood
organizational administration and leadership (no longer leading to teacher licensure). The new
online BA in IECE will be the sole ECE and ECSE licensure preparation undergraduate degree.
Review of national survey data and regional and UCCS student surveys demonstrate a strong and
growing market demand at the state and national level with minimal competitive programs in online
licensure programs. The UCCS BA in IECE is unique and innovatively responsive to meeting the
critical shortage area in the teaching field as well as responding to important student needs and
barriers to BA completion.

Aligning with research and increasing inclusion of young children with and without disabilities in
shared classrooms, the COE faculty see a need for early childhood teachers to be better prepared to
respond to the needs of diverse learners (e.g., students with disabilities and second language
learners) in classrooms and programs. Current teachers often struggle to implement instruction that
will allow all students to have access to learning. Specifically, teachers most often struggle with
supporting positive behavior (particularly in children experiencing trauma), utilizing technology as
a method of access, and differentiating instruction.

Responding to persistent challenges in professional preparation and current changing realities of
children’s experience of school, home, and community life, the program design focuses on specific
areas such as universal design, instructional technology, language and social development, trauma
informed practice, and differentiating instruction which allow pre-service teachers at UCCS to gain
the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in responding to the diverse needs of today’s
children and families.

This responsiveness enables the UCCS BA in IECE to recruit and serve new ECE/ECSE students
who are currently underserved due to the following factors identified in national research (Hinton,
2018; Mead, 2018):
   • rural residents needing distance access,
   • an older, working, parent student body needing flexible scheduling
   • students leveraging community college and community-based training in ECE needing
        seamless transfer and individualized advising
   • first generation college students and English Language Learners requiring more intensive
        advising and personalized connection, in combination with the online delivery

Currently, the COE is not able to meet these critical student demographic needs, thus resulting in
stagnant program enrollment. The new online BA in IECE, with seamless community college
articulation (2+2) and strong student advising, will position the UCCS COE as a front-runner and
leader in meeting national teacher shortage areas and increasing access to ECE/ECSE professional
credentialing. We project new total enrollment to reach 182 by year 5.
BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)
BA in IECE Online/Distance Education New Program Proposal               Version: 12/21/2020

Description of the Program
        A1. Background and Basic Design of the Program
The UCCS College of Education is seeking to design a new Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Early
Childhood Education (BA in IECE) as a fully distance/online program to launch in fall 2021. This
online program will provide new access and opportunity for professional preparation, advancement,
and credentialing of new early childhood and early childhood special education teachers,
particularly in geographically remote and rural communities.

The addition of the BA in IECE, with curricular integration of social emotional learning, trauma
informed practice, play based learning, inclusion, and new developments in the neuroscience of
education, aligns closely with IECE program faculty research areas and allow for expanded
opportunities for faculty and student research. The areas of trauma informed teaching and
relationship-based schooling have become increasingly highlighted and examined aspects of
education, and even more so in the current pandemic experience. The pandemic has caused sudden
and major changes in the ways schools operate and provide education, as well as causing major
changes in children’s experiences of home, school, and community. These changes are having
significant impact on children’s and teachers’ social emotional and mental health, and new funding
and resources are being channeled into research on these impacts and suggestions for new policy
and practice to address them. The emphasis on these timely and critical areas in education in the
BA in IECE program positions the IECE faculty and COE as a leader in this work, and
demonstrates a keen responsiveness to the new landscape of teaching practice for which future
teachers must be better prepared. While changes to policy and practice in education are persistently
and historically slow to respond to real and present needs and realities of changing society and
family life, the BA in IECE demonstrates what is possible when an institution takes bold and
decisive action to meet the challenges of our field head-on with sophisticated, well-informed
programming. This action will lead to COE IECE faculty (and students) being in a unique position
to examine and share ‘lesson learned’ and implications for policy and practice within inclusive
early childhood teacher preparation.

The UCCS College of Education currently offers a face-to-face Bachelor of Innovation (BI) in
Inclusive Early Childhood Education as the sole teacher licensure preparation for early childhood
education (ECE) and early childhood special education (ECSE) state teaching license/endorsement.
The onset of the BA in IECE program with 100% distance option will allow the COE to partner the
BI with a new BA, and allow for a shift in the BI in IECE to focus on early childhood
organizational administration and leadership (no longer leading to teacher licensure). This content
focus aligns well with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship coursework. The new distance-option
BA in IECE will then emerge as the sole ECE and ECSE licensure preparation undergraduate

A key motivation for the development of the new BA in IECE degree is to embed seamless transfer
from Colorado community colleges and entrance into the statewide articulation agreement. The
current BI in IECE program is not suited to fully align with the statewide articulation framework.
The development of the BA in IECE curriculum has integrated feedback from stakeholders across
IHEs, regional industry, and research on professional workforce development needs, and is
designed to provide efficient transfer.

The robust preparation of well-prepared inclusive early childhood/early childhood special education
professionals, especially through distance delivery, is an essential need facing our field. Our

BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)
BA in IECE Online/Distance Education New Program Proposal                 Version: 12/21/2020

program is designed to provide consistent structure and strong support and guidance, which
becomes even more essential for student success in a distance model. By building strong student
supports, advising, outreach, faculty relationship building, and flexibility in course scheduling, we
are positioned to enhance both access and persistence through program completion for diverse
IECE students. This program has tremendous potential to develop the much-needed qualified
ECE/ECSE workforce, which is in short supply across Colorado and the nation. By embedding
preparation for Colorado initial teacher licensure, graduates are then able to quickly and easily
transfer their active teaching credentials to other states, thereby remaining attractive as a
professional preparation program for students beyond Colorado residents. Teacher licensure is
regulated and issued by individual state departments of education. Each state’s department of
education has slightly different reciprocity requirements and procedures. The COE student affairs
staff and faculty will advise students on their specific state teacher licensing reciprocity process.

Transferability, remote access, high quality online design, personal relationships, and
stackable professional certificates embedded within the degree were cited as key program
needs. The new program design carefully addresses these major challenges in student access
and persistence in ECE/ECSE programs.

Sophisticated Instructional Design: Across the current distance higher education arena, online
programs pervasively experience high student drop-out rates and lack of persistence to graduation.
Several factors have been identified as contributing to this attrition trend: poorly designed courses
that are confusing and ill-suited for online learners, lack of connection and ‘personal touch’,
inconsistent, poor quality content/course experience, and lack of flexibility with scheduling (Bawa,
2016). The UCCS BA in IECE design process is strategically built around highly intentional course
content and platform development through the use of instructional design expertise. This allows
faculty and student support personnel to focus heavily on student contact, relationship-building,
coaching, and creating the ‘high touch’ experience students need to support their persistence.

The inclusion of an instructional designer as a co-creator of all IECE courses is an essential and
unique feature of this program plan. One of the key concerns of online college students which
contributes to the extremely high drop-out rate, is a lack of consistency and ‘user friendliness’ of
online classes. Research on the barriers to online student persistence (to program completion) also
include a need for frequent faculty feedback and interaction, peer connections, relevancy of the
course content, and quality of the course structure (Hart, 2012). The BA in IECE program plan
embeds content expertise with instructional design expertise to finally address these persistent
barriers. Partnering an instructional designer with a high level of expertise in online education
design with content expert faculty allow for a sophisticated course content design and course
structure, designed to increase faculty interaction time and peer to peer interactions.

Integrated into the program development process is a course content module design process, in
which faculty pair with the dedicated instructional designer to build course content for all IECE
courses. Online strategies and tools will include faculty video introductions for each module, virtual
student to student collaborations and group discussions, video lectures with embedded video clips,
faculty video demonstrations, and use of online modules designed by Vanderbilt University,
EarlyEdu, and Harvard University and freely available for course integration. Students will be
guided and mentored in also creating student-designed video demonstrations of teaching strategies
where they will demonstrate professional competencies and receive coaching. Digital textbooks
will be used, with seamless video clip integration. Students will be grouped into small teams via
Canvas to facilitate peer-to-peer collaborations. Virtual office hours (video chats via Teams, Zoom,
BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)
BA in IECE Online/Distance Education New Program Proposal                 Version: 12/21/2020

or Skype) will provide advising opportunities and access to converse with faculty. This allows
course faculty to focus more on student engagement during course offering, and less on building
course content. This re-structuring of faculty teaching time is instrumental in enabling deep
relationship building through the course experience, thereby removing a key barrier cited by many
online students and increasing student satisfaction, which is a major aspect noted in student
persistence (Hart, 2012, Tello, 2007). While IECE faculty bring a high level of content knowledge
and expertise, strong skills in designing the online learning environment from an instructional
designer will complement the team and ensure online learning environments that are designed to
address all contributing factors to online student attrition.

Unprecedented Access: All new teachers must earn a Bachelors degree in a state-approved
qualifying program in order to apply for teacher licensure(s). For candidates living in rural areas or
without local access to a 4-year college or university, earning this credential can be difficult or
impossible. Ironically, these communities are among those demonstrating critical teacher shortage,
particularly in ECSE. For example, Head Start (early intervention) programs serve almost 1 million
disadvantaged children annually. Over the past 10 years, the national Head Start office set a goal
for at least 50% of teachers to earn a minimum of a Bachelors degree by 2013 (USDHHS, nd).
Nationally, Head Start programs in certain regions have met that goal and continue to advocate for
increasing teacher credentials. However, in rural and tribal nations (Arizona and New Mexico, for
example), an average of only 36% of Head Start teachers have completed a Bachelors degree
(Mead, 2017). Many Head Start programs are located in rural and under resourced areas by nature
of being income-qualification based programs, creating a major access barrier for teachers and
critical teacher shortage. Among Head Start programs (as well as others), there is a strong interest
in online programs which integrate job-embedded coaching for field experiences in the program.
Due to the complexity of effectively offering a distance teacher preparation program, there are very
few options for online teacher preparation with licensure. UCCS is committed to designing a
sophisticated program which leverages strong student advising, technology, and effective tools to
implement high-quality online teacher preparation, which will rely on unique faculty expertise and
strategic partnerships with programs which support distance teacher education (such as EarlyEdu).

Inclusive Approach and Relevant Content: One of the great assets of the UCCS Department of
Teaching and Learning is the emphasis on inclusion and preparing future educators with the skills,
dispositions, and knowledge to effectively educate all children. Inclusive education refers to the
values, commitment, skilled workforce, equitable access, and embedded supports in education
communities which provide effective pathways for all children to meaningfully participate and
achieve positive learning and development outcomes. Inclusion refers to supporting children with
and without disabilities in a shared education setting, but also refers to access, meaningful
participation, and embedded supports for all diverse learners (children of color, English Language
Learners, children from diverse family backgrounds, children from lower socio economic
background, children experiencing trauma, etc). Several years ago, the COE merged the Special
Education and Curriculum and Instruction departments into one inclusive Department of Teaching
and Learning, thereby creating inclusive departmental structures and partnerships (i.e., special
education, early childhood education, elementary education, English language learning as one
entity). This merging of program faculty into one department with a shared inclusive education
focus is unusual and created the opportunity to synthesize complimentary faculty backgrounds,
positioning UCCS as a leader in the area of inclusion in higher education teacher preparation.

Strategic partnerships and effective collaborations with community-based agencies and networks
focusing on early childhood program administration, child and family mental health, behavior
BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)
BA in IECE Online/Distance Education New Program Proposal                 Version: 12/21/2020

supports, intervention services, and practitioner professional development trajectories are
innovative features in this comprehensive approach to professionalizing the early childhood
workforce. The new IECE program will also integrate trauma-informed practice (TIP) and positive
guidance and behavior supports, which are two highly relevant, research-based themes in education
today, and often cited as a gap in professional practice. The focus on these topics allows for faculty
expertise to shine, as well as deepens opportunities for extending faculty (and student) research.
Currently, program faculty engage in research (resulting in numerous publications and
presentations) on social emotional learning (including TIP), accessible instructional design to
support inclusion, play-based learning, and child-centered programming. By highlighting these
themes in the new program, we will provide students with essential, relevant content as well as
increase opportunities for research. Effective distance education and supervision methods,
including intensive field residencies, deeply engage students in a rich, meaningful curriculum and
interactive learning experiences which infuse foundations and best practices in the following
essential scope and competencies of IECE practice:

These essential content areas represent a depth of professional knowledge and skills that are often
missing in teacher preparation. School and childcare administrators widely describe challenges in
supporting positive behaviors and meeting diverse student learning needs (particularly children with
disabilities and English language learners) as gaps in new teachers’ competencies. The UCCS
College of Education has firmly rooted all of our programming for the past 7 years in an inclusive
framework and built a strong team of faculty with expertise and credentials in inclusion, diversity,
infant and child mental health, and trauma informed practice and supports in education. The
development of the new BA in IECE provides a platform for leveraging a wealth of relevant
expertise to create a comprehensive program with both breadth and depth and which robustly
prepares a new early childhood workforce to fully support strong learning and development
outcomes for all children.

Online Supervision Innovations: The largest challenge and opportunity of this program is to
effectively and successfully execute a distance supervision model (supervising students in
classrooms for field work via technology, replacing on-site visits). Student supervision is the largest
cost and time commitment in teacher preparation programs and designing a distance model will
result in significant cost savings to the COE as well as unprecedented access for remote students.
The BA in IECE online program will rely extensively on online video coaching for upper division
field work and student teaching supervision. The program will use apps and tools such as Microsoft
Teams, Zoom, EarlyEdu (University of Washington), Swivl, and subscription-based online video
coaching tools like GoReact (or others, to be determined).

The new BA in IECE program with distance-option will serve to provide new access and
opportunity for professional preparation, advancement, and credentialing of new teachers through a
cutting-edge program focused on an inclusive education stance. By providing a high-quality
distance pathway to professional credentialing in two high-need teaching areas, the BA in IECE
clearly aligns with the UCCS vision to “broaden access to higher education for the benefit of
southern Colorado, the state, nation and world”, and the COE mission of equity, inquiry, and
BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)
BA in IECE Online/Distance Education New Program Proposal                Version: 12/21/2020

        A2. Student Learning Goals
The Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Early Childhood Education is a professional preparation program
focusing on early childhood education and early childhood special education teacher preparation.
The creation of the overarching student learning outcomes is driven by state and national
professional standards and regulations and rooted in current research-based best practices in
ECE/ECSE professional preparation (National Association for the Education of Young Children,
Council for Exceptional Children-Division of Early Childhood, and CO Licensing Regulations
4.01, 5.09, 5.12-5.15, 4.02, 5.01). Through completion of the Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Early
Childhood Education (BA in IECE) students will:
    1. Demonstrate both breadth and depth of knowledge of early childhood education and early
        childhood special education best practices and effective interventions.
    2. Demonstrate knowledge of required licensing requirements and regulations relating to the
        care and education of young children, including mandatory reporting of signs of abuse or
    3. Articulate and advocate for an inclusive, culturally responsive, diversity awareness stance in
        their professional approach.
    4. Apply principles and practices of developmentally appropriate and effective inclusive
        practices and play-based learning to ensure successful outcomes for all children.
    5. Create learning environments and activities which facilitate strong relationships, integrate
        trauma informed supports, and support the safety, health, and wellness of all children.
    6. Design intentional, integrated, differentiated, evidence-based instructional experiences for
        culturally and linguistically diverse young children birth-8 with and without disabilities.
    7. Systematically implement appropriate, culturally responsive assessment practices to gather
        valid and reliable data on children’s development and learning.
    8. Use varied forms of data to drive instructional planning, individualizing, family and student
        team communications, and instructional strategy decision making.
    9. Engage in ethical professional practices and collaborations in serving diverse children and
        families, valuing all the many facets of human diversity through actions that preserve the
        dignity and rights of each member of the community.
    10. Assess systems, policies, and practices that serve and support children and families to
        ensure the integration of anti-bias, trauma informed, and social justice approaches to equity
        and equality in schools and programs.
    11. Design effective child and family data organization, ensuring the preservation of
        confidentiality of student data and required records.
    12. Use effective, culturally respectful communication with all stakeholders.
The capstone assessment of program completers will be evaluated through an extensive portfolio of
evidence, including national licensure exam scores (5025, 5691, 5024 or others recommended by
the state), extensive work samples, and video analyses of instructional strategy implementation.
Evaluation of the portfolios will be completed using a standards-mapped rubric by trained assessors
(program faculty).

B. Student Demand and Workforce Demand
  B1. Student Demand
  a. Enrollment Projections and Table
BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)
BA in IECE Online/Distance Education New Program Proposal                 Version: 12/21/2020

There is an ongoing and significant demand for distance-delivered early childhood and early
childhood special education professional preparation and credential preparation. With the built-in
stackable workforce certificates in the new degree, we anticipate this to become a pipeline for
students who ‘start small’ with a 4 course certificate, and then decide to matriculate in to the degree
program. Each set of 4 courses in the certificate align with an emphasis area, one emphasis in
inclusive teaching strategies and one emphasis in trauma sensitive practice and behavior supports.
These certificates are defined in the program plan on pg. 19. Enrollment projections are based on
national market demand trends as well as data gathered by Dr. Follari from:
    • Survey of Colorado community college ECE faculty
    • Community college data reports
    • Survey of current UCCS IECE students
    • Online searches of reported ECE online enrollment
    • Conversations with ECE faculty at other schools
    • Conversations/data from workforce development partners
Currently, the majority of ECE programs are at community colleges, and across majors nearly 40%
of all undergrads are at community colleges. In the UCCS BI IECE program, around 65% of
students are transfers from community or other colleges. In the early childhood field, this is due in
part to a historic emphasis on ECE teacher preparation at community colleges, low professional
compensation making it difficult to afford 4 year and university tuition, and stronger personalized
advising (smaller institutions) at the 2 year college level. (Hinton, 2018; Mead, 2018). With calls to
increase ECE teacher credentials to the Bachelors level over the past 10 years and increases in
higher-paying public school ECSE positions, 4 year colleges and universities have become stronger
players in the ECE teacher preparation arena. But these statistics definitely demonstrate a need for
strong 2 to 4 IHE year articulation.

We currently have a strong partnership with our area community college, but with this new online
program we will appeal to the entire 13 Colorado community college system. In Dr. Follari’s recent
poll of CO community college ECE faculty at 13 institutions, 75% said their student body would
“definitely be interested” in an online BA in ECE/ECSE program (25% said “maybe interested”).
Three colleges indicated 75% of their students would be interested in this degree, and other
respondents said 5-25% of their students would be. One respondent indicated 75 ECE students per
year would be interested. Seven respondents indicated the unique content of our program was a
particular need and appeal (special education, challenging behaviors, trauma informed practice).
Feedback from this survey has guided proforma enrollment estimates, along with personal
conversations and posted community college ECE enrollment/degree conferral data.

Some of the economic realities and limitations of ECE students which limit higher education access
remain the same, however, calling on institutions of higher education to co-create stronger
collaborations and seamless transferability to allow students to leverage community colleges along
their progressive educational paths. Early Childhood teacher preparation students tend to enter the
workforce first and seek college programming after, thus they tend to be older, be working parents
(85-95% women), and be place-bound in their communities. Rural residents often only have local
access to community colleges, thereby limiting their professional opportunities to max out at
assistant-level positions, while exacerbating the critical shortage area for licensed early childhood
special education teachers. Bachelor’s programs will only remain competitive and responsive to
field needs by using these demographic factors to drive program features, including distance access,
flexible year-round scheduling, and integrating job-embedded coaching using students’ current
BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education New Program Proposal (BA IECE)
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workplaces as field sites for required field experiences. Job-embedded coaching is increasingly
recognized as a key professional development practice, for example being given additional points
towards professional credential steps from the Colorado Office of Early Childhood Professional
Credentialing System. Teacher preparation programs which integrate this practice will emerge as
more responsive to student and field needs and recommendations. The UCCS Bachelor of Arts in
Inclusive Early Childhood Education (BA in IECE) is built around these essential features.

We anticipate around 25 students making internal program transfer from the current BI IECE
program in year 1, plus new first-year and external transfer students for a total year 1 enrollment of
49. (In an on-going student survey in April 2020, 67% of current IECE students report interest in
transferring programs). In year 2 we expect 20 external transfers plus new students to total 83. In
year 3 we expect 30 external transfers plus new students to total 122. In year 4 we expect 30
external transfers plus new students to total 153. In year 5 we expect 30 external transfers plus new
students to total 182. These calculations assume a 73-75% retention (freshman-sophomore).

As a professional licensure program with progress benchmarks throughout the second and third
year to advise out students unsuitable for meeting the College, University, State, and National
standards, we anticipate all seniors to graduate. Year 1- 0 graduates; Year 2- 12 graduates; year 3-
28 graduates; year 4- 33 graduates; Year - 35 graduates.

Enrollment projections table

Table B1: BA in IECE Enrollment projections table
 b. Design to meet working and military students, and potential growth in part-time

The online BA in IECE program provides the greatest degree of course access, allowing working
students and military students to continue their workplace and military commitments. The careful
design of the courses uses an instructional designer to ensure consistency and efficiency in the
students’ user experience. The IECE program is exploring flexible scheduling options to further
increase efficiency of student time, through options such as 8-week intensive course scheduling and
consistently leveraging summer sessions, so that students can be enrolled full time while working.
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One of the major barriers to early childhood educators increasing their credentials through higher
education (particularly with the field experience requirements) is in balancing their current
employment with school; employment that is often in early childhood programs during the day.
Using student workplace placement to meet their required course field work alleviates this barrier.
Integrating job-embedded coaching within the required field work courses as a core feature of the
BA in IECE program not only supports students balancing work and school but goes further to
support on-the-job coaching and enhances the practice of our students. This creates and strengthens
good partnerships with childcare and preschool programs and positions the UCCS COE as a
resource for partners' program quality improvement. This structural foundation will also allow us to
respond to potential growth in part time students. lists UCCS as one of the Veteran Friendly Colleges of 2020 and lists UCCS in its Top 10. These rankings demonstrate a campus-wide and
system-wide commitment to supporting academic and professional development for military
members, veterans, and their families. In IECE, our faculty and staff have worked hard to create
individualized solutions for our military and veteran students, but we are limited with our current
campus-bound program. A defining feature of more highly-ranked “military friendly” colleges and
universities is their breadth of distance and online programs and clear transfer of lower division
coursework. The new UCCS BA in IECE intentionally embeds these key features in its design to
ensure the strongest support for student persistence, even in the face of sudden or frequent
geographic transitions.
         B2. Workforce Demand
The area of Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) continues to grow and become recognized
in state and federal legislation, thereby increasing family access and demand. Increasing
enrollments of children with disabilities in general education (public and private schools and
childcare) has significantly increased demand for qualified teachers. In contrast, ECSE remains a
critical teacher shortage area every year across the country, particularly in rural and underfunded
schools (US Department of Education, 2016; Walker, 2019). For example, 73% of teachers in Head
Start programs in Washington, DC and Virginia employ early childhood teachers with Bachelors
degrees, whereas just 36% of rural and tribal nation Head Start program teachers have Bachelors
degrees, largely due to lack of workforce access. This falls far short of the national program
requirement of at least 50% of Head Start teachers holding Bachelors degrees (Mead, 2017). ECSE
licensure is quickly becoming an attractive and sought-after credential for emerging professionals,
and a requirement for an increasing number of attractive positions, particularly in geographically
dispersed locations across the Southwest United States. Reasons this credential is in high demand
     • ECSE licensure qualifies teachers to hold positions in community-based preschools and
         public elementary schools, which opens up access to coveted positions with higher salaries
         and health benefits.
     • Teachers educating children with disabilities at the preschool level earned a median wage of
         $67,060 in May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020). Preschool
         teachers WITHOUT the special education certification make an average of $30,000. The
         western region of the US demonstrates ECSE professional salaries at the higher levels of
         mean wage, providing a strong employment market for CO and surrounding states. See
         figure B1: Annual Mean Wage of Preschool Special Education Teachers By State.
     • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 4-7% job growth through 2024 (for early
         childhood special education and preschool teacher job categories).

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   •   Over 1 million children are enrolled in Head Start nationally; and enrollment is holding
       steady over last 5 years (KidsCount, 2018). Head Start legislation requires enrollment of at
       least 10% of children with disabilities and at least 50% of teachers holding Bachelors
       degrees. The combination of ECE and ECSE teacher licensure creates an especially strong
       and highly qualified workforce.

       Figure B1: Annual mean wage of preschool special education teachers by state

   •  States with highest ECSE job concentration: CO, NM, UT, NV, KS, WY, MT, WA, MN,
      AR (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020). Colorado and the surrounding states demonstrate
      among the highest concentration of professional positions for ECSE qualified professionals,
      creating a strong employment demand and need for our graduates. “The location quotient is
      the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average
      concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher
      share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the
      occupation is less prevalent in the area than average.” (BLS 20202,
   See figure B2: Location Quotient of Preschool Special Education Teachers By State.

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   Figure B2: location quotient of preschool special education teachers by state

Figures B1 and B2 from

C. Role and Mission
The University of Colorado as a system is a public research university with multiple campuses
serving Colorado, the nation, and the world through leadership in high-quality education and
professional training, public service, advancing research and knowledge, and state-of-the-art health
care. Further, UCCS’s mission states: The Colorado Springs campus of the University of Colorado
shall be a comprehensive baccalaureate university with selective admission standards. The
Colorado Springs campus shall offer liberal arts and sciences, business, engineering, health
sciences, and teacher preparation undergraduate degree programs, and a selected number of
masters and doctoral degree programs (Colorado Revised Statutes. Senate Bill 11-204. Section 2.
23-20-101 (1) (c) Approved June 10, 2011). The proposed teacher preparation degree is in line with
the role and mission of UCCS and the CU System through its online design and capacity to serve
the teacher preparation needs of the southern CO region (and beyond).

The proposed Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Early Childhood Education (BA in IECE) degree also
fits within the Mission, Vision, and Goals of the College of Education and UCCS. The mission of
the College of Education is: We prepare teachers, leaders, and counselors who embrace equity,
inquiry and innovation. The innovative, online nature of the BA in IECE opens up new channels of
access for underserved student populations, including in rural areas with higher populations of
LatinX students who are commonly left out of higher education teacher preparation opportunities.
The proposed program centers around preparing highly qualified inclusive education professionals,
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with a strong emphasis on social justice work (essential for equity in education). Graduates of this
program will be prepared to work in a wide variety of inclusive early childhood professional
settings, which aligns closely with our mission to advance equity and equality in education.
The BA in IECE expands the COE’s offerings at the undergraduate level and supports integration
with the broader campus through the general education requirements. It also aids in targeting a
market not adequately served in the Southern Colorado region and Southwestern United States.

D. Duplication
The UCCS program offers dual credentialing in ECE and ECSE licensure and emphases on highly
demanding widespread issues in current ECSE/ECE practice (trauma practitioner, inclusion,
integrated curriculum design). This is in contrast to most other programs that offer one licensure
area, or national programs that provide education preparation but NOT state-specific licensure.
Aligning our program with CO Department of Education licensure regulations allows graduates to
earn state licensure, which they can then transfer to other states, as desired. The benefit of
completing Colorado teacher licensure for out-of-state students is the ease of teacher licensure
paperwork in CO due to UCCS’s relationship with the CO Department of Education, and the
nation-wide reciprocity agreements with Colorado to transfer current license (there are more
challenges with seeking initial licensure out-of-state). Since teacher licensure is always a state level
regulation, our student affairs staff will be specially trained to advise and guide students in
navigating each state’s unique licensing reciprocity agreements. Offering integrated coursework to
earn dual CO licensure requires careful course design, unique core faculty expertise, and on-going
cultivation of a network of highly qualified part time faculty. Gaining and maintaining state
approval and national accreditation for a multi-credential program requires heavy coordination and
data management, to which the COE has dedicated strong staff support as of 2018. The unique
blending of UCCS COE faculty in the Department of Teaching and Learning to join special and
general education, English Language Learning faculty experts, and early childhood, elementary,
and secondary specialists positions UCCS to be able to offer such an innovative model, where other
programs are not able.

In the state of Colorado, there is not another IHE that offers a dual licensure BA preparing
graduates to earn ECE and ECSE teacher licensure/endorsement. Some IHEs offer early childhood
education with or without teacher licensure (CU-Denver, Adams State, CSU). Other IHEs offer
ECSE licensure at the graduate level (CU-Denver, University of Denver). Only the University of
Northern Colorado offers a BA in Early Childhood Special Education. None of these programs are
fully online, and none of them integrate an inclusive stance nor lead to both ECE and ECSE teacher
credentials. (Offering an online teacher preparation, multi-licensure and credential program is
incredibly complex!)

There are no other programs on campus or across the Pikes Peak region that contain the specific
elements and address the same needs as the proposed BA in Inclusive Early Childhood Education.
The focus on inclusive education reflects a 50-year shift in how we prepare teachers to meet the
needs of all children.
Nationally, 4 of the top 7 ECE degree awarding institutions are online. All 7 offer some online
coursework, clearly indicating the student desire and market for online programming.

Analysis of Specific Competition:

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 University of Northern Colorado- BA in ECSE (123                 Our program will lead to ECE and ECSE
 credits). Similar program, not fully online.                     licensure and is fully online.
 University of Kansas- BA in ECSE online: public state            This is a close/like competitor with very
 university offering Unified (Inclusive) ECE program.             similar features and benefits.
 Fort Hayes State University- BS in Unified ECSE: While           Our program will lead to ECE and ECSE
 the program is online, students are strongly encouraged to       licensure and is fully online.
 live proximal to the school to be most successful. Program
 requires 126 credits, and is among the most affordable at
 under $4,000
 Vanderbilt University- BA in ECSE: private university.           UCCS has the advantage of lower tuition
 Vanderbilt is a selective private school with tuition close to   cost and more student-friendly acceptance
 $45,000 per year.                                                policies. Our program will lead to ECE
                                                                  and ECSE licensure and is fully online
 Ashford University- BA in ECE online: Ashford awards             Our program will lead to ECE and ECSE
 the most degrees in ECE (single major/licensure area) in         licensure.
 the nation (an online university), with 1000 ECE degrees
 awarded in 2018. Ashford is a private for-profit university
 using a ‘farming out’ model of instruction, in which
 qualified faculty oversee hundreds of students from a high-
 level view, with less qualified course managers and graders
 taking responsibility for regular interactions with students.
 Florida International University- BS in ECE: Fully online        Our program will lead to ECE and ECSE
 120 credit program that ranks highly in national rankings,       licensure.
 but does not lead to teacher licensure. This program does
 not integrate early childhood special education. This
 program has a 58% graduation rate, which is among the
 lowest for well-ranked schools
 University of Washington-Seattle- BA in ECE: this fully          Our program will lead to ECE and ECSE
 online, asynchronous program is highly ranked and has an         licensure.
 84% graduation rate (high for an online program). The
 program does not lead to licensure but is affordable and
 fully online/asynchronous.

E. Statutory Requirements
The Colorado Revised Statutes (approved November 6, 2012) provide that students may enroll in
baccalaureate programs that have a requirement of more than 120 credit hours when the additional
degree requirements are recognized by the commission. The proposed BA requires 120 credit

F. Admission, Transfer, and Graduation Standards
  F1. Admission requirements
The Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Early Childhood Education (BA in IECE) will follow the general
campus requirements:
   • An undergraduate application
   • High school transcript or GED certificate
   • ACT or SAT test scores (unless a transfer student with 12 hours of transferrable
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       In addition, applicant must:
   •   Meet with the College of Education faculty advisor
   •   Complete an application for the Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Early Childhood Education
   •   Meet with Student Success Center for undergraduate advising
   •   Submit transcripts (an official transcript from other institutions attended)
   •   Pay a $50.00 application fee

   F2. Transfer requirements
The requirements for transfer students will follow the UCCS guidelines. The candidate will apply,
pay the fee, submit transcripts from previously attended institutions, and ACT or SAT scores
(unless the candidate has more than twelve hours of transferrable coursework). Evaluation of course
credit will take place after the candidate applies. A key feature of the proposed BA in IECE will be
alignment with the statewide ECE articulation agreement.

   F3. Enrollment restrictions
With the anticipation that the College of Education will be able to obtain the requested resources as
the BA in IECE program grows as outlined in the accompanying proforma, we do not currently
plan to limit enrollment in the BA in IECE degree program. However, if the program grows
substantially beyond expectation and no further resources become available, the program will either
consider capping enrollment commensurate to the resources available or raise entrance

   F4. Continuing program requirements, graduation requirements
Standards for continuing in the program are more detailed than UCCS’s general academic
requirements because the program involves work in the schools that pertains to meeting
professional requirements and dispositions. In the Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Early Childhood
Education (BA in IECE), candidates will be evaluated at five critical benchmarks:
1. The first benchmark is that the candidate will have had to maintain a GPA of 2.75 for the first
    two years of coursework. During that time, candidates participate in several practica tied to their
    coursework. For each practicum experience, the candidate is evaluated and receives written
    feedback using a nationally-recognized standardized assessment, the Educator Disposition
    Assessment (EDA). If minimum GPA requirements are met and EDA feedback meets or
    exceeds expectations, the candidate may continue in the program.
2. The second benchmark must be met prior to the candidate’s third year in the program. It
    consists of assessment of the student’s completion on the 1000- and 2000-level IECE courses,
    review of key assessments from IECE coursework, passing of a state criminal background
    check, and provision of 2 professional references.
3. The third benchmark is the successful completion of the junior year block courses with 2.75
    GPA or higher, which include teaching methods and field work.
4. The fourth benchmark is that the candidate must pass national teacher licensure exams by mid-
    fall semester of the senior year, to include state-required exams (currently Praxis 5204, 5691,
    and 5205). These exams must be passed prior to being approved for spring senior student
5. The fifth benchmark is the capstone professional portfolio assessment, including successful
    completion of all IECE coursework and student teaching, and the evaluation of the student’s
    electronic teaching portfolio and a satisfactory score on the edTPA (a performance evaluation
    used to predict classroom readiness).
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If a student meets the academic requirements and the professional dispositions at each of these
critical benchmarks, then they are recommended for graduation and given an institutional
recommendation that goes to CDE for licensure/endorsement. If the candidate is unable to meet the
requirements at any of the transition points, they will not be allowed to continue in the program.

In order to graduate, candidates must:
• complete all required curriculum
• maintain a GPA of 3.0 in upper-division coursework and a B- or better in licensure coursework
• receive a minimum of ‘meeting expectations’ score on dispositions checks
• complete classroom-based field experiences
• complete all program assessments as well as Praxis ECE, ECSE, and Elementary Reading
    exams (or comparable state-recommended exam)
• successfully complete the edTPA portfolio
• successfully complete and earn passing score on the electronic IECE Program Portfolio

G. Curriculum Description and Assessment Process
The curriculum for the Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Early Childhood Education (BA in IECE) is
based on research and best practices for educating young children with and without disabilities,
children learning English as an additional language, as well as adhering to professional standards in
the fields of Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. The standards and
competencies for Elementary Reading Education and Culturally & Linguistically Diverse
Education will be infused into the course of study for students, meeting or exceeding state
regulations for teacher preparation. BA in IECE students will learn how to respond to the needs of
all children from birth-8 years old and support families across diverse settings.
     G1. Program requirements and credit hours
The BA in IECE program is a 120 credit teacher preparation program which qualifies graduates to
earn two teaching credentials through the Colorado Department of Education: teacher licensure in
ECE: Birth-8, an endorsement in ECSE: Birth-8 special education. Graduates will also be qualified
to earn the Colorado Department of Human Services Child Care Center Director Qualification
credential. Given the extensive professional preparation requirements to be met by the program, and
the multiple professional credentials able to be earned upon completion of the program, the total
credits are slightly above the 120 statutory requirement. All courses in the program offer a distance
delivered option to enable to program to be completed online/distance delivery (considering
Community College Online options for lower-division courses not immediately available in the
required semester, as needed).

Of the 120 total credits, 94 are student credit hours taught by the College of Education, and 26 are
student credit hours taught by Letters Arts and Sciences.
The early IECE courses embed practical experiences through field-based assignments. In lower
division IECE courses, field experiences are embedded through observation-based assignments.
There are four practicum/field work courses, one each in the final 4 semesters. The initial 3 field
courses are 3 credit part-time placements in early childhood classrooms across the birth-3rd grade

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range. The final capstone course in the program (spring senior) is the full-time student teaching
fieldwork course, which is required by state regulations and national standards.
The blending of content coursework, teaching methods coursework, and applied field work across
several semesters to comprise the IECE major is an effective and evidence-based model for teacher
preparation. The deliberate integration of inclusive content and methodology is unique to UCCS
and is made possible by the specific faculty expertise and inclusive/blended Teaching and Learning
Department structure.
Students are required to pass the Praxis ECE, ECSE, and Elementary Reading exams prior to
student teaching (at this time).

G2. Course list
Courses offered through LAS:
GPS1010 Gateway Freshman Seminar (Head of the Class is preferred)
ENGL1310 Rhetoric and Writing 1
ENGL1410 Rhetoric and Writing 2
HIST1540 US: Recent America, 1918-Present
MATH3010 Math for Elementary Teachers 1
MATH3020 Math for Elementary Teachers 2
PSY1000 General Psychology
GES1980 World Regional Geography

Courses offered through COE:
IECE1000 Introduction to Inclusive Early Childhood Education
IECE1010 Inclusive Child Development
IECE1020 Learning Through Play
*IECE1500 Valuing Diversity and Anti-Bias Programming in EC
EDUC 2400 Arts Integration for Educators
IECE2000 Collaborative Partnerships with Families and Communities
*IECE2100 Foundations of Social Emotional Learning and Trauma Informed Practice in EC
EDUC2600 Integrated Science 1
*IECE2200 Designing Inclusive Child Centered Curriculum
*IECE2500 Relationships, Positive Guidance, and Behavior Supports
EDUC2200 Children’s Literature
EDUC3500 Integrated Science 2
* IECE 3600 Culturally Relevant Administration and Practices in Early Childhood
IECE3000 Observation and Assessment in ECE
IECE3010 Early Language Arts and Communication Disorders (b-4)
IECE3020 Block 1 Practicum- birth-4
IECE3025 Block 1 Seminar
IECE4000 Math and Numeracy
IECE4010 Early Literacy Development and Interventions, K-3rd grade
IECE4020 Positive Classroom Communities
IECE4030 Black 2 Practicum- k-3rd grade
IECE4035 Block 2 Seminar
EDUC3991 Intro to Professional Year- IECE
COUN4500 Wellness, Resiliency, and Emotional Intelligence
*IECE 3500 Young English Language Learners and Family Literacy
IELM 4070 Teaching Students with Significant Support Needs
*IECE4500 IECE 4500 Universal Design for Learning and Individualized Supports

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     *IECE4600 Practicum 3: Differentiating Instruction for Young Children
     IECE4800 Inclusive Early Childhood Student Teaching (new course numbering)
     *Indicates New Course

            G3. Program planning guide
     A typical 4-year program plan is provided below (chart G1). We also are planning to use alternative
     scheduling to offer 8-week intensives and summer courses as part of regular teaching load/course
     planning to provide more flexibility for students to both move more quickly through the program,
     and leverage available time during summer when working students (in schools) are often more
     available for coursework. Those alternative scheduling options will be further defined and
     delineated through the 2020-2021 year, as they require some COE policy and planning changes to
     teaching loads.

                         Four-Year Degree Plan
        UCCS BA: Inclusive Early Childhood Education (120 credits)
Suggested First Year (all courses articulate fully with Colorado Community Colleges AA/AS in ECE)
                           FALL                                                      SPRING
√    Course                                           Hours √      Course                                       Hours
      GPS 1010 or Elective                             3        EDUC2400 Arts Integration for Educators             3
      IECE 1000 Intro Inclusive Early Childhood        3        IECE 1500 Valuing Diversity and Anti-Bias           3
      Education                                                 Practices in ECE (modified from 1010)
      ENGL 1310 Rhetoric and Writing 1(B- min          3        PSY1000 General Psychology                          4

     HIS 1510 GE Explore: U.S. Birth of a                3        ENGL 1410 Rhetoric and Writing 2                  3
     Nation 1607-1789
     HIST 1520 U.S. Expansion & Division
     IECE 1010 Inclusive Child Development               3        1020 Learning Through Play                        3
                                        TOTAL           15                                             TOTAL       16
Suggested Second Year (all courses articulate fully with Colorado Community Colleges AA/AS in ECE)
                        FALL                                                         SPRING
√    Course                                         Hours √       Course                                        Hours
     IECE 2000 Collaborative Partnerships with           3        IECE2200 Designing Inclusive Child Centered       3
     Families and Communities                                     Curriculum
     EDUC2200 Children’s Literature                      3        IECE 2500 Relationships, Positive Guidance,       3
                                                                  Behavior Support
     MATH 3010 Math for Elementary Teachers              3        MATH 3020 Math for Elementary Teachers 2          3
     EDUC 2600 Integrated Science 1                      3        EDUC 3500 Integrated Science 2                    3

     IECE 2100 Foundations of Social                  3        GES 1980 World Regional Geography                    4
     Emotional Learning and Trauma Informed
                                       TOTAL         15                                          TOTAL             16
Suggested Third Year- IECE Transition 1, including background check, the semester BEFORE Block 1 (April 1)
                        FALL                                                       SPRING
√    Course                                       Hours √      Course                                           Hours
                        PreK Block                                                K-3 Block

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