The mission of CU Engage is to leverage the resources of the Boulder campus to work collaboratively with community groups to address complex public challenges. CU Engage, which is part of the School of Education, develops and sustains equity-oriented partnerships, organizes opportunities for students to learn alongside community members and supports participatory research methods focused on the public good.
CU Engage provides support for two focal activities: 1) community-based learning pathways and 2) community-based research. These activities are linked through the formation of community partnerships that support both learning and research. Community-based learning pathways—including INVST Community Studies, Public Achievement, CU Dialogues and the Leadership Studies Minor—prioritize experience (learning by doing), reciprocity (work with rather than for communities) and intellectual rigor rooted in academic disciplines. Community-based research refers to projects that bring people together with varied training and expertise, working collectively in mutually beneficial ways, on research studies that matter to the public.
Equity & Diversity Initiatives
As an important part of its mission, the CU Boulder School of Education has a strong commitment to democracy, diversity and social justice. Given that education is a cornerstone of individuals’ life chances and opportunities as well as an informed and engaged public, the unwavering evidence of inequality in American education demands the sustained and dedicated attention of researchers, educators and policymakers.
Education Diversity Scholars Program
The Education Diversity Scholars (EDS) program works with the University of Colorado’s LEAD Alliance Neighborhood to provide students of color and first-generation college students with social and academic support, as well as advising on financial support and career preparation. The goal of the program is to offer students a welcoming environment and a strong support network in order to help them excel in their chosen fields. By participating in the Education Diversity Scholars neighborhood, students have access to the personal contact and support of a small community while still being able to take advantage of the benefits of a large university.
INVST Community Studies
Consistent with their vision for a just and sustainable world, the INVST Community Studies program develops engaged citizens and leaders who work for the benefit of humanity and the environment. INVST Community Studies innovatively operates as a community-based organization, practicing service learning and participatory education. In order to fulfill this mission, the program offers:
- Comprehensive two-year Community Leadership Program (CLP) focused on developing community leaders who engage in compassionate action as a lifetime commitment;
- Community Studies electives that foster civic responsibility and leadership potential;
- Public Achievement Program where CU undergrads coach local primary and secondary school students in the design and implementation of public action projects; and
- Youth Council for Public Policy that empowers young people to use the democratic process as a tool for positive social change.
The INVST CLP offers a unique and transformational educational experience to all majors. Each year the INVST CLP admits a small group of students who are committed to making a positive difference with their lives. The two-year program is designed to cultivate deep understanding about issues facing people and the planet and to provide skills and experiences for community leaders to fulfill progressive visions for change. Specifically, students participate in theory classes, skills-training classes and two summer service-learning experiences, one domestic and one international. In addition, students intern six hours each week with community-based organizations during their first academic year, and collectively design, implement and evaluate community leadership projects during their second academic year. Students learn and serve together in a small group environment throughout the program. Applications for the INVST CLP are due every year in February.
Multicultural Leadership Scholars Program
The Multicultural Leadership Scholars (MLS) program offers engaging courses, advising and co-curricular activities, and is open to first-year students from all majors. Based on a social justice approach, coursework for the the MLS program emphasizes that building community, collaboration, ethical reflection, respect and valuing diversity are hallmarks of contemporary leadership practice. Taking classes as a Multicultural Leadership Scholar as a first-year student allows one to complete 8 of the 16 credits needed to earn a Leadership Studies Minor.
CU is a leader in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education. The School of Education, in collaboration with the College of Arts & Sciences, developed and is a national leader in the Learning Assistant model. Additionally, CU Boulder was one of the original 13 institutions selected to replicate the U Teach Model which started at the University of Texas, Austin. Both the LA and CU Teach programs help us prepare outstanding secondary math and science teachers.
The Learning Assistant (LA) Model at CU Boulder uses the transformation of large-enrollment science courses as a mechanism for achieving four goals:
- Recruit and prepare talented science majors for careers in teaching;
- Engage science faculty in the recruitment and preparation of future teachers;
- Improve the quality of science education for all undergraduates; and
- Transform departmental cultures to value research-based teaching for ourselves and for our students.
The transformation of large-enrollment courses involves creating environments in which students can interact with one another, engage in collaborative problem solving and articulate and defend their ideas. To accomplish this, undergraduate LAs are hired to facilitate small-group interaction in our large-enrollment courses.
CU Teach is a four-year degree/licensure program that allows students to complete a rigorous education in a mathematics, science or engineering major and fulfill requirements for a Colorado initial teaching license in secondary mathematics or secondary science. It is a unique collaborative program between the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Education. CU Teach students get immediate hands-on teaching experience by enrolling in the first course in the program, EDUC 2035 Designing STEM Learning Environments and Experiences. Students can enroll in EDUC 2035 as early as their first semester at CU. In addition to taking courses from research faculty in the School of Education, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the College of Engineering and Applied Science, CU Teach students get support from Mentor Teachers (current K–12 teachers) and Master Teachers (CU faculty who are veteran classroom teachers). The student organization hosts activities and events that are social as well as service-oriented, and that help students develop career networks.