CDHE approves UCCS’ 50th bachelor’s degree

An anthropology student photographs an excavated artifact.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education has approved a new Bachelor of Innovation in museum practice and heritage management, marking a milestone: the 50th bachelor’s degree program offered at UCCS.

Housed in the anthropology department in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the degree will prepare students for careers in fields spanning anthropology, archaeology and history. Like all Bachelor of Innovation degrees, its multidisciplinary coursework will also include the “innovation core” – a series of classes in innovation, entrepreneurship, proposal and technical writing, business law and collaborative team project management.

It will “help answer the inevitable ‘What will you do with an anthropology degree?’ question,” says the degree program proposal, by providing students with the background and skillset to move into the majority of jobs available in the anthropology field.

According to assistant professor of anthropology Karin Larkin, who spearheaded efforts to create the new degree, “Many students don’t realize there is a wide range of career opportunities working with cultural heritage. This new degree prepares them to work in federal or state agencies, historical societies and the private sector of archaeology, as well as museums.”

She continued, “Annually, the arts, culture and heritage industries generate over $135 billion in economic activity and employ more than 4.1 million people full-time in the United States. In Colorado, heritage tourism generates $4 billion dollars. This degree prepares students to enter into these industries.”

Students work on an excavation site outside of the Heller Center for the Arts and Humanities.

The new degree is unique compared to existing museum studies and anthropology programs across the country due to its roots in the Bachelor of Innovation degree family. Students will receive training in anthropology, museum studies and cultural resource management alongside direct experiential learning in the areas covered by the innovation core.

According to Minette Church, professor of anthropology and director of the Heller Center for the Arts and Humanities, it will prepare students for careers in both the public and private sector.

She remarked, “The cross-college core of the innovation degrees will provide Anthropology BI students with a background in business and public policy as related to museum and heritage management, making them stand out to potential employers in museums, government agencies or environmental firms.”

And it will be a better fit for students who might have otherwise majored in the museum studies and gallery practice degree offered by the visual and performing arts department, which has a focus on museums of art and art history rather than museums of anthropology, history, or natural history.

No new faculty, staff or facilities are needed for the new degree program, meaning there will no need for additional funding to implement it. Program growth will determine if additional faculty are required in the future.

The museum practice and heritage management degree joins a new Bachelor of Innovation degree in digital media, which received Board of Regents approval Sept 12 and CDHE approval Sept. 25. It was approved as UCCS’ 49th bachelor’s degree by the CHDE one week before the museum practice and heritage management degree earned the milestone 50th spot.

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