Metro State on track for master’s programs
Clearing its final legislative hurdle on Monday, April 13, HB-1295: A Bill for an Act Concerning Authorizing Metropolitan State College of Denver to Offer Master’s Degree Programs, passed in its third reading in the state Senate. The bill will now go to Gov. Bill Ritter for approval. If signed by Ritter, it will become law.
The bill would change existing legislation, which had prohibited Metro State from offering graduate-level programs, to read as follows: “In furtherance of its role and mission, Metropolitan State College of Denver may offer master’s degree programs that address the needs of its urban service area.” Metro State plans to initially explore adding master’s programs in accounting, social work and teacher education.
As Colorado’s leader in educating in-state undergraduates, Metro State is poised to take its students to the next level, according to Metro State President Stephen Jordan. “It would be a benefit to offer graduate programs to our students, most who come from and remain in the seven-county metro Denver area after graduation.”
The road to the master’s: In October 2008, President Jordan announced his intention to the Faculty Senate to seek approval from Metro State’s Board of Trustees (BOT) to pursue legislative authorization to add master’s degrees to the College’s offerings. The BOT on Dec. 3 authorized him to move forward with the process, which included gathering input from the community at-large.
As a result, many professional and community organizations have come on board in support of the College’s direction, including: Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Society of CPAs, the Colorado Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and administrators in Colorado’s Department of Health and Human Services.
To answer a question, posed in the Dec. 3 BOT meeting, about whether this would diminish the College’s mission regarding undergraduates,Trustee Michelle Lucero said she believes it will add to the commitment to undergrads. “This is to complement, not overtake or replace, our bachelor’s programs.”
Through the process Jordan has emphasized how graduate programs can enhance the College’s mission to benefit students and the community, and support the College’s Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) initiative.
Jordan believes that offering graduate degrees will make Metro State more attractive to Latino students, as the College works to essentially double its Latino student population – from 13 percent of the student body to 25 percent – over the next 10 years. The 55-member HSI Task Force included in its February 2008 report the idea that graduate education will attract more faculty of color, considered a key component to enrolling and retaining students of color. (To read more about the HSI initiative, go to http://www.mscd.edu/~collcom/artman/publish/hsi_twv5020608.shtml.)
(To see the bill’s legislative trajectory, go to http://www.leg.state.co.us/Clics/CLICS2009A/csl.nsf/BillFoldersHouse?openFrameset.)