The College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences (LAS) at the University of Colorado Springs Colorado Springs (UCCS) is a community of teaching scholars whose mission is to advance an understanding of the human condition and the natural world and communicate this understanding to the people of Colorado, and the world at large.
LAS affirms and accepts the ideal purposes and traditional goals of all great universities: the creation, interpretation, dissemination, and application of knowledge. LAS strives to maintain these goals while formulating and delivering innovative and creative programs. LAS provides collaborative programs that enrich the community, promote the creation of a vibrant and creative cultural life, strengthen and sustain a productive and responsible economic sector, facilitate the solution of community and regional problems, increase the safety, health and welfare of individuals and groups, sustain scientific and technological innovation, and enhance the understanding and practice of civic duty and responsibility.
LAS provides breadth of instruction for all students of the UCCS campus, including those in the professional schools and colleges. This breadth exposes all students to the challenge, excitement and demands of clear self-expression, analysis, reasoning, comparison, experimentation, and awareness of alternative perspectives. The College also provides depth in specific academic disciplines for majors within the college. This specialization is important not only for the skills, perspectives, and knowledge gained, but is also the key to success in subsequent education and careers.
LAS offers bachelor’s degrees in a full range of traditional liberal arts majors and minors, and selected graduate programs. We also offer certificate programs.
The concept of diversity-by its very definition-is highly variable. Within the context of a liberal arts curriculum, we define diversity as "differentness", a multiplicity of attitudes and perspectives, beliefs and variation. A positive, proactive attitude towards diversity within an academic context reflects a commitment to inclusiveness, variability and the celebration of "difference." Political definitions of diversity are necessarily different from cultural, geographic or economic definitions. References to diversity may reflect allusion to individuals of ethnic and racial minority groups or protected classes; others include issues of gender, sexual orientation and disability. We embrace a broad definition of diversity, inclusive of the differentness of populations, including gender, ethnicity, culture and other attributes that make groups unique or different. Diversity has come to reflect the study of U.S. racial and ethnic minorities; however, the inclusive definition of diversity also embraces the study of international and global perspectives, a culturally pluralistic and multicultural world, increasingly referred to as our "global village."
LAS is committed to diversity in its curriculum as well as its faculty, staff and student body. The incorporation of diversity into coursework is a priority, and the growth of such programs as Women’s and Ethnic Studies (WEST) is testimonial to both faculty and student interest. WEST is an interdisciplinary course of study that includes both a major and minor. As a college, it is our desire to expand and enhance these programmatic areas. Additionally, the college has added a diversity requirement to our LAS General Education requirements. The infusion and inclusion of matters of diversity into all aspects of the curriculum, where feasible, is reflective of our desire to include, rather than isolate, matters of diversity into all LAS coursework.
Increasing minority faculty in the classroom is crucial in diversifying the campus, and this may be accomplished in a number of ways (funding will be necessary for some).
LAS is committed to hiring faculty who can contribute to the Women’s and Ethnic Studies (WEST) program. Where possible, new faculty hires will include the ability to contribute to these programs. Particularly in the social sciences and humanities, faculty whose areas of expertise articulate with the areas of Women’s and Ethnic Studies will be recruited, with part of the workload to include teaching at least one course per year in one of these two areas (or a course in the discipline that is cross listed with Women’s and Ethnic Studies (WEST).
LAS recommends that the campus set aside funds for a new position each year targeted for minority recruitment, i.e. an "opportunity hire", in the areas of LAS’s greatest hiring needs. While this is desired at the CU-system level, we recognize that we must determine our campus' position irrespective of system wide financial investment. Towards that end, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs could request of the campus funding for a new position that was allocated to LAS expressing the greatest rationale-including departmental programmatic need-in a given year. Perhaps this new line would be rotated so that all UCCS Colleges can "take turns" in focusing recruitment efforts on minority faculty. The reason that we recommend that this be accomplished at the campus level is because of a) the need for the entire campus-not just LAS-to diversify the faculty, and b) because the LAS's budget does not contain such flexibility at the moment, although it may in the future.
When fiscally feasible, LAS would like to be able to authorize faculty recruitment to be sought competitively by departments who wish to actively recruit minority faculty. For example, a social science position could be authorized and advertised to especially target minority recruitments that social science departments could collectively advertise, placing the line in the unit that was able to successfully recruit. This plan would require a set-aside or reallocation, reassignment of salary savings, or shifting lines from one department to another. This goal will need to wait until urgent faculty hiring needs have been minimally met, and until the LAS’s budget is fiscally sound.
Where possible, LAS will strive to recruit minority faculty for both tenure-track positions as well as non-tenure track faculty lines, including visiting assistant professors, instructors, and lecturers. We recognize the difficulty of relocating any faculty for a one-year limited appointment; nevertheless, it is our commitment to make every effort to identify persons of color to fill temporary positions. Proactive efforts-such as using the Minority and Women Doctoral Students Directory as well as recruitment at other venues that increases our likelihood of identifying outstanding minority candidates will be our policy.
With regard to hiring practices, LAS is consistent with CU Regents policy-does not discriminate on any basis. Faculty searches are guided by the commitment to be affirmative and proactive in our search for diverse candidates, and we maintain our commitment to hiring the most qualified candidates. Proactive ways of increasing the inclusion of racial or ethnic minorities in candidate pools include recruitment of individuals through the Minority and Women Doctoral Students Directory, advertising in publications that may be specially relevant to particular groups, targeting institutions that serve large numbers of minority students, e.g. historically Black colleges and universities, schools that serve large numbers of Native American or Latino students, etc.
LAS is committed to diversifying its staff, as well as its faculty and student body. This has been difficult, given the very low turnover of staff positions in LAS. It is our commitment, however, to recruit persons of color to join the LAS staff as positions become available. LAS has submitted requests in every budget cycle to increase its staff, and we will make every effort to recruit staff of color. Because of State of Colorado Personnel policies and procedures, lists of qualified individuals for open staff positions leaves very little opportunity for advertisement or recruitment of persons of color to fill vacant positions.
LAS is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty, staff and students. Minority student enrollment in LAS is consistent with or greater than percentages of minority students for the campus, although this is not surprising since LAS is the largest College at UCCS.
We seek to continue to improve our recruitment and retention of minority students; towards this end, several initiatives are recommended:
For the campus in general, and LAS in particular, scholarship funding is needed to assist all students. Special efforts are being made within the TLE Capital Campaign goals to identify scholarship dollars to provide support for minority students. A special flyer should be printed for the CU Foundation which earmarks a fund designated to assist minority or disadvantaged students, in this case, for LAS. Efforts towards these ends are presently underway, with particular assistance of the LAS Advisory Board and LAS Science Advisory Board.
Enhancing recruitment requires incorporating broader geographic parameters in our efforts to diversify our student body. Recruitment from other regions of the United States (and hopefully one day internationally) is desirable if we are to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities (and international students) on campus.
Distributed Studies Major
Students who are working toward a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in LAS may elect a major in a Distributed Studies program. The Distributed Studies BA degree is perhaps the most misunderstood degree at UCCS. It is not a "general studies" degree with assorted course work in a variety of subjects. Instead, Distributed Studies is a degree that is structured out of courses offered by two or more programs of study. The Distributed Studies major requires a primary subject area with at least 30 semester hours of course work, of which at least 15 hours must be at the upper division level, and also a secondary subject area with at least 30 hours of course work, of which at least 15 hours must be at the upper-division level. Courses taken as part of a Distributed Studies major can be counted toward the college area requirements.
The Distributed Studies major was initiated before minors were offered at UCCS; it served the needs of students who wanted a concentration of courses outside the major. Now, many students complete a major and minor rather than a Distributed Studies degree.
To view the requirements for the two different approaches (built on a stand-alone minor or structured interdisciplinary programs), please click on this link: Distributed Studies Program.