College of Education


Welcome to the College of Education! Since the university's beginning in the early 1960’s, Education has played an important role in shaping the mission and direction of UCCS. The College of Education offers educator preparation programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Elementary Education (K-6) and Secondary Education (7-12); Special Education; School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Principal Licensure; Curriculum & Instruction; Science Education; Educational Leadership & Student Affairs in Higher Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Research & Policy.

This academic year, the College is offering an exciting and unique new program, the Bachelor of Innovation in Inclusive Early Childhood Education. This program is carefully designed to prepare future educators to teach all children in an Early Childhood setting (ages birth through grade 3). Students completing the BI: IECE will take courses and work collaboratively with students in the College of Business and the College of Engineering and Applied Science while completing their degree. Upon completion, they will be eligible for licensing in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education.

The College of Education serves over 500 students and has 34 full-time faculty. Its professional education programs are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), the Colorado Department on Higher Education (CDHE) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

The UCCS College of Education works closely with other Colorado and Colorado Springs School districts, the Colorado Department of Education, and other universities across the state to meet the needs of the State’s 850,000+ P-12 students. We invite you to learn more about our programs and the many activities we engage in to serve our communities.

Valerie Martin Conley, Ph.D.

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Dr. Susan Jones Dissertation Title: A Portrait of Boundary Violations: Former Female Employees of Corrections Who Have Established a Relationship With an Inmate

The topic of boundary violations between female corrections employees and male inmates has received a great deal of attention as a result of two different avenues. The data gathered as a result of the Prison Elimination Act of 2003 has generated quantitative data regarding the numbers of female employees who have crossed this boundary. Secondly, the recent escape from a prison in New York State, has brought this issue in to the national spotlight. The conversations, both in the media and with corrections professionals as a result of these two events, have given me opportunities to share my research and expand my understanding of this process.

My husband and I are both retired from the Colorado Department of Corrections and we are enjoying the opportunity to travel throughout the country in our RV. I have taken advantage of this freedom of movement and I have presented at 18 conferences since I received my degree. Additionally, I authored an article that was published in the Women and Criminal Justice Journal, July 2015: “Recommendations for Correctional Leaders to Reduce Boundary Violations: Female Correctional Employees and Male Inmates.”

I was also in a position to influence the direction of two major corrections related conferences. Both the Association of Women Executives in Corrections and the Women Working in Corrections and Juvenile Justice Conferences selected the issue of boundary violations to be a central theme for the 2014 conferences. I was privileged to play an important role is each of these conferences. The results of my research challenge many fundamental principles of the corrections culture. Even so, I have been able to see my work stimulate conversations about culture change and operational implications. I am inspired by the willingness of professionals, throughout the country, to listen to my research outcomes and consider the implications of that research.

Earning the Doctorate in

Educational Leadership from UCCS

has given me the academic standing that when combined with 31 years of corrections experience, has allowed me to be involved in effecting change in this culture. At the end of my classroom portion of the Ph.D. program, I chose to retire from the Department of Corrections from the position of warden. This decision was made, in part, due to what I gained from this program. I decided that the next chapter in my career had to be from outside the corrections system. I continue to seek opportunities to affect change in the culture and work environment for the correctional professionals. I do this because many of these professionals are my friends, but I have also pursued this path because I believe that an improved work environment for these professionals may lead to improved outcomes for the criminal justice clients and increase public safety.

    Recent employment:
  • Adjunct Professor for the Colorado Technical University, Colorado Springs
  • Instructional coach for Desert Waters Correctional Outreach
  • Auditor for the American Correctional Association
  • Auditor – certified by the Department of Justice – Prison Rape Elimination Standards
  • Retired- Colorado Department of Corrections, Warden