At its May 29 meeting, the Colorado School of Mines Board of Trustees approved a tuition freeze for undergraduate, graduate, online degree programs and study abroad students. The trustees also approved a concurrent enrollment tuition rate for high school students from Jefferson County Public Schools.
Tuition, wage freeze approved
In its latest virtual meeting since the university moved most of its operations online in March, the board approved a freeze of tuition rates for in- and out-of-state students and online degree and study abroad programs at Mines. The mandatory fees for resident and non-resident students will increase just $38 in the coming academic year. While Mines continues to assess housing and dining programs for the coming academic year, the board also approved a “not to exceed” increase to room and board expenses of $509 next year.
The board also formally approved the administration’s plan to freeze employee salaries for the coming academic year due to known and anticipated revenue pressure related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mines sets tuition for JeffCo students
Mines trustees also approved an agreement between Mines and Jeffco Public Schools to offer interested and qualified high school students the opportunity to enroll in for-credit courses at Mines at a reduced tuition rate. Lori Kester, associate provost for enrollment management, explained that this agreement will allow Jefferson County high school students who meet Mines admission criteria to enroll concurrently in classes at Mines at the resident community college tuition rate.
Board approves 11 new certificate programs for fall launch
Near the end of the board’s May meeting, the trustees heard about and approved 11 new graduate and post-baccalaureate certificate programs in data science, economics and business, humanitarian engineering and other areas. The certificates, some of which are the first of their kind in the country and nearly all of which are built to meet industry and student needs, will all be delivered online. Mines hopes to earn accreditation to expand its online offerings this month.
Provost Rick Holz, in introducing the programs for board approval, noted that Mines is anticipating a bump in interest due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts. “We want to provide opportunities for people to advance their careers during this difficult economic time,” he said, while noting that Mines plans to launch an additional 13 online programs once approved to do so. Those programs have already won approval through the Mines Faculty Senate and the board.
“This is really accelerating our progress toward meeting our strategic goals of adding online and non-thesis graduate programs,” Holz said, referring to the MINES@150 strategic plan.
Five of the 11 offerings are in the area of data science, all of which will require the completion of four courses (12 credit hours). There will be a data science foundations certificate, as well as specialized offerings in the areas of computer science, statistical learning, petroleum data analytics and earth resources. Each certificate can be applied—or “stacked” as Dean John Bradford put it—toward a master's degree in data science.
This fall, Mines will also offer a graduate certificate in environmental modeling, a 12-credit program that is expected to be one of only a few fully online offerings in this area nationally. The program builds on Mines’ strengths in computational modeling and engineering and meets a demonstrated industrial need both locally and nationally, Bradford said. This program will be important for engineers who are interested in transitioning into fields of sustainability, environment, conservation and environmental engineering, he said.
The geophysics department developed the Petroleum Geophysics graduate certificate that is believed to be the first fully online program of its kind in the country. The 12-credit program, beginning Fall 2020, is expected to be important for oil and gas sector employees and can be stacked toward two existing master’s programs at Mines: the Master of Science offerings in geophysics or petroleum reservoir systems.
Beginning Fall 2020, the only program of its kind in the country, Underground Construction and Tunnel Engineering (UCTE) will introduce a 10-credit certificate this fall. It is built for working professionals in the field and can be applied toward an existing master’s at Mines—the MS in UCTE.
The last three certificates approved for launch are in Mines’ Economics and Business Division and, specifically, the popular Engineering Technology Management (ETM) program. The department will offer separate online certificates in business analytics, product management and entrepreneurship. Dean Kevin Moore, when introducing the program, noted that Mines will maintain separate on-site and online ETM degrees and that the three new offerings can be stacked together toward an the online ETM degree, which is still in development and would require the completion of two additional courses for the MS.
In addition to these newly approved programs, the Humanitarian Engineering and Science (HES) graduate program, already a unique program nationally, has built an online version of its existing certificate in the field. The 9-credit certificate will combine courses in community-based research, advanced engineering and sustainable community development and risk. The certificate can also be applied toward an existing master’s degree in HES.