University of Colorado Denver: Serving career changers and older adults

“This is an opportunity to work and continue to earn.”


Rebecca Kantor is the dean of the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development.

The University of Colorado Denver has created and is expanding programs that support all three. It’s CU Denver’s way of addressing the state’s growing teacher shortage.

“The conversation we had was to recognize that the intention to become a teacher is something developed different times in people lives,” said CU Denver School of

Education & Human Development Dean Rebecca Kantor, speaking of when she was appointed to the role in 2011.

So she and her staff created programs such as its NxtGEN, which launched in 2014 with an $8.5 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. NxtGEN is a partnership with Denver Public Schools that recruits from neighborhoods comprised of people of color and first- generation students.

“Their interest is returning to their home communities to teach,” Kantor said.

Students in the program, like all CU Denver’s programs, also spend the last year of college in a residency program getting hands-on training.

“It’s for students to develop an understanding of the life of a teacher,” Kantor said, one thing that has been a challenge for first-year students who often leave the profession.

CU Denver also has a 1.5 to 2-year master’s program that ends in licensure for mind changers, those young students who return to school to become a teacher after obtaining a bachelor’s in another field. And it supports career changers through a program where it assesses the careers of applicants and provides online courses to train them in teaching, as well as get feedback from other instructors.

“There are these seasoned experienced professionals who … are full-on in their adult lives,” Kantor said. “This is an opportunity to work and continue to earn.”


College: School of Education

Top official: Rebecca Kantor, dean

Current students: 1,366

Change in education program grads from 2011-12 to 2016-17: + 21 Teachers placed/hired into a Colorado school: 85% of 2013-14 graduates were employed in Colorado districts in 2014-15.


Caitlin Hendee via [Denver Business Journal]