Naropa University Launches New Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education for Fall Semester, 2018

Kids working in a greenhouse

October 31, 2017 (Boulder, CO)—Naropa University is pleased to announce the launch of a new Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. Recently approved by both the Colorado State Board of Education and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), this undergraduate degree program is the first of its kind in the nation, blending traditional School of Education content and teaching methodologies with deep training in contemplative pedagogy, and integrating mindfulness, empathy and compassion into the curriculum. At a time when public schools across the country are actively bringing mindfulness into the classroom, often by teachers who receive relatively short training outside their education studies, Naropa’s students will be immersed in these techniques throughout their entire course of study.

Naropa’s new BA program will prepare 21st century educators with both the rigorous academic training and the contemplative focus required for prolonged success in this highly rewarding–yet also deeply demanding–profession. The program will also help address the dramatic and growing teacher shortage in Colorado and across the US. That shortage is driven in part by high turnover resulting from professional stress and burnout, issues that educators will solve with essential learning embedded in the Naropa program. In particular, Naropa’s Elementary Education BA graduates will learn how to be present in the face of constant stress and to avoid potential burnout. These powerful tools will be the golden key to helping our young professionals do their best work with children, families and colleagues.

“The combination of culturally responsive methods, mindful practices and deep content knowledge is what gives our teacher candidates an edge and allows them to bring joy back to learning.” – Barb Catbagan, MEd, Associate Professor and Chair of the Contemplative Education Department, Naropa University

Nationwide, teacher education enrollments dropped 35% between 2009 and 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, according to the Learning Policy Institute, making an already dire teacher shortage into a bona fide crisis. Naropa University’s new Bachelor of Arts degree will provide graduates with the licensure and credentials required to teach Kindergarten through 6th grade in any public or private school in the state of Colorado, and includes a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse endorsement. That endorsement is a sought-after credential by urban and rural districts alike as they work to improve the learning outcomes for an increasingly diverse student population.

In this program, elementary teacher candidates will be steeped in contemplative teaching strategies and experiences integrated into course content throughout their university attendance–in every class–which is what makes it unique. Built upon a strong foundation of Colorado quality teacher standards, contemplative practice and mindful pedagogy, Naropa’s BA Elementary Education program incorporates cutting-edge curriculum and personal skill development that will create authentic, resilient teachers with an acute strength of presence. Graduates enter public or private schools to guide their classrooms grounded in content, diverse cultural awareness, and mindful practices—and ready to make learning come alive for their students.

Students will:

  • Gain the necessary skills to teach a variety of diverse learners
  • Teach critical thinking skills that also cultivate insight
  • Integrate the arts and creativity into daily lessons
  • Add deeper dimensions of learning to required courses
  • Deepen contemporary and holistic best practices in education
  • Nurture student well-being through social and emotional learning
  • Receive a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Endorsement

From the very first course, Naropa BA Elementary Education candidates engage with students in real classrooms. They are coached and mentored by master teachers in both contemplative and traditional teacher practices and develop deep connections with faculty invested in their success and long-term well-being.

About Naropa University ( Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a private, liberal arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Naropa University is a leader in contemplative education, an approach to learning and teaching that integrates Eastern wisdom traditions and traditional Western scholarship. Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Media inquiries, please contact Barb Catbagan, MEd
Associate Professor and Chair of the Contemplative Education Department

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