Is this a degree in Innovation?
No, this is a degree in whatever major you choose, e.g. the BI in Business Administration is a degree in business administration and the BI in EE is a degree in electrical engineering. The innovation core is the common core across the different majors, similar to how the BA at some liberal arts colleges have a common core. A BS in Innovation (or BI in Innovation) was something we considered, but a consensus among the faculty and the companies with whom we vetted the early ideas was that the students need to have some depth of knowledge in a component of innovation. (A major in innovation would be more of a focus on the innovation process itself. It is unclear if there is a sufficient body of knowledge to make such a major.)
What is the program?
The Bachelor of Innovation (BI) is a new family of degrees at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. BI students take most of the same major courses as their BS or BA counterparts; the difference lies in the non-major courses. BI students’ non-major courses are split into three categories: an Innovation Core, a Cross Discipline Core, and general education courses.
Can I finish in 4 years?
All BI programs are designed to be finished in 4 years with either 128 credits for BI in CS, BI in CS Security, BI in EE or 120 credits for the BI in GDD or the BI in Business. In engineering, finishing in 4 years does require an average of 16 credits per term, i.e. 5 or 6 courses per term.
If I change my mind, can I convert over to a BS?
Yes, you can convert over to the BS in the same major. Note, however, that most of the majors have some restrictions on the courses you can take. The program listings show that, when converting to a BS in an engineering field, some course should convert as HSS (Humanities and Social Science) electives. Other BI-related courses may convert only as free electives, though some BS programs also support professional electives. The major in Game Design & Development is only available in the BI, there is no BS counterpart.
Can I change from a BS to a BI after I am at UCCS?
Yes, you can change, but depending on when you convert, not all courses taken will count toward the BI degrees. Note some of the BI majors (EE and CS Security) have few free electives, making it more difficult to switch into those majors if you have already taken non-required courses. (You can switch, but it will take more than 128 total credits to graduate).
Is this program accredited?
UCCS as a school is accredited by NCA. Existing programs in Engineering and Business are accredited by ABET and AACSB respectively. The rules of AACSB provide for automatic inclusion of new programs in accredited colleges of business, so the BI in Business Administration is accredited . The remaining programs have been designed in general accordance with the accreditation guidelines, and the actual major is generally identical. However ABET accreditation does not allow for a program to even apply for accreditation until it produces its first class of students, so at this time the Engineering BI programs are not accredited and for the next few years cannot even seek accreditation.
We note there is no accrediting body for majors in Game Design and Development and the BI in in GDD is not expected to seek accreditation.
Will I get paid for the teamwork?
Class work will not be paid; however, we do expect some of the projects to have added work, in addition to the classwork, that may be hourly employment. Some of this will be done by graduate students working with the team, and some will be done by students. Some of these may even be freshman or sophomore positions. If you are work-study eligible, it’s important to let us know early, so we can see if we can arrange your work-study to be working on a BI-related project.
Will there be opportunities for paid internships?
Many of the companies that have already approached us about being BI team sponsors said they have existing summer intern programs and wanted to know if we could work it so the team members could be summer interns and keep working on the same project. What do you think we said? We said, “Of course we can do that.”
Can I take innovation courses even if I am not a Bachelor of Innovation major?
Probably. The courses are open to all students at UCCS, on a space-available basis and, of course, the prerequisites will need to be followed. Students that are in the BI majors will be given preference if there are more students than spaces in the courses. You need to have taken INOV 1010 before taking any of the innovation teams, and have been in an INOV 2010/2020 course before taking Inov 4010.
What is the expected class size?
Most of the Innovation Core classes and many of the cross-discipline core classes have limited enrollment as our BI lab holds < 48. However, we run these large sections using team-teaching, keeping the student-teacher ratio to 25 or less. The courses in the various majors are subject to their standard limits. There is no planned limit on the number of BI Majors. As of January 2009, there were 103 students in the program. In 2017 we have grown to over 500 majors, but are also serving hundreds of students from other majors as the core classes have become popular electives for students in other majors as well.
Will I be working closely with Professors?
The program is designed to be highly interactive. While the innovation teams may have graduate students involved, the courses in the innovation core, including the innovation teams courses, will be lead by faculty experienced in innovation. You will be working in teams with faculty, graduate students, company representatives as well as a range of undergraduate students. Undergraduate research on federally funded research is also possible.
Can I be a BI student if I am employed full time?
It is possible to be a BI student and employed, but unlike many of the existing majors, the core BI courses are not expected to be offered in the evening, so it will mean taking time off work to attend class and team meetings. (Note the innovation teams have a class time but are also expected to work together outside of class.) Issues of intellectual property will have to be worked out which may limit the team choices for students that have employment that places restrictions on their IP.
What courses should I take in high school to prepare for the BI?
Preparation should match that required for the appropriate college. In general, that is 4 terms of English, 4 years of college prep math, 3 years of science including 2 years of lab science, 2 years of foreign language, and 2 years of social science. For more details see UCCS Future Students Page or click here to go directly to Admissions and scroll down to see specific criteria for admission.
When do I need to declare a particular BI Major?
We hope you will declare your intent when you apply, so we can better plan the class offerings. You may declare any time, but the BI majors have fewer electives than many traditional majors, so the longer you delay, the more likely it will be that you will take courses that cannot be counted toward your degree and therefore require more than 120/128 credits to graduate.
Will employers recognize these degrees? Will employers hire BI students?
The short answer is yes, we expect these students to be more sought after than existing BS students. This was explicitly addressed in our survey of companies. The Business degrees are all AACSB accredited (the leading accreditation in business colleges) and the BI in EE and BI in CS are ABET accredited. Many of our graduates have said the company hired explicitly because they were BI students.
Who will pay for the time abroad if I choose the Globalization Core?
Globalization does not require expensive travel. If students do choose to go abroad, covering the costs for any time abroad for the globalization core is the responsibility of the student. UCCS will be working to organize particular international partners to simplify the process. Students will document their time abroad via a section in their innovation portfolio (including documenting travel costs).
Do BI students qualify for financial aid? Are there any special scholarships?
BI students are regular students at UCCS, so they qualify for all the standard benefits including financial aid. At the current time, there are no special scholarships just for BI students.
What if I don’t get along with my innovation team members?
Sorry if we are the first to break it to you, but life requires learning to work with people with whom you may not always get along. That is actually one of the benefits of 3 years of teaming: to learn some of the “softer” experiential issues that only come from long-term experience. However, just as in the real world, innovation teams will include mechanisms to “fire” members that are simply not producing. Also, just as in the real world, teams get an overall performance rating, but individuals within the teams do not all get the same performance review (i.e. grade).
Will the BI be offered at CU Denver or CU Boulder?
While the BI family of degrees has been approved by the Regents of the CU system, at the current time the degree family will be offered only at UCCS. It will not be offered remotely from the other campuses. Students from those campuses can transfer to UCCS to obtain these unique degrees.
Is this being offered via distance or online?
Because of current resource constraints, and the strong experiential and social networking component, the current plans are to offer it only as an on-campus program. But we will be working out the most difficult “distance part,” the teaming via virtual teams, with international partners. If there is sufficient feedback showing demand for this program at a distance, it may happen. Let us know if you feel it’s critical.
I am from the community, how can I get involved with the BI teams?
We are still actively seeking more community members, but expect we will have more interested companies than teams in the early years of the program. Contact Dr. Boult via the Contact page.
When is the last date to apply ?
The campus uses rolling admissions and you could apply in August and still start in the Fall. The basic date for a priority application is April 1, to meet the (first) needs-based financial aid decision date of April 7. For merit-based aid, the scholarships have their own deadlines, but most require application by at least March 1. See the scholarship page for more details.
The general application deadline for assured processing for the fall term is July 1, and for the Spring is Dec 1. The campus uses rolling admissions so you can apply after those dates but admission then depends on how fast your application is processed. If you meet the “assured admission criterion,” the decision after receiving applications is usually 3-5 days. If you do not meet the assured admission, your application will have to go to a committee, and processing can take up to 15 days.
Was development of this program supported by many grants?
The majority of the development effort was done “on load” service over a 2 year period, i.e. just extra faculty time with no course offloads. We gratefully acknowledge a $23,000 grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance which supported program development travel, materials, tech-support for the web survey and web development and a course offload for offering one of the new courses on a trial basis. The First year of the program, we were awarded an NSF Partners for Innovation Grant (Award #0650251) for $600,000 covering 1/08-1/11, which is supporting some of the initial BI and activities such as our Innovation Summer Camp, developing international partners and BI program assessment.
What classes are involved in the program?
Each BI major takes classes related to their major, Innovation Core, Cross Discipline Core, and general education courses. For a full breakdown of courses Click Here