Otero Junior College (OJC) and the University of Colorado Denver have launched an innovative partnership to offer a bachelor’s degree in elementary education that can be completed in its entirety at OJC’s campus in La Junta, Colo.

The teacher preparation partnership brings together a top public urban research university and a prestigious rural junior college to provide an affordable four-year pathway to teacher licensure locally in La Junta. After successful completion of the four-year program, participants will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Human Development with elementary licensure from CU Denver.

The program will prepare students with an education that is rooted in best practices and a strong commitment to working in rural communities. Hands on learning opportunities are incorporated throughout, including early field trainings and a full year of teaching experience in a local classroom.

Robert Thelen teaching kids

Not only will this partnership satisfy community and statewide interests, but it will also add highly competent newcomers to the teaching profession in rural Colorado. The partnership supports Colorado House Bill 17-1003, signed by Colorado Governor Hickenlooper on May 21, 2017, which seeks to address teacher shortages throughout the state.

Ranked as a top education school by U.S. News & World Report, the School of Education & Human Development at CU Denver is known as a national leader for teacher residency programs. Likewise, for more than 75 years, OJC has been providing the citizens of the Lower Arkansas Valley with a high quality two-year academic education that has positioned students to transfer on to earn bachelor’s degrees with great success.

CU in the City logo