For the first time in its 102-year history, Fort Lewis College will offer a graduate degree, a master of arts in education, teacher leadership.
The college recently got approval from the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting institution, to start offering the classes in the fall.
FLC will celebrate and publicize its first graduate-degree program with a reception, called the "100 Years of Teaching Teachers: The Next Chapter," on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
The 4 p.m. reception, which will be free and open to the public, also will have information about other graduate programs the college is planning.
FLC's teacher leadership program, which also would lead to a professional credential, is designed to accommodate the schedule of the working teacher with evening classes and online assignments.
The college appreciates that teachers are under increasing scrutiny and pressure to do more with less, officials said.
But education reforms are creating new professional opportunities for teachers, too.
A teacher leader is an "emerging branch of the profession" who takes on such responsibilities as mentoring newer teachers, implementing new curriculum and refining instructional techniques, said Richard Fulton, director of the teacher eduction department.
The master's degree could qualify teachers to assist in the evaluation of their colleagues.
Colorado requires teachers to be evaluated through both classroom observation and student test scores. The principal is supposed to do the teacher evaluations but also can designate a teacher to assist in the evaluations.