January 16-17, 2003


ITEM 118-1602-R0103��������������� Approval of Proposal to Create a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Degree; The University of Montana-Western


THAT:�������������������������������������� The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes The University of Montana-Western to award the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Degree.


EXPLANATION:����������������������� The University of Montana-Western (UM-W) proposes offering a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education that takes advantage of Western�s expertise in this discipline, as well as its current base of place-bound students around Montana who have indicated an interest in pursuing a four-year degree after successfully completing Western�s Associate of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education.


This program would be offered through a combination of on-line and intensive coursework to meet the needs of place-bound students who are currently working in the early childhood field. The B.S. Degree in Early Childhood Education will seamlessly articulate with the UM-W A.A.S. Degree in Early Childhood Education that is currently offered by Western in Butte, Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, Havre, Dillon, Helena, Missoula, and Hamilton.


Early childhood education positions are increasing in Montana.� Specifically, in 1988 there were 904 child care jobs in the private sector; in l998 this number had increased to l,869.� The Research and Analysis Bureau of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry predicts that by the year 2008, there will be 2,696 jobs in private-sector child care in Montana.� In addition, there is significant expansion in federal Head Start and Early Head Start programs.�


Starting in 2003, regulations require that 50 percent of teachers in these programs have associate�s, bachelor�s, or master�s degrees in early childhood education.� In Montana, most directors require 100 percent of teachers have at least an associate�s degree.� Head Start regional and national staff suggest that the federal regulations will next require teachers to possess a bachelor�s degree in early childhood education.� Currently, many Head Start and Early Head Start programs require that all coordinators have bachelor�s degrees.


The completed signature page resides on file at the President�s Office, The University of Montana-Missoula.