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Back to the Future of School

Our culture is ever changing. Trends emerge that become permanent parts of our lives. And colleges have to not only keep up with the times, but look to the future.Anyone contemplating going to college – or back to college – might want to know there are some pretty interesting possibilities beyond accounting, engineering and teaching. 

For example, you can learn to brew beer, manage a soccer team, or become a new-age news reporter. 

Many college students have long been interested in beer, but not necessarily in the making of it. Now, it’s a bona fide degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

It started when several Colorado breweries ponied up the money to start a degree program – including $250,000 from Anheuser-Bush and $1 million from New Belgium Brewery, both in Fort Collins, says Jeff Callaway, Director of Industry Outreach and the Fermentation Science and Technology Program at CSU.

It’s a fascinating degree, resulting in a bachelor of science, but it’s not necessarily an easy one, he says.

“It’s the study of the production and process” of making fermented foodstuffs, from cheese and bread to wine and beer. And it requires “a rigorous core of science classes” to understand the principles behind the process. 

“Students learn about beer and everything that goes into (the making of) it, and get introduced to the industry,” Callaway says.

The degree was approved in January of 2013. From there, it was fast-tracked and the first students were enrolled for that fall semester. 

As of January this year, 76 students were enrolled in the program and about 100 are expected to be in it this fall. That’s double the anticipated enrollment. Graduates can expect to find jobs in burgeoning industries – beer- and wine-making, and food manufacturing. 

The new communicators

The news industry is quickly changing. And so is what they’re calling journalism.

The new College of Media, Communications and Information at the University of Colorado in Boulder replaces the former School of Journalism to reflect a world of electronic and social media that didn’t even exist 20 years ago. 

Today, reporters also have to be videographers, graphics gurus and social media butterflies. The new entity encompasses journalism, public relations, advertising, media design and information science, among other things. Students can, in many ways, design their own major with a combination of these things.

 “It’s a new style of college,” says Christopher Braider, the transitional dean of the new school. The influence of social media was “huge” in creating this new college, he adds.

And the job potential is great.

“We not only are producing students with the kinds of skills that are needed, but the mix of skills that are needed,” he says.

soccer savvy

At UCCS in Colorado Springs, there has long been a golf course management major. But a specialty that’s tracking one of the hottest new trends in America sports – soccer – also is emerging.

On the heels of the U.S. women’s team triumph, the College of Business has added soccer management to its sport management program. Students have to take all the mandatory business classes but also get to have interactions and experience with soccer teams of all levels – including professional teams in their senior year. They learn everything from ticket sales to marketing – and they don’t even have to play the sport.

“They just have to be passionate about it,” says Eric Olson, director of the sport and soccer management programs. 

Competition for spots in the program will be tough, he says. “But this is no dumb jock program by any means.”

He doesn’t know of any other university offering this option. This unique degree “opens doors like you wouldn’t believe” into jobs, he says.