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School of Education and Human Development University of Colorado Denver

School of Education and Human Development

The Engaged Classroom Certificate

The Engaged Classroom Certificate

The Engaged Classroom Certificate

Integrating Academics, Community, Culture & Creativity

This graduate level certificate program supports educators in creating a teaching practice that:
- is reflective, authentic and intentional;
- engages and empowers all students;
- promotes critical and creative thinking;
- enhances academic rigor;
- is culturally responsive;
- and facilitates the development of 21st Century skills and habits necessary for young people to thrive today and in the future.

The material covered in these courses directly relates to Colorado's new standards for both educators and students. This certificate offers classroom-based activities and is designed for P-12 educators of all content areas from a diverse range of schools and communities. The courses may also apply to those educators not in a traditional classroom setting. (Interested students who are not in a school classroom need to contact the instructors before enrollment.) Read instructor bios here. Check out our Engaged Classroom Certificate Blog​ and our Facebook page too. Find out more about The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching​, a new book written by the instructors of UEDU 5500!

Questions that The Engaged Classroom Certificate addresses for educators include:

• How do I teach 21st Century Skills in my classroom?
• How do I build positive relationships with ALL students, create a sense of community and respect, AND meet all the content and standards requirements?
• How do I get to know myself better as a teacher—my strengths, weaknesses, and biases?
• How do I bring more creativity and exploration into the classroom…while at the same time integrating the standards?
• How do I facilitate students’ understanding of themselves and the roles they play in their communities and world, and still have time to teach what I am required to teach?
• How can I track and assess my students’ learning, and show them and others the progression of their learning?
• How do I create a classroom that is relevant, culturally responsive, empowering and equitable?
• How do I integrate academic, social, and emotional learning in the classroom?
• How do I create a community of colleagues where I can give and receive support and feedback?
• How do I develop and sustain an effective, intentional, and authentic teaching practice?

Certificate Structure

The 9-credit three-course program (3 graduate credits per course) is offered in a low-residency online format that includes in-person on-site sessions during the summer and on weekends, and 21 online hours per course. The three-course program begins in summer and concludes in spring, with courses being taught during the summer, fall and spring semesters. All courses are designed so that educators will be able to transfer the ideas and practices they learn directly into their classrooms or other teaching environments.

All courses may be taken individually and in any order. However, because the courses are designed to build on and complement one another, we suggest enrolling in all three courses in the order listed below to fully benefit from the practices and principles offered. This certificate can stand alone as a demonstration of advancement in your education and practice or the 9 graduate credits may be transferred towards a CU Denver School of Education & Human Development MA degree.

Certificate Format


Related Degree Programs

Credits may transfer toward a CU Denver School of Education & Human Development MA degree depending on the program requirements and faculty approval.


All courses are three graduate credit hours. Tuition for each course is significantly reduced to $260/credit + $50 hybrid course fee for a total of $830 per course and $2,490 for the entire certificate.

Courses Preferred Sequence & Term Offered
UEDU 5500: Integrating Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning                  
This course offers teachers principles and practices to: 1) cultivate and sustain their own authentic and intentional teaching practice; 2) support their students' social, emotional, and academic development; 3) collaborate with colleagues to foster positive school culture.  The online and in-person program of study offers practical tools for creating engaged, relationship-based learning communities that help students to think creatively and critically, develop their leadership capacities, manage their emotions, work with others who are different from themselves, and communicate effectively.  Finally, this course will link with the other two courses in the certificate to help teachers create classroom environments where students experience deep connection to themselves, others, and their world.     
Instructors: Laura Weaver and Mark Wilding
First - summer 
UEDU 5520: Facilitating Mindful and Creative Thinking and Learning             
This course addresses the role of art, group work, looking at student work, and physical surroundings in the facilitation of mindful and creative thinking and learning.  The course builds upon the other two courses and brings quality thinking to the forefront of teaching and learning in order to develop habits of mind, such as deep observation, thoughtful questioning and investigating, the awareness of multiple perspectives, collaboration, and the habit of comparing and connecting material and information.
Instructor: Sara Webb Hiris​
Second - fall
UEDU 5510: Creating Empowering Classrooms
This course will focus primarily on integrating themes of social justice and culturally responsive teaching into the classroom.  The objectives of the course will be to know the self as a teacher, to know his/her students and to know the socio-political-historical-economic context of social injustice.
Instructor: Jennifer Wisniewski​
Third - spring 

CU Denver School of Education &
Human Development

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