Letter from Dean Pamela Jansma

Letter from Dean Pamela Jansma

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

One of the trends of the United States today is that we are becoming a more diverse nation.  A report from the US Census Bureau from July 2014 states that by the year 2018 the demographics of those under 18 will be majority minority with the same holding true for the general population by 2043.  The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences mimics these national trends.  For the undergraduate class enrolled in Fall 2014, approximately 40% view themselves as belonging to a minority group. CU Denver was cited in an article in the Denver Post as the most diverse public research institution in the state. While these statistics are great, we can do more.  The College has developed on-going initiatives, such as the Interdisciplinary Exchanges that focus on diversity-related research throughout the College and grants to support activities that foster diversity and inclusion.  We will touch base on both a bit later.

First, I’d like to talk about the University of Colorado System Diversity Summit that was held on October 24, 2014.  The event was extremely well attended, with exceptional presence by CLAS and sponsorship by our CLAS Council on Diversity and Inclusion.  Thank you to all who participated.  Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, Brenda Allen, a CLAS faculty member in the Department of Communication, chaired the Summit and led the morning session.  Her presentations were direct, thought provoking, and energizing for the audience to move forward.  As a consequence of what I learned, I came home and took a number of the Implicit Association Tests (IAT) from Project Implicit, a “non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition – thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control” (Project Implicit: www.projectimplicit.net).  The work of Project Implicit is to examine what ideas are ingrained in us from an early age such that these ideas are automatically activated without us knowing it.  Some of the findings of the Project include significant negative implicit bias against the elderly and preference in favor of Whites among Whites and Asians.  My results, which shed light on my personal biases, were revealing.  I encourage all of you to take some of the tests (at the Project Implicit website if you select “participate” and here for a few others).  You may (or may not) be surprised.  Implicit bias is not new, but awareness of it is increasing.  Left unrecognized, it can affect how people perceive others, including inside and outside the classroom.

In our own College, the Council on Diversity and Inclusion, chaired by Associate Dean Marjorie Levine-Clark, has instituted exciting programming and funding opportunities. The Council, made up of faculty, staff, and students, has been engaged with CLAS’s strategic priority “to enhance diversity across the college and foster a culture of inclusion.” I hope you have seen the announcements for the monthly Interdisciplinary Exchanges, kicked off by the Council last spring. These sessions bring together faculty, staff and students working on projects related to diversity and inclusion to share their research in a public forum. We have had well-attended Exchanges on Prisons and Incarceration, Perspectives on Health, the African Diaspora, American Indian and Indigenous Perspectives, and Young Voices in Women’s and Gender Studies, an all-student panel, among others. The Council is in its second semester of administering the Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Fund, which aims to support projects that encourage people to think about diversity and inclusion in meaningful ways and to make positive changes in CLAS and the broader campus.  Large awards of up to $2,500 have application deadlines in October and March, while the Council accepts applications for rolling awards of up to $500 throughout the year.  This Fall, the Council made large awards to Assistant Professor of English Nicky Beer to support a visit by author Danielle Evans; Associate Professor of Anthropology John Brett for a project on Cultivating Food Justice; Assistant Professor of Anthropology Marty Otañez for a project on Diversity among CU Denver Pre-Nursing Students; Advising Office Administrative Assistant Leslie Taylor for a Black History Month Celebration; and International College Beijing Instructor of Political Science Chris Willford for a Symposium on International Affairs. We are excited to be able to create more visibility and support for the important work around diversity and inclusion that members of CLAS are pursuing. 

I trust that you are now beginning to practice for the faculty and staff talent show on April 2, 2015 (note that this is not April Fool’s Day).



5 views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Letters from the Deans


Call for Nominations: 2015 CLAS Outstanding Staff Award

An annual award within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the CLAS Outstanding Staff Award recognizes a single staff member who demonstrates outstanding leadership, ability, initiative and/or achievement. These contributions must provide a significant benefit specifically for CLAS at the downtown Denver campus. The recipient will receive a $500 cash award, presented by the Dean and the nominating employee(s) at the Dean’s Reception this spring.

Eligibility: The competition is open to all permanent classified, exempt professional, PRA, Sr. PRA and Research Associate staff members currently employed by CLAS, both part-time and full-time. The individual must have been employed as a permanent staff member within the college for at least 12 consecutive months. Employees may not win the award in two consecutive years.

Nomination Process: Eligible employees must be nominated using the CLAS Outstanding Staff Nomination form. Nominations must be submitted electronically to carri.williams@ucdenver.edu.

The deadline for nominations is Monday, February 2, 2015.

11 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: News Archive

Call for Applications: Please Encourage Students to Consider Alternative Spring Break, March 21-28

The Alternative Break program exposes students to complex social and cultural issues through direct service, experiential learning, group discussion, and personal reflection. The vision is to transform students into advocates of social change on issues affecting our communities. Participation in the Alternative Break program will challenge and inform understanding of relevant community and social justice issues in our society. There are multiple options, but the Ethnic Studies department (along with Student Life for Community Engagement) is sponsoring one especially relevant to CLAS students:

 Cultural Preservation at a Reservation: Navajo Health and Indigenous Rights

This trip will expose students to the distinct culture, history, and current health disparities surrounding the Navajo Nation and provide each student with the opportunity to serve a wide spectrum of learning projects. With Donna Martinez, Professor and Chair of Ethnic Studies serving as faculty advisor, students will also be asked to critically analyze preconceptions and personal attitudes with regard to Native Americans and Indigenous Culture(s). This trip presents students with an overview of the pre-treaty and post-treaty history of the Dine. We will also analyze the internal and external impacts that have shaped the current governance of this sovereign nation as well as the resulting cultural preservation and present-day realities of social determinants of health and socioeconomic life on the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico. This experience provides a rare and unique opportunity for students to understand nonprofit organizations and services in Indigenous places and with Indigenous peoples. Throughout the trip, students will be asked to challenge their awareness and reflect upon the concepts of service, commitment and vocation in their own lives and the lives of others. 

The online application will remain open until Friday, December 7th, 2014 at 11:59pm and each application will be carefully reviewed by a selection committee.

Total cost for students participating is $250, and this includes transportation, lodging, and all meals.  For more information on participant expectations, pre-trip meeting schedules, the program in general or with administrative questions, students can contact Megan Frewaldt, Office of Student Life Assistant Director for Community Engagement, at megan.frewaldt@ucdenver.edu, 303.556.3944. For more information about this trip contact the trip leader, William Mundo, at  william.mundo@ucdenver.edu.

15 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: News Archive

Diversity Matters

SIGN UP NOW: The 5th Annual Auraria Higher Education Diversity Summit 4/10/15

The Higher Education Diversity Summit is a one-day tri-institutional initiative in Colorado, which promotes diversity and advances Inclusive Excellence in American higher education. The Summit draws approximately 500 participants, expert speakers, and practitioners. It delivers a series of workshops, discussion forums and generates opportunities for networking and debate designed to increase understandings of and appreciation for multiple worldviews related to diversity, social justice, and inclusive excellence. The 2015 Summit theme, “Who's Sitting Next to You: Diversity Unmasked,” challenges us to develop a level of self-awareness that assists in developing cultural competence. The theme also calls attention to the interpersonal relationships of human beings that contribute to the productions of discrimination in our local and global societies. Sessions will center dialogue on hidden disabilities, invisibility and hyper-visibility of identities that continue to be tools used to marginalize individuals.

The Steering Committee invites you to Volunteer or be a Presenter for the summit, which will take place on April 10, 2015 at the Auraria Campus in Denver, Colorado. We would also like to invite you to sign up to be a Reviewer; we are especially interested in having administrators, faculty, and doctoral students in this role. To learn more about the summit, visit http://heds.auraria.edu/

0 views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Diversity Matters

CLAS Spotlight

Economics dual degree ranks top 10 in the nation

Ranking organization The Financial Engineer released its 2015 Financial Economics Rankings recently, and the Financial Economics dual degree offered by the Department of Economics and the Business School came in at number 8. The degree combines the quantitative skills of an MA in Economics with the practical applications of an MS in Finance. It is designed to create highly-skilled research professionals with considerable econometric skill as well as familiarity with the finance industry. The Financial Engineer ranks schools based on a number of components; including mean GMAT score, mean starting salary of graduates, mean undergraduate GPA, acceptance rate, graduate employment rate at graduation, and graduate employment rate 3 months after graduation.

19 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Geography students flying high
Geography students flying high

On November 3, Geography students from Assistant Professor Christy Briles’ Weather and Climate course (GEOG 3232) visited the wind tunnel at iFLY Denver, in Lone Tree, for a demonstration on the effects and power of Wind.  The STEM educator, Sara, at iFLY provided a detailed explanation on the design and operation of the wind tunnel as well as an overview of the experiments to be conducted while in the tunnel. The group tested a series of objects including whiffle balls, a Nerf football, basketball, and yoga ball to determine which one would require the highest velocity of wind to float in the tunnel. They learned that surface area was a major factor influencing the velocity of wind required to keep each object floating. The most interesting experiment for the group was watching how water was influenced by different wind speeds.  The students each got the opportunity to see how much wind was required to float them by flying in the tunnel with the flight instructor.  Each student was able to fly twice for 1 minute each, approximately equivalent to 2 regular skydiving free falls.  A video of their experience can be viewed on YouTube.

14 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Alcott presents at two conferences this fall
Alcott presents at two conferences this fall

Assistant Professor of French, Clinical Teaching Track, Linda Alcott presented papers at two conferences this fall.  As an invited teaching panel specialist on “Teaching the Caribbean,” Alcott’s first presentation, titled, “Voices of Haiti and the Caribbean,” was given at the 68th Annual Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Convention held in Boise, Idaho, Oct 9-11.  Alcott’s paper titled, “Suitable for Sacrifice: The Portrait of Expendable Humanity in Marguerite Duras’s Un Barrage contre le Pacifique,” was presented at the Pacific Ancient Modern Language Association’s 112th Annual Conference in Riverside, CA, Oct. 31-Nov 2, for the Women in French special panel, Marguerite Duras: 100 years later.    

13 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Fernandez Martinez publishes new book
Fernandez Martinez publishes new book

María Luisa Fernández Martínez, Assistant Professor of Spanish Literature in the department of Modern Languages, recently published the book El medio fotográfico en la narrativa de Antonio Muñoz Molina.

13 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Finkelstein book shortlisted for Pickstone Prize
Finkelstein book shortlisted for Pickstone Prize

Associate Professor of History, Gabriel Finkelstein’s book Emil du Bois-Reymond: Neuroscience, Self, and Society in Nineteenth-Century Germany (MIT, 2013) is shortlisted for the 2014 Pickstone Prize - a new biennial prize that will be awarded this year by the British Society for the History of Science for “the best scholarly book in the history of science (broadly construed) in English”. Winning books show a “major advance in the understanding and interpretation of the scientific past,” and the winner may have the opportunity to give a presentation on the subject of the winning book. The winner will be announced in early December 2014. 

History of science books: Pickstone Prize shortlist announced                     
The Guardian
, Nov 17

12 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Noel on Rocky Mountain National Park
Noel on Rocky Mountain National Park

Dr. Colorado, Tom Noel, Professor of History, Director of Public History & Preservation, and Co-Director Center for Colorado and the West, shares his thoughts on Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado's most visited attraction.

Rocky Mountain National Park celebrates 100th birthday in 2015
(CO & Co), Nov 11

15 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Harding keynotes in Brazil
Harding keynotes in Brazil

Rachel Elizabeth Harding, Assistant Professor of Indigenous Spiritual Traditions in the department of Ethnic Studies, gave the keynote address at the 5th annual National Seminar on Afro-Brazilian Cultural Studies, at the Federal University of Paraiba in João Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil.  Harding lectured on the relationship of African American Spirituals to other religious traditions of the Afro-Atlantic diaspora.

14 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Kautzer talks elections and gives inaugural lecture
Kautzer talks elections and gives inaugural lecture

Chad Kautzer, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Social Justice Minor, was interviewed for the Japanese newspaper, The Diamond, for an article about the 2014 elections. Kautzer was asked to analyze the election outcomes in Colorado, as well as discuss the proposed amendments and propositions.

Kautzer also delivered the inaugural lecture of the Community Philosophy Institute for Homelessness and Home at the University of Oregon this month. The lecture, titled "Homelessness, Security, and the Politics of Dys-Appearance," can be seen here. As part of the visit, Kautzer also taught a class on homelessness and participated in a community roundtable discussion with the mayors of Eugene and Springfield, Oregon, the Eugene city manager, and representatives from the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, service providers, and homeless advocates.  Kautzer would like to raise awareness that November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month.

Philosopher To Discuss Homelessness, Town and Gown Divide at UO
The Eugene Weekly
, Nov 6

15 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Scandlyn recognizes veterans with op-ed
Scandlyn recognizes veterans with op-ed

Jean Scandlyn, Research Professor in Anthropology, wrote this piece with Sarah Hautzinger, a Professor of Anthropology at Colorado College, in recognition of Veterans Day. From the piece: “Most visible among the wounded survivors who live in Colorado Springs and around the country are physical wounds — veterans living with blindness, deafness, burn scars, paralysis and multiple amputations. And as many as a third of all U.S. military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan return with invisible wounds: post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and major depression. Beyond physical and mental healthcare, returning soldiers often need financial and employment counseling, assistance applying for VA benefits or school tuition, or help reestablishing intimacy with family members and friends. “

Op-Ed: In honor of Veterans Day, let’s deal with the real costs of war
Los Angeles Times
, Nov 10

15 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Shepard gives lecture in California
Shepard gives lecture in California

Doug Shepherd, Assistant Professor of Physics, was an invited Speaker at the Biomathematics and Ecology: Education and Research Conference on October 11th, at Harvey-Mudd College in Claremont, California. Shepard presented his group’s work on using mathematical models of RNA expression in immune cells to create more single-cell RNA expression experiments in a session focused on the importance of spatial information in mathematical modeling of biology.

13 Views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

University Events

Register for the CU Denver Team for Mustache Dache

November 22
9:00 am
City Park

Interested in running a 5K with a team from CU Denver!?  It is not about winning, running, or walking the 5K, but rather the camaraderie that comes with a shared goal.  The Mustache Dache supports Movember, and all are welcome! Register now under team name:  CU Denver - Home of the Brilliant!

18 views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Student Life Events

Hot Topics – presented by the Office of Student Life

Dec 3
12:30pm – 1:30pm
Tivoli Multicultural Lounge

Hot Topics addresses current events and headline news in an open forum format. Snacks are served.

7 views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Student Life Events

Open Mic Night - presented by the Office of Student Life

Dec 3
5:00pm – 7:30pm
Tivoli 444

Join us for a night of Open Mic performances and karaoke! Come prepared to perform anything you'd like, including – but not limited to – poetry, music, comedy, or karaoke.  Snacks are served.

8 views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: Student Life Events

CLAS Events

PI Training - Grant planning and submission

Dec 5
11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Chancellor’s Conference Room (LSC 14th Floor)

The CLAS Office of Research and Creative Activities (ORCA) will be conducting a PI Training workshop for new and experienced Principal Investigators.  This workshop, the first in a series that will be held this year, will include information about:

  • CU Denver and CLAS grant support staff and available resources
  • Finding funding opportunities
  • Proposal Preparation
  • Submitting a grant proposal

Interested faculty, staff and graduate students are invited to attend. Please register to attend and indicate your lunch preference using the link here by 3:00 on December 1.

If you have any questions please contact Carol Achziger or Brittany Lopez-Thrasher

8 views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: CLAS Events

Post Tenure Review Session

Dec 5
1:00 - 3:00 pm
NC 5018

John Wyckoff will be holding a Post Tenure Review preparation session to discuss the proper preparation of the dossier and the review process and procedures. Those interested in attending who would like more information can contact John Wyckoff.

9 views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: CLAS Events

Instructional cues and modeling positively impact small group discussions

Dec 5
Science 1111

Presenting to the MSLE group: Sarah Wise, Erin Furtak, Jennifer Knight of the University of Colorado Boulder.

7 views | Issue: November 20, 2014 | Archive: CLAS Events

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