Letter from Dean Pamela Jansma
The end of November and beginning of December mark the transition to the end of the semester and the start of the winter holiday season, regardless of what the temperatures were telling us this Thanksgiving weekend. (I finally understand what everyone has been saying about the weather in Denver and am pleased at the spring-like conditions, our family having waited until the last minute to visit the Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens). My hope is that everyone had a great Thanksgiving that allowed time for reflection and relaxation despite Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The holidays are a time for us to appreciate what we have and to consider giving back to help those who are less fortunate. I see many who have fallen on hard times on my walks to and from campus and appreciate that misfortune can come to us all.
Americans by nature are a very giving group. Alexis de Tocqueville in his famous work, Democracy in America, wrote of his visit to the United States in 1831-1832 that “I have seen Americans make a great deal of real sacrifices to the public welfare; and have noticed a hundred instances in which they hardly ever failed to lend a faithful support to one another.” Nearly two hundred years later, his observation of a fundamental trait in American society still holds true. The National Philanthropic Trust and Giving USA estimate that total charitable contributions in 2013 were $335.17 billion. Over 95% of all households donate to charities and 75% of gifts come from individuals. The generosity affects us directly; education is second among all sectors in receipt of charitable funds.
As part of CU Denver, we have two excellent opportunities for giving back. First is CU in the Community, an initiative in its fifth year sponsored by the Office of The Chancellor that allows faculty and staff to take four hours of work time between November 24, 2014 and February 28, 2015 to volunteer. Alumni and students also are encouraged to participate. The featured partners this season are Brent’s Place and Ronald McDonald House. A list of additional organizations as well as forms to sign up can be found on the CU in the Community website.
After volunteering, people are asked to summarize their activities for inclusion on the website to highlight the impact of CU Denver on the community and to inspire others to roll up their sleeves. The CLAS Dean’s Office participated last year with several members working at the Food Bank of the Rockies. Our own Tracy Kohm was quoted in one of the featured stories, describing the experience as rewarding and strengthening bonds among the staff outside the office. Tracy has already sent an email around the office to recruit for this year and we are looking forward to the opportunity. If your department would like to set up a similar occasion to participate as a group please feel free to contact Tracy and she can give details.
Second is the Colorado Combined Campaign for state employees, whose guiding principles are: “member diversity, choice in giving, local significance, and financial transparency.” They make it easy to give through the workplace by payroll deduction. People may also contribute by cash, check or credit card with all donations voluntary, confidential, and tax-deductible. More than 700 organizations are listed, all of which have been reviewed by the Colorado Combined Campaign to ensure that they are good financial stewards and doing what they say they do. Over $1 million was raised last year with an average donor gift of less than $1 each day, illustrating the fact that every amount, no matter the size, is important. For more information, the website is here.
Finally, I would be remiss without mentioning how easy it is to support CLAS and CU Denver as a faculty or staff member. The College has numerous scholarships and funds that support what we do. Catherine Lopez, Director of Development for CLAS, and Marianna DiVietro, Assistant Director of Development for CLAS, would be happy to talk about possibilities. They also are actively engaging alumni, friends and business leaders on our behalf. Many of you are already involved in these and other programs and we thank you for your generosity. We are excited and proud of CLAS and its commitment to the community.
Remember to keep practicing for the talent show. It will lessen the stress of the final few weeks of the semester.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for nominations is Monday, February 2, 2015.
Call for Applications: Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education Annual Conference Scholarships
The Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences is proud to co-sponsor Colorado's 15th annual Advancing Environmental Education Conference taking place on Friday, March 27-Saturday, March 28, 2015 on Auraria Campus in Denver. The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education has a limited number of scholarships available for students and faculty to attend in exchange for volunteer time. Click here for more information and to apply.
Applications are due January 19, 2015.
SAVE THE DATE: Refresher Course on Title IX Issues
9:00 - 10:00 am
Terrace Room (Lawrence Street Center 2nd floor)
The U.S. Department of Justice released a report about sexual harassment and other Title IX issues on U.S. college campuses, in which the CU system was named. As part of the system’s response, we are being asked to facilitate conversations about Title IX issues on our campuses. And so, to make sure that everyone is up to date on best practices, Legal Counsel will be providing a refresher course on these issues. All college faculty and staff are being asked to attend. Please contact the CLAS Dean's Office (303) 556-2557 should you have any questions regarding this session.
Fields co-edits new anthology
Sarah K. Fields, associate professor in Communication, with Samuel O. Regalado (Cal. State Stanislaus), co-edited Sport and the Law: Historical and Cultural Intersections (University of Arkansas Press, 2014). Part of the Sport, Culture, and Society Series, this anthology examines not only how athletes looked to the nation's judicial system to solve conflicts but also how their cases transformed the interpretation of laws. The book gives the reader the opportunity to see the threads weaving law and sport together in American society through the lens of nine different legal cases.
Scull presents research at SSSS conference
Maren Scull, an Instructor in Sociology, presented findings from her research on male exotic dancers at the annual conference for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) in Omaha, Nebraska in November. Scull presented her work on the social psychological aspects of exotic dance and discussed the ways in which stripping influences the self-concepts of men who perform for female audiences. Specifically, she found that stripping led male dancers to develop a dramatically enhanced self-concept and a more positive body image. Further, being an exotic dancer increased strippers’ feelings of mastery, mattering, and gave rise to an improved self-esteem. This was the case for dancers who were new to the strip club as well as dancers who had been in the career for decades. These findings are unusual when compared to the extant literature on female strippers that suggests positive feelings about the self begin to wane when dancers spend long periods of time in the occupation. Overall, this research suggests the social psychological benefits that accompany exotic dance may be more significant for men than for women.
Swallow and lab to publish
John Swallow, Professor and Chair of Biology, and his lab groups were invited to submit a contribution to a special themed issue of the journal Current Zoology entitled, “Ecological and Evolutionary Connections between Morphology, Behavior and Physiology.” The issue will be published this December. The lab’s contribution, “Neurochemistry as a bridge between morphology and behavior: perspectives on aggression in insects,” was coauthored by Swallow, Andrew Bubak (PhD student), Jaime Grace (Post doc), and colleagues from the University of South Dakota (Professor Ken Renner and Assistant Professor Mick Watt).
White new Director of the National Association of Math Circles
Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistical Sciences Diana White has accepted the position of Director of the National Association of Math Circles (NAMC). White has been involved with both kids' and teachers' circles for the last five years at both the local and national level. Now, in addition to her activities here with the Rocky Mountain Math Circles Program, she will be instrumental in guiding the national math circle movement.
TODAY: CU Denver Staff Appreciation Popcorn Party
LSC Terrace Room
1:30- 3:00 pm
Presented by Staff Council, an opportunity for all CU Denver staff to gather, relax, and enjoy a snack. Door prizes will be given out and make-your-own popcorn trail mix. More information and RSVP here.
Please alert students: Ombuds Office Open House Exam Break
December 8, 9, 10, & 11
11:30am – 1 pm
Plaza Building, Room 110
Healthy Snacks (fruit and water) as well as Holiday Snacks (cookies and cocoa) will be available.
Asian American Student Services End of the Year Celebration
Student Commons Building, Room 2500
All are welcome, please RSVP at: tinyurl.com/CASL12-11-14
CANCELED: tomorrows Post Tenure Review Session
This session will be rescheduled for spring, for more information contact John Wyckoff.
Learning Assistant Poster Session
Learning Assistants from General Chemistry I, General Chemistry II, General Biology I, General Genetics, Organic Chemistry I, and Organic Chemistry II will be presenting their projects from the LA pedagogy course (Introduction to Science Teaching and Learning). These projects address topics ranging from the effectiveness of innovative teaching methods (such as "flipped" classrooms) to student use of resources (e.g., textbooks, LAs, TAs, etc) and relationship to student performance. The projects will be presented as posters, and light refreshments will be served. All students and faculty are welcome to attend.
Instructional approaches which boost participation and quality of small group discussions
Discussions of clicker questions and other in-class activities are known to improve learning, but little is known about student behaviors during such discussions, or how instructional techniques may influence them. Sarah Wise, Erin Furtak, and Jenny Knight have conducted several quasi-experimental studies in which small group discussions of clicker questions in introductory biology were audio-recorded. These studies are revealing how specific instructional practices affect participation in and quality of student clicker discussions. The presenters plan to develop instructor and student accessible “Guides to Productive Clicker Discussion,” and to disseminate these and other relevant research findings.
Colorado Convention Center (map)
9:00 am Ceremony, CLAS Party to Follow
The December commencement ceremony is a time for friends and family to celebrate the achievements of summer and fall graduates on the Denver Campus. We invite all graduates and their guests to participate in this joyous tradition. If you need last minute information please contact the Commencement Office at 303-315-2113.