Letter from Dean Pamela Jansma

Letter from Dean Pamela Jansma

Welcome back for the spring semester to all of our students, staff, and faculty 

After one semester, I am feeling more at home and will find the time to put pictures up in my office one of these days.  Since arriving a short four months ago, I have learned that in CLAS, we have a tremendous group of faculty and staff who work tirelessly on behalf of our students.  My deepest thanks go to each and every one of you.

I hope that you had an enjoyable and restful break during the holidays.  As we are now three weeks into the New Year, most of us have probably broken at least one of our New Year’s resolutions, but hopefully are sticking to a few of the others.  A colleague at a former institution used to alternate resolutions by year.  One year he gave up beer.  The next year he gave up desert.  Then he returned to giving up beer.  I marveled that he was successful over the decades.  

Perusing the internet, I found a summary from the Journal of Clinical Psychology of the New Year’s resolutions that people made for 2014.  Evidently, 45% of us make resolutions each year.  The contrarians among us who never make resolutions comprise 38% of Americans.  Not surprisingly, the number one resolution is to lose weight.  Rounding out the top 6 are: get organized; save more; enjoy life to the fullest; stay fit and healthy; and learn something exciting.  The last one fits us perfectly.  We are privileged to not only do that ourselves every day, but to help others to do it every day as well. 

My list of resolutions isn’t too long, but one of the most important is to remember who we are, what we do, and why we do it.  With that in mind, I gathered the thoughts of some around the country about what they think a liberal (arts) education is.

“Liberal Education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. A liberal education helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.”

American Association of Colleges and Universities

“Yale is committed to the idea of a liberal arts education through which students think and learn across disciplines, literally liberating or freeing the mind to its fullest potential. The essence of such an education is not what you study but the result – gaining the ability to think critically and independently and to write, reason, and communicate clearly – the foundation for all professions.”

Yale University

“To be liberally educated is to be transformed. A liberal arts education frees your mind and helps you connect dots you never noticed before, so you can put your own field of study into a broader context. It enables you to form opinions and judgments, rather than defer to an outside authority.”

University of California, Berkeley

"The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks."

Albert Einstein

“Given the global leadership of American graduate education and the global economy’s demands for flexible, adaptable employees, undergraduate liberal-arts education is more than relevant. It remains one of our country’s great assets.”

Marvin Krislov, President, Oberlin College

“You never know what will happen in your life.  You should have as much knowledge as you possibly can and then be able later in life to make the most of what you learned.”

Gerhard Casper, former President, Stanford University, on liberal arts education

 I hope everyone has a great semester and keeps the New Year’s resolution to learn something exciting.

And a friendly reminder:  the talent show is fast approaching.  A second New Year’s resolution could be to participate.



2 views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Letters from the Deans


Gary Stern: 1939-2014

Former University of Colorado at Denver psychology professor Gary S. Stern died Dec. 31, 2014, at his home in Littleton, CO.  Gary was born in 1939 in the Bronx in New York City, to Miklos and Irene Stern.  He received his B.A. in Spanish from New York University, his M.A. in psychology from Alfred University, and his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  He taught for almost 40 years in the psychology department at the University of Colorado at Denver.   Gary was a brilliant researcher and a popular and challenging professor who inspired countless students during his long career.   His abundance of wit and charm will be much missed. He is survived by his sons Nicholas and Michael Stern.  At his request, no services were held.  Those wishing to remember Gary may send a donation to CCFA: Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, National Processing Center, Attn: Honor & Memorial Gifts, P.O. Box 1245, Albert Lea, MN, 56007-9976

7 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: News Archive

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.

103 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: News Archive

New Food Options Available on Campus for Spring

Simply Fresh Market opens in the North Classroom first floor café space on Wednesday, January 14th. The market will serve a wide variety of healthy breakfast and lunch options from pastries, egg sandwiches, pancakes, and burritos to soups, salads, cold and hot sandwiches, and wraps. Vegetarian, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly dishes will be featured.

Spring Semester Hours: Monday – Thursday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Corner Store, located on the first floor of North Classroom, will re-open for spring semester on Tuesday, January 20th, offering snacks, energy drinks, beverages, testing supplies, and other quick convenience items. 

Spring Semester Hours: Monday – Thursday, 8 – 5 p.m.

Blackboard Eats, in Tivoli 125, opens on Tuesday, January 20th, offering fresh, home-cooked meals for $5. The menu will change daily, and will be updated on their website every month. Items like mac & cheese and pork chops to blackened chicken and BBQ pulled pork will be featured. In addition, on Friday mornings a mini breakfast buffet will be served. All meals are available on demand and are boxed to take with you.

Spring Semester Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Friday, 8 – 10 a.m.

20 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: News Archive

Council on Diversity and Inclusion Interdisciplinary Exchange

Welfare and Poverty

Feb 9
Academic Building 1, Room 1401
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
*Lunch Served*

Featuring: Laura M. Argys, Associate Dean and Professor of Economics
What’s Wrong with this Picture?  The Impact of Welfare and Child Support on Families in the 21st Century 

Although some states provided support individually, the Federal Government began to provide a safety net for children in economically disadvantaged families during the Great Depression.  Since that time programs typically referred to as ‘welfare’ have come under scrutiny and are often criticized for the strain they place on government budgets and the perception that the programs induce undesirable behaviors.  In this talk, I’ll discuss changes to the welfare program over time and studies that examine the impact of welfare and child support on family structure, public and private provision of financial resources for single-parent families, contact between children and non-resident parents and child well-being.   

Marjorie Levine-Clark, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of History
Unemployment, Welfare, and Masculinity in Historical Perspective.  

To be a man in the 19th century meant to be independent and self-reliant. Men who could not support themselves and their families were seen as failures. In the late 19th century, however, policymakers introduced the idea of “unemployment” to try to capture structural rather than the individual causes of joblessness. In this talk, I will discuss the ways that “unemployment” as a concept opened up new possibilities for men to become dependent on welfare and still remain “men.”

The Council on Diversity and Inclusion’s Interdisciplinary Exchanges offer monthly presentations, discussions, and working groups highlighting the research and creative work of CLAS faculty, staff, and students around diversity and inclusion. All are welcome!

For questions or disability accommodations please contact Tracy Kohm at tracy.kohm@ucdenver.edu.

308 views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Diversity Matters

CLAS Spotlight

Geography has success at Regional AAG Meeting

Geography and Environmental Sciences (GES) students attended a joint meeting of the Southwest and Great Plains-Rocky Mountain Divisions of the Association of American Geographers last month in Albuquerque, NM and did an exceptional job showing off their work.

Undergraduate Student Poster Awards went to Issamar Pichardo and Jeannette Rodriguez (1st Place) for Understanding Latino Community Recovery after the September 2013 Colorado Flash Floods, (Issamar Pichardo, Jeannette Rodriguez, Deborah Thomas, Andrew Rumbach, Lily Lizarraga, Waverly Klaw, David Lizarraga, Leah Cole, Jeremy Nemeth, and Carrie Makarewicz) and Denise Swack, Erica Reynolds, Filiberto Morales, and Dillon Riebel (3rd Place) for  Body Mass Index (BMI) Mapping and Community Engagement (Denise Swack, Erica Reynolds, Filiberto Morales, Dillon Riebel, Peter Anthamatten, and Deborah Thomas). Other Notable Activities included Laura Ferre presenting a paper, Erin Jaynes and Anna Gibson each presenting a poster, and Anna Gibson earning a spot on the regional Geography Bowl team. 

12 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Allen has new book and is celebrated for his impact on students
Allen has new book and is celebrated for his impact on students

Casey Allen, Geography and Environmental Sciences’ Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Programs and Advising, coedited a new book, Geomorphological Fieldwork, Volume 18 (Developments in Earth Surface Processes). In addition, Allen solo-authored one chapter and co-authored a few others in the book. Allen was also recently profiled by his alma mater, Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, for his work mentoring and teaching student in the field. Allen is quoted as saying, “Students always benefit from getting outside the classroom, and my feedback has shown that students consistently appreciate--and want more—fieldwork.”

9 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Butler on modeling extreme weather

How can mathematical models help in the prediction of storms and hurricanes? How do they help determine the uncertainty that underlies extreme weather conditions? Understanding these answers can help reduce the human and monetary costs associated with natural disasters. Troy Butler, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Science, is in a new video produced by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) featuring him with University of Texas, Austin’s Lindley Graham answering these questions. The video was produced at the SIAM Annual Meeting earlier this year, where Butler and Graham presented their work at a mini-symposium on uncertainty and prediction of a storm surge.

Researchers from UT-Austin and University of Colorado discuss uncertainty in storm predictions

9 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Cooney publishes two new articles
Cooney publishes two new articles

Teresa Cooney, Professor and Chair of Sociology, has published two new articles: “Productive and social engagement following driving cessation among older couples.” Research on Aging, 37, 171-199, (Curl, A., Stowe, J., Proulx, C., & Cooney, T. M.); and for a special issue of The Gerontologist focused on successful aging, “Examining Rowe and Kahn’s concept of successful aging: Importance of taking a life course perspective,” 55 (1) (Stowe, J. D., & Cooney, T. M.).

10 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Finkelstein book named a best of 2014
Finkelstein book named a best of 2014

Emil du Bois-Reymond: Neuroscience, Self, and Society in Nineteenth-Century Germany, written by Gabriel Finkelstein, Associate Professor of History, was selected as a best book of 2014 in the Medical Sciences & Psychiatry Aimed at Adults category by Science Books and Films (SB&F). SB&F is a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

16 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Henderson recipient of the 2015 Student Leadership Award

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Committee on Education Undergraduate Student Programs Advisory Board recently selected CU Denver Chemistry Club president Jack Henderson as the recipient of the 2015 Student Leadership Award. The award recognizes emerging ACS student chapter leaders and helps them prepare for leadership opportunities at volunteer organizations and in their professional career.

11 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Jenkins on the future of the Spanish language
Jenkins on the future of the Spanish language

Rapid changes in the use of the Spanish language in the Southwest may lead to the language's extinction in coming decades in the region unless bilingualism is accepted and promoted, according to Devin Jenkins, Associate Professor of Spanish and Modern Languages Department Chair. In this interview,  Jenkins discusses is research which has found that in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, areas with a large population of Spanish and Mexican descent, the use of Spanish is no longer growing.

Is Spanish language dying in the U.S. Southwest? One expert thinks so

Fox News Latino, Jan 7

14 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Make on end-of-life choices

“My argument -- and the reason I have devoted myself to a fellowship researching, writing, and talking about the issue -- is through communication, we can preserve a patient's wishes, whatever they might be,” writes Jeremy Make,  Puksta Foundation Fellow and Master's student in the Department of Communication, discussing his research and efforts on the Auraria campus with the Conversation Project. His fliers around campus at the end of last semester generated buzz: “Let's talk about a good death, what do you say? (Snacks included).”

Opinion: Guest Opinions -- Jeremy Make: Talking about the end

Daily Camera, Dec 5

14 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Martinez named Associate Editor
Martinez named Associate Editor

Professor and Chair of Ethnic Studies Donna Martinez was recently named an Associate Editor of the New Direction in the Humanities Collection. Martinez also serves as a reviewer for the American Political Science Review, Perspectives on Politics, PS: Political Science and Politics, and Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.

10 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Miech research in USA Today
Miech research in USA Today

Richard Miech, Professor of Health and Behavioral Science, discussed his research into hookah use among youth, and commented on how future survey questions may drill deeper into youths' perception of hookah. "They see hookah as fundamentally different from cigarette use," he said. "Most likely they see it as safer."

Warning teens of hookah's dangers is tough sell

USA Today, Dec 16

10 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Reich research profiled in the New Republic
Reich research profiled in the New Republic

Jennifer A. Reich, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, has been researching the anti-vaccination movement since 2007, seeking to understand the processes by which people come to reject vaccines. Over the past seven years, she has conducted in-depth interviews with parents who refuse mainstream vaccine recommendations, along with doctors, alternative healers, and public policymakers.

The Best Way to Combat Anti-Vaxxers Is to Understand Them

New Republic, Jan 5

10 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Tyson executes DIIF grant and fights stereotype threat on campus
Tyson executes DIIF grant and fights stereotype threat on campus

With a Diversity and Inclusion Council Initiative Fund grant, Sarah Tyson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, brought Dr. Jenessa Shapiro to campus to give a Stereotype Threat Workshop. The successful workshop was attended by thirty people, including faculty and staff from CU Denver. Dr. Shapiro explained the difference between: Implicit Association, the automatic association of certain traits with certain identity categories; Self Fulfilling Prophecy, the ability of expectations that someone will perform in a certain way to bring about the expected outcome; and Stereotype Threat, a concern about confirming a negative stereotype about one's social group, which often sets up an obstacle to success. She reviewed the most effective techniques for mitigating each of these obstacles to student success. Participants were then asked to work in groups to discuss situations they face in their roles as teachers and administrators where stereotype threat may affect student performance, and to brainstorm using the suggestions given by Dr. Shapiro.  Finally, the group debriefed on the scenarios raised in small groups and the ideas generated for mitigating them.

11 Views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

University Events


Feb 13
8:30 am - 3:00 pm (breakfast and lunch provided)
360 Lawrence Street Center

Teaching a quality intersession or summer course in a condensed format can be challenging, yet extremely rewarding.  Every instructor aims to create conditions where the greatest amount of learning can take place by providing quality experiences for students that are designed for a shorter timeframe.  Identifying and using best practices for teaching in compressed formats will help increase the likelihood that these goals will be achieved.

The Center for Faculty Development (CFD) will sponsor a workshop to assist faculty members who are planning to teach a new course or an existing course for the first time in Maymester or in the Summer 2015 semester.  This workshop will demonstrate best practices for designing or restructuring a course without compromising requirements, rigor or curriculum standards.  Participants will work with strategies to create or redesign a traditional semester-long course.

This workshop is available to all faculty including lecturers, instructors, clinical teaching-track, tenure-track, and tenured. This also includes those that have taught in condensed formats as well as those new to an intensive delivery. Faculty members who are preparing to teach a Maymester course (Mondays – Thursdays, May 18- June 4, 2015) or a condensed summer course (described as less than the traditional 16 week format) for the first time are eligible for a $500 stipend by attending the “Teaching in Condensed Formats” workshop and submitting a syllabus and course packet to the Center for Faculty Development (by May 1st, 2015). Courses must show as active on the Maymester/summer schedule, however if a course is not offered due to low enrollment, the stipend will still be provided.

Space is limited. Register by February 6, 2015 for the workshop on the CFD website.  

For more information contact Donna Sobel, Acting Director, Center for Faculty Development, at 303-315-3033.

4 views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Student Life Events


April 10
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Research Two, Trivisible Room

Keynote Speaker: Gustavo Stolovitzky, PhD, Program Director, Translational Systems Biology and Nanobiotechnology, IBM Computational Biology Center, Department of Genetics and Genomics Sciences and Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

4 views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: Student Life Events

CLAS Events

CLAS Title IX Training

Jan 27
9:00 am – 10:00 am
Terrace Room (Lawrence Street Center 2nd floor).

As some of you may have seen in the news last year, 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 U.C. 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.

4 views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: CLAS Events

CLAS Spring Faculty and Staff Forum

Jan 30
9:00 – 11:00 am
Lawrence Street Center, Terrace Room (2nd floor)

Please come and hear from our Dean, Pamela Jansma, the latest updates about the college.

Light breakfast refreshments will be served.

For more information contact Karen J. Fennell, Executive Assistant to the Dean at 303.556.2624.

4 views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: CLAS Events

Black History Month Celebration

Feb 6
8:00am – 4:30 pm
Tivoli Turnhalle

Each year the Black Staff and Faculty Association (BSFA) celebrates Black History month, and this year’s event is bigger than ever with support and participation from area local schools, community and the university. Breakout sessions from 10:am - 11:30 will include inspirational speakers -- CCD Dean Dr.Ryan Ross, Yellowpages Executive Terri Gentry, and Historian Terri Gentry -- a screening of the Civil Rights film “Rebels Remembered" with the director Dick Alweis, and a Black Business Panelist Discussion.  There will be exciting Black trivia games, many exhibits and free, great food. Come join us for fun and a good dose of Black History -- Black History is American History. The event is free and open to the public. 

For further information contact leslie.taylor@ucdenver.edu or call 303-556-5662 

7 views | Issue: January 22, 2015 | Archive: CLAS Events

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Tracy Kohm 303.556.6663