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Letters from the Deans

Message from Dean Daniel J. Howard

Message from Dean Daniel J. Howard

Welcome to the New Academic Year

Once again, summer has been all too fleeting and the fall semester of the 2012-2013 academic year is upon us.  I hope all of you had an opportunity to take at least a little time off and enjoy the cooler air of the mountains and the glorious vistas they offer.

As students begin to arrive back on campus, you are sure to encounter a few who look a bit lost and bewildered as they wander the halls of our buildings.  When you do, please take the time to welcome them and ask how you can help.  A few small kindnesses can really help a new student feel more at ease in unfamiliar surroundings and more confident that he/she made the right decision in choosing to attend CU Denver.

Another way you can help to welcome our new first year students is to attend some of the events planned for Friday, August 17 (tomorrow).  At 10 AM there is a Pancake Breakfast at Campus Village.  If you would like to attend, please contact Joe Halter (, Associate Director of Student Life immediately so that he can add you to the list of attendees (and to ensure that enough food is ordered).  At 11:30 AM, you can join students as they march from Campus Village to the Tivoli Turnalle where convocation starts at noon (who doesn’t need a walk after a pancake breakfast?).  After convocation, you can continue to greet and meet students (and eat) at the BBQ in the Lawrence Street Mall.   Faculty participation in the events above sends a clear message to our students that we care about them and they are a priority for us.

The summer brought with it a number of changes in the Dean’s Office that are worth noting as the semester begins.  Dr. Brenda Allen, Associate Dean for Planning and Initiatives, has left her position in the college to take a leadership role in the broader university as Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion.  Dr. Laura Argys, Associate Dean for Research and Creative Activities, has stepped down from her position to take a one year sabbatical and concentrate on her personal research program. Heather Nickle, who so ably led our Human Relations Office for several years, has resigned from her position.  All of them have our best wishes as they take on new short term and long term challenges.  

The void left in the HR office by the departure of Ms. Nickle will be filled by JoAnna Ramirez-Darnell, who began work this week.  Dr. Allen will continue to be replaced in the coming academic year by Interim Associate Dean John Wyckoff, who has done a superb job over the course of the past year.  A search for a permanent replacement is planned for the spring semester.  Dr. David Tracer will serve as Interim Associate Dean for Research and Creative Activities while Dr. Argys is on sabbatical.  Ms. Ramirez-Darnell, Dr. Wyckoff, and Dr. Tracer are committed to serving the faculty, staff, and students of the college.  I trust they will have your support as they work to advance the mission of the college.

I hope to see many of you at the student-centered activities planned for tomorrow, as well as the CU Denver Block Party that will take place in front of the new Business School on August 23.  Enjoy the last few days before the start of classes and have a great 2012-2013 academic year.

With all best wishes,


86 views | Issue: August 16, 2012 | Archive: Letters from the Deans


Allen named AVC for Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. Brenda Allen presenting her Distinguished Lecture at the National Communication Association's annual convention last year

Allen named AVC for Diversity and Inclusion

Brenda J. Allen, professor in the department of communication, has been named Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, effective August 1, 2012. Allen began her work for the University at CU-Boulder in 1989 as an assistant professor, then joined the CU Denver faculty in 2001.

"During her 20+ years as a faculty member at the University of Colorado, Professor Allen has served in numerous leadership roles, and she has developed a track record for scholarship, teaching, and service in the area of diversity and inclusion," said Provost Rod Nairn. "She is a highly respected scholar and colleague who will bring experience and expertise to the role of chief diversity officer."

The AVC position reports to the Provost as part of the executive leadership team in Academic and Student Affairs to enhance and sustain diversity, promote a culture of inclusiveness and develop strategic initiatives that contribute to the success of faculty, students and staff.

For more information click here.

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CU Succeed Conference Recognizes Martinez and Helps High School Teachers Steer Students to College

From right-to-left: Fatimah Ben-Masaud, Danny Martinez, Sharon Simmons, Daniel Howard, Jason Robinson, Laurel Dodds and John Wyckoff

CU Succeed Conference Recognizes Martinez and Helps High School Teachers Steer Students to College

At the Second Annual CU Succeed Conference, July 14, 2012, Danny Martinez was recognized with the first CU Succeed "Outstanding Service Award" for his 22 years of service to the program. Because of Martinez’s work, CU Succeed has grown into a model for other colleges in Colorado and around the United States. Since its introduction, CU Succeed gold and silver programs have expanded into 90 high schools across Colorado.  

For many years, CU Succeed hosted orientation sessions for high school teachers involved in its programs, but last year switched to a conference format instead of an orientation. This years conference hosted breakout sessions for participants with topics ranging from, “Transitioning your student from high school to college,” and “Cultural Diversity,” to “How to increase your classroom engagement,” and “The difference between teaching a high school class and a college course.” One teacher from Denver's East High School noted, “It is really nice to learn something from a conference, instead of just being told what we should do in an orientation.”

Find more information about CU Succeed and the conference click here.

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Geographers Develop New Modes of Synthetic Learning

Dr. Gregory Simon presenting at the NSF supported Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center Workshop in Summer 2012

Geographers Develop New Modes of Synthetic Learning

Faculty members in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences (GES) are developing new “synthetic” approaches to train students in the interdisciplinary sciences. Synthesis provides a mechanism to link diverse ideas, data, and disciplinary approaches, and facilitates development and use of integrative analytic and computational tools. 

With support from a CLAS 2011 Advancing Curricula and Teaching (ACT) grant, faculty members Anne Chin, Casey Allen, Jon Barbour, Gregory Simon, and Bryan Wee have developed a new course to help students learn to integrate different data, methods, and ideas.  The course is grounded in concepts of systems theory and includes exercises for applying “synthetic thinking” to real-world situations.  It introduces students to analytic tools that are able to link disparate data and concepts, and concludes with a service-learning project, in which students apply their newly learned synthetic skills to real-world problems.  This service-learning project utilizes the Five Fridges Farm, a newly established research station of the University of Colorado managed by GES. 

Gregory Simon presented the group’s findings as an invited speaker at the recent inaugural education workshop of the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, a national synthesis center in Maryland supported by the National Science Foundation.  The group’s manuscript, under review in the Journal of College Science Teaching, will also form the basis for a set of special organized sessions at the Spring 2013 meeting of the Association of American Geographers.  Six graduate students supported by the ACT grant have contributed to this project thus far. 

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Lynx Officially Selected as New CU Denver Mascot

With leadership from the Student Government Association and input from students, alumni, faculty and staff, earlier this year the CU Denver community voted and selected the lynx by a majority vote to be the new mascot.  Now, it’s time to contribute your opinion again by filling out a short ‘lynx personality’ survey. Help us determine exactly who the CU Denver Lynx will be. Will our lynx be bold, ferocious, cute, cuddly, wily, or funny? Will it high-five, growl or dance? This is your chance to tell us how you think the lynx should represent CU Denver and you. The survey will be open August 6-26, and students who complete it will be entered to win a $25 gift card to the Tivoli bookstore.

Here are the mascot related activities to watch for this year:
August – Determine the mascot’s personality traits,  Take the CU Denver Lynx personality survey.  
October – Vote on what the CU Denver Lynx will look like and its name.
November – Get your dance moves ready, because mascot performer tryouts start.
January – The CU Denver Lynx will make its first public appearance first week of spring 2013 classes.

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Learning Resource Center Announces Fall Schedule for Student Assistance

Please keep in mind as the semester gets underway that the Learning Resource Center (LRC) will offer a full slate of services again this fall for students. Tutoring, supplemental instruction and study skills workshops are open to all students, while special groups and initiative are organized for ESL undergrad and grad students: English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) tutors, conversation groups and pronunciation classes are open to both domestic and international students. 

For more information visit the LRC website or contact Cheryl Kaas, Coordinator of Academic Support Services.

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CLAS Spotlight

Metcalf leads seminar in Italy
Metcalf leads seminar in Italy

In July, Robert Metcalf, associate professor and chair of philosophy, led a week-long text seminar on Plato's Statesman at this year's Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Citta di Castello, Italy.

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Noel on how wildfires are changing with the times
Noel on how wildfires are changing with the times

Wildfires are part of Colorado's history
Denver Post, July 15

In his regular opinion column, “Dr. Colorado,” Tom Noel, professor of history, gives accounts of wildfires from Colorado’s past, and explains why modern fires are getting deadlier and more destructive.

129 Views | Issue: August 16, 2012 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Ott wins National Communication Association Award
Ott wins National Communication Association Award

Brian L. Ott, associate professor of communication, along with his co-authors Greg Dickinson and Eric Aoki, won the National Communication Association's 2012 Golden Anniversary Monograph Award for their essay, "Ways of (not) seeing guns: Presence and absence at the Cody Firearms Museum," which appeared in vol. 8.3 of Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies.

208 Views | Issue: August 16, 2012 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Ramirez-Darnell new Human Resources Coordinator for CLAS

New human resources coordinator JoAnna Ramirez-Darnell will be providing additional needed support in the CLAS Human Resources area in partnership with our current human resources coordinator, Kelly Chadwick. JoAnna started on Monday, August 13, 2012, and comes to CLAS with over 10 years experience on both the Downtown Denver and Medical Center campuses.  She most recently worked in a payroll position in the School of Medicine’s Addiction Research and Treatment Services Center under the Department of Psychiatry.  Over time, she has worked in the human resources and payroll areas of the College of Business and the College of Engineering.   In addition, she has been active on the University’s staff council.  She brings a wealth of great experience to the CLAS Human Resources area.

Additional announcements will be coming in the near future regarding CLAS Human Resources work distribution and contact information.  In the meantime, please utilize or (303) 556-2558 for any payroll issues.

278 Views | Issue: August 16, 2012 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Silverman essay in New York Times Sunday Book Review
Silverman essay in New York Times Sunday Book Review

It’s Alive!
New York Times, August 10

Gillian Silverman, associate professor of English and director of women’s and gender studies, eulogizes that in the era of digital technology the “living, breathing entity” of the printed book may be on its way out. Silverman’s own latest endeavor, Bodies and Books, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in June.

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CLAS Events

Block Party

August 23
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
In front of the Business School on Lawrence Street , btw14th and 15th

The University of Colorado Denver celebrates the grand opening of its new Business School and the start of the 2012-13 academic year with a first-ever Block Party. The event features cuisine from Denver’s favorite food trucks, music by some of the city’s hottest bands, a rock-climbing wall, an urban zip line and useful academic information. The event is free.

For more information on the Block Party click here, or call 303-315-2500.

238 views | Issue: August 16, 2012 | Archive: CLAS Events

View all CLAS events on our website

To view all CLAS Events, please visit our event calendar

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Tracy Kohm 303.556.6663