You are here: Home > June 23, 2011 Issue

Letters from the Deans

Message from Dean Daniel J. Howard

Message from Dean Daniel J. Howard

Homecoming: An Opportunity to Build Community

I hope all of you are enjoying the warmer weather and are spending more time outdoors. Colorado is a glorious place to be in the summer.

As most of you are aware, community building among students, alums, and retirees has become an important objective of the University of Colorado Denver.  While there are multiple motivations behind this objective, including the need for all universities, public and private, to build strong support among natural constituent groups; perhaps the most important motivation comes from our students, who are younger than in years past and increasingly seek a more traditional university experience.  To build community, a number of new events have been started and have taken hold over the course of the past several years, including orientation, convocation, and CLAS Masters.  A new event will be added to this roster this fall when the University of Colorado Denver holds its first Homecoming, which is planned for the week of October 16 – 22, with most activities scheduled for Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd.   Homecoming is a time for re-connecting, and central to these re-connections are faculty and staff members who were important in the lives of students. 

I hope you will save the dates and will find time to participate in some of the activities associated with Homecoming. Stay tuned for more information later this summer.

With all best wishes,

145 views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Letters from the Deans


Students Expand Global Consciousness
Students Expand Global Consciousness

Travel Study: Narratives of the New China

There's an old Chinese saying that "reading ten thousand books is not as useful as traveling ten thousand miles."

Students in the Maymester Narratives of the New China travel study course not only traveled more than ten thousand miles there and back, they also read books and numerous journal articles. However, their first-hand experience of China arguably made the most lasting impressions. The course was led by Associate Professor of Communication Lisa Keränen. In 2009, Keränen accompanied Professor Sonja Foss and Professor Emerita Barbara Walkosz, both from the Department of Communication, who first developed and taught the course in Beijing. She says the program changed her outlook and made her reconsider her own culture. The course is now in its third year and has expanded to include Shanghai, which aspires to be the world’s financial capital, and Suzhou, the “Venice of China.”  Next year, the course will be taught by Assistant Professor Hamilton Bean, who traveled with the group this year in preparation for next year’s class.

The purpose of the course is to provide students direct experience of how China, an enduring civilization with 1.3 billion citizens and more than 5,000 years of history, is transforming itself for the twenty-first century. During Maymester this year, the students used theories of narrative and public memory to consider how conceptions of China’s past and present form competing stories about China’s present and future. According to scholars, part of what makes China so vibrant right now is that it is simultaneously undergoing an industrial revolution and a technological revolution.  Keränen notes that it "is a stunning mix of Taoist, Maoist, Buddhist, Confucian, communist, new media, reform and market forces." The cities testify to rapid modernization and development. Eight lane highways sport every known form of land transportation; busses, cars, taxis, rickshaws, bikes, food carts and scooters compete for scarce street space. Throngs of people jostle for tickets, food or limited sidewalk real estate. And markets sprout up for every possible consumer good from high-end art to the tiniest pieces of plastic imaginable. Keys, pearls, rope, jade, car parts, bunny rabbits, pashmina scarves, plastic buckets, Mercedes Benz, underwear, incense, goldfish, meat on a skewer--all can be found on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai.
Tian'anmen SquareSite visits included the National Museum, the Great Wall, Tanzshe Si Temple, the Forbidden City, the Number One Silk Factory in Suzhou, the Yu Gardens, the Temple of Heaven, the Bund, Tiananmen Square and more. At each site, students were examining how designers, architects, curators, officials and everyday citizens were constructing narratives of cultural and national identity, and they analyzed what those suggested about China’s present and future.
“One of the most exciting aspects of the course this time was that we had four Chinese citizens who are UCD students participate,” Keränen says. “This opportunity meant we had true intercultural exchange that enriched our understanding immeasurably. For instance, Yinglie (Megan) Li’s family hosted our entire class for dinner. Her mother and father showed us how to make dumplings and smashed cucumber salad, and we talked about the importance of family in Chinese culture.” The experience was very meaningful for both the American and the Chinese students.

In total 10 students participated, and throughout the study course the Beijing students patiently explained Chinese sayings to the American students, showing how they related to China’s past. Every day started with an exercise that Keränen called “Morning Mandarin and Extreme English,” in which the Chinese students taught the class new vocabulary and the Americans taught them words for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). “The exercise invariably led to discussions about the deeper cultural values and narratives implied by the words,” says Keränen.

Suzhou GardenKirsten Lindholm, an MA student in communication, is excited about the possibility of teaching in China when she finishes her graduate studies.  She says that the travel study course enabled her to retain what she learned: “Rarely do you get as much discussion time with professors as you do during a study course.  When you are experiencing first-hand what you’re reading about, it seems easier to apply what you’re learning, and to remember it.”

Betsy Brunner, another MA student in communication, says the course has ignited what she believes will be a new and ongoing part of her research as she enters a PhD program at the University of Utah in the fall: “I am eager to return not only to explore more, but also to learn the language, study the culture, and make plans to visit my new friends in Beijing. Going to China on this program made me reconsider my area of academic focus from a local topic to more global topics.  I am brimming with ideas for potential papers.”

The Narratives of the New China travel study course created lasting relationships among the faculty and students. They are planning a reunion dinner in August to reflect on their experiences abroad.


Photos courtesy of student Fan Zhang.

193 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: News Archive

New Public Health Major Exceeds Projections

Just nine months into the implementation of the new University of Colorado Denver undergraduate major in public health, 86 students have already declared public health as their major. Of current majors, 40% are pursuing the BA track and 60% the BS track. This number already exceeds their first-year headcount projection, and they expect that by the end of its first calendar year it will exceed the headcount numbers projected in the original proposal by 15-20%.

Overall, the public health major is as popular among students as they had initially predicted, and has begun attracting transfer students to UCD from other 2- and 4-year institutions specifically because of the major. It is poised to grow into one of the top majors (both quantitatively and in terms of academic excellence and rigor) in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

For more information, visit or contact David Tracer, program director.

161 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: News Archive

Follow Us on facebook
Follow Us on facebook

In an effort to connect with our students and alumni, CLAS finally joined the world of facebook.

We're always looking for compelling stories to share, so please send Katy Brown your ideas, events, research info, photos, etc. that can be added from time to time to our page. We're especially seeking student-related content.

Please "like us" to stay engaged with the college.

200 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: News Archive

English Department Awards Michael S. Gorniak Scholarships

The Department of English has reviewed applications for the 2011-2012 Michael S. Gorniak Memorial Scholarship and has elected to award a scholarship of $1000 to Marvin Guymon, an English/Creative Writing Major, and a scholarship of $500 to Tyler J. Gross, an English Writing Major pursuing a Creative Writing Minor.

Marvin Guymon is a non-traditional student with a BA in Philosophy who has returned to school to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. At UCD, Marvin has become a quiet but powerful leader whose passion for the art and craft of fiction has a transforming effect on his classmates—a passion that reminds us each of the enthusiasm Michael Gorniak brought to our community. Despite the difficulties of being a stay-at-home father and a disposition reluctant to public speaking, Guymon has distinguished himself again and again as a perceptive voice in his workshops and in the editorial groups of UCD’s Copper Nickel, where he is a junior fiction editor.

Tyler J. Gross, is a junior with a vocal passion for writing. Like Michael Gorniak, Tyler expresses his determination directly: “I plan on using my words to make a lasting impression on the world.” Tyler has begun making his way as a poet, contributing work to Copper Nickel, UCD’s international literary journal, and participating in Open Mic events across the Denver metro area. While he maintains a full academic and a full work schedule, Tyler constantly involves himself in activities where he can help others—including after-school activities for Aurora Public Schools’ daycare programs and volunteer tutoring for children between the ages of 6 and 13.

Marvin and Tyler both display a determination and an infectious enthusiasm that embodies the spirit of Michael Gorniak. In receiving scholarships, both—like the 2010-2011 recipients Audrey Briel, Leia El-Darwish, and Kitty Vincent—provide sure models of what it means to be a student of writing. The Department of English congratulates all these students, as well as all those who applied for this scholarship, for preserving and extending the memory of Michael S. Gorniak.

320 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: News Archive

Syllabi Policies and Deadlines for Fall 2011

The policies and deadlines for fall 2011 are attached for your use. It is important that we all include this in our syllabi, most importantly as an information service to our students and secondarily to provide protection for the College and support for those of us who end up speaking with a dozen students who missed deadlines or failed to follow policy and who say, "Well, no one told me I had to do that."

If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please share them with Associate Dean Jeff Franklin

205 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: News Archive

New Student Convocation & BBQ: Save the Date

August 19, 11:30am

The New Student Convocation Planning Committee invites all faculty and staff to attend the 2011 New Student Convocation in the King Center Concert Hall on Aug. 19 at 11:30am.

New Student Convocation marks the official beginning of a student’s academic career at the University of Colorado Denver and serves as the first bookend to their time UCD (the other being Commencement).

This year, we’re making a couple of minor adjustments to Convocation.  First, we’d like faculty to welcome all students as they enter the Concert Hall as well as pass out CU pins that will be used during the ceremony.

Once the students are in their seats, the faculty will then process to their seats, which will be on stage (mirroring the set-up of Commencement).

Faculty members, if you’re able to attend and participate, please plan to arrive no later than 11:30am to get set up.

You are all also invited to attend the New Student Welcome BBQ that will immediately follow Convocation in 9th Street Park, which will be an opportunity to talk with students in a relaxed, informal setting.

If you have questions, please contact Joe Halter, assistant director of the Office of Student Life.

326 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: News Archive

Design for the Other 90 Percent and Denver Sustainability Park

School of Public Affairs: Sustainability Series

The Sustainability Series is a monthly forum hosted by the School of Public Affairs for the public to learn and discuss how local Front Range universities, business, not-for-profit organizations, and governmental agencies have incorporated and defined sustainability in innovative and progressive ways. The event features networking opportunities and dynamic speakers on the subject of sustainability and how it relates to their organization and/or profession. The Sustainability Series is sponsored by the Wirth Chair in the School of Public Affairs. The event is typically held on the first Tuesday of the month, at 6 PM, at Wynkoop.

Design for the Other 90% and Denver Sustainability Park
July 12, 2011 – 6pm at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe
PJ D'Amico - Executive Director, RedLine

Of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion, 5.8 billion people, or 90%, have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted: food, clean water, and shelter. Design for the Other 90% explores a growing movement among designers to design low-cost solutions for this “other 90%.” Encompassing a broad set of modern social and economic concerns, these design innovations often support responsible, sustainable economic policy. They help, rather than exploit, poorer economies; minimize environmental impact; increase social inclusion; improve healthcare at all levels; and advance the quality and accessibility of education.

Chris Spelke - Junior Development Officer, Denver Housing Authority
Denver Housing Authority is using 2.4 acres of its own housing community in the Curtis Park neighborhood to demonstrate today’s most cutting edge sustainability practices in an urban setting. The focus of Sustainability Park is on renewable energy, energy efficiency, local food production, water management, and developing quantifiable metrics for these new cutting edge sustainability products/practices.

Learn more about these innovative sustainability designs at the July 12 Wirth Chair Sustainability Series at RedLine.

More info:

Questions, contact Sascha Albrecht.

220 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: News Archive

CLAS Spotlight

BA/BS-MD program featured $1.88 million grant from the Colorado Health Foundation

Health Foundation funds new curriculum at CU Denver Business Journal, June 10 The BA/BS-MD program is featured for earning a $1.88 million grant from the Colorado Health Foundation.

122 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Brian Barker publishes book of poems, The Black Ocean
Brian Barker publishes book of poems, The Black Ocean

Black Ocean – Southern Illinois University Press
Brian Barker, assistant professor of English, has a newly published book of poems, The Black Ocean, that explores dark moments in history.

95 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Team Geography and Environmental Sciences places 47th out of 481 teams for the Colfax Marathon relay race
Team Geography and Environmental Sciences places 47th out of 481 teams for the Colfax Marathon relay race

Despite cold, dreary weather, Team Geography and Environmental Sciences placed 47th out of 481 teams for the Colfax Marathon relay race on Sunday, May 15. Their team consisted of faculty members Fred hambers, Rafael Moreno and Ryan Sincavage; and students Tyler Thompson and Nick Grue. They made great time at 3:38:44 for the whole team with an average pace of 8:21/mile.

104 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Associate Professor of Biology Michael Green comments on the recent discovery of how diving bell spiders breathe

How diving bell spiders use bubbles as gills Cosmos Magazine, June 9

94 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

David Hildebrand gave two international talks recently on Dewey, pragmatism and democracy
David Hildebrand gave two international talks recently on Dewey, pragmatism and democracy

David Hildebrand, associate professor of philosophy, gave two international talks recently on Dewey, pragmatism and democracy. The first was at the International conference of Pragma (Italian association of pragmatist scholars) in Rome, hosted by the Universita Di Roma and the Centro Studi Americani.

The second talk took place at the Sorbonne in Paris at the conference "Pragmatism, Ethics, and the Moral Life" co-hosted by the Sorbonne and by the Ecole Normale Superieur. While in Italy, Hildebrand also met with scholars in Bologna about pragmatism and political philosophy.

107 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Patrick M. Kreuger co-authors study about racial-ethnic and educational links to exercise
Patrick M. Kreuger co-authors study about racial-ethnic and educational links to exercise

Education doesn't increase odds that minorities play 'high-status' sports EurekAlert!, June 2

135 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

A. Diann Logan an award-winning quilter

A. Diann Logan, an instructor in the Communication Department, is also an award-winning quilter. She has a piece included at "Quilts At The Capital," which opened Friday, Jun. 10, and hangs for most of the summer. Her work is entitled "Cicada," which, she notes, "of course, is about how exterior appearances, like the dull brown shell of the bug, don't always tell the whole story."

Even more exciting are the six quilts she has hanging in the Governor's, Lt. Governor's and the First Lady's offices till the end of this month.

147 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Tom Noel on how Denver once had a Chinatown
Tom Noel on how Denver once had a Chinatown

Remembering when Denver had a Chinatown Denver Post-Online, May 7 Tom Noel, professor of history, is quoted in this article about how Denver once had a Chinatown neighborhood where LoDo and the Ballpark neighborhood are now located.

107 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Daniel I. Rees referenced in Time Magazine article about academic performance
Daniel I. Rees referenced in Time Magazine article about academic performance

Life After High School TIME, June 11 A study by Daniel I. Rees, professor of economics, and co-author Jeffrey S. Zax about the association of academic performance, IQ and salary earnings is referenced in this article.

114 Views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Student Life Events

Fall Events Announced

The Office of Student Life has just announced their fall programming of events.  View page 1 and page 2 to see what's in store. Events include the Welcome Back BBQ, Common Reading Series, Disability Awareness Festival, Lunch with Lawmakers, Fall Fest, among many others. 

For more information, contact Assistant Director of Student Life Joe Halter.

136 views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: Student Life Events

CLAS Events

Dr. Jim Hageman's Farewell Reception

Friday, June 24

All faculty and staff are invited to attend a going-away reception in honor of Dr. Jim Hageman who served as Interim Dean of CLAS in 2007-2008. 

1380 Lawrence Street, 14th Floor
Chancellor's Conference Room
1:00 - 3:00 pm
Desserts & Beverages will be served

Questions should be directed to Dr. Richard Traystman's office at 303-724-8157. 

189 views | Issue: June 23, 2011 | Archive: CLAS Events

View all CLAS events on our website

To view all CLAS Events, please visit our event calendar

June 23, 2011



March 27, 2014

March 13, 2014

February 27, 2014

February 13, 2014

January 30, 2014

January 16, 2014

View More Issues


CLAS Home Page

CLAS Events

Faculty and Staff Resources


University Home Page

UCD Network

UCD Newsroom


The CLAS Deans' Notes is a bi-weekly newsletter for college faculty and staff.

Tracy Kohm 303.556.6663