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Letters from the Deans

Message from Dean Daniel J. Howard

Message from Dean Daniel J. Howard

Dean’s Reception 2012

Traditionally, the final Deans’ Notes of the year focuses on students, faculty, and staff who were honored at the Dean’s Reception.  This year will be no different; however, before turning our attention to the remarkable achievements of our students and colleagues, I want to thank each of you for a very successful 2011-2012 academic year.  The college is emerging from the economic downturn in good shape with strong enrollments, a growing faculty, and with a renewed commitment to the mission of a liberal arts and sciences college; namely, to impart the content knowledge associated with a major, while at the same time teaching students to think critically, to reach conclusions that are consistent with verifiable evidence, to communicate effectively, and to become lifelong learners.  The skills that we teach are designed to last a lifetime, and the impact that you have on the lives of our students is truly incalculable.

Have a wonderful summer,


99 views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: Letters from the Deans


2012 Dean's Awards Reception
2012 Dean's Awards Reception

Student Awards

Fall 2011 Outstanding Bachelor of Arts

Genene Duran, Department of Communication (not pictured)
Yvette Bueno Olson says: "She was one of two students that took the initiative without instructor guidance [to explore] the possibility of working on an action oriented final project for the [Health Communication] class. She has also demonstrated the capacity to cross influence her efforts by informing student in the classroom of opportunities in the community as well as engaging the community with University efforts."

Fall 2011 Outstanding Bachelor of Science

Hannah Houck, B.S., Biology
Cheri Jones says: "Hannah is one of our most hard-working undergraduates.... She is very well organized and meticulous in detail, and displays a sense of humor that has made for a positive rapport with her students. She is one of the most responsible of my lab instructors."

Spring 2012 Outstanding Bachelor of Arts

Caroline Croyle, Dual Degree: B.A., Geography-Environmental Science option and B.A., International Studies
Deborah Thomas says: "Academically, Caroline is at the top of her class, but what distinguishes her most is her commitment to giving back to society.... She was passionate and enthusiastic about learning and her education, with a curiosity that extends beyond the requirements of class."

Yiyi Jiang, B.A., Economics
Buhong Zheng says: "Yiyi is mature, considerate, thoughtful and helpful. In recent years, we have had many Chinese students from our ICB program coming to study in Denver [and] Yiyi has been very helpful in helping new students adjust to the new environment and in assisting them to be successful academically."

2012 Outstanding Master of Science Student

Jennifer Diemunsch, M.S., Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
Michael Ferrara says: "Jenny's natural energy and enthusiasm, both mathematically and in general, translates seamlessly to her time in the classroom, where she has served both as a recitation assistant and as an instructor with full-course responsibility.... She is a natural educator, delivering information clearly while doing an excellent job of keeping a handle on her audience…Jenny has served as a mentor to students throughout our department. She is always available to give advice or simply lend an ear to her peers.... She devotes an amazing amount of time and effort to her work, and is one of the most thorough graduate students I have ever had the chance to work with.... I am certain that it will propel her to great things as she progresses into her career. "

2012 Outstanding Ph.D. Student

Courtney Lee, Ph.D., Health and Behavioral Sciences (not pictured)
Deborah Main says: "Quite simply, during her tenure in the department, Courtney has helped to shape the culture and academic standards of our doctoral program more than any student I've known.... She has developed strong research collaborations with faculty members and fellows from the Anschutz Medical Campus and Department of Veteran’s Affairs, where she demonstrates an exceptional ability to bridge the often large divide between social science and clinical medicine.... Courtney's doctoral research addresses an important and compelling question about the impacts of the medical tourism industry in Costa Rica where she spent over a year conducting ethnographic field work in public and private hospitals and clinics, recovery homes for medical tourists, within government institutions and the university. Her dissertation findings will undoubtedly lead to many publications, follow-on funding, a prominent place in her field, and a bright future as an academic."

Faculty & Staff Awards

Teaching Excellence Award - Honorarium and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

Margaret Bruehl, Chemistry
An anonymous response on a student's FCQ sums up Dr. Bruehl's impact on her students: "I really developed as a scientist. I learned to be neat, think critically and work independently. Honestly, I hated the course initially. It was stressful and intimidating, but now I can say it has taught me the most and was well worth it. Dr. Bruehl really pushed me, which was hard, but helped me grow. I'd take it again. I loved seeing my work improve through the course."

Joan T. Bihun, Psychology (UCD campus award winner)
Peter Kaplan says, "Take a well-trained and very knowledgeable behavioral scientist, add a talent for teaching and communication, hours of preparation and organization, throw in a lot of energy and passion, and round it off with thoughtfulness and caring about the students' experience, and that will be a start. She is the kind of instructor who will not only move around any furniture in a classroom that is not bolted down, but who will also put it all back where it was before she leaves the room."

Jean Scandlyn, Anthropology (not pictured)
In her statement, Dr. Scandlyn indicates that her, "philosophy of teaching arises most directly from my own undergraduate liberal arts education where I learned the value of approaching any question or problem from multiple disciplines and perspectives."

Teaching Excellence Award - Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty

Michael Ferrara, Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
Mike Jacobson says, "He has become a leader in curriculum development, advising students, working to train future teachers, outreach to K-12 students (and teachers), working tirelessly mentoring our graduate students as well as be a stellar classroom instructor."

Lisa Keränen, Communication
Brian Ott and Sonja Foss say, "[Dr. Keranen's] teaching strengths include intellectual rigor, clarity of learning goals and expectations, the ability to inspire students to succeed, and an abiding commitment to learning outside the classroom."

Doris Kimbrough, Chemistry
Mark Anderson says, "In addition to routinely receiving the highest FCQ ratings among the faculty in the Chemistry department, Dr. Kimbrough has actively to the assessment of the Chemistry program, has developed new courses for the curriculum to address student needs, and she is actively engaged in scholarship activities that enhance our understanding of how chemistry is taught and learned.

Research and Creative Activities Excellence Awards

Elizabeth Allen, Psychology
Peter Kaplan says, "A noteworthy aspect of her research activities is her strong involvement of undergraduate and graduate students, several of whom have been co-authors on publications and conference presentations. Dr. Allen is an enormously effective mentor and role-model to our students. She is chairing a number of doctoral dissertations committees and has chaired many M.A. thesis and undergraduate honors research projects.... I'm proud to be associated with her."

Stephen J. Hartnett, Communication
David Zarefsky, endowed professor emeritus at Northwestern University says, "Throughout his career, Hartnett has been concerned with issues related to prisons and penology and has come to focus especially on capital punishment. Hartnett is not neutral on these topics and he sees his teaching and research as means to fulfill his political and moral commitments. His research on these topics exemplifies what it means to do 'engaged scholarship.'"

Julien Langou, Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
Jack Donbarra, Director of the ICL, one of the premier computing research centers in the United States, says, "Dr. Langou already has a number of publications related to linear algebra, parallel processing and the efficient use of microprocessors. These are publications where he was responsible for a substantial part of the theory and implementation effort, not just a helper on the project. In addition, the variety of topics covered by his contributions and the multitude of different co-authors are strong signs of the candidate's breadth of interests, versatility, and ability to work with colleagues."

Faculty Service Award

Charles A. Ferguson, Integrative Biology (UCD campus award winner) (not pictured)
From a group of students preparing for medical school: "Graduate school in health care is highly competitive…..Excellence is essential every step of the way.... As student who have suffered these challenges, the influence and guidance of Dr. Ferguson has been instrumental in surmounting these obstacles. He has been there through distressing times to give words of encouragement...and knows every detail along the way.... He has responded within hours to frantic emails trying to meet deadlines for applications or plan coursework before waitlists were full.... He has helped us to view our goals as within our grasp at moments when they seemed as if they were slipping out of reach.... It is people like Dr. Ferguson that make dreams capable of being reached.... His contributions to our lives are incalculable."

Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award

Steven G. Medema, Economics
Buhong Zheng says, "Professor Medema is one of the world's leading scholars in his field, the History of Economic Thought. He is a prolific writer. He has authored/edited 15 books and published over 100 journal articles and book reviews. Many of his books have been published by premier publishers such as Princeton Press and his articles regularly appear in top field journals and top general journals.... His latest book won the European Society for the History of Economic Thought's prize for the best book published in 2008-2009. He was recently awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship--the first ever awarded to a UC Denver faculty member, as well as a $100,000 research grant from the Institute for New Economic Thinking."

Outstanding Staff Award

Catherine Rathbun, Chemistry
Marta Maron says, "Over the years she has made countless contributions to the Department of Chemistry...her involvement in the coordination, development, and training of chemistry teaching assistants, as well as in her preparation and up-keep of the teaching chemistry laboratories has been invaluable.... Without her ability to successfully organize and prepare for the needs of the many different laboratory would be impossible for the chemistry department to run as smoothly as it does.... Catherine's contribution to the development of Teaching Assistant Handbooks [and] attendance to weekly TA meetings…ensures that every student and TA has a positive, productive, and safe laboratory experience.... [I have] marveled at her ability to balance the needs of faculty, teaching assistants, work-studies, and most importantly students…all the while upholding a positive and helpful attitude."

2011-2012 Retirees

Richard Lundgren, Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (not pictured)
Jan Mandel says, "Rich was the department chair back in 1986 when I came to UCD, and he always personified for me what a department chair should be: thoughtful, respectful of the faculty, committed, patient, and putting the interest of the department before his own. He was the soul of the department during the transition to the PhD program. I will consider myself lucky if I can become half of the department chair he was."

Richard VanDeWeghe, English (not pictured)
Michele Comstock says, "Dr. Richard VanDeWeghe has mentored innumerable students and teachers through founding the Denver Writing Project in 2000; contributing to teacher research through numerous articles and a book on classroom inquiry; and providing rich, highly praised courses at the undergraduate and graduate level in writing and the teaching of writing. Winning the President's Teaching Scholar award, Dr. VanDeWeghe was a teacher's teacher, holding informal and formal workshops for teachers at all levels and consulting with struggling schools and writing project sites. It is difficult to measure the true impact of his thoughtful and skilled mentoring. His intensity and love for teacher research was contagious, and he unflaggingly brings those qualities to every online, phone, and in-person consultation. Many CU Denver students became involved in education or English because of Dr. VanDeWeghe's inspiration, that is, his uncanny ability to mobilize teachers and bring a spirit of inquiry and curiosity to their everyday lives in the classroom."

361 Views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: News Archive

New Health Humanities Minor Announced

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is pleased to introduce a new undergraduate interdisciplinary minor, Health Humanities (HEHM). This minor highlights humanities and related social science approaches to medicine and health. Students can begin signing up for the program now, and classes will get underway in spring 2013.

Marjorie Levine-Clark is creating a list of associated faculty; if you are interested in being included on that list please send her an email describing  how your research/teaching areas are pertinent to the minor, and any courses you are currently teaching or would like to create for the minor. For more information on the program please follow this link.

238 Views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: News Archive

History Comes Alive for 650 Colorado Students
History Comes Alive for 650 Colorado Students

It is hard to imagine middle and high school students spending a beautiful spring Saturday at a history competition, but that is exactly what happened on May 5. Students traveled from across the state to attend the prestigious National History Day in Colorado (NHDC) state contest at the University of Colorado Denver.  More than 650 winners from local contests participated, and seventy top finishers qualified to go to the national contest in June at the University of Maryland, near Washington, D.C., to compete against 3,500 finalists from around the nation.

Each year 10,000-20,000 Colorado middle and high school students participate in NHDC by researching a history topic and creating and presenting a project around the annual theme. This year's theme was Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History. Studies show that students who participate in National History Day are more engaged in learning and perform better in all academic areas. NHDC is for everyone, and can be a life-changing experience for many students, particularly in Colorado’s most underserved areas. 

To learn more about National History Day in Colorado visit this link or contact State Coordinator, Kendra Black.

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Denver Writing Project representatives meet with Colorado legislators in Washington D.C.

Advocates representing the Denver Writing Project at the University of Colorado met with Colorado legislators last month in Washington D.C. to draw attention to the consequences of recent changes in the federal government’s allocation policies resulting in withdrawn federal support for teacher development programs at research universities. The Denver Writing Project is a partnership with the university that promotes quality teaching practices for K-16 education.

Part of the agenda for the meetings with Colorado legislators was to thank them for the partial federal funding that was made available to the program. The federal funding that was received came through a sponsored program through competitive grants this past year, and the National Writing Project was awarded over 11 million dollars to continue its thoughtful work with K-16 teachers across the nation.

Another important message delivered to Colorado legislators was that dedication to working with teachers across the state continues, despite the financial setbacks. In the past, 50% of the funding for most of the National Writing Project sites (including the University of Colorado Denver site) was federal. Since the cut, the organization has been actively seeking alternative sources of support. While the fate of federal financial allocation remains uncertain, the Denver Writing Project is currently seeking an opportunity to bring SEED money to the university.

For more information about the Denver Writing Project you can contact Miranda L. Egger, Instructor of Rhetoric & Composition and Advocacy Coordinator.

339 Views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: News Archive

Call for Proposals: Pathways to Respecting American Indian Civil Rights Conference

The Region VIII Inter-Departmental Task Force on Civil Rights is hosting a two-day training and education conference on the Auraria campus August 8-9 to promote the civil rights of American Indians. The conference will feature training, education, and sharing of information between American Indians on and off-reservation with various federal, state, and local agencies, community organizations, educators, health care providers, nonprofit organizations and others.

Co-sponsors include: the City and County of Denver; Metropolitan State University of Denver Equity Assistance Center; Midwest Equity Assistance Center; IDRA Equity Assistance Center; Region IX Equity Assistance Center at WestEd; University of Colorado Denver; University of Northern Colorado; The BUENO Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Colorado Boulder; Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Civil Rights; AARP-Colorado and other organizations. For more information and a complete list of participating organizations visit this link.

If you would like to submit a proposal to host a session please find the form here. Deadline for submission is Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

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Dinosaur Tracks Museum to Permanently Close

After 16 years at CU-Denver's Downtown Campus, the Dinosaur Tracks Museum will close permanently at the end of May. Research specimens will be moved to the University Of Colorado Museum Of Natural History at CU-Boulder, and the exhibits will be dismantled. If you would like to see the world's largest and most varied collection of fossil footprints before it leaves the campus, please stop by and visit in the basement of St. Cajetans Church.

The museum remains open whenever the "OPEN" sign is outside the door (or by appointment). You are welcome to visit until the end of May, but please call or e-mail us to make sure we will be there: Museum Office  (303-556-5261)or Director's Office (303-556-4884).                               

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English Announces Gorniak Memorial Scholarship Recipients

The Department of English is pleased to announce the three scholarship recipients for 2012-2013. Michael S. Gorniak Memorial Scholarship: Kaela Martin, an English/Creative Writing major, will receive $1,000; Gary Joshua Garrison and Alex C. Dembicki, both English/Creative Writing majors, will receive $500 each. Kaela, Gary, and Alex each exemplify the spirit of Michael Gorniak through their resolve, vision, and enthusiasm.

In receiving scholarships, each of these students—like the 2011-2012 recipients Marvin Guymon and Tyler Gross—stand as positive and certain models of the student writer, both dedicated to their craft and their community. The Department of English congratulates all of these students—as well as all of the applicants for this scholarship—for honoring and preserving the memory of Michael S. Gorniak.

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Geography Announces Rodgers Memorial Scholarship Recipients

Each year, the Geography and Environmental Sciences Department awards the William M. Rodgers Memorial Scholarship to select junior and senior geography majors with at least a 3.0 overall GPA. This year, six winners were selected to receive one thousand dollars each: Eben Dennis, Qwyla Foutch, Andrew Harrison, Lisa Moreno, Lisa Ritchie, and Tyler Svitak. Congratulations to all!

249 Views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: News Archive

CLAS Spotlight

Addison elected to Faculty Council
Addison elected to Faculty Council

Joanne Addison, associate professor in the department of English and vice chair of the University of Colorado Denver Faculty Assembly, won election as secretary of Faculty Council for 2012-2013. Faculty Council recognized its annual award winners and elected new officers at the April 26 meeting.

191 Views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Goode headed to Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
Goode headed to Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research

Senior sociology major, Joshua Goode, has been accepted into the Summer Internship Program at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan. Josh will spend 10 weeks at ICPSR this summer developing advanced quantitative analysis skills and conducting original research for presentation at a professional conference in the fall. He is one of six students accepted to the program from a field of 300 applicants. You can learn more about the Summer Internship Program here.

236 Views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Hildebrand responds to David Brooks
Hildebrand responds to David Brooks

Letters: An Elite College Education, Online?
The New York Times, May 7

David Hildebrand, associate professor of philosophy, critiques Brooks’ “supply-chain” model of expanding on-line university education, and argues for locally enacted scholarship.

230 Views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Metcalf named Co-Director of the Ancient Philosophy Society
Metcalf named Co-Director of the Ancient Philosophy Society

Robert Metcalf, associate professor and chair of philosophy, was named Co-Director of the Ancient Philosophy Society last month at their annual meeting in San Francisco. At that meeting he presented the lecture, "On Character and Time-of-Life: Aristotle's Rhetoric II.12-14." This summer Professor Metcalf will serve as a faculty member at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Citta di Castello, Italy, leading a week-long seminar on Plato's Statesman with graduate students and other faculty members.

248 Views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Ott essay analyzes ESPN’s coverage of Penn State sex scandal
Ott essay analyzes ESPN’s coverage of Penn State sex scandal

Brian L. Ott, associate professor and associate chair of communication, published this essay as an analysis of ESPN’s coverage of the Penn State sex abuse scandal during the first week following the release of the November 2011 Grand Jury presentment—which indicted former Penn State college football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of criminal sexual abuse.

Understanding ESPN’s coverage, particularly its framing of this story, reveals how the news media shape public attitudes and opinions, pressure public officials, and model agentive citizenship in response to public traumas. Specifically, the essay argues that ESPN's visual-narrative framing of the scandal perpetuates a hypermasculine (and heteronormative) fantasy of violent vigilante justice that reduces political agency to personal and private acts.

Unnecessary roughness: ESPN’s construction of hypermasculine citizenship in the Penn State sex abuse scandal
Cultural Studies, May 3

307 Views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Tagg continues promoting physics education in Colorado and beyond
Tagg continues promoting physics education in Colorado and beyond

In March, Randall Tagg, associate professor in physics, co-organized and ran a session at the National Science Teachers Association national meeting in Indianapolis titled, "Year to Year: Building a Continuous Collective of Student Research with Mobile Devices/Online Resources."

In April, Tagg worked with Dr. Alejandra Morales in Aurora's VistaPEAK school to run a 5-day session for twenty 6th graders to do special science investigations developing methods for monitoring volcanic activity at Yellowstone. He followed this up with a visit to Georgia Tech, to discuss connections between turbulence research and epilepsy, and to give a talk about student research in nonlinear dynamics. He then gave the talk, "Dynamics by the Dozen" as the final colloquium for the spring semester at CU Boulder's Applied Math Department.

Already in May, Tagg worked with Aurora school district's Jennifer Nassar to present, "From Wow to Know How,"a series of science and engineering demonstrations for 3rd and 4th graders participating in the "Engineering is Elementary" program, developed at Boston's Museum of Science. A link showing Tagg's appearance as "Dr. Chaos" can be seen here.

204 Views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: Spotlight Archive

Student Life Events

Senior Send Off

Thursday, May 10
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Rock Bottom Brewery (1001 16th Street)

Anyone graduating, faculty, staff, friends, and family are welcome! Graduates will get to record a short thank you video that will play before graduation and an exclusive CU Denver Alumni Sticker. $1.25 Parking with validation from Rock Bottom in the Independence Plaza Parking garage

Please RSVP here, more inforamtion can be found here.

162 views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: Student Life Events

CLAS Events

3rd Annual Ethnic Studies & Educational Opportunity Program Graduation Celebration

Friday May 11th
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Tivoli Student Union Room 320

Rsvp to:

More Info: 303-315-3612

198 views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: CLAS Events

Spring Commencement

Saturday, May 12
9:00 am - 11:30 am
Auraria Athletic Fields

The reception for CLAS will follow immediately upon ceremony completion in the Tivoli Turnhalle.

In case of inclimate weather: A decision on moving festivities indoors will be made at 6:30 AM.  Should the outdoor ceremenoy be canceled, CLAS will have an individual ceremony from 1:00 pm -  3:00 pm in the Auraria Events Center.  Graduates will be informed in advance of guest restrictions and schedule changes. 

Anyone unsure of status due to weather can call the Auraria Information line at 877-463-6070 for further information.

174 views | Issue: May 10, 2012 | Archive: CLAS Events

View all CLAS events on our website

To view all CLAS Events, please visit our event calendar

May 10, 2012



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

Tracy Kohm 303.556.6663