Consider Volunteering at Commencement and Signing up for CLAS READS!
As we come to the end of the semester and the conclusion of this challenging year, we have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. With the exception of limited transmission events, our vaccinated campus was able to return safely to classrooms and offices, and by using our public safety protocols we kept ourselves and each other safe. Moving forward, vaccinations are going to remain as important as ever. Before traveling or gathering with those you love over the break, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the Health Center at Auraria’s free COVID-19 booster shots. All Colorado adults are eligible to receive them, and it couldn’t be easier to get your booster on campus – it takes 15 minutes or less for most folks. Use this link to schedule an appointment, then bring your proof of vaccination card to the Plaza Building Room 111. It’s that simple.
Of all the events that COVID has changed or made impossible over the past two years, perhaps the most keenly missed for our CU Denver Community has been Commencement. The university put on really remarkable virtual ceremonies, but nothing can compare to the pomp and circumstance of celebrating together. I personally am so looking forward to celebrating our graduates in-person on the 18th at the convention center (see more information below in the Events section). While every commencement honors the achievement of our students’ academic goals and commitment to overcoming the obstacles, this ceremony will be unlike any other as summer and fall graduates have been invited to participate as well. This means this ceremony is going to be big, and it’s going to take a lot of help to pull it off. The events team is in need of more help than usual, so if you are a fan of the electric energy and emotional poignancy of this very special day please consider signing up to volunteer. Additional information about the ceremony is on the commencement website, and the page to sign-up to volunteer is available here.
As we look forward to all the new projects and possibilities 2022 has to offer, I hope the university-wide reading Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist is on everyone’s list. I spoke recently with members of staff, faculty, and students about why this initiative is so important, and everyone can see video of this quick conversation on the CLAS YouTube channel. Many of you have signed up to participate as part of a group, and these reading groups will be a meaningful way to make connections and build trust with your peers in talking about race and racism. We also encourage those who can’t make time to join one of the college’s organized groups to read on your own or form a less formal discussion group among your colleagues. If you do choose one of these less-organized options, we would be grateful if you could let us know about it on the registration form. A reminder of the timeframe for reading:
January 2022 - Review and discuss chapters 1-5
February 2022 – Review and discuss chapters 6-10
March 2022 – Review and discuss chapters 11-14
April 2022 – Review and discuss chapters 15-18
May 2022 - End of Reading Event
Wishing all of you a happy, healthy, and well-deserved break,
Announcement from Associate Dean Rich Allen
Introducing the Inclusive Teaching Practices Journal Club
This month we’re launching a new addition to the Deans' Notes, called the Inclusive Teaching Practices Journal Club. Each contribution will offer a summary of a recent publication that highlights how inclusive teaching practices can improve student success. The inaugural contribution is provided by Dr. Kelsey Funkhouser, a post-doctoral fellow in CLAS who collaborates on student success efforts through her work in the Office of Inclusive Excellence in STEM.
Each contribution will include a summary of findings and link to the original research article. We will collect these summaries on the Journal Club section of our Office of Inclusive Excellence in STEM website. We hope you will use this as a resource for reflection and community. If you’d like to schedule time to meet with Kelsey or another member of the office, reach out! We’ll bring the cookies!
In a paper by Canning et. al. two studies are presented both looking at the professor’s perceived mindset beliefs (intelligence as fixed versus malleable, fixed vs growth mindset) and their impact on students’ sense of belonging and performance. The first study was completed in an experimental setting. The students reviewed a syllabus with fixed or growth mindset cues, they were surveyed on anticipated belonging in the course and professor’s perceived mindset, and completed a math placement test. The second study was done with students in their STEM classes. Early the semester students were surveyed about the professor’s perceived mindset beliefs as well as their own. Then near the end of the semester they reported their own sense of belonging in the course, and their final course grades were collected. Both studies found that if students perceived their professors to have fixed mindset beliefs they felt that they belonged less and women’s performance was negatively impacted.
This Month’s CLAS Staff Council Profile of Outstanding Staff
AnQuanette Murray-Cawthorn – CLAS Dean’s Office HR Senior Professional
AnQuanette Murray-Cawthorn, HR Senior Professional, has spent much of her career in the CLAS Dean’s Office. She was first hired as a Peer Advisor in the Financial Aid Office and shortly after got a second job as a Student Assistant in the CLAS Dean’s office in 2015. Upon graduating from CU Denver, she was hired in a permanent staff role in the CLAS Dean’s office and started her HR position in 2017. AnQuanette didn’t originally plan to go into HR as a career. When she was in her student position, she expressed interest in the Human Resources work she observed in the Dean’s office and was given a chance to try it out. A new path led from there.
AnQuanette says, “What I enjoy most about my position is working with the staff and faculty in the Dean’s office. Everyone is so passionate about their roles and it is reflected in the work that they do.” Of her colleagues on the Human Resources and Finance team she says, “We are so collaborative and I appreciate that everyone is so open to help and work together.”
In addition to handling the daily tasks required of her position, AnQuanette keeps abreast of the latest developments in the field of Human Resources. She is detail-oriented and enjoys assisting colleagues with projects. She is collaborative in nature, valuing the working relationships she has built in the CLAS Dean’s office. AnQuanette is thankful for the “opportunity for growth” in her position since joining CLAS.
Megan Jorgensen, Director of HR in the CLAS Dean’s Office says “AnQuanette is an asset to the CLAS HR team. She is extremely organized…I’m so proud of everything AnQuanette has learned and accomplished from her time as a student assistant to her current role as HR Senior Professional. AnQuanette is always willing to help out with different projects... She’s a very quick learner and is very resourceful – she’s able to figure out a lot of stuff on her own. We are lucky to have AnQuanette on the CLAS HR team!”
Carri Boothe, HR Program Manager at CLAS Dean’s Office adds that AnQuanette “has demonstrated a strong commitment to her job and has always gone above and beyond to make sure that she does that job well. I’m continually impressed by the thoroughness of her work, her ability to take on and learn new tasks, and her willingness to help others. As a coworker, AnQuanette is supportive and encouraging and always willing to lend a helping hand… She is a tremendous asset for our HR Team and CLAS!”
We salute AnQuanette Murray-Cawthorn for her accomplishments and appreciate her contributions to CLAS and to the Lynx Community. We anticipate a long and prosperous career ahead for AnQuanette.
The Dawes Act of 1887 distanced Indigenous people from their traditional practices, as it tried to assimilate them into farming like white settlers and divided tribal lands into individual plots. In this era, the Willamette Valley hop industry was on the rise and growers struggled to find seasonal workers to harvest the hops, said History Associate Professor Peter Kopp, author of Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. “The important context for the Indian history is this is when most tribes had been put on reservations,” Kopp said. “It led more to wage labor rather than traditional economies.”
Footprints discovered in 1978 by paleontologist Mary Leakey and her colleagues in Laetoli, Tanzania, have been considered the oldest unambiguous evidence of upright walking in the human lineage. In 1976, another pair of strange footprints was partially unearthed at adjacent Site A, but they were disregarded as bear tracks. In 2019, an international research team led by Charles Musiba, Associate Professor of Anthropology, traveled to Laetoli, Tanzania to re-excavate and thoroughly clean the five footprints to discover who made them. They found indications that the fossil footprints were formed by a hominin, including a massive heel and enormous toe imprint, according to a new study published in Nature.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that around 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the US from March of 2020 to March of 2021. That’s the largest number of fatal drug overdoses ever recorded in a 12 month period in the US. The synthetic drug fentanyl is driving much of that surge. Marty Otañez, Associate Professor of Anthropology, and project coordinator of Naloxone Champions, talks about how authorities and harm reduction advocates have been trying to warn the public of a disturbing trend of drugs laced with fentanyl.
“Some genres are more elastic than others. A mystery is predicated on surprising its audience. A rom-com wants to fulfil every expectation and not violate the contract of genre. Horror forces itself to keep innovating,” said Andrew Scahill, Assistant Professor of English. The setting of winter for some new horror films isn’t a coincidence he says: for many people, family reunions and shame-filled year-end assessments are terrifying. It’s no wonder that in his class on Christmas cinema he includes both the feel-good movie musical “White Christmas” (1954) and the harrowing proto-slasher “Black Christmas” (1974).
Brian Buma, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of Integrative Biology, has a new book out on the basics of environmental science, ecology, and climate change: The Atlas of a Changing Climate. Over half imagery from National Geographic, satellites, historical documents, and data artists, the book takes a basic science view of how the climate works with a highly visual bent. Targeted at interested non-scientists and those without scientific training, the text weaves through stories from around the world on how the global system works at broad scales, far above our everyday experiences.
The Undergraduate Certificate in Spanish for the Healthcare Professions seeks to facilitate effective communication between healthcare professionals and their Spanish speaking patients and clients. To enhance mutual understanding, which is of critical importance within a healthcare setting, students will learn to speak, comprehend, read, and write in Spanish (with a focus on specialized vocabulary and medical communication) and will acquire intercultural competence. This certificate is available to all students across the university, as well as non-degree-seeking professionals with a prior degree who are seeking to increase their skill set. For more information contact Marisa Fernández Martínez, Associate Professor of Spanish, at Maria.Fernandezmartinez@UCDenver.edu.
The Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities (URCA) is soliciting proposals from faculty members interested in mentoring a EURēCA! Student Assistant this Spring. EURēCA! Student Assistant is an introductory program that leverages federal-work study dollars and grant funds to provide entry-level salary support to undergraduates new to the research and creative enterprise. We are looking for faculty members who are passionate about mentorship and engaging students in their RCA activities. More information is available at their website, and the rolling application is available here.
Fall 2021 graduate names will be announced, diploma covers will be presented, and graduates will cross the stage. Because crossing a stage and having pictures taken is important to our graduates, we’ve also invited anyone who graduated in 2020 (when we had virtual-only ceremonies) to join the in-person celebration as well. Faculty are asked to register for the commencement ceremony, even if regalia is not needed. Registering ensures that enough seating is provided on stage and allows us to contact you with pertinent information about the ceremony. The ceremony will be livestreamed and recorded for faculty and staff who can't attend. All the details about viewing will be available on the Commencement Homepage.
University safety protocols will be enforced during the event:
Wear a face covering at all times when inside the Convention Center (face shields are not permitted). Graduates can remove their
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) is going to make it easy for you to plan ahead and create a student-friendly course to promote student learning. In this short winter faculty preparation course, they will provide you with hands-on support from our CETL Instructional Designers including,
Create an effective and inclusive syllabus to guide your students and your instruction
Refine your course learning objectives, align them to assessments and learning activities
Plan your semester with inclusion in mind
Connect, collaborate, and share ideas with other instructors
All sessions will be held virtually via Zoom, so keep your pajamas and slippers on! The retreat is formatted with two structured workshop days and two independent workdays:
Monday, January 10, 9:00 am – 2:30 pm: Structured Workshop on Learning Objectives and Syllabus Design
Tuesday, January 11: Independent Workday (Revising Learning Objectives and Syllabus)