Please Take A Few Minutes to Complete the Important Campus and Workplace Culture (CWC) Survey
Last week, the University of Colorado System launched the Campus and Workplace Culture (CWC) Survey for fall of 2021. I know we all get frequent asks for input these days; it feels like every time we order a product or use a service we get an email asking for feedback. But this survey is different. The purpose of the CWC is to get critical input from students, staff, and faculty about their academic, workplace, and residential environments. The information that’s gathered will play a critical role in shaping the future of our university.
The University System is committed to creating an inclusive environment on each of our campuses, where all members of our community feel respected, supported, and valued. The past two years have made it more challenging than ever for our community members to make their voices heard, and this survey is a first step in correcting that. Specific metrics will result from the initial survey, and action plans developed post-survey will have real impacts on our community. As the new CU Denver Strategic Plan has codified, making CU Denver a people-centered best place to work is central to the mission moving toward 2030. With your answers to this survey you can let the System know what kind of workplace you have now, and what you want for your future.
In addition, diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral parts of the new CU Denver Strategic Plan to become the nation’s first equity serving university. I hope you all saw the announcement this week that we officially achieved a major step in that direction this month when the U.S. Department of Education formally announced that it has designated CU Denver and CU Anschutz jointly as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). University leadership will use the results from this survey, which will serve as a benchmark against to measure our progress in the years to come, to better understand our existing culture and to identify both strengths and areas of concern in order to make recommendations for creating and sustaining an even more just, equitable, and inclusive culture at CU.
If you didn’t receive a unique link to complete the survey, which will close on November 12th, please consult the CWC website. I look forward to sharing the results of this important effort with all of you in the future.
CLAS Staff Council is Proud to Highlight Outstanding Staff Members in this New Deans’ Notes Newsletter Segment
This Month’s Staff Member: Carol Achziger – Grants Development Coordinator
Carol Achziger has served as the CU Denver CLAS Grants Development Coordinator since February of 2009, where she assists faculty in the college with submitting grant applications and the development of contracts. Achziger says she enjoys her work at CLAS because “...of the diversity of thought, activities, and great people...This is a fun, compassionate, a bit competitive and diverse place to work. Never a dull moment!” Carol is most proud every time someone is awarded a grant proposal that she has assisted with.
Prior to coming to CU Denver, Achziger worked in a school district in northern Utah where she established relationships with multiple agencies for an afterschool program that still runs to this day. She also ran the program’s day-to-day administration – writing and submitting grant proposals, as well as helping to create and provide training. Achziger says, “The fact that those after-school programs and relationships are still intact is a huge accomplishment.”
Achziger often juggles multiple projects with overlapping deadlines and she does it all with “grace and confidence” says Stephanie Santorico, CLAS Interim Associate Dean for Research and Creative Activities. “Carol navigates the maze of federal agency documents, websites, and unique foundation processes on behalf of our faculty so they are able to focus on their research.”
Colleague Elizabeth Lee notes that Achziger can, “quote policy (and translate it for the rest of us!) while still being approachable. [She helps] those she works with to understand the bigger picture...Carol is an incredible inspiration to me and I am so fortunate to call her a colleague and friend.”
In addition to her work, Achziger commits significant time, effort, and energy to her church, her family, and her community. Stephanie Santorico mentions that “Carol constantly impresses me with her commitment to serving others and drive to make the world a better place. She always treats others with respect and sets an example of compassion and volunteerism. Carol can be counted on to go above and beyond the call of duty."
Carol Achziger is an asset to CLAS, to CU Denver, and to the community at large. We are fortunate to have Carol in our diverse, talented, and caring Lynx community.
“This is a story of enormous human tragedy that this is what the international community needs to focus on—putting pressure on all those who are involved at a minimum to allow for humanitarian access to people who are so desperately in need…Civilians who don’t have a direct hand in the conflict are very much the cost of the conflict,” Associate Professor of Political Science, Betcy Jose, told 9News Denver. An estimated 400,000 people in the area face what aid agencies call “catastrophic hunger” due to a restrictive blockade by government forces after fighting broke out in the northern region of Tigray about a year ago.
None of the 19 states that implemented statewide COVID-19 vaccine lotteries this summer saw an increase in vaccination rates as a result of the incentive programs, according to a study published this month in Jama Health Forum. The study is the first to examine the effectiveness of 19 state-run lotteries and offers insight into how governments can better craft incentive-based policies, said Associate Professor of Economics Andrew Friedson. Friedson and his team examined vaccination rates in 19 states before and after their lottery announcements and concluded that the association between the two variables was "statistically indistinguishable from zero," the study noted.
Watching frightening films can give you much more than a good scare, they can also help relieve stress and anxiety. “In the 30s, there was a lot of anxiety about what people consumed and whether it transformed them—especially children,” said Andrew Scahill, Assistant Professor in English and the author of The Revolting Child in Horror Cinema. “There was a worry over what people get titillated by in the horror genre,” Scahill said. “Early criticism on film came from this place where horror cinema was seen as enabling sadism, essentially — that it gave flesh and body to fantasies that should not be reinforced.”
Two humor writers walk into a bar. The first one says, “Ouch!” The second one says, “No, go with ‘Yikes!’ because hard sounds like K are funnier.” Julie Vick, Senior Instructor in the English Department, and Sarah Garfinkel are a lot funnier than that. Vick said, “One thing I’ve realized is that some people think you are either born funny or not, but the truth is most babies are not great at telling jokes. There are actually several techniques you can learn to use when writing humor … so people need more of a growth mindset about their ability to write funny!”
Marisa Westbrook, a Health and Behavioral Sciences Doctoral Candidate, observed that during a two-year study (in which she’s followed 35 people from the Westwood neighborhood), “For the majority of my participants, any form of cash assistance is going towards rent and utilities. And a lot of people are talking about how, beyond cash assistance, they’re really using food banks,” Westbrook said. “This is going to be a continued issue without consistent support, consistent financial support.”
The University of Colorado Denver is proud to announce the winners of the CU Denver 2021 Pandemic Research and Creative Activities Award. These awards spotlight a mere fraction of the influential work of our faculty and staff.
CU Denver Distinguished Honor Award
For the faculty or staff member whose pandemic efforts led to outstanding service or research achievements of marked statewide or national significance.Each of the CU Denver Distinguished Honor Award winners will receive $1,000 in faculty development funds to continue their research.
jimi adams, PhD, Associate Professor of Health and Behavioral Sciences, CLAS
adams’ expertise in infectious disease diffusion led to his involvement in the team modeling SARS-COV-2 epidemiological scenarios to advise Governor Polis’ office and policy decisions in Colorado throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response. Adams used cellphone-based mobility data to assess how population-level behavioral contact patterns generate the potential for contagion spread. Based on his findings, his...
More than $1 million in funds are available this fall to institutions of higher education and their local education providers through the Open Education Resources (OER) Grant Program. Now in its fourth year, higher education institutions and faculty can apply for grants through this request for proposals. The program, funded by the Colorado Department of Education, will continue suporting projects around the state aimed at improving student learning and engagement while saving students money on textbooks.
The deadline for proposals is December15, 2021.
The Colorado OER Grant Program will fund these types of grants for the 2022 grant cycle:
Individual or Small Group Grants ranging from $250-$10,000 that would support the review, creation, adaptation, or adoption of OER by faculty and/or staff, especially at institutions without an OER initiative or associated incentive funding.
Institutional Grants ranging from $10,001-$75,000 to support deploying and sustaining existing institution-wide OER initiatives, including
Catalina de Onís, Assistant Professor of Communication, received the 2021 Tarla Rai Peterson Book Award in Environmental Communication, which will be conferred at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association in Seattle, WA, in November. de Onís’s book, Energy Islands: Metaphors of Power, Extractivism, and Justice in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2021), provides an urgent and nuanced portrait of collective action that resists racial capitalism, colonialism, and climate disruption. Weaving together historical and ethnographic research, de Onís challenges the master narratives of Puerto Rico as a tourist destination and site of “natural” disasters. She demonstrates how fossil-fuel economies are inextricably entwined with colonial practices and policies and how local community groups in Puerto Rico have struggled against energy coloniality and energy privilege to mobilize and transform power from the ground up. This work decenters continental contexts and deconstructs damaging hierarchies that devalue and exploit disenfranchised...
Meng Li, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences, recently co-authored an article titled, “Physician’s flawed heuristics in the delivery room,” published in the journal Science. The article discusses the general background and implications of an original research article by Manasvini Singh in the same issue of Science.
Singh finds—through more than 86,000 patient medical records—that delivering physicians use a “win-stay/lose-shift” heuristic or decision rule in delivery mode decisions. That is, if the physician delivers a baby via vaginal birth, and the delivery has complications, this physician is more likely to switch to cesarean delivery for the very next patient; if the physician delivers a baby via cesarean and the delivery has complications, this physician is more likely to switch to vaginal delivery for the very next patient. This effect does not mean that physicians always switch to a different...
Health and Behavioral Sciences Alum Emily Hammad Mrig won runner-up for the best new writer prize from Sociology of Health and Illnessfor her recent publication "Integrating fundamental cause theory and Bourdieu to explain pathways between socioeconomic status and health: the case of health insurance denials for genetic testing."
Andrea Velásquez, Assistant Professor of Economics, recently published an op-ed titled, “When Violence Goes Up the Income Gap Widens. Something Needs to Be Done,” in Initiative for Policy Dialogue. The piece discusses how global murder rates have declined steadily over the last two decades but still account for more than 2 percent of global deaths, or roughly 1.3 million people each year. But while most murder victims are men, women are disproportionally abused sexually and psychologically, violence that leaves its own profound scars on families and societies. And during armed conflicts, gender-based violence can easily increase.
Economics Instructor Kyle Montanio is announcing two exciting opportunities open to all CLAS students. The first is a competition asking students to present economics concepts in the form of a short story: complete with plot, characters, and conflict. The goal is to use storytelling to help teach economics and to generate valuable teaching materials that economics faculty can use to supplement or replace traditional textbooks. The competition hopes to tap into students’ broad and varied interests to generate learning material that resonates with all our diverse student body. All genres of fiction and non-fiction stories are encouraged and will receive equal consideration. Submissions must include three sections: a short story, definition of economics concepts and terminology, and at least 2 discussion questions. Prizes will be determined by volunteer judges from the economics department faculty, based on how clearly economic concepts are presented and how engaging the story is. The winning...
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location TBD (will be announced in the next newsletter)
Photos can be used anywhere you need a professional image (permissions are granted). You do not need appointments in advance; simply show up and sign-in for a slot (in the past the average wait was less than 15 minutes). The whole process is speedy and painless, so if you’ve never taken the opportunity before, now is the time to get a professional photograph taken. Any questions can be directed to Tracy Kohm, CLAS Marketing, Communication and Outreach.
12:00 noon – 1:30 pm CLAS is co-sponsoring Hollaback!, a nationally-known nonprofit organization, to run four online sessions specifically for CU Denver. Develop skills to help fight harassment and bias, and to talk about race and manage conflict. Sign-up as soon as possible as each session is limited to 1000 participants. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Description: Conflict de-escalation requires patience, a willingness to listen, and an ability to see the humanity in everyone. Using Hollaback!’s Observe-Breathe-Connect methodology, we’ll learn how to identify potential conflict before it escalates using our “pyramid of escalation” and how to assess whether de-escalation is the right action. We’ll also learn how to connect with others by validating and de-escalating their feelings — even if we don’t understand them or agree with them. We’ll have...