Letter from Interim Dean Laura M. Argys
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences embraces its mission to provide educational opportunities to diverse students throughout the community. Though CLAS has long provided many unique educational opportunities to learners of all ages, our programs are starting to coalesce under the leadership of Dr. Marjorie Levine-Clark, Associate Dean for Planning, Initiatives and Diversity in the College of Liberal Arts and Science. A new addition to the CLAS Dean's office this past summer, Marjorie focuses her enthusiasm and vision on a number of initiatives that will shape the college for years to come. Foremost among them is the establishment of the Office of Lifelong Learning and Outreach (OLLO). This new office houses programs for students ranging from elementary school age to retirees.
This spring issue of Pinnacle highlights these initiatives and some of the programs that inspire learners across the life-cycle. You'll learn about the efforts of our Department of History in sponsoring National History Day in Colorado. This program is a year-long experience for Colorado middle- and high-school students creating original history and social science-based research, websites, and performances. After being recognized during regional contests, students participate in the annual state History Day competition held at CU Denver each May. You'll also read about Dr. Randy Tagg, who leads students into the world of scientific discovery via the Innovation Academy, in partnership with the Aurora Public Schools.
Finally you'll be introduced to the Denver Writing Project, a collaborative effort between faculty in the English Department in CLAS and teachers in schools throughout Colorado to develop a cadre of teacher-authors who return to their classrooms and inspire a generation of students. Their summer program also includes a young writers' camp that brings students in grades 5 through 12 to the Auraria Campus each summer. These are only a few of the many programs that link the college to community members who are eager expand their educational experiences, and we are excited to share them with you.
- CLAS Office of Lifelong Learning and Outreach to Make a Difference in the Community
Levine-Clark spearheads new efforts and refocuses old ones
This year, CLAS Associate Professor of History Marjorie Levine-Clark took over as Associate Dean for Planning and Initiatives. She felt strongly that "and Diversity" should be added to the end of her title, because fostering the College's strategic priorities around diversity and inclusion is an important part of her responsibilities. In addition to revitalizing the CLAS Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and overseeing the Council's establishment of a regular slate of diversity focused events (like this semester's very successful Interdisciplinary Exchanges), Levine-Clark made the title change happen; she is now Associate Dean for Planning, Initiatives, and Diversity.
In This Issue
- Alumni Profile - Alums Help Make History Come Alive for Colorado Students through History Day
Alumnae Kendra Black (MA History, 2008) and Stacey Pendleton (BA History and Psychology, 2005 and MA History, 2008) know the secret to getting kids ready to succeed in college: allow kids to discover something they are excited to study, then provide them with the skills they need to explore those subjects. "The National History Day in Colorado program really engages kids," Black says. "They are detectives investigating historical topics that interest them, while learning key skills needed for academic and work success."
- Frontlines - How Do You Get Kids To Love Science? Give Them a Hyperlab
Picture a high school parking lot early on a Saturday morning and you probably picture a deserted space, quiet after a week of bustling students. But at Gateway High School in Aurora, there are cars in the lot and signs of life coming from the former auto shop behind the school. On thirteen Saturday mornings this 2013-2014 academic year, six teams of students arrive at 9:00am each week excited and enthusiastic to participate in Innovation Academy at the Aurora Public School's (APS) Hyperlab. The space was refurbished and outfitted by Physics Associate Professor Randy Tagg, and funded in part by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. As a part of APS's Pathways program, which seeks to connect students with specialized, real-world curriculum in order to train them for their professional futures, the Hyperlab is a dream come true for Tagg, and a unique haven for students who would rather spend their weekends exploring STEM initiatives than sleeping in.
- Frontlines - Teachers Teaching Teachers with the Help of the Denver Writing Project
The Denver Writing Project might best be described by one of its teacher-leaders: "I can have the hardest, craziest week and I can walk into any Denver Writing Project event and feel invigorated as a teacher. I've never found that with anything else," says Shannon Styers, an ESL teacher at Goddard Middle School. With years of cuts in education funding and the multitude of other challenges faced by teachers today, thoughtful programs aimed at helping teachers excel are hard to find. The Denver Writing Project works by harnessing teachers' natural enthusiasm, creating supportive environments where teachers become writers themselves, and ultimately making Denver-area students the beneficiaries.