Letter from Interim Dean Laura M. Argys
Letter from Dean Pamela Jansma
Reading the articles in this edition of Pinnacle, I am awed by our students and their desires for discovery, growth and change. Learning not only inside the classroom, but outside of it through internships, study abroad or guided research nurtures these desires in critical ways, allowing for greater awareness of one’s passion, power and abilities. These experiential learning activities also require committed faculty members to serve as guides and mentors to all levels of student from the undergraduate to the PhD candidate. It’s clear that the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is firing on all cylinders. Faculty and students learn from each other to mutual benefit. As Tony Robinson, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science, puts it so eloquently, the experiences are “knowledge by engagement”. And engagement is what we need as we prepare our students to tackle the opportunities and challenges of the society of today and tomorrow.
Pamela E. Jansma
Editor’s Notes: As the new Dean of CLAS, Dr. Jansma comes to the University of Colorado Denver after many years in both academic and administrative positions at several universities. Her background is geosciences with a research focus on using the Global Positioning System to examine deformation of Earth’s surface with emphasis on active tectonics of the Caribbean region. She received her BS from Stanford University and MS and PhD from Northwestern University. She was a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. After a brief stint in the energy industry, she moved to the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez where she started as an assistant professor and eventually became the Associate Dean of Research for the College of Arts and Sciences. After ten years, she returned to the US mainland in 2000 to join the faculty at the University of Arkansas where she became Chair of Geosciences in 2004. After eight years in Arkansas, she assumed the position of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University. She relocated to Texas in 2009 where she served as Dean of the College of Science at the University of Texas at Arlington until joining CU Denver in September 2014. She and her husband, who is also an academic geoscientist, have two adult children.
- Psychology PhD Program Makes Experiential Learning Meaningful for Students
A certain type of educational ecosystem supports a successful Clinical Health Psychology PhD program. Having received an initial seven-year accreditation from the American Psychological Association (the most extended accreditation possible) just last month, the program at CU Denver feels justified in making a case for having just such an ecosystem. The "connective tissues" that make for the perfect ecosystem include a supportive and engaged faculty, a dedicated leadership team ready to mentor students to success, and a campus community in need of and receptive to mental health support. But perhaps as important as any of these factors, a successful Clinical Health Psychology PhD program must have access to plentiful training and research opportunities, as there are here in Denver—a major, regional medical hub. Being the only PhD program of its kind in the city, and fully embracing the opportunities provided by consolidation with the Anschutz Medical Campus, the CU Denver program has a major advantage in recruiting, retaining, and producing psychologists of the highest caliber. The program now receives more than one hundred applications a year, for less than ten spots per cohort. "Our goal is to train scientist-practitioners to be leaders in the field of behavioral medicine or behavioral health, because so many of the major physical illnesses people face have important behavioral or lifestyle components," says Department Chair and Psychology Professor Peter Kaplan. "The students who have come to our program are very bright and extraordinarily hard-working. I know they will have a huge impact on the community and the profession."
In This Issue
- Frontlines - CU in the Capitol Program Paving the Way for Students to Experience Politics
Ariana Busby is still a student, a Political Science Senior with a Law Studies minor, but when she graduates in December she already has a job lined up. It won't be just a "day-job" to pay the bills, but the kind of job that could put her on the road to success in politics. As Policy Director in the Senate Minority Office, Busby will be putting to work the knowledge and connections she gained this past spring working as an intern at the Capitol, an internship she got as a part of the CU in the Capitol program, offered by the Department of Political Science.
- Frontlines - Experiencing the World: Study Abroad Introduces New Cultures to Communicators
When learning takes place outside a traditional classroom, the opportunities for students to gain real-world experiences abound—but when learning takes place outside a student's home country and culture, the possibilities for development and learning grow exponentially. Each Maymester, the Communication Department takes an average of thirty students abroad to study in China and Guatemala. These two study-abroad programs have grown to exemplify what it means to learn experientially, combining service and storytelling in ways that offer students not only credit hours, but also the kind of experiences that can shape the rest of their lives.
- Frontlines - In a Student's Own Words: It's All About Having a Mentor
Tina Hartt, a graduate of the BA program in Sociology and third-year student in the Sociology Master's program, agreed to share a student's perspective on learning at CU Denver:
Having a mentor means you get (whether you want it or not sometimes) guidance, feedback, support, care, taught how to sharpen your critical thinking skills, and a constant challenge to grow in the area of expertise in which you are interested. It will probably be one of my greatest achievements that I got my mentor, Dr. Candan Duran-Aydintug, Associate Professor of Sociology, to allow me to share with the world this story, as she is one of the most humble (yet strongly confident) people I know. As most readers probably know, getting a professor to say yes to something they 1) do not want to do, and 2) in which they have the choice to say no, is an achievement. Regardless, I had to ask Candan's permission to include her in this story. As I asked her, she gave me one of those looks she has now for almost five years that said, "I am not going to talk about this right now. Do your work, and then I will let you know my decision."