CLAS feature stories appear in each issue of Pinnacle. Features highlight noteworthy activities of CLAS alumni, faculty, students and staff.
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This month's content is excerpted from "The Road to Independence and Beyond: Commemorating the University's 40th Anniversary, 1973–2013." The complete text is available on the CU Denver 40th Anniversary website.
The University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) became an independent institution in 1973, after more than 60 years as an extension of CU Boulder. The road to independence was a long one, and in many ways it stretched far beyond 1973. This story, however, focuses on that signal year and the years immediately before and after. Those were times of rapid, tumultuous change in higher education—in Denver, Colorado, and the nation. When they had passed, the old Denver Center extension was no more, and a new, distinct institution took its first tenuous steps into the future.
Charles Musiba, associate professor in Anthropology at CU Denver, is the one of the few people in North America who possesses the cast of a particular 1.95 million-year-old hominid skull from Malapa, South Africa. He keeps this rare anthropological cast sitting on the desk in his Administration Building office, so that visitors and students can see it and enjoy it. Musiba got the cast by helping out some colleagues during the development of the human origins exhibit at the National Museum in Tanzania, and rather than keeping it locked away he thrills in sharing it. The cast is a physical manifestation of the goodwill Musiba fosters with his team-spirit toward paleoanthropology and his passion for mentoring scientists.
"Think. It's patriotic."
A favorite bumper sticker of Jerry Jacks, founder of the Urban Citizen Project
The syllabus for the Urban Citizen class (PSCI 3914) begins with a variety of inspiring quotes, including the one above, and describes the class as a place "Where your heart is as important as your brain." Spring 2013 will be the 20th anniversary of Urban Citizen, and in the course of the program, hundreds of students' lives have been affected. The program brings awareness to the many social issues specific to urban areas and exposes CU Denver students to an environment supportive of activism. In the words of the program's founder, the late Political Science professor Jerry Jacks, "There are no passive Urban Citizens."
"Skateboarding and snowboarding have always been a central theme of my existence... also, I think my emotional growth stunted at about age thirteen, and I have never been able to get my mindset beyond that point," says Rick Alden, when asked how it is he understands the youth market so well. Alden has managed to keep his brand popular for nearly a decade now; selling primarily to the brand-conscious and often fickle outdoor sports enthusiast.
Among this demographic, Skullcandy is the brand for headphones and other audio products, and the recipe for success is simple: "We say at Skullcandy, 'We have to be the best version of our own customer,' which means we constantly strive to hire the best versions of our own customer. So as long as we live the lifestyle, are passionate about what we're doing, and hire people who are passionate about what they're doing, then all we have to do is build product we want, and chances are, other people will want it as well."
Award Winning Professor Reaching Out to Bring Math to Kids
Here's a math problem for you: if you divide the attention of one teacher among 20 students over the course of a 50-minute math lesson, how much learning does each student accomplish?
Now add two more teachers to this same math lesson, and how much better does that ratio look?
This was the kind of equation that led Mike Ferrara, assistant professor of mathematical and statistical sciences at CU Denver, to develop the Math on My Mind program. Ferrara, who won an Excellence in Teaching Award from CLAS this year, has been going into K-12 classrooms around Denver with Math on My Mind curriculum since the fall of 2009. He organizes the efforts on his own time, paying for supplies and materials out of his own pocket, because he feels so strongly about the importance of getting kids interested in math. Ferrara says, "We have a lot of programs in our department that work directly with teachers; our hope is that through our efforts we can also impact students. I thought it would be great if at the same time we could excite and interact with the students directly by getting into local classrooms and sharing the thing we love most--mathematics."
Flourishing CLAS Collaboration Reserves Spots in CU Medical School for Students Who Achieve on Auraria Campus
If you are a Colorado high school student who dreams of becoming a doctor, but you come from a family with limited resources or a geographical area where few people get graduate degrees – where can you turn for the kind of support to get you through the eight years of school required to become a physician? Since 2010, such students have found their way to the BA/BS-MD program, which the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences launched with the University of Colorado School of Medicine. CLAS partnered to create a combined-degree program that offers students from a variety of academic, economic, geographical, and cultural backgrounds a continuous path to obtain a baccalaureate degree and a medical degree within eight years; four years of undergraduate work and four years of medical school.
Program with China a Potential Wellspring for Cultural Exchange and Understanding
CU Denver students, faculty and alumni travel all over the globe: researching, studying and experiencing other cultures. But despite a golden opportunity waiting for active faculty and students, few are currently heading to China as part of the CU Denver International College Beijing (ICB). Those who have taken advantage of the ICB program say it's the experience of a lifetime, and the road to China is open and waiting for those looking to broaden their cultural horizons.
The new agricultural system has high production and produces no pollution
University of Colorado Denver biologist Greg Cronin is working to popularize aquaponics, a breakthrough, sustainable agricultural system that produces food in small areas without soil, pesticides or pollution.
Editor’s note: Beth Allen, assistant professor of psychology, shares her research about military marriages and techniques for preserving connections and relationship health during wartime.
In the 60s, my parents had a fairly traditional marriage, but by the early 70s the cultural shifts regarding gender roles represented by The Feminine Mystique and Ms. Magazine had reached our home, and my parents struggled to find a new balance. They had a rough time of it, until a relative suggested that they try Marriage Encounter. They attended a Marriage Encounter weekend, and another, and worked in a deep and honest way on their marriage. They have just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and have one of the most loving and healthy marriages I know. Watching their journey made quite an impression on me as a child, and I grew up wanting to understand relationships and help couples the way my parents were helped.
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Alumni: Tell us your story & stay connected.
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Look for your CLAS Note in the next issue of Pinnacle.
Pinnacle is a bimonthly newsletter from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver.
For this issue of Pinnacle
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Stacey Mcdole
PHOTO EDITOR: Dennis Mont'Ros