The CSU College of Liberal Arts’ mission is to create and extend knowledge and artistry that develops reflective citizens and confident leaders.

In a 2021 monthly series, we share stories that reflect our curiosity, ability to adapt, engagement with the community, and research and creative expertise.

This month, we are focusing on knowledge and artistry.

Together, we create works of art and new experiences, express the thoughts and views of different communities, and research questions and solutions.




Together, we advance the human experience.

Aerial view of mural

Department of Art and Art History

October 2020 was the launch of the first Engaged Art Walk, an arts-based community building project and an outdoor exhibition space that features rotating installations to integrate art, society, and education. In collaboration with the Black African American Cultural Center and the Ethnic Studies department, “Black Lives Matter” was emblazoned in yellow block lettering on the ground outside of the Visual Arts Building. The installation is a form of street art offering an ephemeral, direct, and timely means for artists to make bold statements and engage in conversation with a broad audience by becoming part of the everyday visual landscape. 



Department of English

As part of the new interdisciplinary team-taught seminar initiative, Professor of English Dan Beachy-Quick and Associate Professor of Art Del Harrow came together to teach “The Thinking Hand: Phenomenal Explorations in Poetry and Pottery.” Harrow and Beachy-Quick say this course, at its most fundamental core, sheds light on the parallel between words and clay as the materials for creating art. But more importantly, the way of thinking that is pointed toward a life of being disciplined and open and full of wonder.


Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts

Senior Instructor Debbie Swann, a faculty member in the CSU Theatre program and director of a children’s theatre troupe and summer camp, taught LB173: Encountering the Global in Fall of 2020. Navigating a pandemic and a new class brought an unexpected, but desired, professional challenge. Swann was able to reflect on her own traditionally Eurocentric education and look for materials, times, cultures, and perspectives from across the globe. Through the course, students could read “the story of how humans have always been struggling to understand one another.” Swann has learned as much as her students have, broadening their horizons, trying new things, and exploring new perspectives. “Rather than teaching young minds to approach topics from one view, we teach them how to step back adn assess all the angles, vertices, and sides of it.”


Department of Art and Art History

The Art Education program at CSU regularly hosts Artistic Abilities, a nonprofit organization committed to creative expression for all, serving individuals with or without disabilities in the Fort Collins area. Their philosophy is to help build community and to foster socialization among artists. Together, the two programs create an environment for individuals with disabilities to express themselves through art-making practices.

Learn more about the Parks as Portals to Learning program run by the Public Lands History Center.


Department of Anthropology and Geography

Archaeology Field School students dug into CSU’s history through an on-campus excavation in Summer 2020 after the pandemic cancelled plans to study in Tennessee. Field school participants confirmed the location of and unearthed materials from the CSU Claim Building, the first structure built on campus 150 years ago. Students learn to use digital surveying and mapping technology and field methods and practices through Anthropology and Geography field programs.


Department of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures

A recent grant from PetSmart Charities will provide Shannon Zeller, Spanish faculty, and her colleague in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in their study of how veterinarians can better serve their Spanish speaking clients and pet owners. In June, Zeller and her team will partner with veterinary clinics and shelters along the Front Range to observe daily routines and communication among veterinarians, technicians, customer service representatives and Spanish-speaking clientele.


Department of History

Public history students delved into the architectural history of Windsor’s churches, homes, and factory. They shared their findings with the Windsor town board, the historic preservation commission, and interested residents, filling in gaps in the cultural history of Colorado.

Read more about the Engaged Art Walk and series of events and art projects integrating art, education and civic engagement.


Department of Political Science

Marcela Velasco, associate professor of political science at Colorado State University, led a research study in 2018 and 2019 to better understand the complex relationships evolving among Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities along Colombia’s Pacific coast that have endured decades of violent conflict. The goal was to educate and equip community members with research skills to help them understand and preserve the sustainability of some of Colombia’s most marginalized peoples and the biodiverse ecosystems on which their cultures, economies and livelihoods depend.

Read more about the research and how the values of conservation and sustainability are impacted in the face of perpetual conflict.