Together, we persist
How the College of Liberal Arts embodies flexibility and determination
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 our flexibility and determination.
Together, we adapt to changing circumstances, persevere through new and existing challenges, and imagine ways to better our community.
Together, we advance the human experience.
Department of Ethnic Studies
On November 19, 2020 Ron Hall and Ethnic Studies Professor Roe Bubar sponsored the 6th Annual Arikara Farm Harvest Project in collaboration with the Native American Cultural Center. This event celebrates the harvest that Indigenous people have depended on for thousands of years for good health, medicine, and happiness. This year, COVID-19 protocols meant that they could not do a farm-to-table sit down dinner. With the support of donors, they provided harvest meals to be picked up, including fresh organic turkeys from Whole Foods and produce grown on their farm.
Department of Journalism and Media Communication
The Department of Journalism and Media Communication hosted a special advanced video and audio production workshop in September 2020 that featured local professionals and musician Clay Rose of Gasoline Lollipops. Nic Tapia, Zach Newton (CSU alumnus), and Dan Butcher provided insight and instruction to a group of students who got their chance to produce a music video in the field. The day started in the classroom with career advice and advanced video and audio technique instruction before moving outside to produce video in a pandemic responsible/socially-distanced way.
International Studies launched a new mentorship program, called Academic Clusters, that pairs first- and second- year students with upper-level students. Through meetings and activities arranged by the International Studies program, mentors provide counsel to their younger peers, offering advice about courses in the major, resources on campus, and experience studying abroad. Despite the hurdles of the COVID-19 pandemic, the clusters continue to meet monthly virtually and access the community remotely.
Department of Communication Studies
Each spring the Department of Communication Studies celebrates the achievements of its first generation majors during a special event that provides students an opportunity to connect with faculty in a more relaxed setting and features encouraging talks by first generation alumni. COVID-19 changed the 2020 event. Determined to connect first generation students and alumni, Direct of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Elizabeth Williams, who is also first generation, invited all first gen majors to apply for a chance to “virtually” talk one-on-one with first generation communication studies alumni about life, school, and making it through despite the unknown. The result: five “First Generation Conversations” that showcase dedication, vulnerability, resilience, and pride.
School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
For CSU Dance, modifications to physical space and choreography have provided creative outlets for skill development within the context of COVID-19 limitations. On the first day of class, Dance Techniques III, taught by Director of Dance Emily Morgan, held class outside in the (smoky) Annual Trial Flower Garden at CSU. In addition, the virtual mode allowed the Dance program to bring in 10 different guest artists (virtually) with a focus on dancers/choreographers of color who offer our students something beyond the Eurocentric forms of ballet and modern dance that the program currently focuses on. In addition, one guest artist offered two “dance for film” classes. Instead of making in-person dances, students are making dances for film.
Read more about how the CSU Dance program is adapting to hybrid teaching, including their recent effort to build portable ballet barres.
On Tuesday night, Sept. 1, CSU Theatre lit the UCA red, joining performing arts organizations across the country in support of a nationwide call to action that urges Congress to pass the RESTART Act (S. 3814/H.R. 7481) and the Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258/H.R. 7806). Arts Management Assistant Professor Michael Seman, who has done extensive research on Colorado’s creative economies, teamed up with University of Toronto researcher Richard Florida to examine the pandemic’s impact on the arts nationwide. While the losses have been great, Seman sees this crisis as a turning point. After enduring months of limited access to live performances, people across the country are recognizing the value of the performing arts and advocating for more support of creative industries.
Read more about Michael Seman’s research on creative economies.
Department of Anthropology and Geography
At Rice Elementary School Science Night (held in late Feb before masks and lockdown), local students get to size up skulls, gaze at fossils, and excavate replica artifacts with members of the Anthropology Club and the Anthropology Graduate Student Society. Through outreach, field trips and internships, our majors share what makes them excited about our fields and learn about the careers where their studies can lead them.
Read more about the outreach and public engagement in the Department of Anthropology and Geography.
Gregory Allicar Museum of Art
BRAINY (Bringing Arts Integration to Youth) is a program of the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, in collaboration with the Department of Art and Art History and the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Since 2009, BRAINY has provided opportunities for students from Title 1 schools to learn about the role the arts play in our community and culture through interactive sessions in visual art, music, dance, and theatre. When the COVID-19 pandemic canceled in-person gatherings, BRAINY reimagined their program by creating art kits for students to use at home in lieu of a BRAINY program school trip.
Read more about the BRAINY program and a recent fundraising effort by CSU alumni to support it.
Department of Communication Studies
Since 2016, the ACT Human Rights Film Festival has showcased unforgettable, worldwide stories that inspire and challenge. When COVID-19 made it impossible for festival-goers to gather in person, ACT found a new way to experience the world and each other. Last fall, ACT launched its fifth annual festival as a virtual event. People from 26 states and 5 countries watched films and engaged with filmmakers from (mostly) the comfort of home. The outpouring of enthusiasm and support reinforced the festival’s purpose to awaken, connect, and transform.
Department of Economics
Our economics faculty are at the cutting edge of economics education, offering courses that cover diverse perspectives on the most pressing economic, social, and environmental challenges of our time. Assistant Professor Anders Fremstad and a group of graduate students are working on how to better incorporate the economics of innovation, inequality and environmental sustainability into the introductory principles of economics courses.
Read more about Anders Fremstad, who was a SoGES fellow for 2018-2019.