A Message from the Dean: May 27, 2022May 27, 2022
In March 2022, I began conversations with the Chancellor and Provost about a transition year in 2022-23 to return to the faculty after serving as Dean of the College of Arts & Media (CAM) for eight years. "Serving as Dean at Colorado's only public urban research university has not only been an honor but the high point of my career. While I am not
ready (or interested) in retiring, I look forward to serving the College of Arts & Media and CU Denver to advance the Strategic Plan 2030.” During 2022-23 my title will be "Special Assistant to the Provost."
In addition to supporting his essential work, I will be working on two new classes (for 2023-24) and advancing ArtsHub Asia—semester abroad programs, while finding ways to guide international students (from Asia) to CU Denver. My final day as Dean will be
June 30, and on July 1, I will begin officing in the Lawrence Street Center during this transition year. I am very grateful to Chancellor Marks and Provost Nakuma--both visionary leaders who recognize the value of CAM in advancing the creative industries—and nourishing the human spirit.
Through the efforts of faculty and staff colleagues, more women and people of color have been hired in CAM through national searches; equity and social justice have been themes of the past 8 years, and the numbers of women and underrepresented minorities grew in student enrollment, faculty, and staff. Women are the highest compensated faculty and staff members in CAM—few units at CU Denver or Anschutz can say that. We hired CU Denver's first Activist-in-Residence during the national reckoning in the summer of 2020.
CAM funding increased for research and creative work for faculty and students that challenge cultural and social barriers wherever they encounter them, to record, through their scholarship and art, the vibrant dynamics of our society, and to recognize
their own accountability as active and necessary contributors to this culture. By arranging for CAM to manage the Emmanuel Gallery and then inaugurate the Next Stage Gallery (now changing the name to the "Experience Gallery")—CAM’s civic and regional leadership has advanced the linkages of art, creativity, and social justice. In 2014, there was one male and one female full professor. In 2022 there are four female full professors and two males— with two additional females currently under consideration. That brings the possibility of 6 female full professors and two males. In changing from informal hiring practices to national (and international) searches—we advanced a
Strategic Plan 2030 goal of establishing CU Denver as the nation’s first equity-serving institution.
CAM has established and professionalized branding and enhanced the reputation (the faculty requested this in several meetings with organizational consultants in 2014-15), and we have the data to prove that. Internal communications and enrollment management units were boosted by employing national searches and attracting talented staff from schools such as Stanford, UM Baltimore County, and others, driving up CAM enrollments and
raising CAM's profile regionally, nationally, and internationally. Numerous programs in CAM are ranked nationally, including music business, film and television, singer-songwriting, jazz guitar, illustration, and a stellar 3D Graphics & Animation program. Along with Owen Kortz, Peter Stoltzman, and Dave Walter, we introduced and then advanced the LYNX: National Arts & Media Camp, a summer program that attracts young creatives worldwide to live and create on the CU Denver campus. In 6 years, more than 100 of those former campers are now full-time students in CAM. CAM also provided funding to establish a creative residential community in the new City Heights Residence Hall. Two of the three CAM departments actively supported this endeavor to start students on the track of looking
beyond their areas of specialization and beginning their creative journeys as collaborative creatives.
At CU Denver, we hired several international faculty (in all three departments), supported CAM students to study abroad for their graduate degrees, initiated ArtsHub Asia—Semester Abroad programs in Singapore and Malaysia, and are working toward establishing a semester abroad program in Mumbai, India (the home of Bollywood). “As
Asia defines the next century in the creative industries, our students should be there. The College of Arts & Media sees opening doors to Asia for our students as mission-critical.” I am very proud to have nominated Tenzing Rigdol for an honorary doctorate that was conferred on May 3rd, by the CU Board of Regents.
By serving on the National Board of the Arts Schools Network (ASN) CAM is viewed as a leader in identifying talent and advancing the evolution of students in the arts. In the creative industries, we are now moving from narrow specialties to designing lives and careers that prepare arts and media students to have 21st Century flexibility, vision,
social empathy, enterprise, and entrepreneurship skills. In 2019, I led a team of ASN public schools’ arts leaders (from the US and Canada) on a study tour of the creative industries in Singapore and Indonesia. I also will continue to serve on the national board of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). In the past eight years, CAM has adopted decision-making approaches through data analytics—and drawing on the expertise of EAB, the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), and our own student survey in 2020—that extended and compared the data
from the 2016 SNAAP Survey. In CU Denver's own recent SNAAP survey, 94% of CAM Alumni felt prepared to work in many different jobs/roles.
Thanks to our stellar fiscal and operations staff, gallery, IT, enrollment management, and communications marketing teams—all recognized as being among the best at CU Denver. Finances are always an interest, and a transparent
budgeting process (with the formation of a CAM Budget Priorities Committee and input from Chairs), has been established. In the past several years, the operating budgets of the departments have increased by 20% or more, while the CAM budget has increased 11%. The 11% increase was performance-based and leads the entire university.
Dolores Arce-Kaptain attended many events to actively advance CAM and CU Denver. Her background as a decorated employee of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and an appointee of former Mexican President Vicente Fox provided her with the skills to effectively interact with CAM constituencies as a volunteer. She also played a behindthe-
scenes role in CAM gaining a 5-year agreement with COMEXUS—to have Mexican Studies Chairs in Film & Television through 2027. I also need to thank sons Diego Kaptain, a 2017 graduate of LSU, an actuary who lives in Denver, and Captain Emiliano Kaptain, a 2015 graduate of the US Air Force Academy, a decorated US Air Force pilot,
and KC-10 Aircraft Commander.
And finally, I want to recognize all of you--our faculty and staff for all the efforts that make CAM an internationally linked school as an exemplary public urban leader in research and creative work. Your preparation of an artistic workforce that supports and advances the creative industries, is laudable and profound. As my time ends as Dean of CAM, thanks to all of you, and I look forward to our future association—and continuing to support your efforts, and those of our students, alumni, and creative partners.