CU Denver and the College of Arts & Media Celebrate Laurie Baefsky, New Dean at the University of Montana
Baefsky will be the new Dean at the University of Montana College of Arts and Media.Alice Crogan | College of Arts & Media Oct 27, 2020
CU Denver and the College of Arts & Media (CAM) will bid farewell to one of its respected leaders and visionaries, Laurie Baefsky, as she departs her role as Associate Dean of Research and Strategic Partnerships at CAM for Dean of the College of Arts and Media at the University of Montana, beginning January 1, 2021. Her new position speaks greatly to her ability to elevate academic institutions and advance arts-integrated creative scholarship
Through advancing CAM and CU Denver’s commitment to civic agency and urban research, Baefsky mapped CAM as a hub for innovative artistic pursuit and investigation on the local and national stage. During her first year at CAM, Baefsky conceptualized and executed the first CU Denver Community Town Hall, a day of elevated exchange and planning dedicated to publicly engaged scholarship and education in partnership with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and bringing together regional funders and community leaders.
"The College of Arts & Media breaks the mold of most traditional arts college steeped in conventional arts training — that was a huge part of the draw,” says Baefsky. It’s edgy, career focused, and tied to Denver’s creative industries symbiotically
As CAM’s chief advocate for faculty and student creative and scholarly activity, Baefsky made the research that students and faculty engage in a college-wide priority by working to secure the awards, grants, funding, and partnerships to fiscally support the research and activity– a particularly challenging feat in arts-based academic pursuits. A skilled grant writer herself, throughout her career Baefsky’s efforts have resulted in over $5.4 million in arts funding through grants from federal, state, and private sources.
Baefsky led and championed new programs to foster and provide framework to creative inquiry and production amongst both students and faculty. She led the development of two groundbreaking initiatives—the CAM Dean’s Student Innovation Award––which has provided $20,000 to original, student-led, collaborative research––and Design Horizons LABS, an entrepreneurial fellows program with two other CU Denver academic units and external partner, Creative Startups, a global start-up accelerator.
“In Laurie’s time in CAM she has promoted a culture of increased research and creative work—for both faculty and students, kept her many contacts in Washington, DC and other creative/artistic centers, and advanced CAM’s reach,” says CAM Dean Laurence Kaptain. “Her coaching, support and consultation has advanced numerous proposals in CAM—and benefited all.”
Baefsky brought over 20 years’ experience to CAM, having developed and led arts-integrated initiatives at ArtsEngine and the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) at the University of Michigan. Her most notable work includes supporting arts entrepreneurship, and arts in health programming and partnerships. She has served on an expert committee organized by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine tasked with researching the effect of integrating the humanities and arts into STEMM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine) in higher education.
As Associate Dean of Research and Strategic Partnerships, Baefsky came to a new position within CAM, signaling Dean Laurence Kaptain’s commitment to creative placemaking in the community, advancing research and creative scholarship within CAM, and to CU Denver’s responsibility as an urban research university.
Baefsky’s new position as Dean of the College of Arts and Media at University of Montana brings together various academic departments and pursuits to collaborate on common goals of academic and civic natures. The CAM community is pleased to gain a colleague at such a reputable institution and wishes the college and Dean Baefsky all of the best.
“The last few years have been richly rewarding, both personally and professional,” says Baefsky. “I can’t wait to bring a little bit of CAM’s spirit and vision to Missoula, MT!”
CU Denver College of Arts and Media is the first college in Colorado devoted exclusively to arts and entertainment. The College of Arts & Media understands the influence of modern trends on traditional art forms, with a skilled faculty that is comprised of artistic masters and educators in creativity who are connected to the pulse of art, entertainment, and the creative industries. Students come to CAM with passion for artistic expression. CAM’s mission is to send them out into the world confident of purpose, ready to succeed.