Ongoing Initiatives in the Liberal Arts
We work to ensure all of our academic programs and pilot projects make positive contributions to their communities and fields. From service-learning courses that examine immigration issues to therapeutic arts that help incarcerated populations, our initiatives spark discovery and deepen inquiry across campus and throughout the Denver community.
DU Prison Arts Initiative
Therapeutic Art for Renewed Purpose
The DU Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI) provides therapeutic arts programs to incarcerated people in Colorado. The initiative empowers participants to improve the quality of their lives and prepare to make positive changes in their communities upon release. Among other goals, DU PAI will expand therapeutic arts programming in Colorado prisons with a series of workshops by DU faculty and develop courses that bring DU students and incarcerated students together.
Interfaith and Interreligious Dialogue Initiative
Modern Perspectives on Religion
In order to inspire critical thinking about religion in today's society, the Interfaith and Interreligious Dialogue Initiative is helping faculty develop multi-quarter, immersive opportunities for students from all disciplines. Projects such as the new Comparative Religion and Interreligious/Interfaith Dialogue class provide students with critical cultural education that will help them thrive in today’s workforce. Students are invited to bring their learning beyond the classroom with experiences such as site visits to religious communities and interactions with religious leaders in the area.
Psychology Keystone Experience Initiative
Pathways for Student Innovation
The Department of Psychology is creating pilot courses and programs aimed at creating opportunities for undergraduate innovation and research. This department-wide initiative puts the Keystone goals into action by creating cross-disciplinary research and science collaborations, expanded internship opportunities, career-focused courses, and clinical, developmental, social and cognitive psychology course clusters.
DU Ethnography Lab
Collaborating Across Disciplines
The DU Ethnography Lab is a hub for multidisciplinary scholarship. We facilitate faculty collaborations, offer a space where students can develop ethnography skills through mentorship and tutoring, and give students and faculty the tools to build sustainable collaborations and partnerships beyond DU, working with other initiatives that center on themes such as immigration, sustainability and health.
Integrated Practices and Degree Synthesis Initiative
Connecting Student Pursuits
Rather than examining disciplines in isolation, DU students pursuing dual degrees or a combination of BA, minors and certificates in the School of Art & Art History can now engage in meaningful explorations to bridge their academic pursuits. We're creating a template to let students connect interdisciplinary interests through research, material experimentation and artistic exploration, with creative hybrid outcomes displaying knowledge in 2D, 3D or other forms. We plan to expand the program across the University.
Teaching Performers to Research Initiative
Team-Teaching to Create Dialogue
In music programs, performance, research, history and theory are often disconnected. In the Lamont School of Music, we created a team-taught pilot course emphasizing dialogue between history, analysis and performance. Unlike current research seminars that feature a final paper, the culminating project for this course includes a public outreach lecture with a collaborative final performance. The course is set to launch in the 2020-2021 academic year.
Political Science Internship and Keystone Experience Initiative
Dynamic Real-World Experience
The political science department currently offers student internships in three different areas: political campaigns, the Colorado state legislature and legal careers. We've expanded this foundation by creating a summer quarter internship, piloting two-quarter internships and research internships, and creating more opportunities for interdisciplinary interactions among DU's students.
Clinic for Open-Source Arts
Digital Art with a Community Brush
Bridging arts and computing, the Clinic for Open-Source Arts supports the development of open-source tools for artists to create works with computer code. Diversity is central to this project; we include women and underrepresented groups as developers of the tools and deliberately create tools with appeal beyond the traditional coding community. Our program has hosted two contributors in residence and led a two-day workshop for 22 coders, artists and designers from around the world.
Casa de Paz Learning Community
Service Learning in Action
A project with key social and political significance, the Casa de Paz Learning Community encapsulates the Madden Center's focus on problem-based learning and collaboration across programs. It begins with a series of four linked service-learning courses in which students work with Casa de Paz, a local nonprofit that supports immigrants recently released from the Aurora Detention Center. The initiative has expanded to include opportunities for scholarship, community outreach and more.
Praxis Transdisciplinary Keystone Experience Development
Critical Thinking Across Boundaries
Inspired by a mission to foster hands-on critical thinking, the Praxis Transdisciplinary Keystone Experience Development prepares students through four new interdisciplinary courses to incorporate emerging technologies and practices across disciplines through the study of critical theory. In order to expand ideas about critical thinking, the program provides opportunities to create literary/digital art or entrepreneurial projects that use digital technologies.
Ashley Hamilton, Assistant Professor of Theatre, Founder and Director of DU Prison Arts Initiative
The funding that DU PAI received from the Madden Center completely shifted the possibilities of our programming. The funding allowed our program to offer to new kinds of workshops and programs in different ways and in more facilities. Without the seed funding we got from the Madden Center, we would not have flourished in the ways we have.