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AHSS is Now a Unified College

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Annetta Crecelius

Director of Marketing & Communications

Annetta Crecelius headshot

Announcement  •
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At the start of the academic year, the University of Denver announced the creation of the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS), which includes the division of arts and humanities and the division of social sciences. The unified College came about as a result of the months-long strategic planning process within the two divisions and the launch of its Keystone Strategic Plan.

"Our faculty sought to create a unified college to provide students with more coordinated support and resources, develop more multi-disciplinary opportunities, and stimulate regular, increased collaboration across the College, campus, and community," said Daniel McIntosh, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences.

As the University embraces transformation under DU IMPACT 2025, the College has committed to transforming liberal and creative arts education through its strategic plan. The plan is made up of four key components: Keystone experiences, the Center for Innovation in Liberal and Creative Arts (CILCA), an inclusive community, and a state-of-the-art facility to spur innovation, collaboration, and community engagement.

Under the new College model, opportunities for undergraduates to have integrative, high-impact Keystone experiences will increase over time. More undergraduates will participate in experiences such as research projects, internships, artistic endeavors, or community-engaged projects—like Walid Hedidar, who used a CAHSS summer research grant to organize a two-week summer camp on education reform in Tunisia, and Harper Hahn, who applied lessons from the classroom to her work as a cultural ambassador to aspiring Saudi Arabian students in Washington, D.C.

Research shows that high-impact experiences in which students apply knowledge as they marry theory and practice provide the greatest educational benefits. Andi Schlut, incoming president of the College's Student Advisory Council, knows how beneficial these experiences can be as she has put her education to practice through multiple internships and research projects.

"The new opportunities that will come with the creation of the College are incredible," said Schlut. "Personally, I have utilized the resources provided to CAHSS students to secure a number of exciting internships, such as the one I had with a PR firm in downtown Denver this summer, and to embark on a handful of original research endeavors with faculty mentors in various CAHSS departments. I'm excited to see what my peers will do with the increased opportunities that the College will afford them."

CILCA, a breakthrough center of educational development launched in the spring, will serve as an incubator and accelerator for faculty innovation, allowing faculty and student experimentation in teaching, learning, creativity, and research. Derigan Silver, associate professor of media, film, and journalism studies, has been appointed the first faculty director of the new center.

"My vision for CILCA is multifaceted. I believe the best thing CILCA can do is provide our faculty with the things they want and need the most to be successful: time, money, and the encouragement to dream big," said Silver.

During his two-year appointment, Silver will work to connect faculty and students to opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration across campus and to resources that will help support new initiatives such as the CAHSS Casa de Paz Learning Community, which supports scholarship, creative work, and curricular activities related to immigration issues.

In line with the University's commitment to inclusive excellence, the College will work to create an inclusive and engaging environment for all, maximize opportunities for individuals to contribute their talents, and foster innovation. The Keystone Strategic Plan places a high priority on expanding diversity by supporting the hiring, retention, and development of faculty and staff from historically underrepresented groups, as well as providing the DU and greater community with ongoing opportunities to engage with and explore the emerging and critical role of the liberal and creative arts.

As part of The Denver Advantage Campus Framework Plan unveiled by Chancellor Rebecca Chopp earlier this year, the College will also build a space to support the aspirations of students and faculty in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and to fulfill its commitment to educating students and connecting with the community. The new space will also provide a state-of-the-art facility and home for CILCA, the media, film and journalism studies department, community-engaged programming, and much more.

With a greater investment in knowledge and innovation, the student experience will be fundamentally changed by the College's new structure and new educational model. The people and programs of the College will contribute to making DU an engine of intellectual and creative engagement for Denver and the wider community for years to come.

Read the full Keystone Strategic Plan