Madden Center Initiatives for 2020–21
The John Madden Center for Innovation in the Liberal and Creative Arts (Madden Center) offers the space, seed money and administrative help necessary to support pilot projects and academic programs.
Currently, the Madden Center is supporting four new initiatives: Micro-credentials, DU Media, Photography and Community Engagement (PACE), and Sacred Sounds and Social Justice.
Micro-credential initiatives are being developed through the Department of Psychology to allow students to gain expertise in specific areas of study. Micro-credentials give students an opportunity to demonstrate workforce-relevant skills on their resumes and cover letters. Students who are accepted into this program will complete three courses related to diversity and inclusion, data-informed decision-making or mental health, as well as work with their professors on experiential projects and creating shareable portfolios.
DU Media is a faculty-led, student-run media organization based out of the Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies. It supports students in creating a range of media content, including short narrative films, documentaries, written features, podcasts and other digital media. Although DU Media is only open to MFJS majors at the moment, the hope is to expand the platform to any undergraduate student who wants to gain skill in these areas.
“DU Media is a center for storytelling on campus. The goal is for any student to participate, so if you’re a biology major and want to do a podcast on something you’re passionate about, you can come over to the MFJS department and they can help you,” says Director of the Madden Center Derigan Silver.
Through the Photography and Community Engagement (PACE) initiative in the School of Art & Art History, will repurpose the current darkroom into a community space where students, faculty and community members can exhibit their work and learn about and express themselves through photography. Although PACE will start off exclusive to art majors, the hope is to eventually open it to anyone on campus who’d like to participate.
Lastly, Sacred Sounds and Social Justice (The Spirituals Project) — a choir that works out of the Lamont School of Music — focuses on the experience of the Black community in America and in Denver. This initiative will build greater engagement with DU students through a community-engaged learning course that explores music as well as interdisciplinary research. Its mission includes performance, social justice and education.
“The Spirituals Project, even though it’s housed at DU, didn’t really have a component that focused on DU students. This project partners a music professor with a professor in the Graduate School of Social Work to study The Spirituals Project, see its influence on the Black community in Denver and to see how it helps with racial justice and racial equity issues,” says Silver.
Even though COVID-19 has slowed their progress, these initiatives continue to move forward and receive support. Eventually, they’ll be successful and self-sustaining programs that no longer require financial and administrative assistance from the Madden Center. All of the current initiatives have the potential to positively impact students’ experiences at DU, some welcome news in the midst of a global pandemic.
“I’m excited about all of the initiatives. I think that they are great reminders that even though COVID is going on, we can still do really cool things at the University of Denver if we put our minds to it and work together. These projects make me very hopeful that when we do come out of this pandemic, we are going to be even stronger than before,” says Silver.