Notes of Impact | Spring/Summer 2020

Page 1


YOUR LIFELONG LEARNING PARTNER The latest news from the University of Denver’s University College.

Meet Our New Academic Director for Organizational Leadership and Strategic HR pg. 10 A Recent Graduate On the Front Lines of the Pandemic pg. 12





10 14

12 16

Share Your News! Cover Photo: Damie Adewumi, 2020 Communication Management graduate.

NOTES FROM THE DEAN To Our University College Community, At the beginning of 2020, who would have anticipated this is where we would be halfway through the year? The resiliency displayed by our community continues to humble me, and I appreciate the flexibility and strength of our students, staff, and faculty. For our recent graduates, graduation looked different this year. We celebrated with graduation greeting videos rather than a traditional campus event, but we hope to recognize the accomplishments of these graduates in person in spring 2021. Our graduates are nothing short of impressive, as they navigated the completion of their programs during a global pandemic. As you’ll see in the pages of this publication, the stories to emerge will inspire you. Congratulations to the class of 2020 — this is one for the record-books! Meanwhile, our current students continue to balance the demands of working from home, taking care of families, and pursuing coursework. As I’ve heard from many students, our courses serve as a constant in an ever-evolving environment of change. I hope you’ll find comfort in the fact we are here to support you on your academic journey. Our non-credit programs also stepped up to the challenge, as spring and summer courses were swiftly moved online (more on page 18). We’re honored to be a lifelong learning partner for those in the Front Range, and now beyond with online programming! For nearly 25 years, University College has offered high-quality education entirely online to adult learners. We have seen many shifts in the way education is delivered in that time, but we are proud of our commitment to offering education to our community in ways that are convenient and flexible. As you navigate the challenging times we find ourselves in, please know we are here to support you in your learning.

Michael McGuire Dean, University College


THe Colorado Adult Learning Symposium Virtual Conference on August 14 Fostering Connections Between Industry and Academia Join expert speakers discussing topics such as alternative credentials and upskilling, inclusive practices, and virtual engagement. Our keynote speaker will be Joe Barela, executive director for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, who will speak about pressing workforce issues. 3

register online starting in july at

• Our Commitment t As a community that rejects racism and

ty, and diversity, together, we must act to

minoritized groups: Speak out against inj

been silenced; hold space for one another

tems, and processes that ha Let's reflect on our University College

on learning, transform lives, work togeth

these values through the lens of social ju

relevant to our work in achieving an inc

these values in our personal and profes

cycles of op

for resources & support visi

to Racial Justice • injustice and embraces inclusivity, equi-

o support our communities of color and

justice; listen to those whose voices have

r; and truly comprehend the history, sys-

ave perpetuated oppression. values: Honor the individual, champi-

her, and pursue excellence. If we look at

ustice, you'll find they are applicable and

clusive and equitable world. Let’s enact

ssional lives as we commit to breaking


i t d u . e d u / d i v e r s i t y- i n c l u s i o n



TAKe NOTE u n i v e r s i t y co l l e g e n e ws

In an effort to protect the health and safety of our community, all University College academic courses for the spring and summer quarters were changed to be delivered online. As we continue to navigate these challenging times, we thank our students and faculty for their flexibility and strength. We are thinking of you and your families, and hope you stay safe and healthy! University College is pleased to announce several new additions to our academic programming options! The new MS in Health Informatics teaches students to leverage health data tools and applications to achieve business and research outcomes within the health sector. The new MS in Supply Chain Management offers students a 21st-century approach to solving problems. The new concentration and certificate in User Experience Strategy shows how effective UX enables greater innovative agility across all communication platforms And four new graduate certificates in the Geographic Information Systems program offer deeper insights into UAVs, public health, the environment, and GIS tools and technology. Earlier this year, University College welcomed former Governor Bill Ritter to discuss the future of American energy policy with Richard Eidlin, adjunct faculty member for the Environmental Policy and Management program. Governor Ritter discussed Colorado’s progress toward addressing climate change, along with the economics and politics associated with the topic. The University of Denver welcomes Mary Clark, the new provost and executive vice chancellor, beginning in July. Dr. Clark joins us from American University, where she most recently served as deputy provost and dean of faculty.


CAREER CHANGER ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// A downturn in the economy. A rising need to juggle business, family, and community obligations. A search for inspiration. Sound familiar? This is the position Marcus Farmer found himself in after 10 years of working in the manufacturing industry as an engineer. Then, he decided to change careers and pursue his passion. This led him to University College at the University of Denver, where he earned a graduate certificate in Marketing Communication in 2017.

Be Intentional

“I realized that what matters is not just being in an industry that is good, but being in an industry that you like,” he says. “I came in with a scope of intention and execution on how I wanted it to play out.”

Ask Questions

For Marcus, a father of two, going back to school meant achieving a challenging balancing act — an act many working professionals were recently faced with during the global pandemic. Based on his experience, Marcus shared three philosophies that helped him get the most out of his education and set up a solid foundation for his thriving career: Be intentional, ask questions, and never stop learning.

Marcus chose his education and career goals with great research and intention. Empowered by motivational podcasts, he gave himself the space to really make a plan for how he envisioned his future. He decided that digital marketing was an industry with a lot of opportunity, as well as one that he truly was interested in, and he chose University College to pursue his goals in the form of a graduate certificate.

Marcus was able to hit the ground running in his courses because he actively participated in his education, asking questions and seeking opportunities to leverage what he was learning. The business exposure in his former career inspired Marcus to question how he could apply course information to real companies. He’d ask questions of colleagues about how digital tools could help their business models, as well as bring questions back from the business world to discuss in the classroom.


Never Stop Learning Marcus’ drive to apply knowledge reflects his third philosophy: never stop learning, both professionally and personally.

the practitioners who can stay nimble and incorporate the new with core concepts will find themselves busy.

“Lifelong learning is just a healthy He feels that digital marketing is a practice, and it drives success,” Marvast industry that is ever-evolving; cus said. LISTEN TO THIS STORY ONLINE!


Molly Smith, PhD, began as the new academic director for both the Strategic Human Resources and Organizational Leadership programs in January 2020. Molly brings a wealth of knowledge about the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, as well as an insider’s perspective of University College given her experience teaching and being an integral member of the Learning Experience Design team since 2011. Here, Molly shares her knowledge on leading during times of change.

LEADING DURING TIMES OF While change has always been a naturally occurring process within organizations, the recent explosion of change has underscored the importance of strong and effective leadership. The following principles provide helpful guidance regarding how leaders can maximize their effectiveness during times of change and uncertainty. Personally commit to the change. Successfully leading others through change requires that we first commit to the change ourselves. The more time and energy we spend questioning or resisting the change, the less time and energy we have to lead others through it. Personally committing to the change requires leaders to believe in its potential for success and to be willing to stick with it. It can also mean limiting the scope of the change you’re championing. Focus on the areas where you can have direct impact. Remain purpose-driven. At times, it can feel like there are myriad directions you could take as a leader. The endless “what ifs” and possibilities can feel overwhelming and distract us from critical leadership priorities. Having clarity of purpose and being able to articulate a compelling “why” for pursuing the change will help you maintain laser-focus.

Focus on your people. Hearing from and addressing the needs of your team throughout the change process is important, and demonstrating empathy builds both credibility and trust. Consider how you can invest in your people, support their development, and include them throughout the change process to ensure they feel valued, included, and driven to help. Communicate consistently. Regular, consistent, and clear communication is critical to building trust and maintaining relationships. This applies to communication about not only your vision, but about the logistics and strategies associated with the change, as well. Nobody likes to feel in the dark. While email may be effective for certain messages, small group sessions, team meetings, video conferences, and one-on-one conversations can also be effective ways to share information. Celebrate successes along the way. Make sure to set aside a time to reflect on the great things your team has accomplished and deliver well-deserved kudos. Celebrating successes and important milestones along the way is a great way to show that your team’s efforts are invaluable and that success isn’t possible without them. 11


Lisa Ward never could have anticipated what would be in store for her final quarter of graduate studies at the University of Denver.

goal. She landed a job as the legislative aid to the top-ranking state senator in healthcare in her second quarter of the program and even took her capstone to the next level. Not only Like many graduate students, Lisa did she complete her paper, but she was working part-time while earning was also running a legislative bill to her Master of Science in Healthcare require all high school students to Management at University College. learn CPR as a graduation requireBut for Lisa, this meant working as a ment. She secured a Senate sponsor, lead emergency medical technician and now the bill proposal is on hold at Denver Health on the front lines until the state legislature resumes. of a pandemic. Lisa’s advice for future graduate stu“It was crazy,” Lisa recalls of the chadents draws on her experience: “Start os that characterized the past few making your way toward your goal weeks. “There were four big things I as soon as you start your academic was working on: working in the ER, career. Move forward your goal the working to secure a new job, trying whole time while you are in school.” to write my capstone, and actually running a legislative bill.” For Lisa, such dedication has paid off. Immediately after wrapping up Let’s rewind. her final quarter at DU — and just Lisa started her master’s program in days before Denver Health implethe summer of 2017 with 25 years mented a hiring freeze — she landed of healthcare work under her belt. her dream job. And her new position She was ready for a career shift and is more important than ever with the knew the exact position she want- world fighting COVID-19. ed to land after earning her second “I can clearly visualize what it feels degree: Lobbyist for Denver Health, like to be at the bedside of a patient advocating on behalf of healthcare unable to breathe,” Lisa writes. “For workers for anything they need. the first time in my long-standing “DU was my first and only choice career, I also know what it looks like because of the reputation DU has as to see unprecedented desperation on an institution and educational learn- the faces of sick patients and terror ing environment,” Lisa says. “I had in the eyes of my fearless colleagues.” one goal in mind. That was to be the Now, as she steps up to her next challobbyist for Denver Health hospital. lenge, Lisa will keep her front line I knew what I needed to do to get colleagues at the top of her mind. there and what classes I needed to take. DU allowed me that flexibility “My job is on the outside now,” she and trusted my judgment to allow says, “but always, my heart is on the me to do that.” inside.” Lisa maximized every opportunity Story by Nicole Militello; Photo by as a student to grow and pursue her Wayne Armstrong.


Congratulations Class of 2020

To say graduation looked different this year is an understatement. Instead of gathering together to watch graduates cross the stage, we celebrated this incredible achievement at a distance. Under the most extraordinary of circumstances, our graduates persevered. We are so thankful you chose DU to be part of your educational journey, and we’re proud to now call you alumni. Congratulations!

I remember sitting in the emergency room (one out of many times) and almost losing hope in my journey, but in that very moment, the discouragement was silenced and all that kept repeating was the phrase “endure and persevere.” I am now beyond thankful to be a part of the class of 2020! We are surviving through many circumstances, including a world pandemic. Not only have we survived through graduate school, we have thrived. We did it! —Mabintu Kanu

As an active duty Air Force officer and a mother of two little girls, I have many roles and responsibilities in life. After six years, two military moves, and two children…I finally completed my degree! It was so hard juggling all my roles, and “student” often came last, but I’m reminded everyday that hard work pays off. I’m proud to have finished and can be a good role model to my kids and family. Thanks DU for being patient and accommodating as I completed my graduate education journey. —Kathleen Fosterling

I am a the first person in my family to obtain a college degree and now a graduate degree. Having grown up in a poor barrio in Puerto Rico, education became an integral part of my life to strive for something better and was able to accomplish that. My whole journey at DU was filled with ups and downs at work and in my personal life, but I could always count on a community of professors, classmates, and advisors that were supportive and understanding in my lowest and in my highest. The two years I spent at UCOL will be unforgettable, and I am privileged to have had such an experience and rubbed shoulders with so many wonderful people. —Andrew A. Rosado Hartline

This has been a life-changing period for me; it is special and memorable. I will carry this pride as a DU graduate throughout my life and always carry the spirit of not giving up, focusing, and perseverance that I developed during my studies at DU, no matter what I do and where I am in my life. —Wei Guo


Natriece Bryant

Navig Crisi

How do you manage crisis communications lic relations during a pandemic? Consider th experts: Mitigate audience assumptions, shar engage your audiences through different plat

Peter Jakel

“Crisis communication, no matter how hard completely plan for it,” said Cindy Cragg, pan academic director for the Communication M gram. “The best we can do is to figure out th and understand that at any point, it could cha

While most panelists’ workplaces had cre munication plans, none really had one for COVID-19.

“We had a crisis communication plan in place in charge of the disaster recovery of the floo panelist Natriece Bryant, deputy director of t rector’s Office at the Colorado Department and adjunct instructor at University Colleg planned for a mass pandemic. So it was defin ing change we had to make philosophically a Lucy Murphy

However, out of this unexpected, ever-evolv come some important takeaways for commu sionals.

Perhaps the most critical takeaway is that com listen intently to their audiences, both inter and set any assumptions aside.

“I can’t make the assumption that someone ternet and can go online,” said Bryant, who a lect face-to-face communication channels to don’t. 16

Ashley Forest

gating during a is pandemic

s and juggle pubhese tips from the re knowledge, and tforms.

you try, you can’t nel moderator and Management prohe different layers ange.”

eated crisis comr something like

e because we were ods of 2013,” said the Executive Diof Local Affairs, ge. “But, no one nitely an interestand policy wise.”

ving situation has unications profes-

mmunicators must rnal and external,

has access to inadded she kept seo serve those who

In addition, it’s also imperative to have no assumptions that audiences understand all the information that they need to make decisions during a crisis. Panelist Peter Jakel, vice president of strategy for LinnellTaylor, and adjunct instructor at University College, found this to be true for his clients in the rental apartment industry. Rent and issues surrounding it have been thrust to the forefront of the pandemic issues, and it became clear that the industry is not well-understood. As people are learning their new normal stay-at-home routines, it’s become imperative to explore ways to stay engaged and connected with audiences, as well. Where once text or email may have sufficed, now video messages via platforms like Zoom have become more commonplace. “Video seemed to be more receptive, especially when parents are getting so many emails from teachers,” said panelist Lucy Murphy, director of communications at St. Anne’s Episcopal School and Communication Management program student. She added that video conferencing also reduces her content creation workload and significantly cuts down the workflow. Panelist Ashley Forest, deputy communications director of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, and Communication Management program student, said that her agency increased its social media presence to disseminate messages, but more importantly, as a community-building and public relations tool. “We wanted to ensure our social not only gives information for community but also engages our family members,” said Forest. “We try not to focus on the pandemic only. Let’s be innovative, let’s be creative, let’s find a way to join our community together and be happy when so much is going on.” Watch this Webinar!

Lifelong Learning Goes Online OLLI and the Enrichment Program move courses to online delivery for the first time in their history.


COVID-19 has changed the face of education at all levels, and institutions have risen to the challenge to keep students educated and connected during this unique time. Some leaders in this space include the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and Enrichment Program at the University of Denver. OLLI is an organization of 3,400 lifelong learners ages 50-plus from around the Denver metro area. Offering three eight-week terms a year in a traditional face-to-face format, OLLI needed to shift gears in light of physical distancing guidelines. Similarly, the Enrichment Program typically offers dozens of short courses to learners of all ages throughout the year, but had to cancel their remaining spring courses that were planned to meet at the DU campus.

The results of OLLI’s online undertaking are nothing less than impressive. A total of 86 courses were created to be offered online over eight weeks in spring. Within 24 hours of launching registration, 637 members registered for online courses. One OLLI member even set her alarm for 4:30 a.m. to ensure she secured a spot in the most coveted classes.

The Enrichment Program also sprang into action after instructor Richard Sacks, who teaches Dusting off the Classics, offered to teach a once-aweek online poetry class as a way to stay connected to his students. This sparked a larger movement to offer daily online Enrichment Program classes during the week and staff mobilized to take lifelong learning to the next level – as well as take it to the only place learners can access it safely during this time – online. This These cancellations impacted much resulted in more than 300 particimore than just learning – it also im- pants from coast to coast. pacted invaluable community interaction and connection for the par- “Many people are looking for ways ticipants. This led to the decision to to make a difference during these offer several courses at no cost as a extraordinary times,” said Enrichcommunity service to help the pub- ment Program Director Lynn Wells. lic stay connected and intellectually “Teachers change lives and what engaged during this time of physical a better way to make a difference distancing. in someone’s life than to deliver a thought-provoking or fun class they “I had the opportunity to spend time can enjoy from the safety of their with Lotta Granholm-Bentley and home.” the staff at the Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging,” explains OLLI Exec- Both OLLI and the Enrichment utive Director Barbe Ratcliffe. “What Program will continue to offer lifethey have taught me about the im- long learning online this summer portance of keeping the brain en- and fall. The Enrichment Program gaged for the constituency we serve launches their fall course schedule — that’s why it took very little when in July ( I got some nudging from our strong enrichment) and OLLI is currentfacilitators and staff saying, ‘let’s try ly accepting summer registrations online,’ to say ‘let’s go for it.’ (

Congratulations to these proud graduates! Meghan Montelibano, Maria Braun, Steven “Gordy� Chavez, Melyssa Millett, and Laurel Campbell. Share your photos using #DUgraduate2020.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.