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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (AHSS)

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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

The Heart of DU

When you take classes in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS), you join the University of Denver's largest and most diverse academic unit, and gain the education and skills necessary to succeed at nearly any career in today's global, communication-based society.

AHSS is where all DU undergraduate students build the foundation of their higher education. All undergraduate students take liberal arts courses with us, and one-third of these students declare an AHSS major. Plus, the majority of our departments and schools offer graduate or PhD programs. 


Research Stirs Emotion in Both Students and Clients 

Sperber When Elizabeth Sperber set out to teach her Political Inquiry class last quarter, she never thought she would be sitting in a room full of students and former felons with tears in their eyes.

"I decided to take a different approach to this class by using community-engaged teaching to work with a local nonprofit on an issue-based research project. I wanted to help my students become informed consumers of social science research and to help them build their own research skills, while contributing to the greater good," said the assistant professor of political science.

Sperber had received training through DU's Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL), where she learned how to implement community-engaged learning and scholarship in the classroom. Through CCESL, she connected with Hassan Latif, executive director of the Second Chance Center (SCC). Like most of the staff at SCC, Latif was formerly incarcerated, and had developed a "ground-up" model of service delivery enabling formerly incarcerated men and women to reintegrate into their communities. Sperber set the wheels in motion to collaborate with SCC on a mixed-methods research project to help them evaluate the significance of their work in a more holistic way.  Read more...

our faculty are in the news

Childhood Experiences Impact Long-Term Well Being

Associate Professor Sarah Watamura, psychology, was the keynote speaker at a public launch of a region-wide effort to build more resilience in people and communities in Central Oregon. Initiated by United Way, a cross-sector coalition of approximately 60 local organizations has worked for more than a year to lay the foundation for a broad-based initiative to combat the issues of trauma, toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences. See the story on News Channel 21.

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study within AHSS

An AHSS classroom, inside Sturm Hall

AHSS faculty, staff and students come together in a shared quest for knowledge of the human condition. Students from around the world join us to study the many ways in which humans live in time and in space, as individuals and in groups. Our award-winning faculty members incorporate their national and international research and creative endeavors into the classroom to enhance your learning experience.

As an AHSS student, you will learn the theories and techniques of your field as well as the skills to:

Think critically

Omar Gudino, assistant professor of psychology, is working to understand and meet the needs of children and adolescents who are at high risk of developing emotional and behavioral problems due to exposure to trauma or other forms of adversity. Gudino and his colleagues in the Services for At-Risk Youth and Families (SAYF) research lab at the University of Denver work in partnership with local human services agencies to develop treatment options that meet the mental health needs of high risk youth.

Communicate effectively

Mark Dodge (MA '00, anthropology) has loved museums since he was a kid, and today he has found a career to match this passion as the Exhibit & Collections Curator for Golden History Museums. He enjoys getting out into the community and speaking with residents, documenting their stories and building the museum collection of artifacts and photos. "Everyone has a story to tell or something to share and museums may be one of the few places still willing to listen," said Dodge.

Gain knowledge to forge new ideas

Two DU students have used their past experiences and academic interests to develop a research project that has allowed them to study different cultures on multiple continents. Sam Estenson and Hannah Parkes have conducted their research for over a year. "The research we have completed so far has given me deeper insights into the global atmosphere through the lenses of languages and the cultures of these countries, which is fascinating," Parkes said.

Adapt to different cultures and increase intercultural skills

As an undergrad studying abroad in Ecuador, Alison Krögel, associate professor of Spanish, learned quickly that if she wanted to communicate with Ecuadorians throughout the region, she needed to learn the most commonly spoken indigenous language. Not Spanish, but Quechua, a language spoken by 10-12 million people throughout the Andes of South America. Krögel began studying Quechua both in graduate school and at the Centro Bartolomé de las Casas in Cusco, Peru. Her interest in the Quechua language and culture has led to a career focus on the Andean region.

Contribute meaningfully

Wendy Low is a proponent for social justice. It's not a passing interest, but a lifelong passion that was ignited when she joined her first cause at the age of ten. Today, Low continues to advocate for social justice as president of Never Again!, a student group that promotes awareness of the Holocaust and atrocities of genocide to the DU community.