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Research & Innovation

Centers & Institutes

Displays insider the Centers & Institutes building

The more than 50 centers and institutes at DU do highly focused research and scholarship. They bring industry and the government together with the top researchers in a specialized field to find solutions to pressing problems.

DU's centers and institutes span the academic and professional fields. Their work ranges from finding treatment for genetic disorders and addressing pressing social problems such as human rights abuses to re-examining the effectiveness of the American legal system and more.

Here are just a few examples of the centers and institutes at DU.

Aerosol Research Group

Instruments created by the University of Denver Aerosol Research Group have ridden on NASA flights and collected data in regions around the world, including Antarctica and the North Pole.

The group develops and uses instruments to study aerosols?defined as any collection of particles suspended in gas. The research team has investigated everything from volcanic dust to urban pollution to global warming.

DU engineers working with the research group have studied rocket plumes, power plant emissions and stratospheric ozone depletion. Findings from this research have been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research and other periodicals, as well as several books.

Contact: J.C. Wilson, professor and chairman of engineering

ALEPH Institute for Jewish Culture

The ALEPH Institute for Jewish Culture provides students and community members with the opportunity to learn about Jewish culture through art, literature, education, philosophy and history.

The ALEPH Institute is a division of the Center for Judaic Studies.

Contact: Sarah Pessin, associate director for the Center for Judaic Studies, 303-871-7731

Butler Institute for Families

The Butler Institute for Families is a nationally recognized resource for education, consultation and research. It works to benefit children, parents, families and those that work with them.

Training programs run by the Institute reach as far as Bermuda and cover a variety of topics. They serve as a platform of proficiency for caseworkers, professionals as well as foster and adoptive parents.

The Institute conducts numerous research and program evaluation initiatives such as projects to prevent youth violence and to create better post-adoption services. Through its program and curriculum development, the Butler Institute is helping to create a positive impact social work and the people that it affects.

Contact: Cathryn Potter, 303-871-2931

The Cable Center

The Cable Center aims to educate the public and commemorate the industry by celebrating cable television's contributions to society.

The Center houses the Barco Library, which contains the world's largest collection of cable-centered books, magazines and other publications.

Since 2002, The Cable Center's Robert L. Johnson Distance Learning Studio has allowed DU classes to interact with high-profile figures in Washington D.C.?such as former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton?through the C-SPAN offices near Capitol Hill.

Contact: Coleen Samuels, executive assistant, 303-871-7931

Center for China-United States Cooperation

The Center for China-United States Cooperation seeks to achieve greater partnership as well as solutions to the mutual disagreements of these global giants.

Since its founding in 1998, the Center has worked to hold discussions about U.S.-China relations outside of the conventional diplomatic vocabulary. English-speaking professors from China often come to teach classes at DU's Korbel School of International Studies.

Faculty are encouraged to engage in joint research projects and a list of publications are available on its website. The Center has also launched China's first English-taught MA program in international studies.

Through its original research and community immersion and integration, the Center for China-United States Cooperation seeks to achieve positive developments in the fundamentally important relationship of these two states.

Contact: Sam Suisheng Zhao, executive director, 303-871-2456

Center for Colorado's Economic Future

The Center for Colorado's Economic Future provides information and analysis of issues impacting the economic future of Colorado.

Creation of the Center for Colorado's Economic Future implements a key recommendation of the Colorado Economic Futures Panel, created by the University of Denver in keeping with its commitment to contribute to the public good. The panel was created to examine the fiscal health of Colorado's state and local governments and their ability to sustain fundamental public investments appropriate to Colorado's long-term economic vitality.

Recommendations of the Colorado Economic Futures Panel addressed specific constitutional proposals as well as the need to better inform voters about ballot proposals and citizens about state and local government.

The Center conducts research and analysis providing:

  1. Regular updates on Colorado's fiscal health;
  2. Identification of emerging trends affecting Colorado's economy; and
  3. In-depth examination of major fiscal legislation and ballot proposals.

Contact: Charlie Brown, executive director, 303-871-2770

Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning

The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning supports all of DU's efforts to benefit the public good and works to integrate community service throughout the community. The center cultivates a number of service opportunities for students, including overseeing the Alternative Break program, maintaining a database of volunteer positions available, coordinating community work-study positions, and helping faculty incorporate service learning into their courses. The center also offers Engaged Students Grants, which fund service projects developed by students.

DU faculty and staff can request Public Good Grants to fund their public service projects-- research into homelessness, for example. And faculty, staff and students are all welcome to take part in the university-wide service projects the center organizes, such as the annual DU Volunteer Days and 2007's Project Homeless Connect.

Contact: Eric Fretz, director, 303-871-3706

Center for EPR Imaging In-Vivo Physiology

Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) imaging technology can help researchers peer inside a living being to see what's going on at a molecular level. DU has been a leader in the EPR field for three decades, and in 2001, the University received a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to create the Center for EPR Imaging In-Vivo Physiology in collaboration with the University of Maryland and the University of Chicago.

In EPR, researchers can analyze molecules in vivo?inside the body?by detecting the spin of electrons. Eventually, EPR imaging may help doctors treat cancer patients, correct circulation problems, fight heart disease and examine the side effects of certain medications.

Contact: Gareth R. Eaton, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, 303-871-2980

Center for Human Motivation, Learning and Development

The Center for Human Motivation, Learning and Development conducts research with students and teachers to figure out what makes students tick.

Theorized research practices are put the test with the hopes of enhancing test scores and creating a better classroom environment for both teachers and students.

When outside the classroom, the center is leading a national program to prevent youth violence. It's also researching professional development, school violence prevention, educational reform, and personal and organizational change.

Contact: Barbara McCombs, director, 303-871-4245

Center for Judaic Studies

The Center for Judaic Studies (CJS)is focused on advancing knowledge of Jewish history, thought and culture.

Through community events and university activities, the CJS explores Jewish traditions and their evolution as well as their impact on history, literature, philosophy and religion.

CJS currently offers several undergraduate, graduate and audit classes that provide a view of different components of Judaism and the varied experiences of the Jewish people.

The Center's course listings offer over 35 distinctive opportunities including lectures and seminars that are open to the public.

Contact: Sarah Pessin, associate director for the Center for Judaic Studies, 303-871-7731

Center for Multicultural Excellence

The Center for Multicultural Excellence presents a series of workshops, lectures and annual events that foster diversity education and understanding. By maintaining a cloၼse relationship with students, faculty and alumni, they make a positive impact throughout campus and the community.

As a student-savvy office, the Center maintains a Facebook profile to stay better connected to student organizations as well as their needs and concerns. They also hold a leadership retreat for graduate and undergraduate students to encourage diversity education and self-discovery.

The Center offers consulting on diversity and LGBTIQA issues that arise in daily life or in the classroom. Also, the University of Denver Diversity Summit brings many well-known scholars to campus to address selected topics. A complete list of services and recourses is maintained on the center's website.

Contact: Johanna Leyba, director, 303-871-7661

Center on Rights and Development

The Center on Rights and Development (CORD) uses many avenues to study, promote, and protect human rights around Denver and the world. By conducting original research, creating relationships with other human rights organizations and connecting with the local community, the Center has made a significant impact.

Students and faculty are encouraged to get involved through the Center's three action committees that use the arts, policy and community to advocate for change. CORD also hosts a speaker series, film festival and a symposium each spring.

Faculty are often published in an online human rights journal, and the Center maintains a list of student and faculty opinion essays on its website.

The Center's focus is wide reaching, but that doesn't keep them from paying attention to the needs of the Denver community. They recently started a homelessness initiative designed to explore this pressing local issue.

Contact: Dr. Claude d'Estree, 303-871-6286

Center for Teaching and Learning

The Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) has a large focus on bringing technology into the classroom and making it user-friendly. With opportunities for faculty development as well as funding for teaching and learning projects, the Center is changing the DU classroom.

A CTL Faculty Advisory Board composed of one professor from each academic unit address faculty needs and concerns by approving new projects and helping to sustain the Center's endurance.

Each year, the Center runs a new faculty orientation to introduce professors to DU's extensive technical resources and options for classroom advancement such as Blackboard, the portfolio community and the visual art gallery application. They also offer a laptop lending program and an online teaching resource guide to give DU professors new ideas.

The Center has been given a number of awards and been recognized for its programs and opportunities that make technology accessible and useful for DU students and faculty.

Contact: Julanna V. Gilbert, director, 303-871-2993

Center for Teaching International Relations

The Center for Teaching International Relations (CTIR) brings a global perspective to any classroom. The center helps increase a teacher's access to publications and professional development courses. As a result, K-12 students learn more about the world in which they live.

The International Studies School Association annual conference is overseen by CTIR, where teachers can learn ways to infuse their curriculum with international perspectives. It also administers the World Affairs Challenge where middle and high school students compete in research and debate about international issues.

As the world becomes more fundamentally intertwined, the CTIR works to ensure that students are globally minded.

Contact: Caroline Starbird, director

Center for the Study of Europe and the World

The Center for the Study of Europe and the World is one of the latest additions to DU's bustling world of centers and institutes. It will look at Europe and the European Union, their role in the world, and their interactions with global actors as well as their policies.

Its goals will be achieved through a number of research projects including its support of MA and PhD students studying the field. The Center will also host an annual conference and is working on a publication and policy briefing series.

Contact: Martin Rhodes, 303-871-3811

Center for Ultrasonics and Nondestructive Evaluation

Scientists at the Center for Ultrasonics and Nondestructive Evaluation conduct applied research and develop new technology using ultrasonics (high-frequency sound waves) and other forms of nondestructive evaluation, such as X-rays, electronic current measurements, heat scanning and acoustical evaluation.

Researchers at the center work with a wide range of clients, providing custom solutions to a host of problems. For example, current projects include using of ultrasonics to evaluate industrial waste, test the safety of aging munitions and even gauge the tenderness in beef.

Contact: Wes Cobb, senior research scientist

Conflict Resolution Institute

The 21st Century has encouraged governments, businesses, individuals and other groups to seek out cooperation instead of conflict. The Conflict Resolution Institute works to create a setting where the issues surrounding this new field can be explored in order to discover ways to end, de-escalate and ultimately prevent conflict.

The Institute draws from a variety of disciplines including human communications, management and international relations to create new ways of dealing with discord. It is also home to an MA program that gives students hands-on experience in mediation.

Hosting an annual conference and array of speakers as well as creating research projects the Conflict Resolution Institute is making headway in a field that has plagued humanity since its creation.

Contact: Karen Feste, director, 303-871-2418

Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media

The Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media explores the ways in which traditional roles of journalism are changing in the digital age.

The Center explores how these new forms of media are affecting communication and encourages the advancement of knowledge.

Through their innovative work , practical advice, and big-picture perspective, Estlow has become a focal resource for exchange and discussion among journalists and all defenders of free speech.

Contact: Lynn Schofield Clark, director, 303-871-3984

Geographic Technology Applications Center (GTAC)

The Geographic Technology Applications Center brings together an array of experts to gather, track and evaluate data. GTAC researchers analyze trends in land management, population and demographics to help organizations make better-informed decisions.

Faculty at the center work on data applications and modeling that can help businesses find viable new retail locations, for example, or help local governments distribute emergency response teams.

GTAC's 4,300-square-foot on-campus facility includes specialized labs designated for GIS instruction, laptop computing, crime mapping and analysis, aerial photography, cartography, and other projects.

Researchers regularly work in fields such as homeland security, law enforcement and urban planning, as well as spatial data analysis, digital mapping and 3-D representations of events.

Contact: Steven Hick, director of GTAC, geographic information systems director

Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Animals are known to have a remarkably therapeutic effect on people and the Institute for Human-Animal Connection does research and training to improve the ways in which animals are used in social work. It also advocates for their ethical treatment.

The Institute has a focus on animal-assisted intervention (AAI), where animals are used in social work settings under a number of conditions. By offering three specialized certificates through DU's Graduate School of Social Work, the institute is creating a new generation of graduates committed to using animals in their work.

The institute also consults independently with companies and nonprofits to assess program needs, implementation and effectiveness. One current project evaluates Youth and Pet Survivors (YAPS), a program that links children with cancer to dogs with cancer.

Contact: Philip Tedeschi, co-director, 303-871-3833

Institute for Public Policy Studies

The mission of the Institute for Public Policy Studies is to transform students into tomorrow's public policy leaders. The Institute focuses on maintaining and innovating DU's public policy curriculum.

Many IPPS faculty members have been prominent political figures. The faculty includes former Colorado governors Richard D. Lamm and Bill Owens and former Colorado State Senate President Peter Groff.

Contact: Debbie Gaylinn, program manager, 303-871-2468

Institute for Sino-American International Dialogue

Two economic superpowers—the United States and China—are working together to create a more sustainable future. Through the Institute for Sino-American International Dialogue, China and the U.S. are developing strategies that will let both countries thrive economically without damaging the environment.

The institute is focused on finding long-term solutions to problems surrounding water supply, the demand for energy, and damage to the environment.

The institute is also building a permanent network of political, academic and business leaders from both countries. The network will meet regularly to share best practices, evaluate the policies that the institute suggests, and promote the policies to both countries' governments.

Contact: Banning Garrett, 303-871-4474

Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, is a national, independent research center dedicated to continuous improvement advancing excellence in the American legal system.

The institute's mission is to forge innovative and practical solutions to problems in our system in collaboration with the best minds in the country.

We envision a legal system that is fair, accessible, reliable, efficient and accountable and therefore inspires trust.

Contact: Robert P. Thompson, director of communications, 303-871-6602

Institute for the Study of Israel in the Middle East

The Institute for the Study of Israel in the Middle East (ISIME) works to harbor greater understanding of Israel, its neighbors, their mutual problems and their possible solutions.

ISIME furthers study, education and awareness by integrating many political perspectives, hosting workshops and conferences, developing curricula, and participating in faculty and student exchanges. Links on the ISIME website provide access to the latest news from the Middle East as well as publications written by ISIME staff.

Part of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the Institute is creating a new generation of leaders prepared to bring peace to the Middle East.

Contact: Shaul Gabbay, executive director, 303-871-2456

Institute of Gerontology

The Institute of Gerontology is making progress in elderly care by focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses. The Institute develops new models for caregivers and care receivers through training, research and education.

The Institute approaches gerontology from a social work perspective. It focuses on an empowerment-oriented community, where care receivers can take more control of their lives by developing social networks and interpersonal relationships. Currently, the Institute of Gerontology is working with agencies in Asia to develop and implement similar projects.

The Institute's national reputation attracts researchers and brings many speakers to campus. It is also home to an on-line certification program for caring for older women.

Contact: Dr. Enid Cox, director, 303-871-4018

Intermodal Transportation Institute (ITI)

The Intermodal Transportation Institute is working to promote the development of a seamless, sustainable global transportation system for passengers and freight. The group is creating and strengthening partnerships with industry, government and the public so they can work together.

Working closely with other universities and institutes, the center serves as a "think and do tank" that crosses academic lines. ITI faculty come from the fields of business, chemistry, economics, education, engineering, geography and more.

ITI combines its faculty expertise with a board of directors made up of international leaders in the transportation industry. ITI is also developing a Colorado Advisory Council to focus on local issues.

Together, ITI faculty and board members research transportation issues and advocate for sustainable transport. ITI also offers an interdisciplinary master's degree in Intermodal Transportation Systems.

Contact: Cathy Johnson, executive director

International Center for Civic Engagement

The International Center for Civic Engagement is a partnership between DU and the University of Bologna in Italy. Undergraduates from both universities can take courses for credit from the center in Bologna. These classes include opportunities for extensive service learning, such as working at local schools or social-services agencies.

The center also offers exchange programs for faculty and administrators from both universities. And scholars, students and community members from around the world take part in the center's civic engagement activities, including such as conferences, workshops, lectures and film screenings for scholars, students and community leaders from around the world.

By running exchange and educational activities and focusing on research, the center is fostering understanding of the ways universities work to engage with their local, national and international communities.

Contact: Sheila Wright, executive director, 303-871-2459

Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy

The Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy (MIELL) is a research and social policy institute dedicated to improving learning environments and outcomes for children, birth to age 8.

The Marsico Institute identifies the best in early learning research, practice, and policy, and delivers that information "just in time" to academics, practitioners, policymakers, and parents: the people who can create and implement changes to improve the lives of young children. The center focuses on early childhood because more than 93% of brain development occurs before the age of five. The quality of relationships and learning opportunities that young children experience can set the stage for what they will be able to accomplish throughout the rest of their lifetimes.

Contact: Ginger Maloney, Director 303-871-3828

National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center - Rocky Mountain

DU's National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) is one of a nationwide network of facilities that offer support, research findings, training and technical expertise to local law enforcement and corrections officers.

Each facility in the NLECTC system specializes in one specific area of law enforcement research and development. DU's center focuses on improvised explosives, analyzing crime using geographic information systems, the handling of forensic evidence, and other areas. The center offers a live-fire explosives firing range, DNA evidence processing facilities, and laboratories for research and training.

The center was created in 1994 as a component of the Office of Science and Technology.

Contact: Troy D. Krenning, 303-871-2830

Professional Psychology Center

The Professional Psychology Center (PPC) is a training center for the Graduate School of Professional Psychology as well as a mental health clinic which provides low-cost, high-quality services to the Denver community.

PPC is staffed by more than 100 doctoral students and psychologists and offers family therapy, couples therapy and adolescent group therapy along with individualized counseling.

Contact: Fernand Lubuguin, 303-871-3998

Relationship Center

The goal of the Relationship Center is to study relationships in order to improve them. A research center in the Psychology Department, psychologists have studied the relationships children and adolescents have with their friends, parents, siblings, and romantic partners.

Based on the research, DU psychologists have developed Project STAR. Project STAR is in more than 60 Denver schools and helps teens improve peer relationships. The Center's research is sponsored by the National Institute of Health. DU students and faculty also conduct workshops to help teachers and other professionals find ways to improve relationships of children and adolescents.

Contact: Wyndol Furman, director, 303-871-3806

Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society

The objective of the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society is to preserve the history of Judaism in the West.

The historical society is home to the renowned Beck Archives, which contain more than 1 million documents, including manuscripts, oral histories, newspapers, microfilm and more than 5,000 photos.

The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society often hosts exhibits at area museums and lectures by esteemed academics, and field trips to places of Judaic interest.

Contact: Jeanne Abrams, director, 303-871-3016

Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute

The way land is allocated and used is a vital issue in the Rocky Mountain West and around the world. The Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute at the Sturm College of Law provides a forum for discussing land-related legal and policy issues in the West. The group encourages dialog through its interdisciplinary conferences, workshops, research projects and publications addressing land use and development.

The institute is best known for its annual land use conference, which was first held in 1992. More than 700 people now attend the event each year, making it the largest land-use law conference in the country.

The next annual conference, scheduled for March 2008, is titled "Sustaining the Next 100 Million." It will focus on estimates that the United States will add 100 million residents by 2040, including 12 million newcomers to the Rocky Mountain Region.

Contact: James van Hemert, director

Strategic Issues Panel

Each year the University of Denver convenes a non-partisan panel of citizens to examine an issue of particular importance to the people of Colorado. The Strategic Issues Panels reflect the University's commitment to support the public good and affirm DU's values of informed civil discourse, intellectual freedom, open communication and rigor.

The goal is to raise the visibility of important issues with the media, legislators and the public and to develop thoughtful recommendations that reflect the collective insight of panel members. This is achieved through an open process of informed discourse and consensus-based decision making.

The 2007 panel examined the future of Colorado's Constitution. Previous panels have addressed water issues and Colorado's economic future.

Contact: Jim Griesemer, director, 303-871-3003

Task Force on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

The Task Force on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking is made up of both faculty and students from a number of different disciplines ranging from women's studies to international disaster psychology to human rights.

As an academic institution, it publishes original research and acts as a policy advisor to many local and international groups including the U.S. Department of State and the International Organization on Migration. As a student group, it seeks to raise awareness around this important human rights and immigration issue.

Currently, the Task Force is seeking to organize an international conference in conjunction with other international universities and institutions that will further influence policy and understanding in the field.

Contact: Claude d'Estree, 303-871-6286

The Spirituals Project

Spirituals are songs that were sung by slaves to heal, uplift and inspire during times of trouble. Today, The Spirituals Project is keeping the music alive through education, outreach and several performing ensembles.

The Spirituals Project hosts an annual film and concert series, lectures, workshops and other events to boost public knowledge and understanding of this valuable music form. They also run a youth outreach program that visits elementary, middle and high schools as well as universities to stimulate the powerful and important wisdom of African American history and tradition.

A list of upcoming events can be found on the group's website as well as a gift shop that sells a book by the Spirituals Project founder Arthur Jones and CDs recorded by the Spirituals Project Choir. By promoting community involvement, multicultural advancement and historical preservation, the Spirituals Project is giving future generations the gift of spirituals and its legacy.

Contact: Connie Rule, 303-871-7993

Undergraduate Research Center

The Undergraduate Research Center works to get undergraduates involved in original scholarship, research, and creative activities, which students do with the help of a faculty partner.

One of the center's hallmark programs is Partners in Scholarship (PINS). PINS gives students a rare opportunity to work on an original research or creative project. With help from faculty partners, students design and execute an in-depth project. Projects chosen for PINS funding can receive up to $1,500 each quarter to cover expenses such as books, software, lab equipment or travel.

Undergraduates can also apply for support from the center's also summer research grant program, which offers up to $3,500 per project to fund collaborative work between students and faculty. Students who need to travel to complete research or to attend an academic conference can request up to $1,500 from the Student Scholar Travel Fund. The center also gives undergraduates the opportunity to publish their research in Symposium: A Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship and to present at DU's annual undergraduate research conference.

Contact: Robert Dores, chair, 303-871-3596

Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law

The Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law works across disciplines to focus on real-life issues in public and private international law.

The Nanda Center fosters life-long learning and collaborates across disciplines with DU's Daniels College of Business and Josef Korbel School of International Studies, as well as other institutions. Along with promoting scholarship and discussion of international law, the center will host programs for lawyers, students and community members.

The center, which is part of the International Legal Studies program at the Sturm College of Law, is named for Ved Nanda, the director of international legal studies and vice provost of internationalization at DU. It was launched with a gift from one of his former students.

Contact: Ved Nanda