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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS)




We showcase the work of members of our community, from research and scholarship to creativity and the arts. Our faculty are sought-after experts who are frequently in the news.

College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences


Jeanne Abrams, Sarah Pessin and Helen Morris, University of Denver
November 27, 2018

Studying the American Jewish Experience

DU students will have an opportunity to learn more about the American Jewish Experience thanks to a newly created postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Judaic Studies (CJS). The postdoc will hold a PhD in a related field, and will teach courses and conduct research on a range of topics that weave Judaic Studies with multiple disciplines in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS).

Brandan Buck
November 19, 2018

Higher Ed Brings Veteran Back to Public Service

As an undergrad history major, Brandan Buck was unique among his peers. The Army veteran had four years of military experience, including one year in Afghanistan, before stepping foot on campus. His work and his research often reflected his military background. After graduating in 2009, Buck worked for the government, but he never lost his zeal for historical research. Prior to coming to the University of Denver, Buck served in the U.S. Army (2001-2003) and the Virginia Army National Guard (2003-2005). He was deployed to Afghanistan July 2004 to July 2005. “During that time, I served as a machine gunner in an infantry platoon that provided force protection, convoy security and other combat operations,” he said.

Sharon Orlopp and her son
October 25, 2018

Alumna Learned Early to "Lean In"

Six months after graduating from DU, Sharon Orlopp received a call that would change the course of her life and career. Working in a local nonprofit at the time, she knew it wasn’t the job for her, but didn’t know how to change jobs and was scared to make a move in a bad economy. When the phone rang, she was not expecting to hear from DU Career Services. Her former advisor had come across a free career symposium for retailers and immediately thought of her. With a little encouragement, Orlopp (BA ’81, speech communication and political science) decided to attend.

Hands holding paper cutout in the shape of a family
October 26, 2018

DU Clinic Expands Access to Low-Cost Mental Health Care for Denver Families

Families and children in the Denver community can take advantage of high-quality, research-based mental health services through the University of Denver’s Center for Child and Family Psychology. The Center provides low-cost psychological assessments and therapy for children, adolescents, adults, and families. After reopening its couples’ clinic, the Center also provides weekly therapy sessions and educational workshops for couples.

Inclusive Excellence Meeting
October 25, 2018

Inclusive Community

In line with the University’s commitment to inclusive excellence, the College is continually working 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 creative and liberal arts.

Arlan Preblud
September 27, 2018

We Don't Waste

I first met Arlan Preblud in the cavernous kitchen on the lower level of Mile High Stadium during the second half of a Broncos game. Preblud was explaining to our group of volunteers the process of “sweeping the suites” after the game. He wasn’t distributing brooms, but rather multi-tiered speed racks stacked with bins to collect leftover food that would otherwise go to waste.

September 6, 2018

AHSS is Now a Unified College

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.

Erin Orsley
September 6, 2018

Religious Studies Builds a Case for Public Defense

Mock trials, mustard and a search for meaning and purpose are what shaped Erin Orsley’s decision to become a public defender. Orsley (BA ’16) graduated from the University of Denver in just three years with degrees in Religious Studies, International Studies and Spanish. In addition to her three majors, Orsley managed to squeeze in multiple extracurriculars—joining DU’s Mock Trial Team, participating in the Social Justice Living and Learning Community, serving as a resident assistant, and studying abroad. 

August 21, 2018

2018-2019 Anvil of Freedom Lecturer, Alexander Heffner

You're invited to the University of Denver's Estlow Center for Journalism and New Media's 26th Anvil of Freedom lecture by PBS host and civic educator Alexander Heffner. Heffner's keynote lecture, "Civil Discourse in an Uncivil Age: The Quest for a Post-Partisan Citizenship," will be held on Monday, October 1, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons. He will discuss the divisiveness of contemporary politics and how citizens and the press can restore faith in American civic life. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP online or call Emily Kintigh at 303-871-2166.

Ben Jacobs
July 26, 2018

Denver Restaurant Serving the Community More than Just Food

“We have a friend, Walt Pourier, who always says, ‘You thrive, I thrive, we thrive.’ That’s the kind of mentality that we like to go by,” says Ben Jacobs, co-owner of Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery. Jacobs (BA ’05, history) and Matt Chandra (BA ’05, digital media studies) opened their first restaurant in December 2008. Nine years and two locations later, they’re still at it, but with a bigger goal in mind.

Serena Chopra
June 28, 2018

Exploring Queerness Through Indian Culture

On a Saturday night in Bangalore, India, Serena Chopra found herself comfortably swapping stories about life and family with a group of new-found friends—women and men with whom she could relate. She had traveled eight thousand miles from her home in Colorado on a Fulbright grant to better understand the experiences of queer women and transmen and how they are at odds with Indian familial traditions and social and political expectations.

Alumni in the arts
June 1, 2018

Alumni Impact on the Arts

Thousands of graduates of DU’s Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences are making an impact on their local and global communities. Some you may recognize by name, while others may not be as well known. Alumni Patricia Aaron, Kevin Padworski and Tony Ryan share their journeys and how they are making a difference through the performing and creative arts.

One Day for DU
May 3, 2018

How a Dinner Changed the DU Community

Last spring, One Day for DU—the University of Denver's annual 24-hour giving blitz—helped raise funds to bring together graduate students from across campus to cook a meal, share their cultures, and learn from one another.

Clockwise from top: Candi Cdebaca, Morehshin Allahyari, Frazer Lockart
May 3, 2018

Alumni Achievement Awards

On May 17, AHSS will recognize the 2018 recipients of the alumni achievement awards at the annual Alumni Reception and Livingston Lecture. AHSS has over 27,000 alumni globally and, in light of their many successes, the AHSS Advisory Board established the alumni achievement awards program in 2012. Nominations were collected and a committee comprised of the Advisory Board and Dean Daniel McIntosh reviewed the competitive pool of applicants.

DU alumni working in journalism
April 18, 2018

Alumni Impact: Real news day

Thousands of graduates of DU’s Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences are making an impact on their local and global communities. Some you may recognize by name, while others may not be as well known. In honor of Real News Day, we sat down with alumni Carly Moore and Todd Unger who are committed to seeking and presenting fair and accurate news.

Stuart Portman (right) discusses healthcare policy with Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch in his Washington, DC office
March 29, 2018

Medic Aid: The Pioneer Scripting Health-Care Reform

When the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history needs help understanding health care, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), 83, turns to a fresh-faced kid from St. Louis, who is young enough to be his grandson. Stuart Portman (BA ’13, political science), at just 27 years old, is the senator’s resident expert and most trusted voice on the hottest of hot-button issues: the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, among other things.

Wallace Clift
March 7, 2018

In Memoriam: Wallace B. Clift, PhD, Professor and Former Chair, Department of Religious Studies

The Rev. Dr. Wallace Bruce Clift Jr., professor of religious studies at the University of Denver and former chair of the department died at his home in Olympia, WA, on February 5, 2018, at age 91.

Dr. Clift taught psychology of religion at the University of Denver from 1969 to 1992, serving as chair of the department for many years. He helped start a joint PhD program with Iliff School of Theology in 1981.

March 1, 2018

Artist Connects Theory with Practice through 3D Modeling

In early 2017, Morehshin Allahyari had been living and working as a permanent resident in the United States when she found herself trapped in Germany after the Trump administration issued an executive order banning entry for citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, including permanent residents. “I had my Iranian passport and my green card, but I was stuck in Berlin, not knowing if I could come back or not.”

DU alumni working in local government
January 29, 2018

Alumni Impact: Leading in local government

Thousands of graduates of DU’s Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences are making an impact on their local and global communities. Some you may recognize by name, while others may not be as well known. We sat down with four Colorado alumni who are committed to bettering their communities through local government: Linda Olson, Steve Hogan, Jordan Sauers, and Doris Truhlar. Each has dedicated their time and energy to public service in hopes of making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Lance Clem (left) with Gov. Richard Lamm
January 29, 2018

The Impact of an Internship

Lance Clem, a Media, Film, and Journalism Studies (MFJS) alumnus and longtime public policy advocate, established an internship program for future MFJS students through his estate upon his passing in 2016. Julia Dacy, a senior strategic communication major, is the first recipient of the Lance C. Clem Endowment for Media, Film, and Journalism Studies award. Dacy used her award for an unpaid internship last summer in her hometown of Chicago.

Keegan Kienzle, DU alum teaching in Germany
November 22, 2017

Language is No Barrier for Fulbright Award Recipient

When Keegan Kienzle learned he was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Berlin, Germany, he had one month to pack his bags and part with family and friends before moving to a country where he’d never been, communicating in a language he’d hardly spoken. Though his journey to Germany was unorthodox and not always easy, Kienzle (BA '15, international studies and Spanish, German minor) said his time at DU prepared him to take on the challenge.

October 31, 2017

In Memoriam: Jimmy LaVita

Professor Emeritus James (Jimmy) LaVita passed away on October 25, 2017. His teaching and scholarship at DU spanned both the arts and sciences. Jimmy served as professor and long-time chair of mathematics and computer science, then as professor of computer science, and most recently, as a professor of social sciences in the divisions of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences with the anthropology department and emergent digital practices program. 

October 26, 2017

Activism Through Literature and Leadership

Considered among the most influential writers in South Africa, Njabulo S. Ndebele (PhD ’83, creative writing) has used literature as a vehicle for protest, resistance, and empowerment while leading in the recovery of South Africa through higher education. More than two decades after apartheid ended, Ndebele remains committed to ensuring Nelson Mandela’s vision for a just, inclusive society becomes reality.

September 26, 2017

5 Pieces of Art to Kick-Start Conversation

The University of Denver’s Center for Judaic Studies (CJS) and Holocaust Awareness Institute (HAI) announced a new initiative called Art/Awareness/Diversity (A/A/D). The project will launch in October with an exhibit in the University of Denver Anderson Academic Commons’ Dr. Helen G. and Albert F. Morris Exhibit Display through January 2018.

goldfarb reflections square
September 25, 2017

The Unfinished Business of Ron Goldfarb: A Return to Art

While attending an art auction in New York, Ron Goldfarb couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement of magnificent artwork and six-figure bids. At the crack of the gavel—SOLD—Goldfarb realized he wanted to be the artist behind the painting. After retiring from a long, successful legal career, he unleashed his creativity onto canvas.

August 31, 2017

New Center Examines American Political System

The American political system has long been studied and dissected—and American politics is quite possibly more relevant in peoples’ lives now than in years before. In July, the University established the Center on American Politics—as a part of its strategic goals outlined in DU IMPACT 2025—to help us understand the changing standards of the nation’s political system.

August 31, 2017

Unexpected Career Path Leads to Love of Journalism

The University of Denver was not on Mollie Finch Belt’s radar when she graduated from high school in 1961. Neither was a career in journalism. But, Belt (BA ’65, sociology) has learned to navigate all of life’s twists and turns with poise and passion to find her true purpose in life. That includes owning and operating The Dallas Examiner.

July 27, 2017

Alumni Shaping Denver

Candi CdeBaca (BS ’09, sociology; MSW ’09, social work) is co-founder and executive director of Project VOYCE, a nonprofit that mobilizes and trains Denver youth to work on problems in their schools and communities. Her goal is to prepare kids from Denver’s poorer neighborhoods to claim their seat at the table when it comes to the city’s future.