Knowledge & Skills

Students need new kinds of knowledge and skills to live, work and contribute as citizens in the 21st century. What kinds of educational opportunities do these needs create for DU? How should our current programs expand and change? What about our programs should remain the same?

  • Greg Glasgow

    What if we took an underused building on campus and it turned into a shared workspace/idea incubator for a variety of local entrepreneurs who work in the fields in which our students are studying? The energy of downtown seems so far from campus and this would be a way to bring a little of it here — give people free or discounted workspace if they agree to work with students and make the building a real hub of young entreprenurial energy.

  • Virginia Pitts

    During the breakout discussions at the Provost’s Luncheon last week, we came up with an idea I loved so much that I wanted to share it here. Our idea was “Problem-Based Degree Design”, where students are able to design their own individualized degree program (with support of course!) around the big question(s) they want to help answer or big problem(s) in our world that they want to help solve. Such degree programs would cross disciplines by necessity, perhaps even helping us recognize the need for new interdisciplinary courses or experiences that we miss when we build degrees around topics/disciplines rather than around questions/problems. What excites me about this is that, in my mind, such an approach to degree design would ensure that our students truly are prepared to participate (and in fact act as leaders) in solving the big, complex, interdisciplinary, ever-evolving problems/challenges our world and our communities face. This certainly would be a powerful way to demonstrate to students, community members, parents, and future employers what we’re all about (such a clear embodiment of our dedication to the public good!).

    So much comes to mind for me as I start thinking about what such a program might look like (I could go on and on!), but I’ll stop here in the interest of semi-brevity.

    • Elizabeth Henry

      Hi Virginia: Our table came up with the same idea! I discovered that UNC Asheville is organized this way. Also mentioned was Portland State.

      • Virginia Pitts

        That’s so wonderful to hear that your table came up with the same idea – great minds think alike. 😉 I’m really intrigued by UNC Asheville and Portland State … will have to look into that (and I am now wondering what other universities do this as well!).

  • Elizabeth Henry

    Regarding University-wide Implementation of Sustainability Learning Objectives:

    1) For those professors who want to teach in interdisciplinary fields but cannot get course releases from their departmental loads: could we implement a program similar to the AHSS Summer Stipend program that would be a slightly more enticing Stipend than the “overload” amount we get to teach in our departments? If an interdisciplinary “slush fund” could be established that is independent of departmental/divisional budgets, then individual faculty could apply to this Interdisciplinary Stipend fund with a course proposal, perhaps. I’m not sure if a slightly higher stipend for these kinds of overloads would attract a lot of faculty during the school year, as it does during summer, but it’s one way to think about how to start creating more curricular endeavors in an interdisciplinary and/or inter-divisional way.

    2) Could we create a Sustainability Major that incorporates coursework from various divisions? Again, some kind of “slush” fund from above would need be established for departmental faculty to teach in it, unless we can make the case for new lines or new part-time lines.

    3) Could we propose some kind of “Sustainability/Environmental Institute”? Perhaps this is simply an expanded function of the Sustainability Council:
    The Institute gains (internal and external?) funding for research, coursework, course development, guest speakers, conferences, faculty workshops, faculty presentations, a reading group, etc.

  • allan b. goldstein

    I may have left the following comment on the wrong page:
    The experiential Disability Studies course I teach at my university, which involves digital storytelling, is proving to have huge impact on the participating students and the people with disabilities, who serve as consultants.
    I’m unaware if DU has such an offering among its many service learning opportunities.

  • Robert Petrowsky

    Colorado has recently been called the “Silicon Valley of agriculture” yet does not have any food or agricultural law programs. Very few schools do have these programs, yet the public is becoming more aware of food issues and sustainable farming practices. It would be in the best interest of DU and the community to create an agriculture and food law program to address this ever-changing landscape. The program could focus on things such as food labeling, product liability, organic practices and regulation, commodity marketing, and any of the other vast legal issues associated with the business of producing food.
    The best-case scenario for DU would include an agriculture and food law clinic to represent the multitude of small value added food producers and farmers in the area. A partnership with Colorado State University’s Agriculture Extension Office for multi-faceted research into modern practices and legal issues could create a much needed research institution and help keep DU ahead of other regional colleges in the field of agriculture and food law.