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University of Colorado Denver

College of Arts & Media

Dean's Messages

September 12, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce that the search committee for the Director for Creative Industries Research and Policy position has completed their work. I accepted their recommendation of Dr. Michael Seman, PhD. National Public Radio, WiredThe Washington Post and many regional media outlets of NBC and CBS seek his perspective concerning the creative economy. 

Michael will be working across the entire college (music, film and visual arts), and his position is partially funded by the City of Denver (Denver Arts & Venues) and the State of Colorado (Colorado Creative Industries). Michael will start on October 17, 2016. 

You may recall a message I distributed earlier regarding this position. That message was sent on August 5th and details the projected scope of work for the position. Provost Nairn suggested changing the position title from Scholar in Residence to Director, and I gladly accepted his recommendation. 

To provide additional context for this hire, let me share some thoughts from Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky (Leadership on the Line, 12-13) on what they call “adaptive change”:Leadership would be a safe undertaking if your organizations and communities only faced problems for which they already knew the solutions. Every day, people have problems for which they do, in fact, have the necessary know-how and procedures. We call these technical problems. But there is a whole host of problems that are not amenable to authoritative expertise or standard operating procedures. They cannot be solved by someone who provides answers from on high. We call these adaptive challenges because they require experiments, new discoveries, and adjustments from numerous places in the organization or community. Without learning new ways–changing attitudes, values, and behaviors–people cannot make the adaptive leap necessary to thrive in the new environment. The sustainability of change depends on having the people with the problem internalize the change itself.

At our meeting in August I challenged all of us to focus on these priorities:

  • Recruit
  • Retain
  • Reach

Recruiting students is everyone’s business, retaining students is everyone’s business and reaching inside and outside of CU Denver is something we all should be doing. Michael Seman will be standing with us as we reach to utilize "adaptive challenges because they require experiments, new discoveries, and adjustments from numerous places in the organization or community."

So let’s do it!


Laurence D. Kaptain, DMA and FRSA
Dean, College of Arts & Media (CAM)