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University of Colorado Denver

College of Arts & Media

Dean's Messages

September 16, 2016

Dear faculty and staff colleagues,

The semester is well underway and a lot of important and purposeful work is being done. Here are some updates:

1. A special opportunity exists for a limited number of our CAM students on Friday, November 4. Author, inventor and artist, Todd Siler, will be conducting a special workshop for a limited number of CAM students during the 2016 a2ru national conference. The workshop is entitled “Metaphorming” and aims to challenge students to use art-based thinking to problem-solve and achieve goals. Workshop arrangements are being spearheaded by Angie Buckley and Tanida Ruampant. Since seating is limited, Angie Buckley will be calling upon the faculty to nominate two students each to take advantage of priority registration for this workshop. Nominated students will get the first opportunity to reserve a seat for the workshop – well before the registration is open to the entire 1200+ CAM student body. Please look for a communication from Angie today or Monday with instructions on how and when to nominate your students. This communication will also contain further details about the workshop and the benefits it presents for our students.

2. Collaboration between the three CAM departments is a mandate the students have presented me with and the need for interdisciplinary work is also appearing in academic and popular press. As you know, Angie Buckley, Scholar in Residence for Entrepreneurism and Enterprise, is working with faculty to find ways to connect students across the three departments. There has been discussion about an all-CAM course that would provide our new and incoming students with a basis of developing a creative identity and personal brand, interdisciplinary work, learning the value of internships, having an awareness of creative industries in Denver, navigating within CAM and other essential information to position our students for success.

I’ve asked Sam McGuire to work closely with Angie and to identify three-person faculty committee to help her shape this endeavor. This will be a good way to assure faculty input – before a proposal goes to the Executive Committee. As your Dean, I am also providing citations (see below) that underscore the importance of the direction we’re taking with this initiative and stating, once again, that the isolated nature of our programs is a student concern that is being addressed.

3. CAM student William Card (MEIS, ’17) is featured on the a2ru website.

4. CU Denver (not CAM) had an additional shortfall from the AY 2015-16. The Deans were all asked to turn back funds to cover this deficit. The CAM amount was $167,000. My choices were few – cut all four college operating funds (three departments plus the Dean’s office), or delay some commitments that I had made previously. I have chosen the latter as it will do the least amount of harm to the student experience.

As always, I welcome questions or comments. I am grateful for the important work you are doing. Faculty members, please watch for the communication about the Todd Siler workshop from Angie.


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


Leading authors in the academic and popular presses have written about the need for entrepreneurship in arts and media. William Deresiewicz in the January/February 2015 issue of The Atlantic Magazine wrote, “Creative entrepreneurship, to start with what is most apparent, is far more interactive, at least in terms of how we understand the word today, than the model of the artist-as-genius, turning his back on the world, and even than the model of the artist as professional, operating within a relatively small and stable set of relationships.”

Academic scholars have also stated the need for entrepreneurism in arts and media programs and curricula. In the journal Work and Occupations an article titled “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Arts-Based Careers and Creative Work,” Elizabeth L. Lingo and Steven J. Tepper state that, “… artists need to be masters of navigating across historically disparate domains, for example, specialization and generalist skills, autonomy and social engagement, the economy’s periphery and the core, precarious employment and self-directed entrepreneurialism, and large metro centers and regional art markets.”

The consultants from the University of Michigan concur with all of the above and shared the ideas that a faculty director specializing in entrepreneurism might be able to “nurture entrepreneurship capacity across the school in addition to the music business program…” and could possibly, “further galvanize entrepreneurship capacity across CAM, become pointperson for receiving internship inquiries (perhaps to develop a series of formalized partnerships), connect current students with alumni mentors, and to help broaden the reach and impact of existing programs.”