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University of Colorado Denver

College of Arts & Media

Message from the Dean

Welcome from Dean Laurence Kaptain

​​​Greetings from the College of Arts & Media (CAM) at the University of Colorado Denver!

Not only is our unit Colorado’s first arts and entertainment college—but we are also one of the few public institutions nationally to be offering programs at the intersection of arts, technology and commerce. It’s at that location that our art changes lives.

It has only been within the past 20 years that significant research has illuminated new career paths for prospective students and their parents to consider. Please read the following sentences from Steven J. Tepper and Elizabeth Long Lingo (formerly of Vanderbilt’s Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy),

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.” 

That is what CAM is all about. Our faculty have high expectations for our students—and in that regard, a core belief we all share is the importance of assuring that young artists, designers and scholars have the tools to form their own creative identity. They will then be able to establish their role in the new contingent economy by leveraging entrepreneurship and enterprise for their success as artist citizens.

Please explore our web site, printed materials—and then plan a visit to our campus. When you meet our faculty and students you will understand the special nature of how an education at the intersection of arts, technology and commerce changes lives.

With best regards,

Laurence D. Kaptain, DMA and FRSA
Dean, College of Arts & Media
Professor of Music, Entertainment and Industry Studies 
University of Colorado Denver
Executive Assistant:

Contact Dean Kaptain:

Phone: 303.556.2279 | E-Mail:
Twitter: @LKaptain | Skype: laurencekaptain | iMessage:



 Weekly Messages


 April 4, 2016

April 4, 2016 

Dear Colleagues of the CAM Faculty and Staff 

On April 1st, 2016 there was a vote of the faculty to determine the frequency for meetings. The vote was taken with an anonymous ballot (and those who could not come to the meeting sent Shannon confidential votes). The results were 27-­1 to sustain the consensus decision that was reached last Spring by the faculty and affirmed by the Executive Committee, which is to have two full CAM faculty and staff meetings per semester. Some comments were heard, including a suggestion that the CAM faculty should meet. I will meet with any individual or group at any time. Shannon helps me with scheduling: Please do not hesitate to request time for individual meetings, small groups—or the entire faculty. 

Thank you for the dialogue and participation in our democratic process, and the reaffirmation of openness and transparency that demonstrates how CAM concerns are addressed when they are heard. And thank you for continuing to support the success of our students – particularly as the semester (and year – for some) comes to a close. Please look at the blog that our students have contributed to on sponsored trips to Art Dubai, SXSW and a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Summit.

Let me give a vigorous and sincere shout out to the advisors as their schedules start to get busy with registration season. Stop and thank our advisors when you see them. 

Brian DeLevie and Noelle DeLage are currently overseas in the Middle East on a recruiting, donor stewardship and CU Denver cultivation trip. The Middle East is a region that is rich in potential for student recruitment and investment in CAM. Michelle Carpenter also has recently made two trips to the Middle East. 

Budgets for next year? Stand by. There is good news so far, as we have been allowed to search for a MEIS Chair, music history specialist, art history specialist and an enterprise/entrepreneurship specialist—so we are in an exciting time for CAM. 

Please pass this link around—as it reaffirms the strength of our curriculum, programs and a bold and bright future for our graduates. Uncle Henry is Wrong. 

Here is the link for the a2ru 2016 National Conference that will be hosted by CU Denver. 


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



 April 7, 2016

April 7, 2016 

Good morning CAM faculty and staff, 

As you may have read in the April 7, 2016 CU Connections the University of Colorado Board of Regents approved a non-base- building salary pool for eligible employees at CU Denver for fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016- June 30, 2017). This means that this will be a one-time raise.

Why a one-time raise and not a raise that is permanent? CU Denver did not hit our enrollment goals for the current academic year, and 85% of our budget comes from tuition. This is one reason that I have been reminding everyone of the critical importance of not just recruiting—but assuring an increase in yield (the students whom we can count as enrolled on the census date—about 2 weeks after the Fall semester begins) funds the budget that is set in advance of the academic year.

I encourage you to continue to discuss and consider how you and your role can strengthen our efforts to reach out to the 700+ admitted students to encourage them to look carefully at their college choice and consider the many benefits of attending CAM. We have members of our team focused on these efforts, but they cannot do it alone – we each have a critical role to play in ensuring that admitted students become enrolled students. Our outreach and engagement efforts have increased the number of admits by 61%, but we’ll need all of us – faculty and staff – to “close.” 

Erin Hutchinson, CAM’s Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration, is working with the budget and finance offices to gather information from central campus so the College of Arts & Media may determine how and when CAM’s share of the non-base-building, merit-based salary pool will be distributed to CAM faculty and staff. Merit-based salary pools must be approved by the Board of Regents and are based on the campus’s ability to fund a pool. Typically, salary pools are allocated at the discretion of the Dean and are based on merit scores earned during the preceding performance review cycle. 

Stay tuned for more information and thank you for your hard work and dedication to the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts & Media. 

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

 April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016 

Dear CAM Faculty and Staff, 

In my March 11th, 2016 message to all faculty and staff, I described some of the ways that Sam McGuire is helping out on the many duties of the Associate Dean. Within that message I listed some specific accountabilities Sam had taken on in a role that we are calling “faculty administrator.” 

We have learned that Joann Brennan will be leaving her role as Associate Dean of CAM as of May 1, 2016, to assume the position of Associate Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs | CU South Denver University of Colorado on a full-time basis. Starting in the AY 2017, she will be teaching one photography course per year in VA. Let me make this clear that Joann’s tenured position at the level of Professor will remain in our college. This is the way that all tenured administrative leaders function at any institution—it is always with a “home” unit. 

I wish to thank Joann Brennan for dedicated, selfless and sterling service to the College of Arts and Media for 18 years as an award winning artist/faculty member and 8 years as Associate Dean. To say that she has served CAM with distinction (in a very difficult and challenging position) would be an understatement. Thank you Joann. 

Knowing that this (Joann’s move to CU South) might occur, I looked at the CAM By-Laws and started querying the Executive Committee about the suitability of a current faculty member to fill Joann’s role, should she change positions at CU Denver.  

Approved April 6, 2012 

College Administration 
2. Associate or Assistant Dean(s): 
a. Appointment is by the Dean of the college in consultation with the CAM Executive Committee. Term of the appointment of the Associate or Assistant Dean is indeterminate, and at will. Associate Deans and Assistant Deans are subject to yearly performance/merit reviews as Professional Exempt Administrative positions. 
b. There shall be at least one Associate Dean of the college whose role and responsibilities will be determined by the Dean in relationship to program and college need. The Associate Dean will report to the Dean and assist, advise and support the Dean in the academic leadership of the college.

Since the March 11th, 2016 memo detailed the roles Sam had taken on, I’m asking him to step up to assume broader responsibilities throughout April and assume the title of Associate Dean on May 1st.  

As stated in the CAM By Laws (adopted by the faculty in April 2012) regarding the appointment of an Associate Dean, “Appointment is by the Dean of the college in consultation with the CAM Executive Committee.” I have spoken with the members of the Executive Committee, as well as several CU Denver leaders—and there is a strong consensus that supports his taking on the role to “assist, advise and support the Dean in the academic leadership of the college.” 

As always, I invite faculty, staff, and students to come and speak with me about this and all other matters of appointments, communications, organization, structure of the college and any other matters. I am fine with seeing people individually, with their Chairs or in small groups. Most of you know that Shannon Squires coordinates my calendar, and she may be reached at

So we are moving forward as change agents and this is continuing to be an exciting time for CAM and CU Denver.

All best!

Laurence D. Kaptain, DMA and FRSA Dean, College of Arts & Media, University of Colorado Denver​