The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

The Discovery Series

“The Discovery Series”
University of Colorado at Denver

The purpose of the Discovery Series is to explore the art, culture and history of diverse groups and communities. In this program, we went to an art exhibit on the black migration from the South at the Denver Art Museum, toured the Hispanic business district, and attended a Smithsonian exhibit on Japanese-American women at the Arvada Center for the Performing Arts.

We also took a walking tour of downtown Denver churches with a history professor from our campus, attended the annual Native American Pow Wow, visited a Jewish synagogue, went to an exhibit of Latin-American artists, and took a tour of the Black American history house. We also attended plays at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, a black community theater group and a performance by an Irish dance troupe.

A key component was that we also provided a lunch or dinner (usually ethnic) — which gave everyone a chance to meet and talk.

The Discovery Series was intended to address the climate of the campus — not by bringing people to talk on campus, but by showing the diversity of the Denver community by taking our staff and faculty to these locations. It had a “humanizing” effect, I believe. Many would never have gone to these locations/communities/events. I know I came to understand the diversity of Denver much better.

The Discovery Series also gave people from the campus opportunities to interact and get to know each other as well. I would have liked to have a trip to a local small town farming community to learn about the history of agriculture in Colorado as well as a trip to the Colorado History museum for the mining and railroading industries in Colorado.

I was always pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the various communities and organizations were to our visits. I realize this is a “soft” program, but I think it worked well. Had we continued the program, I would have liked to have had each dean become a “sponsor” of a particular event which would hopefully encouraged even great participation and broader campus “ownership” of The Discovery Series.