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About the Center for Humanities and the Arts

CHA's Director, Helmut Muller-Sievers

Helmut Muller-Sievers

Hello, and welcome to a new year of exciting programs and activities at the Center for Humanities and the Arts.

My own scholarly work is concerned with the intersection of the life sciences, philosophy, and literature at the turn of the 19th century; in recent years I have developed additional interests in the role the knowledge and practice of engineers is playing in the culture of the 19th century. My book, The Cylinder, Kinematics of the 19th Century, attempts to relate the practices of transmission design to the development of realist modes of narration.

Before coming to CU, I taught for almost 20 years at Northwestern University in the Department of German Literature and Critical Thought. I was also director of the Program in Comparative Literary Studies (2003–2006), Lane Professor in the Humanities (1997–1998), and the director of the Kaplan Center for the Humanities (1998–2002). In this last position I raised funds to seed new interdisciplinary initiatives in Classics, Race Studies, and Narrative Theory, and invested a great deal of the Center’s energy in opening reliable interfaces between the university and the general public in Evanston and Chicago.

During my time here, I have come to understand that CU-Boulder has an excellent and active humanities and arts faculty. The quality and diversity of your work, together with a supportive administration, and a receptive audience in Boulder offers CHA the opportunity to devise truly path-breaking initiatives on campus and beyond.

If you would like to get in touch, please email me at, or better yet, come by and see me in my office at Macky 201.


CHA Bylaws

Macky Auditorium

At the University of Colorado Boulder there is a focal point for humanistic research, creative work, and scholarly innovation. That place is the Center for Humanities and the Arts (CHA), founded in 1997. CHA serves all faculty and students in the arts and humanities. In addition to bringing together academics and students across disciplines, the Center is also an interface between the community and the university.

At the core of CHA’s activities is an annual fellowship competition for faculty in all departments of the Humanities and Arts. By granting successful applicants a semester off from teaching, CHA contributes to the innovation of scholarship and the rejuvenation of teaching. In addition, various committees in the Center award grants to faculty for research trips and invited speakers, as well as grants and fellowships for graduate students. CHA funds collaborative faculty initiatives across departments, and organizes symposia, workshops and visits from prominent intellectuals and artists to stimulate new research.

All of CHA's events are free and open to the public. The center hosts special events for undergraduate students and for our friends in the community. Through all of its programs, CHA works to encourage interdepartmental and cross-campus dialogue, to raise the profile of the arts and humanities in Boulder, and to build support for scholarship and creative activity.

Steering Committee

Each year a quorum of faculty members serve on the Center's Steering Committee. These distinguished scholars and artists, drawn from across the university, direct the work of the Center, aiding the director in selecting themes and speakers, overseeing the budget, and determining future programs. The current members of the Steering Committee are:

  • Francoise Duresse-Stimilli - Department of Art and Art History
  • Michelle Ellsworth - Department of Theatre and Dance
  • Adam Hosein - Department of Philosophy
  • Catherine Labio - Department of English
  • Eli Sacks - Department of Religious Studies

External Advisory Board

CHA Advisory Board Bylaws

  • Alexander (Sandy) Bracken (Chair) - Former Executive Director of the Board, Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado at Denver, School of Business; 19th President of the University of Colorado; former Vice President of Public Affairs with Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
  • Leslie Eaton - Graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from CU-Boulder. Met and married Woody Eaton in San Francisco; they moved back to Boulder in 1966 where they opened a dental practice and raised three children. Currently on the Board of Directors for the CU Foundation.
  • Albert P. Hand - Retired lawyer. Graduated in 1962 from Princeton University and in 1963 received a master’s degree in History from Harvard University. Graduated from Harvard Law School in 1966 and joined the New York-based law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. After 35 years practicing law, he retired from Paul Weiss as senior partner in 2003, whereupon he and his wife Betsy moved to Boulder. He and Betsy have four daughters and seven grandchildren.
  • Carl Hofmann - Associate Pastor for Spiritual Formation and Discipleship at the First Presbyterian Church of Boulder since summer 2002. He studied English Literature at the University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 1985) and has two degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA (M.Div 1991, D.Min, 2002). Born into a bi-cultural family (German and American), Carl is married to Rupali and they have two teenage boys. In his free time, Carl enjoys road cycling throughout Boulder County, fine coffee, craft beer, and smoking meat.
  • Joan Markowitz - Joan was born in New York and resides in Boulder. She received her BA from HunterCollege and her MA in Art History from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a former gallery owner, curator of the virtual Women of the West Museum, and was Co-Executive Director/Senior Curator of the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art from 2005-2010. She is currently an independent curator.
  • Jan McCullagh (Co-Chair) - Independent scholar and artist. Associate Professor Emeritus from the Allbritton Art Institute at Baylor University, where she taught courses in Art Appreciation, Modern European Art, American Art, Contemporary Art, Nineteenth Century Art, and special topics courses in Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, History of Impressionism, German Expressionism, and Modern Art and the French Riviera. Jan is currently Art Consultant and Tutor of German Expressionism.
  • Michele Obermeier - Michele and her husband, Bill Obermeier, have lived in Boulder County for 20 years. Bill is a Colorado native and Michele has lived here for more than 40 years. They are the parents of two grown children and grandparents of Will and Samantha. The family has also lived in Scottsdale, AZ; Denver, and Sydney, Australia. Michele received her BA from The George Washington University in Journalism and Political Science, and her MA from University of Northern Colorado in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. She is a member of the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild and active quilter, a student at Jacque Michelle Artworks, and enjoys running, hiking, reading, grandparenting, and traveling.
  • Alan Rudy - Retired President of Columbia Communities Inc.; Retired President of Columbia Cable CO. Served nine years as Special Assistant to Mayor Kathy Whitmire in Houston. Boulder Art Council member, Past Chair of the Advisory Board of CU Boulder Art Museum, Dean's Advisory Council School of A&S at the University of Colorado Boulder; Served ten years on Board of Colorado Music Festival.
  • Peter Spear - B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University and Ph.D. in physiological psychology (neuroscience) from Yale University. Faculty member at Kansas State University for four years and then moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he served as chair of the Department of Psychology. He left UW to take the position of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder from 1996-2001. Returned to UWMadison as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs before retiring and returning to Boulder.
  • John A. Stevenson - Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder. Former Chair of the English Department and Interim Director of the Program for Writing and Rhetoric. He joined the Graduate School as associate vice chancellor for Graduate Education in 2005. He served as chair of the Flagship 2030 Task Force on Graduate Education in 2008 and has been Dean of the Graduate school since March 2011.

CHA Staff

The Center for Humanities and the Arts is fortunate to have Paula Anderson as its Program Assistant. Paula has worked at the University of Colorado Boulder since 1993. She has been involved with CHA since its inception, and has overseen CHA's operations full-time since 1998.

In November 2004 CHA welcomed our Administrative Assistant, Lisa Bailey.  Lisa oversees GCAH grants, and assists with all CHA events.

Subscribe to CHA's info list

The Center for Humanities & the Arts at the University of Colorado Boulder has created an electronic mailing list for interested faculty, staff, students and community members in the humanities and arts. The cha-info list enables faculty, staff, students, and community members to learn of humanities and arts events on the Boulder campus and/or in the Boulder community. To subscribe to cha-info, address an e-mail message, with "CHA Info List" in the subject line, to and ask to be subscribed to the info list.