In 1997, the CHA was founded not only to foster faculty development in the arts and humanities, but to publicly highlight the achievements and importance of creative work, performance, and academic research in the arts and humanities; to provide a cross-disciplinary, non-topic specific institution to support work in the humanities and the arts; to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty campus-wide; and to increase funding available for graduate students.

The CHA came into existence through the determined grass-roots efforts of the faculty and the administrative leadership of Carol Lynch, Dean of the Graduate School, and Peter Spear, Dean of Arts and Sciences, together with the support of Phil DiStefano, then Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. CHA opened under the co-leadership of Merrill Lessley, Associate Dean for the Humanities and Arts, and Christopher Braider, then chair of French and Italian and Interim Chair of Comparative Literature and Humanities.


Spring 1997 Chris Braider (French) and Merrill Lessley (A&S AHUM Assoc. Dean/Theatre) - Interim Co-Directors
1997-1998 Warren Motte (French & Comparative Literature) Interim Director
1998 - 2006 Jeffrey Cox (English)
2006-2010 Michael Zimmerman (Philosophy)
2010-2019 Helmet Mueller-Sievers (German & Slavic Lit & Languages)
2019 – Present Jennifer Ho (Ethnic Studies)

Funding for the CHA is provided by the Provost, the Graduate School, the College of Arts and Sciences, and by various endowments.

The CHA is recognized as a center within the Graduate School and reports to the Dean of the Graduate School.  The CHA is governed by a 9-member Community Advisory Board and 12-member Faculty Steering Committee and administered by a Faculty Director and two full-time University Staff positions: Finance & Operations Manager and Program & Marketing Coordinator.

Annual Themed Seminars (1997-2010)
1997-1998: Civility and Censorship
1998-1999: Beauty and Its Discontent
1999-2000: Rethinking Time
2000-2001: Persistence of Exile
2001-2002: Cultural Memory and Sites of Tradition
2002-2003: Bodies, Voices, Performance
2003-2004: War
2004-2005: Evidence and Its Ghosts
2005-2006: Powers of Wonder
2006-2007: Reaping Profits, Reckoning Loss
2007-2008: Faith, Reason, Doubt
2008-2009: Apocalypse and Transformation
2009-2010: Migration

Fellowship/Convocation Dinners (1998-2009)
Held at a local restaurant, a convocation address was given by a distinguished CU Boulder faculty member and introduced incoming Devaney and A&S graduate fellows.

Performance Fridays (2010-2015)
One of CHA’s most popular programs, this program provided a venue in which upcoming events could be previewed, or in which new faculty could share their talents with the campus community.

Eaton Award for Excellence in Faculty Research/Creative Work (2006-2008)
Designed to acknowledge and raise awareness of the exceptional achievements of faculty members in the humanities, arts, and music. Three to five $1500 prizes were awarded annually.

Eaton Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Achievement (2007-2009)
Department nominated and cash prizes given for top undergraduates in humanities, arts, and music.

Publication Subvention Grants (2013-2019)
Funded by the office of Research & Innovation and managed by the CHA. The purpose was to increase book manuscripts to publication by funding external editorial help.

2nd Leg Fellowship (2016-2019)
Modeled on a National Endowment for the Humanities mid-career fellowship which gives students the opportunity to increase their versatility by pursuing research and training in an allied field. Funding was provided by the Favrot Foundation.

Thomas Edwin Devaney Fellowships (1999-2020)
This endowed fund provided fellowships to incoming and dissertation graduate students working in the humanities. The fund was moved from the Graduate School and the CHA to the College of Arts and Sciences in 2019.

Distinguished Speaker Series
Invited speakers who addressed the annual topic. Speakers included CU Boulder faculty, faculty from other CU campuses and notable speakers from other universities.

Faculty Fellowship program (2011-12 - present)
In 2011, CHA Director, Helmut Muller-Sievers shifted gears and the Annual Themed Seminars became CHA’s Faculty Fellowship program. The fellowship program opened to include full professors in 2014-15.

CHA-Center for Research Data & Digital Scholarship (CRDDS) Faculty Fellowship (2021-2024)
CHA and CRDDS partnered on a new three-year fellowship program to support faculty working in digital humanities and arts.

CHA Small Grant (2004 - present)
In the fall of 2004, the CHA assumed administrative responsibility from the Graduate School for the Graduate Committee on Arts & Humanities (GCAH) to provide arts and humanities faculty funding for research and creative work for special events across campus.

Cox Family Process Speaker Series (2001 to present)
Funded by a generous donation from Kenneth and Nona Cox to provide expenses for extended visits by visiting professors, this program brings renowned scholars and artists to campus each spring to discuss their work.

Doctoral Consortium for the Literature and Languages (2017-2023)
This initiative was helmed by CHA Director, Helmut Muller-Sievers in collaboration with the Asian Languages & Civilizations, Classics, English, French & Italian, Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literatures, and Spanish & Portuguese departments.

Faculty Celebration of Major Works (2019 to present)
CHA held its inaugural event to honor faculty who produced, displayed, created, or published a major work in 2019 in the British and Irish Studies Room in February 2020.

Graduate Student Opportunities (1997-present)
At present, the CHA administers $244K in funding from the Graduate School and offers two dissertation, two incoming student fellowships (at the 50% GPTI rate, mandatory student fees, and SHIP insurance) and up to seven $5K summer stipends. And in response to chairs of art departments, the CHA created an MFA/MM grant to provide materials to support graduate student artists with their artistic thesis projects. The Eaton Graduate Student Research Awards also provides funding for students to present their research at conferences and graduate students are increasingly applying and receiving funding to travel to London to stay in the Hazel Barnes Flat to conduct research abroad.

In addition, in AY 22-23, the CHA will offer its first Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) completion fellowship.

Hazel Barnes Flat (2010-present)
The CHA has been entrusted with managing the Hazel Barnes Flat located in London, England to be used by CU faculty members and graduate students conducting research in the humanities and the arts. In addition to providing a residence, successful applicants may also receive a Doris Schwalbe travel award that can be used for expenses associated with travel to London, typically airfare and per diem.

Undergraduate Excellence in Art Award (2021-present)
Open to all undergraduates majoring in an art-related field, this award is designed to highlight the impressive works of art from any area. Students receive cash prizes (1st place: $750, 2nd place: $500, honorable mention/s: $250).

2020 Theme: Resilience
2021 Theme: Renewal

Difficult Dialogues (2019-present)
The purpose of these events is to initiate a topic that is considered difficult, provocative, or controversial with a panel of campus experts and in dialogue with a public audience. In March 2020, the CHA began a partnership with CU Boulder Libraries to collaborate on this programming. Topics include:

Fall 2019 Christine Blasey Ford & Sexual Assault on College Campuses
Spring 2020 Talking About Race
Fall 2020 Unpacking Whiteness
Spring 2021 Power
Fall 2021 Saying No and Slowing Down
Spring 2022 Making Mistakes, Making Amends
Fall 2022 Being Black in Boulder

Center for British & Irish Studies (2004-present)
CHA staff assist with processing Ogilvy Travel Awards and maintaining CBIS’s website. In return, the CHA can hold events in the British & Irish Studies Room on the 5th Floor of the Norlin Library free of charge.

Laboratory for Race & Popular Culture (“RAP” Lab) (2013-2018)
Founded by Dr. Adam Bradley (ENGL), CHA provided part-time staff support.

Kucha House of Tea (2019-present)
The CHA collaborated with Ku Cha House of Tea to host its inaugural “Tea Talks” at their Pearl Street Location. Dr. William Wei, Colorado State Historian and CU Boulder History Professor lectured on the under-studied population of Asians in Colorado followed by a Q&A.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts
CHA co-hosted an annual symposium with DCPA for many years. The symposium, which included several invited speakers, provided a critical examination of a DCPA production.

- The CHA was selected by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to sponsor the academic session of its 1998 annual conference held in Denver

1999- The CHA collaborated with the College of Music to host a series of concerts entitled, “The Soviet Composer in a Post-Soviet Society.”

2000-The CHA received two national awards: The Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, and in collaboration with the Graduate School, the Woodrow Wilson Innovation Award for its program of internships for graduate students in the humanities seeking employment outside the academy.

2004- The CHA assumed responsibility of the GCAH.

2008 - The CHA was awarded an Innovative Seed grant in the amount of $45,000 (provided by Provost’s Office) to sponsor a two-year faculty-graduate student seminar called “Visual Art, Visual Science: Technology, Aesthetics, Investigation.”

2009- The CHA co-sponsored international known graphic artist, Art Spiegelman’s visit to the CU-Boulder campus.

2010 – The CHA was entrusted to manage the Hazel Barnes Flat in London.

2013 – The CHA completed its 1st strategic plan. Highlighted goals: “continued improvement of faculty support, increased support for graduate students, and outreach beyond the campus.

2016- CHA was among 28 units across the country to be awarded a NEH Next Generation PhD grant.

2019 – CHA holds an Open House in Macky Auditorium to introduce new CHA Director, Jennifer Ho. Catering was supplied by Savory Cuisines.

2021- The CHA grows its social media presence to 903 followers on Twitter, 283 followers on Instagram, and 301 followers on Facebook.

2021 – in collaboration with CU Advancement, Kaiser Permanente, and the University of Colorado Denver, the CHA received a 100K, multi-year grant from the Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) Foundation to address anti-Asian racism and hate.

American Council of Learned Societies
Formed a century ago, ACLS is a nonprofit federation of 78 scholarly organizations. 

Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes
The Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes is a global forum that strengthens the work of humanities centers and institutes through advocacy, grant-making, and inclusive collaboration.