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June 7, 2024

Enrichment Classes Offer Taste of Cutting-Edge Research

You may not realize it, but here in Denver, one of the country’s top research universities is advancing the world’s knowledge at a massive scale.

The University of Denver in 2022 became the only private university in the Rocky Mountain West to achieve R1 classification for “Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity.” And several times each year, regular community members can get a taste of this groundbreaking research with the Enrichment Program’s short non-credit classes.

The Enrichment Program offers online or evening classes on diverse topics, simply for the love of learning. Its free R1 Lecture Series showcases the knowledge and research from select DU researchers to share this pioneering work more widely.

A Designation That Opens Doors

Dr. Corinne Lengsfeld serves as the Senior Vice Provost for Research & Graduate Education at DU and has been part of the DU community for over 20 years. As the chief research officer, she is the primary advocate for the University’s research mission and is charged with boosting all forms of scholarship.

“The R1 designation really puts us among the most elite research universities in the country,” she says.

Lengsfeld says the R1 status reflects DU’s commitment to participating in a global community of knowledge-seeking. It attracts a wider set of faculty talent and students who seek greater intellectual fulfillment. It also tends to open doors to even more research funding.

“When faculty really want to branch out and try some really innovative ideas, they can do that with the background of a solid R1 institution,” she says.

R1 universities are characterized by a robust commitment to research, demonstrated by significant expenditures, a substantial number of doctoral degrees awarded across various fields, and considerable research staff. They are often the institutions pioneering research projects and making significant contributions to the academic field.

Lengsfeld quips, “The designation is a nice label, but in reality, it just means our faculty are super cool and our bench is incredibly deep.”

Making Research Fun and Accessible

DU currently boasts more than 300 active research faculty and last year received 147 new research grants totaling $62 million. That research focuses on solving problems and making an impact on campus, across the community, and around the world. The Enrichment Program R1 lectures allow any interested community member to sign up to learn about leading-edge concepts and discoveries.

“These faculty are renowned experts, and because they’re teacher scholars, they’re also really good storytellers,” Lengsfeld says. “The general population maybe is a bit intimidated by some of these topics. But when you’re placed in a room with a highly talented teacher, they can make the most complex topics accessible.”

The three courses in the Fall 2024 Enrichment Program R1 Series feature some of the university’s finest. In The Air We Breathe: Understanding Air Quality Monitoring and Mitigation on September 19, Dr. Jing Li will delve into key aspects of air quality, why it demands our attention, the latest techniques for monitoring it and getting personalized information, and how science can ultimately improve respiratory health.

In Understanding the Dynamics of Race and Gender Biases on October 10, psychology professor Dr. Paige Lloyd presents new research on stereotypes, false beliefs, and interpersonal insensitivity along with how we see others and behave toward marginalized people.

Lastly, in Impactful Relationships: Understanding the Human-Animal Connection, on November 13, the head of DU’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection, Dr. Kevin Morris, will share an overview of the institute’s research on human health and well-being. These studies use innovative designs and methods to probe the intersection of animals and people in arenas like youth development, trauma recovery, and under-resourced communities.

Getting Involved

Lengsfeld hopes that people who attend these Enrichment Program classes will come away feeling empowered to discuss important information at a higher level.

“The goal is that attendees walk away with a richer, deeper understanding,” she says. “The R1 series gives people the language and tools to feel they can confidently engage in all sorts of conversations around complex topics.”

You can learn more about DU’s R1 designation at If you’re interested in the R1 lecture series or other Enrichment Program offerings, mark your calendar for the next term’s registration, which opens on July 8, and sign up for the Enrichment Program newsletter at


  1. Is it possible to only register for the November 13 course?
    Thank you,
    Marc Reissner

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