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Extending our Reach retreat notes

Notes—Strategic Planning Retreat #1

Retreat attendees: Ivan Gaetz, Claire Garcia, MaryFrances Kerr, Mark Lee, Elliot Mamet, Benjamin Polach, Carrie Ruiz, Corinne Scheiner (chair), Andrew Streight, and Mike Taber

Visioning Exercise: Where do we, as a group, think Colorado College should be heading during the next 13 years or so (2025)? We would like the College to be known for:

  • High rate of alumni giving 
  • Block Plan: what does it say about CC?
  • Life-long learning
  • Need-blind admissions and diverse student body/culture
  • A cutting-edge library
  • Critical and civic engagement with the Southwest region and culture

Breakout Session #1: Focus on creating a shared understanding of our charge and the questions associated with it.

The task of defining our charge broke down into a few different aspects of the description and questions above.  As we began defining our charge, we asked the question: what does it mean to extend our reach vs. extend our reputation?  As the group saw it, “reach” tends to refer to the way that Colorado College can come in contact with or influence others while “reputation” is how others will see us.

From here, we moved on to defining “entrepreneurial spirit.”  Based on the usage of the word “entrepreneur” in the Year of Listening document, the group’s connection of it to CC characteristics, and on Corinne’s research into the word’s roots, the committee decided that for our purposes “entrepreneur” involves “taking risks,” being “innovative,” “searching for change,” and “taking initiative.”  Of course, if the proposed new initiatives that emerge from conversations also increase revenue (and are thus entrepreneurial in another sense) that is an added bonus.

This discussion moved into thinking about what it is that we value at CC and what attracts faculty and students.  This is a place that thrives on those who “love learning about learning.”  Because of this, we are wary of moving towards being a vocational school or a school that offers the majority of its courses online.  Digital initiatives are something that, as they become more and more relevant on a national level, we need to keep in mind (for example, the advances in the digital humanities).  Specifically, we offer an original way of approaching learning, so how can we utilize the Block Plan as part of our outreach?

  • Possible initiative: Partnership with International Baccalaureate Program.
  • Possible initiative: Attracting students from the military—both veterans and active-duty. 

The idea of military inclusion led us to the final aspects of this conversation—what does “diversity” really mean? We want to focus on increasing diversity, but need to keep in mind that we are defining and contextualizing what diversity means.  Imperative to our idea of diversity is the notion of community that provides its context. 

Breakout Session #2: Focus on committee’s outreach.

The most important thing to consider as we progress towards more definitive outreach is that we need to have a sharp focus and goal for our discussions.

  • Given the committee’s charge to propose new initiatives, we will begin by gathering information to provide a context for our discussions.
  • Hanover Group: Andrew and Corinne will meet with the Hanover Group and update committee.
  • How do we engage?
    • What will these meetings (both group and individual) look like?
      • Individual meetings can be more free form
      • Group meetings need to be clearly structured so as to be effective and efficient
  • How can we encourage students to be engaged in this process?
  • What is guiding what/who we engage with?
  • Next meeting of committee (week one of block one): Clarify our sharp focus and goal for discussions
  • When do we engage?
    • Prior to first meeting: Each member of the committee will identify 3 or so individuals from his/her constituency (or another) who will be important to talk to one on one and send the names to Andrew.  Meetings to begin as soon as possible.
    • Second half of block one and all of block 2: Group meetings with appropriate constituencies (see below).
    • Who do we engage?
      • Colorado College constituencies
      • External constituencies