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Staff (all) 10-16

Meeting with All Staff

16 October 2012

For what, specifically, should CC be known, and why?

  • Intense, applied learning, hands-on field work, experiential learning 
  • The block plan, because the block plan allows for intense learning
  • Environmental programs and issues 
  • A place where every student goes abroad at some point (and the block plan allows them to do it more than once!)
  • Adventure.  CC is different, and for many people coming to CC (from other countries, from the coasts) this is adventurous.  Block plan is an adventure compared to slower semester system.  CC’s very foundation speaks to adventurous leaders in 1874, and then the block plan innovators in 1972.  The college’s mission speaks to adventure.
  • Entrepreneurial sense is both a great strength and a great weakness.  We need a corresponding institutional sense to unify our entrepreneurial tendencies.

Words that describe CC

  • INTENSITY
  • RIGOR
  • ADVENTURE
  • ENGAGED

Initiatives

  • Enlarge and support State of the Rockies
  • Bring back winter block symposium
  • Better leverage our existing network 
  • Allocate 20% time, like Google does, for personal projects that benefit the campus
  • How can we use block breaks to create learning experiences, extend learning beyond the block?  Staff could play a role.  Block Breaks for staff for continued learning as well.  Five “true” block breaks could be an opportunity to offer a half-block type class, like an extended adjunct.
  • Bring alumni back for a block, for specific courses
  • Have a symposium or seminar, or retreat for local government officials

Other key thoughts

  • We must learn how to educate the world about the virtues of the block plan. A lot of audiences just don’t get what it means, what it allows in terms of learning.
  • How do we balance the short and very, very rigorous nature of the block plan with a need to also develop the more long-term skills of stamina and persistence in our students (and within our campus culture)? 
  • Bridge gap between "what I learn locally” and “how can I apply it globally" and also teach students to apply what they learn in global experiences in any setting.  There are different ways to encounter cultures.  We should provide opportunities domestically as well as overseas. 
  • We could do more with the Baca campus
  • Our geographic environment affords a lot of variety.  Within 60 miles there are dense urban areas and very rural communities, high incomes and poverty, mountains and plains, etc.
  • We should involve the local community more, in events etc.  Doing so can extend our reach.  Links exist due to common interests/issues and we can create connections through our alumni and faculty.  Colorado Springs is a city of 430,000 people.  We need to have an impact on it!  For example, we could host a retreat for newly elected officials on our campus, with our faculty.
  • Recognition that there is some tension between the appeal of the Rocky Mountain West and more cosmopolitan, intellectual/academic aspirations.  How can we know and respect the real draw of our physical space and not feel defensive?  We become our true selves at moments of play.  CC’s environment attracts students, faculty and staff who understand this concept, one related to (former U. Chicago psychologist) Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s idea of “flow.” 
  • CC Professors help expand our reach.  How can we further support their partnerships with other institutions, research, collaborative partnerships, alumni?  Maybe offering our “signature style” of intense, short continuing education for alumni and other adult-learner audiences. Alumni sometimes could be tapped to help teach in this setting.
  • How can we better reuse existing ideas? We recognize that entrepreneurship is good, but at the same time we should identify good ideas and reuse them around campus, so that we reduce wheel-reinventing inefficiencies.
  • Many alumni feel like their lives were changed because Colorado College took a chance on them. We don't take as many similar chances anymore and we don’t communicate that message to students.
  • CC may be perceived as too liberal (politically), however, perhaps we, and higher education in general, need not worry too much about that charge. The educational premise of asking students to clarify and demonstrate evidence for their values is important and will always offend some people.