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Block Break 5 E-Newsletter

February 13, 2015

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Banner photo by Chrissy Mason

Dear Alumni and Parents, 

BB51Block 5 is always a favorite for me because I get a chance to be back in the classroom. I love being in Palmer Hall with faculty colleagues and it is so energizing to get to know a small group of CC students, both as students and as people.

One of the great advantages of the Block Plan is our ability to take students into the field. In my course, The Economics of Higher Education, we take four field trips. Students get to hear from the presidents and chief financial officers of educational institutions including a public university, a community college, and a for-profit. In addition, we take a trip to Denver, where the students learn about our state’s higher education policy at the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

BB52The student experiences made possible by our inventive faculty and the Block Plan inspire me! During Block 5, English Professor Dave Mason ‘78 took his advanced creative writing course to the Oregon Coast to be inspired by its sights and smells. Can you imagine reading early navigation texts, the journals of Captain Cook, and modern writers like Jennifer Ackerman and David Foster Wallace in the salt-laced air? Meeting net-makers and marine biologists while you do it? Dave’s students read great works and also create their own: prose, poetry, plays, and even music. Dave shared his experience: “Dealing with so many projects and styles required a lot of individual attention … but that's what makes a block away so workable. In fact, I continue to believe strongly that the single most important advantage of the Block Plan is mobility. We can make the whole world our classroom if we are willing to do the logistical work for it. This kind of project changes lives. It connects academic study to the world at large.” (For more of Chrissy Mason's photos from this trip, visit her blog: "Constant Never: CC by the Sea.")

BB53Another amazing opportunity: Film and Media Studies faculty members Dylan Nelson and Clay Haskell just wrapped up “the Sundance class.” One day’s drive transported 20 CC students to this premier film festival. Clay is effusive when he describes how fortunate our students are: “For the week we are at Sundance, our students are going non-stop attending films — five a day — with the filmmakers, then they have complete access to the seminars of the festival. We were incredibly fortunate that a special donor wanted to see the potential of the Block Plan realized for our students. And our students were blown away by it!” Clay says the experience was an opportunity that couldn’t happen anywhere else. “I first went to Sundance at 35. Getting to take our undergraduates demystifies every element of what it is to make quality independent films. And we close the class with students making their own film in 48 hours. Their experience cements their passion to do it.”

I appreciate your interest in what we are doing, your willingness to connect faculty and students to meaningful opportunities, your eagerness to share Colorado College with prospective students, and your own giving in support of our vision. Together, your gifts of attention and support help us to create these opportunities that truly matter to our students.

Best regards,
Jill Tiefenthaler