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January 2012 Welcome Back message

January 23, 2012

Links referenced:

Many thanks to Meredith Mantik '11 and Ryan Loeffler '12 who helped produce the video during half block.

Happy New Year and welcome back! For those of you who are new to the Colorado College community, welcome! I hope each of you enjoyed the holiday season, and were able to spend quality time with family and friends. My family and I were thrilled to have our first Christmas and New Year celebrations in Colorado. Though it seems that the winter break is never long enough, I am energized to be back at work and teaching in Block 5.

Last semester, I spent much of my time traveling to meet and listen to CC alumni, parents, and friends, while simultaneously trying to hear from you on campus. While my travels took me away from campus more than I liked, it was energizing and refreshing to hear about the wonderful effect Colorado College has had on so many people’s lives.

Alumni, and even parents, repeatedly shared stories of their favorite professors, courses, and social events. My favorite stories came from people who graduated more than 20 years ago, and not only stay in contact with their friends from CC, but also their professors and mentors.  At the end of this year, I will be releasing a document that shares what I have heard and outlines things we need to work on.

Although I have one semester under my belt, and I am beginning to understand what makes Colorado College tick, I still will spend a large portion of the coming months listening. I will continue to have structured listening sessions for faculty, staff, and students, but please also continue to send me invitations to events and conversations that will help me learn about our college.

Some of my most memorable moments were small, informal gatherings like my student office hours and dinner with a group of students or faculty. My student office hours will continue and you can find those times on my webpage.

To help keep me informed about student issues, with the help of the CCSGA, I am starting a President’s Council. This group of students will meet with me regularly to share student concerns and also serve as student ambassadors for presidential events. I hope the President's Council will represent the many student voices and viewpoints.  More information about this group and the application process will be posted on my and the CCSGA websites.

Another new student initiative is CCSGA’s proposal for a student member on the Board of Trustees.  The board and I are hopeful that this student will represent the thoughts and voice of students on the college’s most important issues. Although the Board of Trustees has not given final approval to this recommendation, they are very supportive and would like to see the first student trustee take office at their July meeting. Details regarding the application process will be announced at the beginning of March.  

As I finish my year of listening, there is some important work to be done, none more important than three significant hires. First is our director of campus safety; Ron Smith will retire from CC after this semester. His work to keep us safe, while simultaneously providing a laugh, will be missed.

This will also be Library Director Carol Dickerson’s final semester. We wish both Ron and Carol much fun in their retirements. Lastly, Susan Ashley announced last year that she will step down from her role as dean after this academic year and will return to the classroom full time after a much-deserved sabbatical. Susan helped lead the college through some of its toughest moments with poise and dignity, and we will remain forever grateful for her contributions. Searches are occurring right now to fill all three positions by the end of this year.

Finally, last semester there were a few issues around campus safety.  I urge all students to continue to use good judgment, and take advantage of the resources available, including CCAT, the new shuttle. For more information on CCAT, please go to the shuttle website.

I am excited about this semester and look forward to getting to know you and the college better. As always, if there are ever any questions or concerns I can help with, please reach out to me or contact my office about an appointment.

Best wishes for a successful semester.