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A Year of Planning Chronicle

The Year of Planning: Block 7 Update

Dear Campus Community,

The Year of Planning is in its final stage. After receiving nearly 1,500 initiative submissions from the Colorado College community, our four committees have submitted 42 initiatives to the steering committee for consideration. These initiatives were thoughtful and bold ways for us to achieve the goals we announced in January at the Winter Conference.

As I have said since the beginning of our process, for this plan to be truly strategic, it cannot be a ‘wish list’. We must make choices. To begin to focus our plan, the steering committee met last week for a retreat to review and prioritize the initiatives. This retreat was extremely successful, as we identified both common and transformative ideas. In fact, it made our job easier that there was much overlap among the initiatives submitted by the committees.

In the coming weeks, I will meet with the committee chairs to relay the steering committee’s suggestions. After continuing discussions over the next month, I will share the emerging shape of the plan with our Board of Trustees, faculty and staff in May. In July, our trustees will review the final plan and, with their approval, we will release it to the entire community in the fall.

Finally, I extend my sincere thanks to all of you for your help in creating what I think will be an ambitious plan to guide the next decade of Colorado College’s future. Our year of planning has been a community effort and, therefore, I am optimistic that together we will make our plan a reality. As always, if there are questions please visit our year of planning website or let me know.

With warm regards,


The Year of Planning: Block 6 Update

Dear Campus Community,

The Year of Planning is entering its final stages for input. Last block, our year of planning committees continued their outreach efforts to collect initiatives, which are specific plans to meet the goals we released last month at the winter conference. If you have not participated in this part of the process, I hope you will consider doing so.

In addition to submitting your ideas on our year of planning website or through conversations with committee members, we have established several places on campus for you to give input. This video ( shows all of the on-campus places where you can submit your ideas. We would like all ideas submitted by February 28, so our committees will have enough time to submit their initiatives to the steering committee by March 15.

I sincerely believe that developing a successful plan for our future is dependent on hearing from members across our community. If there are any questions, please visit our year of planning website (

With warm regards,

President Tiefenthaler interviewed by The Cipher

February 2013

Read "She Can See for Miles" on The Ciphers website.

Initiate Something!

February 2013

With a deadline to submit their initiatives to the Steering committee on March 15, the strategic planning committees are encouraging everyone to submit their ideas by Feb. 28.  The college has set up a variety of ways for those interested to contribute to the Year of Planning. To offer suggestions, you can:

  • Read the goals and enter your ideas at: 
  • Text your initiatives to (719) 749-6166
  • Call in your ideas at (719) 389-7555
  • Look for the “Initiate Something” centers in Cornerstone Arts Center, Worner Center, Armstrong Hall, Tutt Science Center, and Tutt Library
  • Zap the QR codes on table tents in Worner Center and send your ideas via mobile device
  • Watch your email and Facebook account for a student survey (students only)
  • Finger paint, plug in your ideas on laptops, eat Carnivore Club barbecue, and hear CC bluegrass on Monday, Feb. 18, 12-1 p.m.  Worner Quad (students only)
  • Tell it to the President at the Student Town Hall with President Tiefenthaler, East Rastall, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 4-5 p.m. (students only)

President Tiefenthaler interviewed by The Catalyst

February 2013

Read "10 Questions with President Jill Tiefenthaler" on The Catalysts website.

Share Your Initiative Ideas!

January 2013

Colorado College is making wonderful progress on planning for its future! We now have our goals, and it's time to suggest initiatives that will support the goals. 

The ideas and discussions that bubbled forth at the recent Year of Planning Winter Conference were inspiring, and the energy and enthusiasm on campus is contagious. You can watch some of the action and hear some of the ideas in the Block 5 welcome and Year of Planning update.

CC now is asking the college community – near and far – for ideas for initiatives. You can post your ideas on the website at planning. Those on campus may also have noticed other places to share ideas — bulletin boards, chalkboards, butcher paper — in high-traffic areas. Look for those – and some new, forthcoming opportunities – in locations such as Worner Campus Center, Armstrong Hall, Cornerstone Arts Center, and Tutt Science Center. Have fun with these — get creative and think big!

This is an important time, as we plan for the next decade at Colorado College. Your participation is vital to our success, so please share your ideas by Feb. 28.

400 Attend Year of Planning Winter Conference

January 2013

Approximately 400 students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and other members of the Colorado College community attended the highly successful Year of Planning Winter Conference on Friday, Jan. 18.

President Jill Tiefenthaler welcomed the participants during a campus-wide breakfast at the Reid Arena in the El Pomar Sports Center. She noted there had been broad outreach during the Year of Planning including, to date:

  • 37 different committee meetings
  • 133 outreach meetings, including some one-on-one meetings
  • 1,831 people participating in the 133 meetings
  • 892 web responses received, cataloged, and considered

Following a presentation of the goals by the committee chairs, attendees dispersed across campus to participate in one of the 24 sessions aimed at generating feedback on the presented goals as well as suggestions for initiatives.

Among the sessions were “The Story Behind the Block Plan,” “What’s New with Faculty Development and Scholarship,” “Successful Community Partnerships and Outreach,” and “The Importance of Diversity at a Residential Liberal Arts College.”

See more photos from Winter Conference.

Winter Conference and Block 5 Update

January 2013

More than 400 people participated in the Year of Planning Winter Conference! See some of the ideas that came out of our time together.

Year of Planning Update: Winter Conference on Jan. 18

January 2013

Now that the goals have been submitted and approved by the steering committee, the strategic planning committees are ready to begin working on the next phase of the Year of Planning after the holiday break.  In order to start the “initiatives” phase off on the right foot, the committees will be relying on the Colorado College community’s input and participation during the Year of Planning Winter Conference on Friday, January 18. 

The conference will provide an opportunity for President Jill Tiefenthaler and the committee chairs to share the goals that were developed through the committees’ outreach during the fall semester. The Winter Conference is intended to be community-building and energizing as the college community begins translating goals into initiatives.  Since the initiatives are specific steps that are taken to accomplish a goal, it is crucial that the community has the chance to offer feedback about the presented goals before offering ideas about the upcoming initiatives. 

Similar to the structure of Fall Conference, the Winter Conference will kick off in El Pomar Sports Center with a Continental breakfast from 8-8:30 a.m.  Following breakfast, the committee chairs will present each committee’s goals to the community.  Next, the Winter Conference attendees will head to the break-out sessions that are being offered across campus.  Finally, attendees will stay in their break-out classrooms to meet in small groups to discuss the goals and initiatives. 

Since the “break-out sessions” were developed in line with each committee’s submitted goals, the idea is that community members will attend break-out sessions that are relevant and interesting to them.  After the break-out sessions, during which attendees will be engaged in a topic pertinent to the committees’ goals and possible initiatives, the Winter Conference will re-convene so that attendees will have the chance to give their feedback regarding the goals as well as offer their suggestions for initiatives. 

The Year of Planning: Block 4 Update

November 2012

The Year of Planning Moves Forward

November 2012

Four strategic planning committees have spent the last three months reaching out to the Colorado College and Colorado Springs communities for their input and support in order to meet a Nov.15 deadline in the Year of Planning timeline. This week, the Extending Our Reach, Engaged Teaching and Learning, A Place of Learning, and Institutional Effectiveness committees will complete the first phase of the Year of Planning by submitting three to five goals that are grounded in each committee’s respective charge to the steering committee.

Based on what President Jill Tiefenthaler heard during her Year of Listening about the strengths and aspirations of Colorado College, the committees were charged with representing three strategies that are meant to direct the future of the college.

A goal, within the context of the Year of Planning, is strictly defined as “a specific idea to further a strategy.” A strategy, on the other hand, is “a strategic priority that serves as a guiding focus to further the mission of the college.”

Although Nov. 15 marks the end of the first phase of the Year of Planning, the process is far from over. The progress of the Year of Planning still depends heavily upon the community’s participation. After the goals have been submitted and reviewed, the committees will reach out to the community once again as each committee works to develop several initiatives, or “specific plans to meet each goal,” that are due to the steering committee by March 15, 2013.

Visioning Exercises - Your Help Needed

November 2012

Dear Staff Colleagues,

In recent months, a series of visioning exercises has been conducted with the Board of Trustees, the Cabinet and the faculty to help us begin thinking about our institutional priorities. I would also like your input.

Below, you will find a link to a survey that includes four questions. The first three questions ask you to prioritize how the college should best use a fictitious gift of $100 million. In the first two questions, the gift is invested in the endowment, which allows the college to increase its annual operating budget by $5 million. Question three asks you to spend the entire $100 million on facilities and infrastructure. The fourth question is designed to identify your aspirations for Colorado College by having you construct the college's profile for the year 2025. CC's current profile, as well as those from five other liberal arts colleges, are provided as examples.

The point of these visioning exercises is to gather input from various community members about priorities. The results of the exercises will be shared later after the results have been analyzed. The various options listed under each question are not intended to be the only ones, but rather suggestions to help us think broadly.

Thank you in advance for your participation. The survey will be open until the end of Block 3.

Best regards,

Block 3 Year of Planning Video Update

October 2012

Dear Campus Community,

Below you will find a link to our most recent Year of Planning video update. Also, please mark your calendars for the Year of Planning Winter Conference on January 18, 2013. Additional information regarding the retreat will be shared very soon. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Best regards,

Participate in CC's Plan for the Future

October 2012

Dear Students on Leave,

I hope that you are having a wonderful experience away from campus this semester!

While you are away from Colorado College on another adventure, I want to be sure you are included in the college’s strategic planning process. This process will shape the future of our institution for at least the next decade, and it is important that we have participation from all CC community members.

As you know, I spent my first year at Colorado College listening to students, staff, alumni, faculty, parents, and other friends who make up this special place. As a result of my listening, I gained a clearer picture of our strengths, opportunities, challenges, and aspirations. Additionally, conversations and research from the Year of Listening informed promising strategies that have guided where we are now, the Year of Planning.

I have created four committees to help guide our planning process. The committees consist of faculty and staff members from departments and constituencies around the college, and students who were appointed by the CCSGA. The committees have four distinct areas of focus: (1) increasing our focus on engaged teaching and learning, (2) emphasizing our distinctive place in the world, (3) extending our reach to become better known for what we do, and (4) enhancing institutional effectiveness and efficiency to better position the college for evolving changes in higher education.

Knowing that a successful planning process must involve extensive participation and reliable input from the Colorado College community, I want to invite you to contribute. I know students bring particularly valuable insights and thoughts to the overall planning process, and I value any input you may have.

The easiest way to learn more about the process and participate is by accessing “Strategic Planning” via our Colorado College website. To learn more about the Year of Planning, please watch the following video: Strategic Planning Process. I encourage you to contribute by utilizing the input/feedback box located here: .

Thank you for your engagement in this important process. Please let me know if there are any questions or concerns.

I look forward to welcoming you back to campus soon!

Warm regards,
Jill Tiefenthaler

Strategic Planning Process - Informational Presentation

October 2012

Strategic planning at Colorado College involves alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, trustees, and community members every step of the way. In 2011-12's Year of Listening, President Jill Tiefenthaler heard and identified key strategies. In 2012-13's Year of Planning, committees are gathering ideas for goals and initiatives. In 2013-14's Year of Innovating, the strategic plan will come to life to make CC even greater.

Block 1 Strategic Planning Update

October 2012

Dear Campus Community,

As all of you know, my highest priority this year will be leading our institution through a year of strategic planning. In an effort to keep the campus community informed of our progress, at the beginning of each block, I will send an update detailing both what we have accomplished during the most recent block and our immediate next steps. I hope this will serve not only as a tool for information sharing, but also a method for engagement and input.

During the last block, the five strategic planning committees spent most of their time and energy focused on organizing plans for outreach. It was ultimately decided that the steering committee would lead information sessions, which would educate various constituencies about:

  • the need for a strategic plan
  • how we arrived to this stage of planning
  • the four strategies for the future and charges for each committee
  • the process timeline
  • how to participate

The four strategy-driven committees have organized outreach plans that will involve groups and/or individuals that may best help with their areas of focus. I hope when asked, you will participate often and fully, as this strategic plan will be best with the full engagement of the community.

At the most recent Board of Trustees meeting, I gave the board a progress report. Through the leadership of Trustee Heather Carroll, one of two trustees on the steering committee, we are collecting board members’ input. Their comments will be listed on the website.

The next steps in our process will focus on completing outreach, which will allow the committees to begin forming goals that are due to the steering committee by Nov. 15, 2012. It is important to remember that the goals are high-level items under each strategy, rather than the initiatives that are specific ways to help us accomplish our goals.  During homecoming (Oct. 11-14), I will lead parents and alumni through a session that will update them on strategic planning and seek their input.

As always, if you have questions, please let me know. You may also send your questions or concerns through our strategic planning website,

Warm regards,

Strategic Planning Update

August 2012

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

After spending my first year listening to alumni, staff, faculty, parents, students, trustees, and other friends of Colorado College, I have gained a clearer picture of the goals and aspirations of the Colorado College community. Now, moving forward it is imperative that we create a plan to achieve these aspirations. At the recent Board of Trustees Retreat in July, the Board charged me to lead a strategic planning process to establish a prioritized series of action items. This process is designed to propel the institution’s capabilities in several respects:

  1. strengthening the academic program with an emphasis on engaged teaching and learning;
  2. exploring how our unique location, character and community can be leveraged to support the academic venture and promote a collective sense of place;
  3. elevating the college's identity as a highly-selective liberal arts institution;
  4. evaluating and enhancing institutional effectiveness and efficiency to better position the institution for evolving changes in higher education.

Knowing that a successful strategic planning process must involve committed participation and significant input from the Colorado College community, last May I invited you to nominate individuals to serve on the strategic planning committees. Using these nominations, and in consultation with the FEC Priorities Sub-committee, Staff Council, CCSGA, and committee chairs, I have appointed faculty, staff, students, and community members to the committees. You can find the membership of the committees as well as the committee charges on our website at

The strategic planning process began on August 23 with a retreat for all committee members. The success of our planning will depend on receiving input from the entire CC community and, therefore, each committee’s charge includes extensive consultation. To this end, there will be a half-block community retreat on January 17 -18 and many other opportunities to meet with committee representatives throughout the year. By May 15, 2013, the strategic planning committees will submit their final recommendations to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will then draft the final document that will be presented to the Board of Trustees for their approval in July 2013.

I look forward to working with all of you during the coming year!

Warm regards,

Strategic Planning - Call for Nominations

May 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your engagement in the end-of-year and commencement activities over the past week. It was such a pleasure to share this magical time with all of you!

At the last faculty meeting, I shared that my listening document will ask our community to focus our strategic planning on three main areas:

  1. Engaged Learning and Teaching. How do we enhance our rich culture of engaged teaching and learning? Meaning, how can we take the strengths of the block plan and the liberal arts, and do more to support our model of engaged learning and thinking. What can we do more of in and out of the classroom to challenge our students, but support them as mentors? How do we best prepare today’s student for a lifetime of learning?
  2. A Distinctive Place of Learning. How we can leverage this distinctive place? Place will become more and more important in our digital and flat world. Given that, we are so lucky to have this place of learning and this beautiful location. How do we both enhance this place – our residential college – and also make the most of our location in the Rockies and Colorado Springs.
  3. Extending Our Reach. CC does many things remarkably well, but how can we better known for what we are doing. Could new programs also offer new revenue opportunities? Could we leverage our experience with the block plan to engage teachers and scholars from around the country on what we have learned about teaching and learning? Given our location, could and should we offer graduate programs in areas of strength and distinctiveness? Are there ways to engage the sports community or maybe the military community in our mission?

This summer, after the board approves these general ideas and the strategic process, I will be appointing a faculty member to chair each of the three strategic committees. Later this summer, in consultation with the chairs and the FEC Priorities Sub-committee, Staff Council and CCSGA, I will appoint additional faculty as well as staff, students, alumni and community members to the committees. The time commitment will be significant; however, the committees will be staffed by a recent alum in order to minimize the use of faculty time for administrative work. If you are interested in participating on a particular committee, or would like to nominate a colleague, please be in touch with me by June 10, 2012.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you!