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    Institute on Block Plan and Intensive Teaching and Learning

    In response to the global threat posed by COVID-19, we will be cancelling the Institute on Block Plan and Intensive Teaching & Learning, scheduled for July 6-8, 2020, on Colorado College’s campus. We are exploring opportunities to offer some of the Institute’s program remotely and will look toward an event on our campus in the summer of 2021.

    If you have any questions about the Institute, please contact Traci Freeman, or Jane Murphy at

    Higher education in the late sixties and early seventies experienced a wave of innovation brought on by general skepticism toward longstanding institutions and the changing demographics of the college-going population. It was in this spirit that, fifty years ago, Colorado College developed the Block Plan, an intensive and immersive course schedule in which students take, and faculty teach, one course at a time for three and one-half weeks. Emerging from more recent disruptions in higher education in the US and internationally, Quest University developed its own block plan schedule and welcomed its first class in the fall of 2007.

    While most institutions still adhere to traditional academic calendars, colleges around the country and the globe have demonstrated a growing interest in offering courses that are shorter than traditional semesters or quarters. Known variously as intensive, compressed, condensed, time-shortened, or accelerated, these courses are often offered in the summers, as part of a 12/3 academic calendar, over breaks—J-terms or May-mesters—on weekends, and through study abroad experiences.

    Co-hosted by Colorado College and Quest University, this Institute on the Block Plan and Intensive Teaching & Learning will bring together faculty and administrators from across different campuses and sectors in higher education to explore the questions: What do we know about block plan and intensive courses and how they work? What do we want to know? The goals of this Institute are to:

    • Share research on block and intensive courses and campuses
    • Identify challenges and exchange effective practices in teaching and learning
    • Increase understanding of block and intensive courses through an equity framework
    • Develop questions that can guide future research and exchange resources

    Questions? Comments? Contact us!

    Traci Freeman, Ph.D.
    Associate Director, Colket Center for Academic Excellence
    Jane Murphy, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of History | Director, Crown Faculty Center
    Brett Gray
    Administrative Assistant