Message from the President
Two years ago, our Colorado College community began a conversation — and journey — that led us to rediscover ourselves. I look back at this “Year of Listening” as the foundation for the plans and recommendations you’ll find here, and I’m proud to see how our planning process raised awareness of what makes this college such a powerful force in the world. We have gone very far to create this plan, and many, many people have contributed to it. But our journey leads us back home by affirming our core mission and defining powerful opportunities to make Colorado College an even more dynamic center of learning.
Colorado College has always been identified with bold action. You need look no further than the Block Plan, developed in 1970 and still thriving today with a new generation of independent learners who just happen to have a whole lot more technology at their fingertips. For the new strategic plan, we focused on our core strengths — the liberal arts, engaged teaching and learning, distinctive place of learning — in the context of higher education and what today’s Millennial-era students need.
In the global economy, a liberal education paired with strong career development is the new gold standard for educating tomorrow’s leaders. The plan recognizes this connection by including strategies to help our students move from college to work more easily. To this we added ways to extend our reach beyond our immediate circle of students, alumni, and parents, so that more people around the world are able to connect with us — and stay connected throughout their lives.
The need to thrive in a rapidly changing environment is an important theme that runs throughout the plan. One way to do this is by staying more nimble and flexible so we can adapt to new generations of learners, new issues, and ever-changing technology. These types of changes are easier when you know who you are and what’s important. This plan strengthens the most distinctive parts of CC (the Block Plan, engaged teaching, and our special place of learning), while encouraging a more innovative, responsive organization.
We believe the Block Plan is more relevant than ever, especially for students who are looking for an intensive liberal arts experience. Close interaction with faculty and hands-on experiences in the classroom and in the field show students how to translate ideas into action and work together as teams. Our new Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching will support faculty, students, alumni, and others as they advance the block and take full advantage of our unique location. With a strategic focus in this area, CC will become even more widely known nationally and internationally as a premier liberal arts college that stands apart because of our unique Western culture.
Our new Innovation Institute will offer students and faculty a place to go from theory to idea to practice, while showcasing students’ cutting-edge work on social and environmental issues. Of course, innovation won’t be limited to the Institute, but rather will extend to academics, the residential program and its integration into the curriculum, and the very landscape itself. Both the Institute and the Center will reach out to involve alumni and the community in meaningful ways. As these additions develop their own profiles, they will also raise the profile of the entire college.
The plan will strengthen Colorado College by making us more resilient than ever before. As part of this approach, the college will become a more sophisticated organization that emphasizes shared leadership and progressive professional development programs for faculty and staff. In particular, staff members will find more opportunities for collaborative and cross-functional work, and increased informal interaction across departments all over the campus.
Developing this plan has been quite a learning adventure for everyone involved — not unlike the adventure our students engage in on campus. I invite you to join us as the journey continues. Already, the CC Board of Trustees is collaborating to execute parts of the plan, students are engaging with its innovative ideas, teams of faculty and staff are taking other parts forward. I am asking groups of alumni for advice on implementation and how we can inform the entire community on our progress and ways to invest in our future in the years ahead. In this next critical phase, our work will continue to be defined by listening, collaboration, and bold action as the college reaches new heights in the decades ahead.