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Progress!

As we work together to advance our strategic plan, it’s exciting to share progress as we turn our ideas into action. Track our ongoing efforts at Building On the Block: Our Progress. In the first of four updates throughout the academic year, we share details on components of our strategic plan, work that supports our mission to provide the best liberal arts education in the country. Thanks for the work you do to support our goals!

More details on implementation »

Provide Additional Support to Realize the Potential of our Pioneering Block Plan – The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching

The Charge: The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching will be a dynamic place, a centerpiece, where students, faculty, staff, and alumni come together and where resources are available to discover and share best practices and support new ideas.

What’s Happening: By creating in-residence programs for artists, scholars, social entrepreneurs, journalists, postdocs, filmmakers, and others, CC is building on the block and extending its reach to fully engage alumni and parents, and prominent scholars, who are experts in their fields and interested in sharing their experiences with students.

Since the start of strategic plan implementation, CC has hosted more than 80 distinguished scholars, lecturers, and artists to work directly with our students. Not only do these great thinkers share insight through presentations and panel discussions; but thanks to the flexibility of the Block Plan, these notable experts are teaching courses, commenting on student presentations, and engaging students in master classes and small group discussions.

Acclaimed filmmaker, artist, and writer Miranda July talked with a room full of students during a convergence class in Block 5 about her creative process, showing role-playing exercises that she uses to get her creative juices flowing.

“Miranda July is a feminist, an independent filmmaker, a performance artist, and first and foremost, a writer,” says Tom Lindblade, professor of theatre. His was one of five different classes across a variety of disciplines that participated in that morning discussion with July. She was on campus to present as the keynote speaker at CC’s 2017 Cornerstone Arts Week.

“She was able to relate to all the students and help them connect each other’s disciplines,” Lindblade says. “The Block Plan is perfect for such an experience because of its immersion: The guest artist arrives in the second week of the block, when ideas are percolating and being birthed. Miranda was a catalyst for the fruition of these ideas in the last two weeks of the block.”

July’s visit is one of dozens of examples of distinguished scholars who not only visit campus, but spend time directly engaging with students.

“Having the chance to listen to her talk in person about her works and artistic process made me realize that she was not always all-knowing and definitive about her art,” says Alana Aamodt ’18 about July. “While sprinkling in anecdotal stories, experiences, and personal opinions, she spoke passionately about her ideas and inspiration for her art, and by the end of the class time with her I found myself trusting her — that she wasn't fake, and that she truly believed in her work.”

Providing space for reflection and for discussions like these to evolve, based on students’ and visitors’ questions or topics of interest, is one of the assets of the block. Focusing on one class at a time enables a depth and breadth that’s just not possible in a different teaching format.

Tonja Olive, professor of feminist and gender studies, and her students also participated in the convergence class. “We are very fortunate at CC to be able to bring in scholars, performers, and artists to present and participate in discussions with our students. In just one block, we had the opportunity to meet Donna Haraway, a rockstar of feminist and gender studies; the first Monday talk by Russel Rickford was a powerful call to action for our students; and July's narrative presentation was a history lesson for feminist and gender studies students in the “grrl movement,” Olive says.

The dialogue with July allowed students and faculty learn from this distinguished practitioner of her craft, also highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of learning on the Block Plan at CC.

When Nobel Laureate chemist Tom Cech visited campus in May 2015, he spent a full day with biochemistry students.

“We have the class all day. On a semester plan, you have a few hours at a time. Here, there was nothing else the students had to do other than to be part of that time with Dr. Cech,” says Neena Grover, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

“They could interact formally, informally, and do lunches and presentations. Dr. Cech got to see how bright and capable our students are and our students got to see that they can understand the level of science Dr. Cech presented in the evening,” Grover says. “It’s good for students to learn that level of confidence and build their abilities to make a difference in the world, and to learn to host important conversations in life. This was just the beginning.”

Interactions like the ones with Cech and July can be just the start of students uncovering their passions; or fuel a spark that might not happen if the learning experience didn’t involve these real-life lessons and insights from visiting scholars. Each visitor is able to have an extraordinarily-sized impact on the Block Plan, connecting students more broadly to the world of work, seeing how practitioners live, and providing real-world application to concepts discussed in the classroom.

“We can align the goals of the class with the visitors on the Block Plan,” Grover says. “I made sure Cech was coming when I was teaching a biochemistry class. And he had written papers that won him a Nobel Prize with Brenda Bass ’77. Those papers were an important part of readings for the class, for students to see what these discoveries mean. And to meet the people who do the work to win the Nobel Prize that you’re learning about is transformative. Students don’t get those kinds of experiences very often.”

These are experiences that can inspire, and they extend across subject matter, with artists, journalists, musicians, and scholars in residence sharing expert insights with students.

“It was an illuminating experience, how she was willing to explain things that were basic for her; but for us, as we are just getting started, are very complex,” says Leandro Montes ’17, a political science major, of Cate Stetson’s visit to his class. Stetson, an attorney for the U.S. Supreme Court, says that interacting with students helps her think about things differently, and gives students practical insight into how she made decisions throughout her professional journey. She says she’s hopeful the political science class she taught before her lecture to the broader community provided some inspiration and a road map of sorts for those looking to follow a similar path.

“In the kind of law that I practice, there aren’t a great many women who do it. I can talk with these students and say, ‘This is your path forward,’ especially for a female student. I didn’t have that,” says Stetson

Dana Wolfe, assistant professor of political science, says notable scholars can add timely commentary to classroom discussions. “Having students interact with someone like Stetson brings the material alive,” says Wolfe. “It allows them to consider the real-world consequences of elections and Supreme Court appointments.” Wolfe was able to invite Stetson to lead her classroom discussion soon after the presidential election, helping to connect course material to the current political climate.

“I was excited to have Stetson to campus so that we could consider some of the most important consequences of the election,” Wolfe says. “Specifically, it was wonderful to hear her perspective about the future of the Supreme Court.”

From political science to jazz performance, students are immersed in a learning environment that helps guide their understanding of academic concepts, while also providing real examples of how to live a scholarly life outside academia.

“It’s so cool that we get this experience to hang out with world class musicians,” says Jaiel Mitchell ’18, a music major who attended a master class with Chris Brubeck, a musician and composer in jazz and classical music. Brubeck and his quartet worked directly with student musicians, providing professional feedback that Mitchell says is valuable.

“It’s awesome to see them play. To get the feedback and have somebody just show ‘this is what I’m talking about.’ He could say that, but that means a whole different thing when he plays it,” she says. “I think that having the practical aspect makes it so much more fun and understandable.”

Abigail Washburn ’99 hosted a master class for CC student musicians just a few weeks before the banjo player and singer won her first Grammy last year. “I’m thankful for this moment I get to stand onstage tonight at Armstrong Hall and speak to Colorado College students and sing for them and share this art I’ve been creating all these years,” she said on her February 2016 visit to talk with, and play with, students at CC. “I’m just thankful. And I think that’s a beautiful thing that I’d love to share with all of these young adults here.”

The Block Plan opens a big enough window to allow students to see into what a life really looks like in one of these fields, for one of these practitioners of their craft. Peter Breslow, journalist for National Public Radio, has returned for more than one block, teaching as a journalist-in-residence.

Breslow says the Block Plan allows the course to be “super hands-on and intensive,” sending students out to report a story, and coming back to class the next day with a piece that can be edited and refined, providing students immediate feedback on their work. “It’s very much high volume. I feel that in the beginning, the more you do, we’re not trying to make them perfect, but hopefully you learn a little each time,” he says. And working so closely with a professional to edit each student’s piece is something Breslow says mirrors what happens daily as a reporter at NPR.

“Hearing their advice on how to give interviews and how to make a story is relevant no matter what I’m doing.” These have been the most valuable takeaways of working with journalists like Breslow, says Ben Bacher ’18.

Kay Redfield Jamison, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a Time magazine “Hero of Medicine,” visited campus to talk about her best-selling memoir “An Unquiet Mind.” She held an informal lunch talk for psychology and neuroscience majors where they could ask her questions directly about her work on mood disorders, as well as her own experience with bipolar disorder.

While Jamison’s expertise is notable, Kristi Erdal, professor of psychology, says it is her ability to communicate about complex terms and ideas that she hopes resonates with her students. “Her ability to communicate with an audience outside of psychology is exceptional,” Erdal says. “Most community members as well as most students know about her popular books more than her published research, showing her ability to communicate very complex psychiatry and psychology into understandable themes, making knowledge about mental illness accessible.”

Carolyn Finney, author of "Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors,” visited campus to speak about this important issue and how it relates to CC’s campus climate. She also took time to talk with students after the lecture and at an intimate dinner with students, faculty, and staff during her visit to CC.

Finney also met with faculty over lunch to discuss strategies for helping students create their own connections to the outdoors, providing insight and answering questions about how to make their own classrooms more inclusive. Both of these intimate settings allowed students and faculty to gain fresh perspectives and to engage directly with Finney to reach a new depth of understanding about this relevant topic.

“Many students on our campus are drawn to the outdoors, and the natural areas in our region, but not all students feel this draw,” says Drew Cavin, director of the Office of Field Study. “Dr. Finney’s talk and the discussion with her on this issue allowed new people to understand the history around the social construction of our notion of ‘the outdoors’ and also illuminate a new way to approach one’s connection with nature.”

It is the connection students experience, both with a distinguished scholar, and with the topics, ideas, and subjects examined during those interactions, that provides an intense level of engagement, for both the students and the visitors.

Distinguished Scholars Infographic

Coming in the Spring of 2017

Kip Thorne is an American theoretical physicist, known for his contributions in gravitational physics and astrophysics and one of the world's leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein's general theory of relativity. He’ll visit campus April 7 to give this year’s Roberts Memorial Lecture.

Jenn Vervier, director of strategic development and sustainability for New Belgium Brewing Company, will give the 2017 Linnemann Lecture on the Environment April 27. She will meet with students in a sustainable development course while on campus.

As part of the Visiting Writers Series, Solmaz Sharif will present at CC April 25. Sharif is a poet who has been honored with a Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize and NEA and Stegner Fellowships, and whose first collection, “Look,” was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Provide Additional Support to Realize the Potential of our Pioneering Block Plan: The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching – Field Study

The Charge: The center will be a dynamic place, a centerpiece, where students, faculty, staff and alumni come together and where resources are available to discover and share best practices and support new ideas.

What’s Happening: Building on the success of the inaugural Field Study Symposium in the summer of 2015, Colorado College plans to produce its first Field Study Journal in the fall 2016. The journal will tell the story of 10-12 courses over the last academic year that used the opportunity the Block Plan affords to allow faculty to take their students outside the traditional classroom setting. Through the stories of these courses, the college will showcase how field study is a significant part of CC’s curriculum. According to Drew Cavin, director of the Office of Field Study, “field study is a defining characteristic of the Block Plan. It is one of the key benefits, and it touches every student who comes through CC.” When faculty members reflect upon the value of field experiences in their courses, the central theme, as Cavin states, is “the connections made with students and the connections students make with each other on trips are one of the unique outcomes of field study. Field study catalyzes relationships just as it catalyzes learning.” The journal will share these stories with the campus community, trustees, prospective faculty, and students, and foundations. The web version of the journal will be shared with our ACM schools and other selective institutions. Going forward the college plans to issue a call to the faculty for future stories in what we hope will become a biannual publication.

Meaning in Life

Provide Additional Support to Realize the Potential of our Pioneering Block Plan: The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching – Faculty Scholarship

The Charge: Building a faculty of dedicated teachers who are also committed scholars engaged in their disciplines has been and will be critical to providing the finest liberal arts education to generations of CC students and fulfilling the college’s mission. To continue to attract, develop, and retain an engaged faculty equal to the challenge of teaching on the block, the college must enhance resources and flexibility to support faculty scholarship and creativity across the disciplines and activities that make up the learning experience.

What’s Happening: In order to provide faculty members more time to devote to scholarly research, six development blocks have been awarded for the 2016-17 academic year. Building on the success of the 2015-16 inaugural year, these blocks enable faculty to complete critical stages of research or creative projects, produce research results for publication, or initiate study in new fields of interest. Nadia Guessous, assistant professor of Feminist and Gender Studies, was awarded one of the research grants for the next academic year.

“My hope is that this will facilitate the timely completion and publication of my book manuscript on the Moroccan feminist left,” she says of the grant dollars. “I believe that carving out time for my writing and research during the academic year will enable me to better embody the teacher/scholar model cherished by Colorado College; to bring more dynamism into my courses through the cross-fertilization of scholarship and teaching; and to remain an active contributor to the fields of Feminist and Gender Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Anthropology, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies beyond Colorado College.”

The supported work cuts across all three divisions and an interdisciplinary program. The six faculty awarded the development blocks include three assistant professors, one associate professor, and two full professors. The six faculty are all women and two are women of color. Christina Rader, assistant professor of economics and business, says she’s grateful for the opportunities the grant provides. “This allows me to take risks in research that otherwise would not be possible – and hopefully will lead to exciting discoveries about how people give advice in high-stakes, risky situations,” she says.

Jane Hillberry, English professor, echoes those sentiments. “Having this support at the beginning of a new project makes a huge difference. I am working on a book about a young man who grew up in poverty, whom I've known since he was two years old. The book will center on interviews with him, but there are a host of formal and ethical questions that I need to work out, and having this research block will allow me to focus on those questions without interruption or distraction,” she says of how the grant enables her scholarly writing.

The development blocks are not the only support for faculty scholarship that is being repeated in 2016-17. Funding from the “SEGway” program is making an impact as well. The SEGway program is designed to position faculty to be more competitive for external funding; to assist faculty who have been awarded external grants, often through required or voluntary matching grants; and to invest in the college’s research environment. Fifteen faculty members have been awarded 18 internally funded grants varying from $700 to $5,000 totaling more than $47,000. The college plans to award $50,000 by the end of June 2016. Though more than half of the awards are to faculty in the natural sciences division, two faculty members in the humanities received funding, as did two in the social sciences. Another four faculty members representing interdisciplinary and academic support units also received funding.

Enhance our Distinctive Place of Learning — Our Campus — to Support our Engaged, Globally Connected Academic Community and Embody our Regional and Historical Identity: Sense of Place Series

The Charge: The learning experience should provide opportunities to explore the themes so important to this region — healthy living, sustainability, the value of water, and the spirit of adventure.

What’s Happening: The Sense of Place trip series that began in the fall semester took students, faculty, and staff on new explorations this spring, with a variety of field trips planned heading into the next academic year. A collaboration between the Office of Field Study and the Office of Sustainability, the series launched at the start of the 2015-16 academic year aiming to build a more connected, conscious, and resilient community.

Ian Johnson, director of the Office of Sustainability, says “If you’re going to care about a place, if you’re going to get involved with your community, you need to know what that place is, so I think they’re essential life skills that we’re imparting to many of our students, and our employees, too, for that matter.”

The CC community had plenty of opportunities to connect with our sense of place this academic year. The fall semester wrapped up with a tour of the Martin Drake Power Plant in Colorado Springs. In January 2016, 14 students, faculty, and staff headed out to the high country for the “Not Your Average Ski Trip” to better understand the recreation economies of Colorado.

Catherine Braza ’18 attended the “Not Your Average Ski Trip” and says it opened her eyes to some of the social and economic impacts, both positive and negative, related to the ski industry. “My favorite moments were when the park ranger for the region came to talk with us, because it was very intriguing to see how the ski industry interweaves with the Bureau of Land Management and the connection between those things,” she says. “The discussion generated this fruitful new analysis of how you can look at the ski industry.”

Also planned for this semester: a birding trip at Pinello Ranch and a visit to the site of the Ludlow Massacre with Professor of English David Mason. Johnson says he hopes to offer all of this year’s trips again in 2016-17, and also is planning new opportunities based on input from students and other participants.

Focus on Workplace Excellence to Foster an Organization that is as Innovative and Dynamic as the CC Academic Experience: Professional Development

The Charge: Create a top-notch professional development program that supports our faculty and staff in adapting to the changing environment and to support lifelong learning that is critical for individuals to reach their potential.

What’s Happening: In its second year, the Excel@CC professional development program welcomed more than 200 employees to seven different programs, including 30 faculty members who participated in the “Good to Great” course. Through its 2015-16 offerings, Excel@CC piloted two new programs: ITS: FUNdamentals and Administrative Support Professionals, and enhanced offerings with new courses in the Wellness State of Mind program.

Looking ahead to the 2016-17 academic year, Lisa Brommer, senior associate director of human resources, says new programming already is planned. “The Excel@CC program will be heavily influenced by the findings and recommendations of the 2015 Campus Climate Survey. Specifically, continuing to develop leadership capabilities across the college, ensuring consistency and leadership excellence across academic and administrative divisions, and further strengthening efforts to build an inclusive campus culture.”

The 2016-17 offerings include a partnership with the Mountain States Employers Council for the Great CC Supervisor program, which will be redesigned to focus on core supervisory competencies of performance management, recruitment and retention of talent, and effective feedback and coaching. It also will provide information on CC policies and processes relevant to staff issues. A new program will also be available for more experienced supervisors. Additionally, the “Good to Great: Diversity and Inclusion at CC” program will continue to focus on building a foundation of understanding of diversity, equity, and the role of power, with an enhanced focus on the recruitment process as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Heather Horton, director of the Wellness Resource Center, will coordinate a program that focuses on preparing our community to identify, support, and address mental health issues. ITS- and wellness-specific programming will be offered again next year.

Excel@CC

Build Nationally Recognized Summer and Half-Block Programs for a New Generation of Learners: Half-Block

The Charge: Develop new Half-Block programming that will enhance the existing for-credit programs, yet be focused on helping students explore interests, develop new skills, and enhance existing skills.

What’s Happening: The Personal Financial Planning course offered during the 2016 Dynamic Half-Block was packed. There was no enrollment limit, and it was a good thing: 175 students, along with 25 staff members, participated in the course, many attending multiple classes in the eight-session program that ran Jan. 4-14.

Led by Jim Parco, associate professor, along with Christina Rader, assistant professor, and Jean M. Cooley, visiting faculty, all from the Department of Economics and Business, the course covered the development and implementation of a personal financial and investment program.

Tess Powers, director of faculty research support, took the course this year. “I realized during Jim’s class that I’ve been trying to make good financial decisions with just pieces of the puzzle. Jim’s class gave me a much more comprehensive understanding of these topics,” says Powers. “Jim didn’t give us all the answers, but we were each empowered to look for the answers and come to a decision that makes sense for our individual situation. I am so grateful that I was able to attend this class, but in the words of a colleague, ‘I wish I had learned this a long time ago.’”

Topics included analysis of budgeting and tax planning, managing liquidity, financing large purchases, protecting assets and income, analyzing investment information, examining alternative investment types, and investing money for retirement.

Brittany Almeida Barrios ’14, alumni relations coordinator, took the personal financial planning course her senior year, and again in 2016 as a staff member.

“Jim Parco is a phenomenal and engaging professor who teaches life skills and financial intelligence, which are skills that are so essential to life and adulthood, but that people aren't typically taught. As part of the Excel@CC program, I attended the class on taxes and learned even more than I did the first time taking the class (which is saying a lot),” says Barrios.

It wasn’t just the personal financial planning course that enticed students to return to campus before the start of Block 5. Four-hundred seventy-four students enrolled in 24 for-credit courses, a 15 percent increase in participation from the 2015 Half-Block enrollment. Course offerings spanned the academic departments, including History and Future of the Book, Topical issues in Neuroscience, and a theatre course titled Love and Installation. Participation is up by 21 percent over 2015 in the not-for-credit offerings, with 220 students enrolled in 17 different classes. Six alumni served as presenters and panelists. Students had the opportunity to build their resumes and complement their transcripts through informational sessions like Career Choices in the Health Professions, Diplomacy 101, and Portfolio Development to Launch Real-Life Non-Fiction Writing Careers. The 2016 Half-Block also included a Half-Block Abroad in Quebec with the course Four Centuries of Différence, led by History Professor Tip Ragan and Philosophy Associate Professor Dennis McEnnerney.
Dynamic Half Block

Build Nationally Recognized Summer and Half-Block Programs for a New Generation of Learners: Summer

The Charge: To create one of the premier summer learning experiences in the U.S. Our summer program will not just offer random courses; instead we will create linked thematic blocks that go beyond high-level academics. We’ll continue to offer pre-college programs for entering students and high school students, and summer conferences that leverage our distinctive place.

Summer Session 2016

What’s Happening: Building on the foundation of a strong Summer Session, CC has made significant strides in developing a premier summer program. For 2016, CC will run two new summer institutes. The Theatre Institute offers students a unique view into the world of creating original work through collaboration with the Buntport Theater Company of Denver, Colorado. The Institute for Visual Environmental Communication will merge art, GIS and climate science in the Colorado Rockies. In addition to the two institutes, CC will offer for the first time the HBX CORe course — teaching the language of business grounded in the Harvard Business School’s online course, but within the culture and pedagogy of CC.

Summer 2016 will also see new scholars programs for incoming international students and returning Davis United World College Scholars. A revamped pre-college program is being piloted this year as well — a shortened program of two-and-a-half weeks, plus the option of adding an adjunct course on successful communication and building personal advocacy skills. CC will continue to offer on-campus courses in Blocks A and B, as well as 18 off-campus courses on more continents, countries, and places than ever before.

This summer will also see the convergence of innovation and sustainability from a global and local view point through the “IndiaLICS – Innovation and Sustainability: Lessons from the History of India and Hopes for the Future” conference. This conference aims to engage prominent scholars from across the nation and around the world, in conversation with local business leaders, politicians, and citizens, on topics of vital importance to the planet. According to Dan Johnson, associate professor of economics and business, “it offers us as scholars a place of sanctuary in which to work and live together on campus, to form collaborations that will hopefully span the many miles between us during the rest of the year. The topic resonates so well with our strategic plan that I simply had to volunteer to host the event.” The partners on campus include the Innovation Institute, the Collaborative for Community Engagement, Office of Sustainability, India Studies and Asian Studies programs along with the Economics and Business Department.

CC’s innovation program recently received an anonymous gift totaling $8.5 million. The gift will support the development of an innovation program, including funds for an innovation facility and a chaired professorship in innovation.

Build Nationally Recognized Summer and Half-Block Programs for a New Generation of Learners: Special Block Breaks

The Charge: To offer our unique immersive learning experience to new constituencies, we will also develop special “block breaks” — short courses for alumni and parents on campus, at Baca, in the field, and around the globe.

What’s Happening: With nearly 80 percent of our student body experiencing some sort of study abroad, desire to see the world sets in early and doesn’t end. Through special block breaks, alumni are traveling with CC and exploring sought-after, bucket-list destinations; these trips are enhanced by members of the faculty. After starting 2015 with trip to Antarctica, alumni traveled to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe in February, accompanied by Biology Associate Professor Emilie Gray. The group followed the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, went on a Chobe River safari, and visited Victoria Falls — one of the world’s seven natural wonders. To coincide with the special honor bestowed upon CC women’s soccer to compete as Team USA at the World University Games in Gwangju, Korea, alumni cheered on the Tigers and watched the women compete in their first two games as part of their 12-day exploration of Korea.

History Professor Susan Ashley led 15 alumni and friends on a walking trip through Tuscany in May 2015. Attendee Cynthia Gilbert '82 says of the trip: “The trails we hiked in Tuscany were simply gorgeous with many trees and flowers in bloom. Ashley has a vast knowledge of the area and is such a gifted teacher whose thoughts, questions, and commentary elevated the trip experience.”

In August, 36 members of the CC community spent a week at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, for a Block Break Away featuring hikes through Georgia O’Keeffe country and archeological dig sites. The dark Southwest sky was an inspirational backdrop for Physics Professor Shane Burns’ lectures on archeoastronomy.

CC alumni and friends relaxed at Azura Cellars in Paonia as part of the Food and Wine of Western Colorado program in September 2015. The bucolic North Fork Valley, located between the West Elk Range of the Rocky Mountains and the Grand Mesa in Western Colorado, offers a unique and distinctive culinary experience as one of Colorado’s Certified Creative Districts and federally designated viticulture area called West Elk AVA. Farm, orchard, ranch, and vineyard tours took the group to all parts of the valley during the height of the Colorado harvest season.

From the countless spires to the deep canyons, CC alumni and friends spent a Block Break Away in November hiking through the national parks of Eastern Utah. CC alumnus and geologist Peter McCarville ’84 narrated the treks through dramatic landscapes of Arches and Canyonlands. The trip was so popular; it’s coming back again in May 2016.

Alumni are taking full advantage of the special block break offerings: Trips to Galapagos and Machu Picchu and then to Tanzania, both leaving in March, are at capacity, and a trip to Vietnam in May is also full.

This summer, alumni will participate in a Baca Mini-Blocka with Southwest Studies Assistant Professor Santiago Guerra and German Assistant Professor Christiane Steckenbiller. The topic: Crossing Borders: Fortress Europe and Walled America.

With talk of a refugee crisis and immigration top of mind in the national consciousness, the Office of Alumni Relations is excited to offer historical and academic perspectives as part of its summer program for alumni to be held at the Baca Campus in August says Anita Pariseau, director of alumni relations and assistant vice president for advancement.

“With liberal arts degrees in hand, alumni work in all sectors and industries bringing with them critical thinking skills to digest and interpret such a weighty subject. We’re thrilled that Professors Steckenbiller and Guerra are leading the charge, lending their expertise to this complicated and fragile human experience of notable concern,” says Pariseau.

Enrollment is still open for the course, which takes place at the Baca Campus in Crestone, Colorado, Aug. 3-7. Also planned for the year ahead, a visit to Sicily with Classics Associate Professor Sanjaya Thakur in September; a trip to India with Religion Professor Tracy Coleman in November; a return to Cuba with Political Science Professor Juan Lindau in Winter 2017; and a solar eclipse exploration with Physics Professor Shane Burns in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in August 2017.

 Special Block Breaks

Focus on Workplace Excellence to Foster an Organization that is as Innovative and Dynamic as the CC Academic Experience: Climate Survey

The Charge: Create a campus culture that is truly creative and innovative by attracting and retaining a diverse faculty, staff, and administration and fostering an inclusive campus culture that values different backgrounds, experiences, ideas, and opinions. To strengthen our culture and improve workplace excellence, build strong internal communication, vibrant collaboration, and organizational transparency as strategic assets.

What’s Happening: CC’s inclusive and forward-looking campus culture will help our people do great things, each of us contributing at our highest level. In an effort to make CC a great place to work — the kind of place that encourages us and supports each of us to be our best — the campus community participated in its second climate survey. Faculty and staff completed the survey in Fall 2015 and participation was outstanding. In 2013, the campus’s 64 percent participation was impressive, but in 2015, results showed a 12 percent increase with 76 percent of faculty and staff taking part in the climate survey — a benchmark of the best places of work.

President Jill Tiefenthaler noted the climate survey in her address to faculty and staff at Spring Conference 2016.

“Our results reflect that we are an industry leader in feelings of pride: being associated with this special place, and your sense of connection to our mission,” said Tiefenthaler. “I could not be more pleased that we are strong and continuing to get stronger in our shared connection to this place and our mission. Those are assets that set CC apart. Out of 75 attributes that indicate an excellent work environment, CC improved our positive responses in almost every category. We saw big improvements in areas that we prioritized and in the areas that align with our strategic plan.”

The areas of improvement are not a surprise, as they are places where CC has directed resources since 2013 — priorities like opportunities for professional development, and orienting and on-boarding new colleagues. The campus has improved internal communication collaboration between members of the campus community. The survey also showed the college is working toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive community, as well as making strides in becoming more transparent, with clearer and more consistent policies and procedures. “These are successes to be proud of, and I hope you are. You contributed to them,” says Tiefenthaler.

Provide Additional Support to Realize the Potential of our Pioneering Block Plan: The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching

The Charge: The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching will be a dynamic place, a centerpiece of academic engagement at the heart of the new Tutt Library, where students, faculty, staff, and alumni come together and where resources are available to discover and share best practices and support new ideas.

What’s Happening: As part of Colorado College’s ongoing goal to push the boundaries of academic discovery and student learning, the annual Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium showcased CC student-faculty research collaborations.

“It’s been fantastic. I had never done this kind of a research project. I’d always done more quantitative research with students. And so this was really cool, because I really wanted them to own their part of the project,” said Corinne Scheiner, professor of comparative literature.

Following months of research, students presented their findings to the CC community at an open symposium, which included a series of short presentations and a poster gallery.

In a testament to the diversity and versatility of undergraduate research at CC, the topics vary greatly. The 2015 symposium presentations ranged from research on literary philosophy and music to studies on the history of confinement, deportation studies, and molecular biology.

Scheiner highlighted the “moments of intersection; how ideas converse with one another in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t normally do” as one of the many strengths of the research conducted throughout the summer. Jane Murphy, associate professor in the History Department, described the experiences of the symposium and the research presented as a “turning point for the humanities and humanistic social sciences,” and that the “conversations during this research produces, by its very nature, great ideas.”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through a $800,000 grant to support the creation of the Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching, funds 10 stipends for student summer undergraduate research fellowships in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, as well as programming for summer student workshops and faculty development seminars.

Create an Innovation Institute: Innovators-in-Residence

The Charge: To develop an innovation institute to provide resources, structure, and encouragement to students and faculty as they investigate social and environmental challenges, understand the context in which they exist, identify sustainable solutions, and put them into action.

What’s Happening: CC’s innovation initiative, currently called Innovation@CC, is advancing opportunities and support for students with the addition of an Innovator in Residence Program. CC kicked off the program with Michael Hannigan ’75, founder and former CEO of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, and Aaron Kahlow, founder and former CEO of the Online Marketing Institute.

“It’s been really fun and exciting to see CC students who are interested in my part of the world that really focuses on social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and the nonprofit sector,” Hannigan said of his time working with students as an innovator-in-residence.

“We had no idea how to start a business coming into this and basically he broke it down for us, how nonprofits work, how we’ll need to maintain a program by having a source of revenue,” said Maddy Lee ’17 of working with Hannigan on her own endeavors.

Gleaning knowledge and skills from Hannigan and Kahlow throughout one-on-one meetings and broader programming like sessions on balancing mindfulness amidst chaos of a startup, or fostering social entrepreneurship help students translate their ideas into plans for real-world action. The opportunity to develop relationships with these innovators is also valuable to students. “It helps a lot on the business part; they have insights about business because they’re experts. But the relationship, not being like student and professor, or consultant and client, is really different. It’s from person to person,” said Pedro Gattas Bara Neto, an exchange student participating in the Innovator-in-Residence Program.

Additionally, Faces of Innovation highlights the work of innovative faculty, alumni, and students. The project showcases the innovative work of the CC community, inspiring others to collaborate with them and fostering innovation throughout generations of graduates. Currently it features 25 members of the CC community and their stories. The most recent additions are David Amster-Olszewski ’09, Marcia McNutt ’74, Professor Dan Johnson, Maria Barsallo ’07, and Eboni Statham ’17.

Forbes recently ranked CC the third “Most Entrepreneurial College in America,” highlighting the innovative programming as one of the key factors in the high ranking. Executive Director Patrick Bultema was thrilled by the recognition, both personally and professionally. He believes that innovation provides “a great foundation for the creativity and problem solving of the liberal arts to be translated into actionable learning, particularly with the increasing opportunities in the innovation economy.” “Crucially, we’re just getting started – but to have such recognition this early on in our endeavors is really great,” he said. U.S. News & World Report also ranked CC as the number one “Most Innovative College” in its most recent rankings.

Enhance our Distinctive Place of Learning — Our Campus — to Support our Engaged, Globally Connected Academic Community and Embody our Regional and Historical Identity: Sense of Place Series

The Charge: The learning experience should provide opportunities to explore the themes so important to this region — healthy living, sustainability, the value of water, and the spirit of adventure.

What’s Happening: Acknowledging the complexities of CC’s physical place in the West is critical in building roots in the community and fully appreciating life in Colorado Springs. By fostering a deeper sense of the geography, a new series of field study trips aims to build a more connected, conscious, and resilient community.

“To have a sense of belonging, you have to have a sense of community, you have to have a sense of place,” Chaplain Bruce Coriell told the incoming Class of 2019 during New Student Orientation. It’s a sentiment reinforced through Sense of Place programming, inviting students to explore new perspectives on CC’s unique physical place. The collaboration between the Office of Field Study and the Office of Sustainability launched the Sense of Place trips with the start of the 2015-16 academic year as part of a field series exploring the cultural, natural, and historical features of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region.

“That’s why I’m here, to really explore the place. And it’s great I can do that with CC and not have to do it on my own. Doing it with a group feels so much better,” said Julia Hammann ’17, an economics and psychology major who attended a three-day Sense of Place trip during Block 3.

“We started with the resource element (waste, power, water), and then branched out into cultural, historical, and natural resource ideas,” said Drew Cavin, director of the Office of Field Study about growing the idea for the Sense of Place experiences. “We ended up with about eight different trips that highlight the natural, cultural, and historical resources that make the Pikes Peak region distinctive.”

“It wasn’t sitting in rows and listening to people during presentations, but instead we were actually walking around the locations, able to touch the machines, see how things were working; it was really interactive. And it was great to be sharing it with the faculty members and the students at the same time,” said Hammann, who visited several of the region’s reservoirs, hot springs, pump stations, farms, and a water treatment plant as part of the trip to better understand the journey water takes before arriving for use in Colorado Springs. It was one of four trips during the fall semester. Trips for the spring semester include a Drake Power Plant tour, a workday at Venetucci Farm; birding at Pinello Ranch; and a tour of the historical site of the Ludlow massacre; as well as a “Winter in Colorado” trip to explore the workings of the ski industry in the state.

Also enhancing CC’s sense of place is a newly renovated space to house one of CC’s most rapidly growing programs: the Ahlberg Outdoor Education Center provides a centralized location for the Office of Outdoor Education and all fulltime staff and interns, as well as a community garden, outdoor space, and the first year-round avalanche transceiver beacon park in North America. It’s also home to the Ahlberg Gear House, where students, faculty, and staff can check out all of the equipment they need for field trips, including sleeping bags, fishing rods, maps, bulk food, and many other essentials for the range of regional study and recreational trips departing from campus.

Local historian Celinda Kaelin led a "Sense of Place" trip through Stratton Open Space in October where she shared information and the history of the Ute Indians' presence in the area, including the numerous medicine and prayer trees still located throughout the open space.

Provide Additional Support to Realize the Potential of our Pioneering Block Plan: The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching

The Charge: The center will be a dynamic place, a centerpiece, where students, faculty, staff and alumni come together and where resources are available to discover and share best practices and support new ideas.

What’s Happening: Colorado College held its inaugural Field Study Symposium, welcoming 56 participants including various members of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, and other top liberal arts institutions. This distinct style of learning, its outcomes, and its contribution to students’ development are an emerging field, and the symposium provided an opportunity for participants to define — and refine — the practice of teaching and learning in the field.

“Field study allows you to learn things there that you cannot learn in the classroom,” said Martin Farrell, a political science professor from Ripon College, as he stood in a meat locker at Ranch Foods Direct, the location of the symposium’s final session. “It fosters long-term learning, not memorization. It’s a life experience. It’s not like cramming for an exam, and then it’s gone. It stays with you for the rest of your life.”

Presenters from all three disciplines — the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences — made the case repeatedly: Small classes at liberal arts colleges are uniquely positioned to make use of field study to create high-impact experiential learning opportunities.

Among the 17 CC presenters was Miro Kummel, an associate professor in the Environmental Program who discussed “Remotely Controlled Aerial Drones (UAVs) as Field Instructional Technology” with Matt Gottfried, director of innovative technology, and Darren Ceckanowicz, technical director. “Field study helps abstract concepts make sense,” said Kummel, who uses aerial drones to monitor thermal micro-environments at tree line.

Associate Professor of Sociology Kathy Giuffre, keynote speaker for the symposium, noted that the Millennial Generation is the first to grow up almost completely under the overwhelming rubric of standardized testing as an educational way of life. Standardization, however, is anathema to innovative thinking and creativity, she said. “Field study provides students with the building blocks of social structures that facilitate creativity and innovation,” said Giuffre.

Build Nationally Recognized Summer and Half-Block Programs for a New Generation of Learners: Special “Block Breaks” for Alumni and Parents

The Charge: Develop new opportunities for alumni and parents to engage in lifelong learning and be intellectually engaged with the college and each other.

What’s Happening: Eleven alumni, ranging from the classes of 1977 to 2011, gathered on campus this summer with Associate Professor of English Steven Hayward and Patrick Bultema, executive director of the innovation institute, for the first alumni quarter-block class, The Art of the Pitch.

Hayward said though he and Bultema had taught this topic many times with undergraduates, it was their first of this format with alumni, and so they weren’t sure how it would go or what the response would be. Ultimately, he was impressed.

“It was interesting to be in the classroom and in that context, talking with more mature students. Some of them were looking at who they are now, and ways of reconfiguring themselves or exploring these ideas,” Hayward said. “To their credit, they were really not just receptive to what we had to say, but receptive to what each other had to say. I think you see that often in different educational situations when people come back to school. They've been away from the learning environment for a while; they come back and they love it. They realize how much they miss it. I thought that was one of the real treats of it.”

James Eichner ’11 was one of those students. He signed up for two reasons. The first, he explained, was practical. He’s heading back to business school this fall, and the topic was directly related to his planned focus of entrepreneurship. Second, he’d been noticing that the CC alumni program had been “beefing up all of its offers,” and he kept reading about more and more things to do. “This one seemed to work out with my schedule. It was super affordable. And Steven Hayward was a big draw because he was one of my favorite professors when I was an undergrad there.”

Eichner’s take after the fact? “I thought it was fantastic. Initially I understood how the class could involve a creative side like Steve and then the more business side like Patrick, but I was really curious to see how the two sides would intermingle. I thought they did an excellent job collaborating, an excellent job teaching the class, and overall I just had a blast.”

As did classmate Rebecca Grainger ’01, MAT’03. A former teacher who now works for the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Learning, Grainger chose to take this class in order to learn to better communicate her ideas around K-through-12 education to researchers.

“This is probably obvious since I got two degrees here, but I just love CC. I think it’s such a unique group of people and a unique way of learning. And that in itself has been kind of life changing for me, experiencing the different ways you can learn things. Coming back, being around CC people — and learning again — it was refreshing.”

Hayward expressed his excitement about the group’s cohesion. When you teach at Colorado College, he explained, it’s very intense and you develop real bonds with undergraduates. Turns out that the same thing happens with alumni. “We were together for a very short period of time, but we did manage to bring out, within that week, some real intensity, some real camaraderie, some real connections between the students and with ourselves.”

“It would be great if they would continue doing this,” Grainger said, for the same connections Hayward noted and for another reason as well. “I think it's good to make people step outside of their lives for a couple days and be a learner again. I think sometimes we forget to be constant learners.”

Enhance our Distinctive Place of Learning — Our Campus — to Support our Engaged, Globally Connected Academic Community and Embody our Regional and Historical Identity: Online Community and Technology

The Charge: As we invest in and nurture our authentic surroundings, we will utilize the latest technology to connect the CC community of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and parents to each other and to intellectual and creative resources around the world.

What’s Happening: CC’s new wireless environment, WiOfTheTiger, provides the groundwork for innovative learning on the Block Plan. Although only one-third complete, it provides students, faculty, and staff with faster access to resources such as documents, live video chats, and media feeds from around the world. Subject matter experts and obscure texts once considered unreachable due to location or limited online access are now available to add further depth to the classroom experience. Future upgrades and the final completion of the project in two years will further enhance this capability. WiOfTheTiger, should provide a noticeable improvement in varying degrees to the entire campus community. New equipment will provide the best experiences in Loomis, Mathias, Slocum, Armstrong, Barnes, Tutt Science, and the CC Inn. Other buildings on campus will be upgraded in the coming years and you can track the progress of the network upgrade project, including specifics about status in major buildings.

“WiOfTheTiger is just one more tool available to our students, faculty, and staff to connect to each other and to our greater CC community of alumni, parents, and friends,” said Brian Young, vice president for information technology. “Students can now easily video chat with an alumna for an internship interview; campus colleagues can use multiple communication methods like instant messaging to accomplish tasks; and documents, lectures, and media files can be shared in an instant, making collaboration easier.”

Additionally, the WiOfTheTiger-Employee network introduces new security features to protect college, employee, and student data.

Diverse and Inclusive Campus

The Charge: Each student's educational experience is richer when surrounded by talented and curious students from different backgrounds, cultures, and places. To recruit the best and brightest students, especially those who would benefit most from a CC education, we will build additional resources for financial aid; and enhance programming to promote a more inclusive and diverse campus.

What’s Happening: One main benefit of a residential liberal arts education is the capacity to model democratic community, helping students acquire the habits that will shape them long after they leave CC.  And in today’s competitive global economy, the college must be a welcoming place for people from all backgrounds.

Last spring, our efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive community took shape with the launch of The Butler Center.  The Center’s inaugural director, Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Paul Buckley, was hired following a national search.  Work continued with the creation of “The Journey to Inclusion,” a new professional development program for faculty and staff. The course had 104 participants, and the 24 people who completed the program in its entirety will receive certificates of completion. It will be offered again in the summer and next academic year.

This past fall, the Board of Trustees approved the college’s Diversity Commitment and faculty initiated the creation of the Diversity and Equity Advisory Board, while also modifying faculty search committee structure to include at least two individuals who have participated in diversity programming in each search. Later in the fall, many students, faculty, and staff participated in listening sessions to brainstorm ways to continue to improve our campus climate.

Following those sessions, President Tiefenthaler charged two leadership groups with reviewing information from the listening sessions, as well as the reports from the strategic planning action teams. Now, those groups have made recommendations about the priorities most important for the college community to address together. The student group (comprised of the leadership of The Butler Center and CCSGA) recommended two broad initiatives: diversifying the curriculum; and enhancements to the residential life experience. Similarly, the Diversity and Equity Advisory Board recommended a review of the Critical Perspectives courses in the curriculum, as well as recommending new initiatives for recruiting faculty and staff. The Butler Center has begun to work with colleagues in Student Life on enhancements to the residential experience.

In order to implement these recommendations, the college added new funding to The Butler Center for next year. For more details on our progress in these areas, please visit: Diversity at CC; Diversity and Equity Advisory Board, and The Butler Center.

The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching: In-Residence Programs

The Charge: Create in-residence programs for artists, scholars, social entrepreneurs, journalists, postdocs, filmmakers, and others, building on the block and extending our reach by taking advantage of the Block Plan’s condensed schedule which enables distinguished scholars and practitioners to come to CC for short or long periods of time.

What’s Happening: Hampton Sides, author of the best-selling “In the Kingdom of Ice,” took the helm at Colorado College’s new Journalist-in-Residence Program. The program aims to raise the profile of non-fiction writing on campus while also bringing some of the nation’s top non-fiction writers, which includes historians, journalists, and commentators, to campus to teach and participate in a lecture series. Sides, who is editor-at-large for Outside magazine and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, National Geographic, and Esquire, taught courses during Block 5 and will again in Block 8.

The courses are The Art of Fact: Studies in the New Journalism and Narrative Non-fiction and Going Long: The Art and Craft of Long-form Journalism. He also will advise CC student journalists and help coordinate the lecture series.

“Having Hampton Sides as a professor for this course was such an integral part of the learning experience. Because he has so much extensive knowledge about the field of journalism, and so much experience and the willingness for him to help the students really came out in our class,“ said Kristi Murray ’16, who took Sides’ Block 5 course, The Art of Fact.

“I’m very seriously considering pursuing journalism; in that sense, it was a tremendous help. Not only getting Hampton’s perspective on the industry, but also the many different people we talked to. We talked to literary agents, for instance, which gave us some insight into the business side of how being a professional writer works,” said Jack Queen ’16, another student from the Block 5 course.

The Journalist-in-Residence Program also includes a radio journalism course in the spring, taught by Peter Breslow, senior producer of NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” called Radio Journalism: Reporting, Producing, Audio Storytelling. “[This program] brings great people to campus and puts them directly in touch with students,” said Steve Hayward, professor of English. “There's no underestimating the impact direct contact with students can have.”

The new program, housed in the Film and Media Studies Program, is made possible by a generous gift from Ian Griffis ’85, Susan Deeds Griffis ’88, David Birnbaum ’83, Kathryn Kantes Birnbaum, Mary Jo Sokolowski, Mike Millisor ’83, Mark Polite ’83, Dorian Griffis Polite, Phil Swan ’84, and Anne Bush Hanson ’85.

Workplace Excellence

The Charge: Create a top-notch professional development program that supports our faculty and staff in adapting to the changing environment and to support lifelong learning that is critical for individuals to reach their potential.

What’s Happening: Achieving workplace excellence occurs when staff and faculty continue to be actively engaged in their own ongoing learning and afforded opportunities to enhance their productivity and engagement that contributes to the mission and goals of the institution. The Excel@CC professional development program was designed to create those opportunities for all faculty and staff to learn, develop, and grow.

“It has been an exciting and successful first year for the Excel@CC program. Offering a comprehensive program that spans key areas in communication, leadership, diversity and inclusion, supervision, and knowing our students conveyed a clear message that ongoing professional skills development is important to the college,” said Barbara Wilson, director of Human Resources. Nearly 290 people participated in at least one session within the six programs offered. Almost 130 people will receive 150+ certificates for completing the full multi-session programs.

“Inclusion is one of the values that I hold very deeply,” said Jim Swanson, director of financial aid, who completed the full Journey to Inclusion certificate program. “When I saw Excel@CC was having that topic, I was really interested in learning more, to learn different perspectives, seeing who was teaching the course was really intriguing to me.”

Kathy Pogue is the desk coordinator in Slocum Residence Hall and works closely with students daily. She completed the Getting to Know Our Students certificate program through Excel@CC. “I’m able to know who to go to, because I do have students that come to me who may be having a mental or physical problem. I know how to address that issue when it comes to my desk,” she said following the completion of the course. “I know the language to use and I’m not afraid to approach them about it if they don’t come to me.”

HR continues to receive feedback from participants and will work on the 2015-16 Excel@CC program, making revisions to the current offerings where needed, and will explore other opportunities to build new programs to further professional development for staff and faculty.

Participating in the program brought the college community together and connections have been made that wouldn’t necessarily have occurred in the normal course of work. Skills were developed and enhanced to engage in crucial conversations, to deepen one’s understanding of diversity and the richness to cultivate a work environment that includes contributions of all individuals, and to manage yourself and others more effectively.

Faculty Scholarship

The Charge: Building a faculty of dedicated teachers who are also committed scholars engaged in their disciplines has been and will be critical to providing the finest liberal arts education to generations of CC students and fulfilling the college’s mission. To continue to attract, develop, and retain an engaged faculty equal to the challenge of teaching on the block, the college must enhance resources and flexibility to support faculty scholarship and creativity across the disciplines and activities that make up the learning experience.

What’s Happening: In order to provide faculty members more time to devote to scholarly research, six development blocks will be awarded for the 2015-16 academic year. These blocks will enable faculty to complete critical stages of research or creative projects, produce research results for publication, or initiate study in new fields of interest. Thus far, the Dean’s Office has awarded two of the blocks to Devaka Premawardhana, assistant professor of religion, and David Hendrickson, professor of political science.

Early in the fall, CC implemented the first of the Faculty Scholarship Action Team’s ten recommendations, allocating $50,000 to a new form of internal support. Funding in this “SEGway” program (Spurring/Supporting External Grants) is designed to position faculty to be more competitive for external funding; to assist faculty who have been awarded external grants, often through required or voluntary matching grants; and to invest in the college’s research environment.

Because each faculty member has individual needs, seed funding could be used for a variety of purposes, including travel support to meet with potential collaborators, stipend support to serve as a first-time grant reviewer for a major funder, or stipend support for a CC colleague with experience in winning external research funding to serve as a formal mentor in the process. Currently, more than 20 CC faculty with experience in winning external funding have expressed interest in serving as a mentor.

In December, three faculty members were awarded the first SEGway grants. Becca Barnes, an assistant professor in her first year in the environmental program, received support to launch her local research program on the role of fire in forested ecosystem carbon stocks. Kevin Holmes, an assistant professor in his first year in psychology, received support to develop a “proof of concept” in a new vein of his research on the structure of human thought. Holmes also received a stipend to serve as a grant reviewer for the National Science Foundation’s “Research Experiences for Undergraduates” program. Darrell Killian, an assistant professor of molecular biology in his fourth year at CC, received support to pursue new research questions that have arisen during his current grant from the National Science Foundation on how genes regulate the nervous system. All three recipients plan to apply for substantial external research support in 2016, a condition of accepting their SEGway seed funding award.

2015 Dynamic Half Block

The Charge: Develop new Half Block programming that will enhance the existing “for-credit” programs, yet be focused on helping students explore interests, develop new skills, and enhance existing skills.

What’s Happening: “It’s a much slower pace than we’re used to at CC, it allows for a slower digestion of it, and that’s really required for understanding the foundation so you can build on it,” said Qiu Wu of her Half Block course on the foundations of organic chemistry. “It helped me a lot to overcome the fear of organic chemistry. Taking this course is just my first step to what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Participation in both the for- and non-credit Half Block courses provided students with new and expanded opportunities to take advantage of the two weeks prior to Block 5. In all, 413 students participated in 27 for-credit courses, ranging from ecology to topics in literature to gender and sexuality in hip-hop. 171 students and 10 alumni participated in 20 non-credit Half Block offerings focused on professional development and skill-building. 24 alumni served as panelists during the non-credit courses, and 12 students traveled to Florence for a Half Block Away in the Creativity: Arts and Artisans offering.

“It’s the first time I’ve been in that educational setting as the person who’s actually giving my story, my information, and my knowledge,” said Alex Fitzgerald ’14, who presented to a 2015 Half Block class about his experience with his start up, Get Outfitted. “It was great, really exciting and satisfying.”

Qui Wu '18, student experience in for-credit Half Block

Alex Fitzgerald ‘14 , alumni presenter in non-credit Half Block

Special “Block Breaks” for Alumni and Parents

The Charge: Develop new opportunities for alumni and parents to engage in lifelong learning and be intellectually engaged with the college and each other.

What's Happening: Thirty CC alumni, friends, and family spent an “extended block break — 12 days during Winter Break — exploring Antarctica aboard the Corinthian. Accompanied by lectures on the volcanic-glacier landscape and active tectonic plate movement beneath the sea, the group stopped off at Palmer Station, and experienced the best wildlife viewing Christine Siddoway, geology professor, says she’s ever had on an Antarctica voyage.

“A great reward comes from being able to translate the dynamic we experience at CC — the questioning, inquiring, and discovering — to take that essence that we so enjoy in a classroom and extend the CC experience out to family and friends and our alumni,” said Siddoway, who gave educational lectures throughout the trip. Travelers immersed themselves in the history, ecology, and majestic landscape of this unique, remote locale. “I could see them looking for the features that had been described in the lectures when we were exploring the area on land,” Siddoway said of the group. “Their minds were on fire, asking really probing questions.”

The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching

The Charge: The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching will be a dynamic place, a centerpiece, where students, faculty, staff, and alumni come together and where resources are available to discover and share best practices and support new ideas.

What's Happening: Students shared the result of months of collaborative research at CC's Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium. The symposium brought students and faculty together for a series of short presentations, poster sessions, and community discussions across a variety of academic disciplines. Topics covered an array of subject matter, including anaerobic capacity testing, African sleeping sickness, and research into George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." The summer student and faculty collaborative research projects were funded by the Faculty Student Collaborative Grant and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant. The Mellon Foundation, through its $800,000 grant to the college, provides for 10 stipends to students for summer undergraduate research fellowships in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Hear from students and faculty about the symposium, which was funded by the President's Office and the Dean's Office. See the symposium program and research abstracts.

Diverse and Inclusive Campus

The Charge: Each student's educational experience is richer when they are surrounded by talented and curious students from different backgrounds, cultures, and places. To recruit the best and brightest students, especially those who would benefit most from a CC education, we will build additional resources for financial aid; and enhance programming to promote a more inclusive and diverse campus.

What's Happening: Campus Activities, along with the Sociology Department and The Butler Center, is leading the effort to provide additional resources for all CC students, by developing free block break programming. The programming provides opportunities for students to participate in a variety of free activities around the region, meeting a need for students who cannot, or do not want to, take a four-day vacation each month at the end of the block. There are many reasons why students choose to stay close to campus on block breaks; students shared that financial limitations and interests other than the outdoors and skiing often left them without many options. "The program allowed me to meet a lot of different students and we went together; I didn't have to go by myself," said Wynter Scott '18, who participated in the programming this year. Learn more about how these block break programs are enhancing students' experiences at CC.

Enhance Our Distinctive Place of Learning

The Charge: In the coming decade, we will ensure that the college is recognized as a model of environmental stewardship and innovation by advancing both the study and the practice of sustainability.

What's Happening: This year, CC published its first State of Sustainability report, which benchmarks the campus's performance across broad sustainability metrics and provides a road map for future improvements and priorities. The full State of Sustainability report and additional resources are available at the CC Office of Sustainability website. One highlight: CC's integration of sustainability concepts into curriculum across disciplines. The renovation of the Spencer Center made it the most energy efficient building on campus, with LED sensor lighting, added insulation, new roof and windows, and a high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system drastically reducing the building's energy usage. Completed solar arrays on Worner Campus Center, El Pomar Sports Center, the Dean of Students' home, and Cornerstone Arts Center also contribute to CC's goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2020.

Workplace Excellence

The Charge: Create a campus culture that is truly creative and innovative by attracting and retaining a diverse faculty, staff, and administration and fostering an inclusive campus culture that values different backgrounds, experiences, ideas, and opinions. To strengthen our culture and improve workplace excellence, build strong internal communication, vibrant collaboration, and organizational transparency as strategic assets.

What's Happening: Following the great work in 2013-14 from the faculty and staff diversity action team and the diverse and inclusive campus action team, a leadership group consisting of Sandi Wong, dean of the college, Paul Buckley, assistant vice president and director of The Butler Center, and Barbara Wilson, director of Human Resources, developed the college's statement on diversity. The statement which outlines Colorado College's commitment on diversity is the foundation for fostering an inclusive campus culture.

In our efforts to improve organizational transparency, this fall the college launched the Shared Governance at CC and the CC Facts webpages. As a community that embraces transparency and accountability, it is in our best interest to be clear about who is responsible for what decisions and to make that information available to the community. "Shared Governance at CC" is a resource that provides information on the groups who are consulted with and who ultimately makes a decision. CC Facts provides commonly requested data on the institution from broad areas like admission, enrollment, undergraduate graduation and retention, financial aid, instructional faculty, staff, athletics, and finance.

Vibrant collaboration is another characteristic of a great place to work. Building on the success of cross-functional collaborative teams during the strategic planning process, the president has begun commissioning Block Projects that are designed to bring a new level of recognition, support, and structure to collaborative work. These projects, which give intense focus over a short period of time to accomplish a specific mission, bring a small group of people from across the campus together to work on a solution or improvement to an assigned topic.

The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching

The Charge: Set in motion specific pilot projects to demonstrate how the Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching will contribute to the mission of the college.

What's Happening: As part of our Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching, we completed our thesis writing adjunct pilot project, to rave reviews from participants. Molly Gross, formerly the associate director of the Writing Center, and who worked intimately with this project, said the interdisciplinary nature of the pilot created a sense of community that provided a safe space for student writers to collaborate and challenge one another. "The thesis is where they transition from being students to being professionals, and that skin can be uncomfortable. This is their opportunity to confront that, to make a stand and be clear about where they live in that conversation. For them to practice that in the thesis process is so valuable." Mollie Hayden '14, participated in the pilot and said she found the greatest value in developing confidence in herself as a writer. "Prior to the adjunct, I was very insecure and unsure of my ability to write, but with support, I learned to let go of my apprehensions and trust myself."

The success of this pilot has spurred an initiative to hire a part time undergraduate thesis writing specialist to expand the pilot into yearlong programming that will include offering thesis courses throughout the academic year, and coordinating workshops and writing retreats during block breaks, Half Block, and Summer Session. The position will be funded for two years by the Mellon Grant the college received last fall, helping support the vision of the Center.

Drew Cavin Additionally, Mellon Grant dollars supported the opportunity to bring Drew Cavin on board at CC as its first director of the Office of Field Study. As we support our faculty and students to experience the full potential of the Block Plan, this position will work directly with faculty to design and implement local and regional field excursions to enhance the learning of our students. The office will also work with faculty to enhance existing programs, and support those interested in incorporating field-based learning into their coursework. "I think that the Block Plan allows for so many very special and unique educational opportunities, as well as opportunities for students to grow as people and experience the world," said Cavin, who earned his Ph.D. in recreation, park, and tourism sciences from Texas A&M University. "My new position gives me the opportunity to help faculty take full advantage and create exceptional educational experiences for our students."

Premier Summer Learning Experience

The Charge: Create summer programs consisting of linked thematic blocks.


Djake Carroll '16 talks about the Summer Institute in Documentary Filmmaking

What's Happening: CC embraced intensive, hands-on learning in our 2014 Summer Institutes through thematically linked courses that integrated intellectual, academic, practical, and professional experience. Advancing our strategic initiative to build programs to support a new generation of learners, the Summer Film Institute: 2014 Documentary Project focused on documentary filmmaking in Colorado and provided students with the opportunity to develop filming, interviewing, and researching skills in creating their own documentary. "It was eye-opening when I got to go deeper with my work," said Djake Carroll '16, of participating this summer. "The only reason the film I made ended up being something watchable was because I had the time to try a couple of things that failed and I wouldn't have had time if it were during the year."

Library Renovation and Programming

The Charge: The renovated library will provide the physical home for the new Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching, and serve as the intellectual hub of the campus.

What's Happening: Last spring, phase one of the library renovation project took place. The college engaged in a contract with MASS Design Group for programming and concept design services. The work was completed and presented to the college and Board of Trustees in June 2014. In July and August, the college began preparation for the next phase in the project, which will entail selecting a firm for design architect services. Design architect services include floor-by-floor schematic design, as well as proposed use of materials on the exterior and interior of the building. In late August the college invited 18 architectural firms to participate in a request for qualifications for design architect services. The 18 firms included those who participated in the first phase, as well as recommendations from the Library Action Team and campus leadership. The college received 13 proposals. September 18, the college selected four firms to participate in a request for proposals and to present proposals on campus during interviews October 27 and 28. The four firms selected included Michael Graves & Associates, Pfeiffer Partners, Sasaki Associates, and Will Bruder Architects, and the goal is to announce the firm selected as design architect by the end of November. Additionally, a recent $5 million gift propels this work forward.

Program Fees

The Charge: CC's full academic experience available to all students regardless of income and to free the imagination to do even more with the block, we will eliminate all program fees.


Tinka Avramov '16 talks about her experience in HY200 – Art in Context: Art History and Cultural History in 19th Century Paris

What’s Happening: In order to establish a financially sustainable solution that will allow the college to remove all program fees, CC took the first steps toward the goal by awarding additional financial aid to students participating in a block course that included a program fee. In the 2013-2014 academic year, $203,450 was awarded to 78 students who participated in a "block away" course. On average, these awards covered nearly 80 percent of the program fee for the students, who participated in one of 16 programs varying from study in Serbia to Germany to Paris to Chile. The program with the highest participation was in Lyon, France, where 12 students attended a class on contemporary French society taught by Gail Murphy-Geiss, associate professor of sociology. This program funding will continue in 2014-2015.

Innovation Showcase

The Charge: Host an event to showcase Colorado College's innovators and innovations, and to further the discussion about innovation at CC.

What’s Happening: Led by leaders from six of CC's co-curricular programs, the college held its first Innovation Showcase April 7-9. More than 400 students, faculty, staff, and community members celebrated the power of the Venture Grant, the impact of the State of the Rockies Project, and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the Big Idea. The showcase also recognized how the Public Interest Fellowship Program promotes active social change in Colorado, applauded the interdisciplinary thinking fueled by the I.D.E.A. Space, and investigated the change-making practices of the Global Sustainability Internship program. Two keynote speakers addressed the campus: Dan Pallotta shared his experiences as a social innovator, raising hundreds of millions of dollars for charities over the past decade, and Michael Soulé explored the paradigms of large landscape conservation in the Rocky Mountain West. One student participant said, "Dan Pallotta looked me in the eye and told me that the world doesn't need more practical people, it needs more dreamers; he made me believe that I truly can make a change in this world if I remember that an expert is simply someone who will tell you exactly why something cannot be done; he openly assured me that love is the greatest motivator of all."

PIFP: "A Different Kind of Payday"

The Big Idea

Leadership Philosophy

The Charge: Develop a shared leadership philosophy and set of competencies, and create programs for staff and faculty to build those identified skills.

What’s Happening: Our Leadership Philosophy Action Team finalized an aspirational vision of what leadership should be at Colorado College. This leadership philosophy was shared with all faculty and staff members via email and at the all-campus lunch April 7. This philosophy will now guide the formation of the college's professional development program in our pursuit of workplace excellence. The vision of leadership at Colorado College is that it is the privilege of every member of our community to lead in each role and position. Leadership means pursuing opportunities and assuming responsibility to advance the college's mission. View the full CC Leadership Philosophy.

Special “Block Breaks” for Alumni and Parents

The Charge: Develop new opportunities for alumni and parents to engage in lifelong learning and be intellectually engaged with the college and each other.

What’s Happening: "One has to admire the human spirit's will to survive and to do what one needs to do to create a life. Cubans love their country; they just want their lives to be better than the previous generation and their children to have better lives than theirs," said Anita Pariseau, director of alumni relations, of her experience immersed in Cuban culture during CC's first special block break. On March 30, 32 alumni and friends accompanied Pariseau and Sean Pieri, VP for advancement, on the sold-out trip to Cuba led by Associate Professor of Sociology Eric Popkin. Participants traveled for nine days, soaking in history, culture, and Cuban perspective, and navigated historical context from a social and economic perspective with Popkin's guidance. Interest in the program was so strong that the college will consider repeating it in 2015. Pariseau and Pieri are exploring adding 6-12 other new programs in 2015.

CC alumni and friends in Cuba, Spring 2014.

2014 Dynamic Half Block

The Charge: Develop new Half Block programming that will enhance the existing “for-credit” programs, yet be focused on helping students explore interests, develop new skills, and enhance existing skills.

What’s Happening: The group led by VP of Student Life Mike Edmonds organized 21 new courses and outdoor education programs ranging from graduate test preparation, IT skill building, public speaking, leadership, careers in healthcare, and craft production. Three hundred ninety-eight students participated in the new courses, which culminated in a dinner class on etiquette. One participant in the new Half Block had this to say: “I thought it was fantastic, and love that they offered career oriented classes, especially because I would be disinclined to think about career stuff during a class, especially a hard one. It was a lull on campus and a great time to think about how to advance career/internship searches during the block.”

Kendall Bentsen talks about her half block GMAT course

CC's Mellon Fellow in the Arts Idris Goodwin talks about his new half block course on spoken word called "The Vocab: Critical Approaches to Spoken Word Writing and Performance."

Library Renovation and Programming
Campus Master Plan
Communications Master Plan
Update to the Board of Trustees
February 2015
May 2014

February 2014