Posts from August, 2010

CC’s New Student Orientation Trips Promote Friendships, Service Ethic

Colorado College is sending incoming first-year, transfer, international exchange, and international students – a total of 597 students – on a wide range of New Student Orientation trips. The 60 trips, all of which have a service component, will depart Wednesday, Sept. 1 and return Sunday, Sept. 5.

Elizabeth Pudder, service coordinator for the Center for Service and Learning, and Steve Crosby, outdoor education director, are in charge of the trips, with Pudder overseeing 39 front country and urban trips, and Crosby overseeing 21 backcountry trips. All of the NSO trips are led by CC students, with at least two leaders per trip (and more than 100 students on the wait list to lead a trip).

Among the 39 expeditions Pudder oversees are trips to the Koshare Indian Museum in La Junta, St. Elizabeth’s Shelter in Santa Fe, Mission Wolf in Westcliffe, Mesa Winds Farm in Hotchkiss, and a charter school in Taos, N.M.

Crosby’s backcountry trips go to the Collegiate Peaks, Sangre de Cristo, Holy Cross, and Uncompahgre wilderness areas, all in Colorado.

“Most of the trips, whether they are urban, front country, or backcountry, are three to six hours away,” Pudder says. “We want the new students to experience the region.”

The orientation helps new students get to know a small group of people very well outside of the residence hall and classroom, Pudder says. The service component is also a great group- and team-building activity, and underscores CC’s strong service ethic. The time away from campus also allows the new students an opportunity to get to know and ask questions of the group leaders, all of whom are upperclassmen.

The logistics of the undertaking are massive. All the necessary gear must be checked out to be sure it is in working order. Gear is then assigned to NSO excursions, and is lined up in Slocum Commons in order of trip departure. Food for the 597 NSO participants and the 122 student leaders is organized by trip and stored in Bemis Hall. Buses and vans and trip routes must be arranged, with trips heading to the same region sharing a bus to help reduce CC’s carbon footprint.

This is the eighth year that Colorado College is undertaking the massive effort. The Priddy Experience began in 2003 as the result of a $7.9 million grant to CC from the Robert & Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust the previous year. Funds from the grant, one of the largest in CC’s history, were spread across various campus programs, with $125,000  being designated for NSO trips.

Get to Know: Marina Eckler

Marina Eckler may be the new assistant to the curator at the I.D.E.A. Space, but she’s not new to Colorado College.

Eckler was the print shop technician for CC’s art department from 2006-08, where she managed studio space for classes and open work sessions, provided technical assistance to students, and helped to develop workshops for visiting and resident artists.

She later volunteered as an installer for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and worked as an art handler for special collections for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where she created unique housing for hundreds of drawings and prints for the Whitney’s Works on Paper Collection.

Now Eckler, who holds a degree in painting and printmaking from San Francisco State University, is combining her skills and interests in curatorial work. “There is a thin line between creating art and curating,” she says. “Curating is its own art form.”

Eckler is excited about the ways in which the I.D.E.A. Space and Curator Jessica Hunter Larsen use the community at large as a medium. “It’s an open-door art center, and I like that,” Eckler says. As an example, she cites an upcoming multidisciplinary event titled “Hair-esies” that explores the connection between hair, personal and cultural identity, and feminism. “It’s a fascinating event that draws together a visiting established artist, faculty members, and a local artist,” she says. “Hair-esies,” which takes place on Sept. 14, was inspired by an I.D.E.A. Space exhibition that runs from Sept. 7 to Oct.  26 and features May Stevens, who was involved in benchmark social justice movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. “It all ties in so well together,” Eckler says. “While art centers are trying to figure out how to stay open and be resourceful, it happens naturally here.”

Eckler, an artist interested in bookbinding, painting, and drawing, has a studio in downtown Colorado Springs. She describes her paintings as “landscapes of my own imagination. They combine mountains and cities and impossible horizons, and are loosely based on folk art.”

Other interests include gardening, although she calls herself a failed gardener, and baking, especially cakes and French pastry. “This can be an all-day or all-weekend project for me. It’s what I turn to. I’m always thinking ‘What should be baked for this occasion?’ ”

Eckler also has strong ties to KRCC: She has been a volunteer DJ at the station for many years, and was the inaugural DJ for the Monday night radio show “Brick House,” a dance/soul/electronic music show still in production but with different DJs. Eckler, who still fills in as a guest DJ for “Brick House” and other shows, is married to Noel Black, producer of KRCC’s “The Big Something,” and they have a 9-year-old son, Ursen.

Lief Carter to Receive National Teaching and Mentoring Award

Lief Carter, Colorado College professor emeritus in political science, will receive this year’s national Teaching and Mentoring Award in law and politics. This award, given annually by the American Political Science Association and co-sponsored by the Public Education Division of the American Bar Association, recognizes exceptional contributions to teaching of law-related issues from the perspective of political science.

Eric Leonard Awarded $110,866 NSF Grant

Colorado College Geology Professor Eric Leonard has been awarded $110,866 from the National Science Foundation. The award is part of a collaborative grant with State University of New York at Geneseo to develop an understanding of paleoclimates associated with past glaciation of the Rocky Mountains. The results may also provide insight into the reliability of existing climate model predictions of future precipitation changes in the Rocky Mountain region, an area where demand for limited water resources continues to grow. Four to six CC undergraduates will conduct research as part of this grant.

Jane Cauvel: CC’s New Ombuds

Jane Cauvel with her dogs, Willow, age 2 on the left, and Luke, 4, on the right

The ombuds office is located on the second floor of Tutt Library, Room 212. Cauvel is experimenting with hours in order to be available when convenient for the most number of people. During August and September, her office hours are 11 a.m.  to 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, and by appointment. She also is willing to meet people off campus. Cauvel can be reached at 648-7470 and at ombuds@coloradocollege.edu

The following is a full-length version of the interview that was featured in the August Bulletin.

The ombudsman office provides an informal, confidential, independent, neutral, off-the-record alternate channel of communication for faculty and staff to resolve workplace and learning environment issues.  It works to ensure that all members of the community are treated equitably and fairly.  The ombudsperson is neutral and does not advocate for a visitor or the institution, but rather for fair treatment for all members of the community. A visitor can discuss issues or concerns confidentially without further disclosure or formal action.  To the extent possible, the ombudsperson attempts to identify and discuss with the appropriate officers of the college changes that may prevent workplace issues from becoming significant or recurring.  Q.  Why do you think CC needs an ombudsman?
Cauvel: The CC Board of Trustees has asked the college to develop an ombuds office. It approved our plans for an ombuds office and for me to function as ombudsperson for the coming year.  Hence, I report directly to the audit committee of the Board of Trustees on positive or negative trends as I see them. The ombuds office will be a pilot venture for one year.
Before considering the position, I asked if there were major problems which led to the desire for such an office. I was told there were none, but it seems there is a need for more open lines of communication and more understanding of processes among individuals and departments.  The office aims to alleviate conflict before it escalates.

Q.  What did you see as the pros and cons when you considered taking this position?
Cauvel:  The cons were that I have been retired from the college for about 10 years and have been enjoying a very good life.  I enjoyed teaching the students, serving on committees, and working as faculty assistant to President Kathryn Mohrman. Eventually, I decided it was time for me to retire and pursue other interests.
The pros were that I had been away long enough so I didn’t know all the inner-workings of the college and wouldn’t come with a lot of baggage. While talking with staff and faculty about the role of the ombudsperson, I discovered how much I enjoyed the community and the stimulation of being on campus again. After a short time I became aware of some of the conflicts that I thought could be alleviated.

Q.  Is that why you accepted the position?
Cauvel:  Yes. I also think it is for my own benefit. It will be a challenge to take on new tasks and work part-time in an intellectually active environment – and if I can assist in the alleviation of some conflicts, all the better. I am a temporary employee, working 20 hours a week. Since we are not adding positions, this is a trial to see if it is beneficial. It will be up to the staff, faculty, and Board of Trustees to see if this role will be continued. My purpose is to get the office started and to explore the methods and activities that work best for CC. I’ll study the examples of other colleges with ombudsmen offices and strictly follow the code of ethics and standards of practice of the International Ombudsman Association.

Q.  What have you been doing since you left the college?
Cauvel:  I finished a book with Zehou Li, a Chinese professor, entitled “Four Essays on Aesthetics: Toward a Global View.” (Published by Roman and Littlefield; 2006.) I’ve been on the board of the Grand Circle Field School, an environmental program in northern Arizona, and am on the Internal Review Board of the Memorial Health System. I’ve written some articles, been to China a couple of times, and did reading that I didn’t have time to do before. It’s been a very lively intellectual time. 

Q.  What skills/knowledge do you have that would make you good in this position?
Cauvel: I just completed a workshop with the International Ombudsman Association at Pepperdine University. We discussed the meanings and implications of the four basic criteria for an ombuds office: confidentiality, informality, independence, and neutrality. We examined case studies which challenged us to consider options for alleviating conflicts while maintaining the basic criteria.  Along with the other three pillars, we emphasized that neutrality meant we neither advocate for the visitor nor for the college but rather for fairness. The ombudsperson does not give answers but rather assists the visitor in seeking options. The visitor makes the decisions, the ombudsperson does not.
I don’t know that I will be good in the position but basically I like people; and I always enjoy talking with members of the Colorado College community; and I am committed to fair treatment for all persons. I have had lots of positive interaction with staff and faculty. The Faculty Executive Committee suggested me for the role, which was very flattering, and I’ll do my best to maintain their trust and that of others.

Q.  People have been calling this position ombudsman, ombudsperson, ombudswoman. What would you call it?
Cauvel: I like to call it the ombuds office.  Over time, the person in the office will change but the basic values and purposes of the office will remain. The ombuds office will be on the second floor of Tutt Library, Room 212.  The office will be open August 1 and in addition, I will have a secure telephone so people can call me. If someone is uncomfortable meeting on campus, we’ll meet off campus. I am guessing I will spend about a third of my time in the office, a third on the phone and a third walking around campus. I hope to meet with every staff division and faculty department. Unrealistic?  Maybe, but I look forward to many productive conversations.

Q.  So this office is for faculty and staff only?
Cauvel: Yes. Of course I have access to all administrators. As I perceive patterns or trends, both positive and negative, I will suggest them to the appropriate official. However maintaining confidentiality is critical and I must be very careful that visitors to my office are not identified. In a small organization this can be difficult, and I will just have to use my best judgment.

Q.  Do you wish there had been an ombuds office when you were working here? Or do you think there might not have been a need?
Cauvel: The ombudsman practice came to the U.S. from Sweden during the 1960s. Now it is common practice within major corporations, government agencies, universities and colleges, in the U.S. and abroad. Organizations, even small colleges, have become larger, and have developed more complex structures and more diverse populations. Most of these changes are positive but as expectations change, so must ways of navigating them. When I began teaching here, I would have welcomed an ombudsperson with whom to discuss perceived discrimination concerning women faculty and staff, and other minority groups. Relationships were more casual because the population was more homogeneous. I think the role of an ombudsperson will expand as institutions grow in complexity and diversity.  Many of my conversations will have to do with telling people where they can get information; where I can get information for them; and with them, seek options for resolving their concerns. I do not solve problems but help visitors find ways to make their work life and their relationships more satisfying.  

Q.  Do you think the creation of the ombudsman office will improve moral at CC?
Cauvel: That’s a big question. It’s a pilot program for one year. We will all have to work to see if it is beneficial.

Q.  Will there be a reassessment?
Cauvel: Yes, we’ll be reassessing throughout the year and more comprehensively at the end of the year.

Q.  Who will be doing the reassessing?
Cauvel: There will be a survey of some sort, certainly of the people who use the office, and of its perception by non-users, and the board of trustees. Because it’s a pilot program, we must all be involved in determining usefulness. I imagine the activities of the office will evolve and change as needs arise.

Q.  What do you think most of the questions or problems people will come to you will be in regard to?
Cauvel: I think questions appropriate to the office will be along the lines of:

  • How did this rule or regulation come into being, and how is it being applied?
  • I have been concerned about a particular problem in my department. What is the appropriate office or service to take this problem? Can you help me clarify the issues and consider options?
  • Chain of command questions.
  • What can I do about a conflict with my supervisor (or peer)? What are my options?
  • Can we discuss my problem confidentially, outside the usual channels?

However, there are things I cannot do:

  • Make decisions or mandate changes to policies and procedures.
  • Make decisions for individuals.
  • “Take sides” in a dispute.
  • Conduct formal investigations
  • Discuss visitors concerns with anyone without the visitor’s permission.

Q.  I understand you were invited many years ago for an interview to work in U.N. Why was that important to you?Cauvel: I admire Eleanor Roosevelt’s role in establishing the U.N.’s Commission on Human Rights, and her other efforts at conflict management. I’ve been impressed with the successes of conflict management at the local, national and international levels. Since it aims to resolve issues in the earliest stages and to prevent harmful escalation, we often don’t hear of the successes.  I enthusiastically look forward to the challenges of the Colorado College ombuds office.

Q.  What do you like to do in your spare time?
Cauvel: I enjoy skiing, hiking, and  fly fishing.

Get to Know: Aaron Cohick

Aaron Cohick, proprietor of NewLights Press, an independent publisher of experimental literature and artists’ books, has been named the new printer at The Press at Colorado College.

He received a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2002, and an MFA in printmaking from Arizona State University in 2007. For the past few years he has worked as a commercial letterpress printer in San Francisco and taught at the San Francisco Center for the Book.

Cohick, a native of Pennsylvania, says he has always had a dual interest in writing and the visual arts, but never knew how to put them together until he took a bookbinding class. “We worked with type-setting, binding, letter press printing, and screen printing, and I realized that was it – that was what I wanted to do,” he says.

Cohick hopes to make the experience, knowledge, and equipment at The Press at CC more broadly accessible to students. “I’d like them to discover The Press early on, and not just their senior year,” he says. “A year is not enough time to learn this.” He also hopes to increase the number of publications produced by The Press, and to increase its visibility, both nationally and internationally.

Cohick enjoys the slow, repetitive, careful – almost meditative – process of printmaking. “All aspects of it are very appealing,” he says.

Cohick takes over from Colin Frazer ’02, who ran The Press from 2006 until his departure this summer for the Rhode Island School of Design, where he will pursue an MFA in design. Frazer, a physics major, became interested in The Press during his senior year when he took a printmaking class with Professor Kate Leonard.

Founded in 1977, Colorado College’s fine letterpress has produced many superb works of art that are now features in collections at Yale University, Harvard University, Chicago’s Newberry Library,  the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Rijksmuseum, to name a few.

The Press at Colorado College, now housed in Taylor Hall, got its start when Jim Trissel, a former CC professor of studio art and art history, was enlisted to help transport an old press to the campus in the mid-1970s. Trissel, whose father and grandfather had both worked as printers, took a sabbatical from 1977-78 to learn the technology, design, and history of printmaking, and later began to collect classic typefaces.

Over the years, The Press at Colorado College has published notable books including a book produced on commission from the Arts for Nature Trust of England as a 75th birthday gift for Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh; several books collected by the Newberry Library in Chicago; and three publications included in the New York Public Library exhibits “Seventy from the Seventies,” “Eighty from the Eighties,” and “Ninety from the Nineties.”

Steve Elder Named to CASE Board of Trustees

Stephen Elder, vice president for advancement, has been elected to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Board of Trustees. Elder was appointed as a trustee-at-large and will serve a three-year term, which took effect in  July.

Elder previously held positions as CC’s associate vice president for development and director of development. In addition, he served as director of development at the University of Redlands, development officer for library development at the University of Southern California, and is an active volunteer in the community.

Elder is one of 14 trustees elected to the board by CASE membership via electronic ballot. The results were announced during the association’s annual membership meeting in New York City.

CASE’s membership includes more than 3,400 colleges, universities, independent elementary and secondary schools, and educational associates in 68 countries around the world. This makes CASE one of the largest nonprofit education associations in terms of institutional membership. It serves more than 60,000 advancement professionals on the staffs of its member institutions.

Dave Armstrong’s Collaborative Book Featured at Release Party Aug. 17

The Timekeeper

A release party for a new book by Dave Armstrong, CC’s director of information management division, will be held from 3-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17 in the Learning Commons Living Room at Tutt Library. Armstrong’s book, “The Burden of the Beholder – Dave Armstrong and the Art of Collage, features 18 high-quality prints of his collages, as well as poetry and short fiction by well-known writers.

CC English Professor Jane Hilberry edited the book and wrote the introduction. Armstrong and Hilberry invited established poets and writers to visit a website displaying 30 of Armstrong’s pieces of art.  Each selected a collage and then wrote a poem or short prose piece inspired by that collage.  In the book, each of these responses faces a print of the related collage. The writers are Aaron Anstett, Tom Absher, Harris Barron, Aimee Bender, Russell Edson, Jenn Habel, Jim Heynen, Jane Hilberry, H.L. Hix, Nancy Nye, David Mason, Roger Mitchell, Jim Moore, Kate Northrop, Jessy Randall, Leo Romero, A.E. Stallings, Phillip Sterling and Diane Thiel.

The book is a limited edition (only 100 copies were made, of which 75 will be for sale), handmade fine press book, designed and printed by Colin Frazer at The Press at Colorado College. The images are reproduced as gicleé prints, all text is letterpress printed and the book comes case-bound in red cloth. “The Burden of the Beholder” costs $125 and all profits benefit The Press at Colorado College.

CC well-represented in Teach for America

Colorado College has nine recent graduates participating in Teach For America, placing it among comparably sized liberal arts schools with the highest number of participants.

Career Center Director Geoff Falen says that Colorado College has a long, strong tradition of service, and Teach For America provides an opportunity for CC graduates to contribute their skills, energy and idealism in a challenging environment that needs their services.

“Our students’ long and strong interest in Teach For America often stems from their positive experiences in CC classrooms. They understand the strong and positive effect good teachers have on students. That belief, combined with a commitment to using their own educations to generate change, makes Teach For America a compelling option for them,” says Susan Ashley, dean of the college and the faculty.

Falen says that CC students, over half of whom are interested in non-profit and education work after graduation, are especially attracted to a two-year commitment that enables them to make a significant contribution while figuring out their next career or graduate school steps. “Given those parameters, TFA is often seen as a domestic adventure with real substance, a perfect fit for many CC graduates,” he said.

Teach for America is a national corps of outstanding recent college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity. During the 2009-10 academic year, Teach For America received a record 46,000 applications from graduating seniors, graduate students and professionals. This fall, more than 4,500 new corps members will start teaching in schools across the country. They represent more than 630 colleges and universities.