Posts by Jane
As a first step in becoming part of the Colorado College community, President Jill Tiefenthaler is working with a small group representing trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni to help her transition into her new role. The Temporary Transition Advisory Committee will serve through the summer. Tiefenthaler’s presidency began on July 1.
“My most important goal in the first year is to understand the college and really listen to a lot of different people,” Tiefenthaler said.
The committee will provide initial input on key stakeholders, individuals, and groups that the new president should meet, and events she should attend in her first year at Colorado College to ensure that she connects with the college and its community broadly and in meaningful ways.
“Every culture is so different,” Tiefenthaler said. “A year of listening is critical, to understand our greatest strengths, our blemishes, and our opportunities for the future.”
The transition committee members are:
Jonathan Lee, Faculty Executive Committee chair
Esther Redmount, former Faculty Executive Committee chair
Jane Murphy, assistant professor of history
Brian Linkhart, associate professor of biology
Ken Ralph, director of athletics
Randy Nehls, Staff Council co-chair
Isabel Werner ’08, young alumni trustee
Heather Carroll ’89 Alumni Association Board
Emily Fukunaga ’12, student
Logan Dahl ’12, student, CC Student Government Association
Suzanne Woolsey (ex officio), Board of Trustees chair
Working Group: Beth Brooks, director of the president’s office; Jermyn Davis, chief of staff, president’s office; Steve Elder, vice president for advancement; and Jane Turnis, director of communications
Read the announcement about CC’s 13th president, as well as her biography and speech; check out the photo gallery and videos; and send her a welcome message. Check back for new content, all here.
Amanda Udis-Kessler, CC’s director of institutional research, has become a regular LGBT spirituality blogger for the interfaith Tikkun Daily, which aims to provide “a spiritual progressive perspective on politics, art, religion, and activism.” Tikkun Daily is the multimedia blog site of Tikkun, the bimonthly Jewish and interfaith magazine associated with the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
She and her partner, Associate Professor of Biology Phoebe Lostroh, co-wrote a piece, “The Hands of the Holy: Re-Envisioning LGBT Welcome in Faith Communities,” in the July-August issue of Tikkun Magazine.
Udis-Kessler has published widely on issues of sexuality, religion and social justice, including her 2008 book, “Queer Inclusion in the United Methodist Church.” At CC, she chairs the Institutional Review Board, recently co-chaired the Diversity Task Force, and serves on a number of other committees.
Colorado College Professor of English David Mason is Colorado’s new poet laureate, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter announced at the state capitol on July 1. Mason co-directs CC’s creative writing program. His poetry books include “The Buried Houses,” winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize; “The Country I Remember,” winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award; and “Arrivals.” Mason’s verse novel, “Ludlow,” won the Colorado Book Award and was featured on the PBS News Hour. The Contemporary Poetry Review and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum named “Ludlow” the best poetry book of 2007. Author of a collection of essays, “The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry,” Mason has also co-edited several textbooks and anthologies, including “Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry”; “Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism”; “Twentieth Century American Poetry”; and “Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry.” His next collection of essays, “Two Minds of a Western Poet,” will be published in 2011. Mason will serve as an advocate for poetry, literacy and literature at 10-12 events each year, including presenting the opening poem for the legislative session, visiting local schools, participating in Arts & Humanities Month, and reading at literary festivals. Colorado was the second state in the nation to appoint a poet laureate. Alice Polk Hill was appointed in 1919 and served until she died in 1921. Nellie Burget Miller served 1923-1952; Margaret Clyde Robertson served 1952-1954; Milford E. Shields served 1954-1975; and Thomas Hornsby Ferril served 1979-1988. Mary Crow has served 14 years, from 1996-2010.
Hear Mason’s reading of his poem “The Picket Wire” at Gov. Bill Ritter’s ceremony announcing the new Colorado Poet Laureate.
Listen to a Colorado Public Radio interview with David Mason.
“CASKET,” the Super Bowl Doritos commercial for which CC alumna and English film track major Char Lee ’09 was casting director, was one of four in the Crash the Super Bowl commercial competition that aired during the game. There were 4,000 entries, and Lee’s was one of six finalists; four of those advanced to the grand prize winning status and were aired. “CASKET” and the three other grand prize winners’ ratings will be measured against other Super Bowl commercials, and if any of the competitors rated in the top three, the winners stand to win up to $1 million. You can see the commercial here: http://www.crashthesuperbowl.com/.
CC’s new website optimized for mobile browsers is live. Now you can quickly access the campus directory, campus map, events, news, game scores, CC on YouTube, CC on Facebook, KRCC and emergency info via your smartphone. The site is intended to make information easier to access when you’re away from your computer; it’s not meant to be a replacement for the main website. Point your iPhone, Blackberry, Android or other smartphone to m.coloradocollege.edu. iPhone users can bookmark the site and save it to their device desktop, so that it functions much like an app.
After a year of staff reductions and $8 million in budget cuts, “the broad outlook for CC is stable,” President Richard Celeste told attendees of an Open Budget Forum on Dec. 17. While cautioning that the college’s financial condition is subject to economic changes, Celeste said he sees no reason for further reductions in staff. “We are better positioned than many institutions,” he said.
Since last fiscal year, when an ad hoc budget planning committee tackled major cuts, the college has adopted new budget planning practices. The budget-committee approach was formalized, the budget approval time has moved earlier in the year, and more time will be devoted to budget development. The new permanent Budget Committee is made up of faculty, staff, students, administrators, and a trustee. Next year’s budget will go before the Board of Trustees for approval in February, rather than May. And work on the following fiscal year’s budget will begin much earlier than in the past.
Indications that the economic picture nationally is stabilizing, plus signs of improvement on campus, led Celeste to express cautious optimism. The college’s endowment, which fell from its brief high point of $522.7 million to a low of $401.7 million during the stock market turmoil, has since recovered substantially to a level of $446 million. There are signs that the campus community is spending carefully: The percentage of operating budget expended as of Nov. 30 is 40.5 percent, compared to 44.5 percent at the same time last year, and 44 percent at the same time in 2007.
“That suggests a recognition that in order to do right, we all have to pay close attention to our expenditures,” Celeste said. “There will continue to be places where we have to make careful choices. We have to continue to operate in a frugal fashion. I am grateful for the hard work done by all of you.”
Dean of the College/Dean of the Faculty Susan Ashley, who chairs the Budget Committee, explained the background of the budget adjustments, starting with the Working Group on Stewardship and Cost Containment, which cut the budget on the administrative side by 5 percent in fall 2008, before the economic slide. Then, in December, when the recession had dramatically cut the value of the endowment, the Board of Trustees determined that the college needed to reduce staff positions and find $8 million in savings. Celeste created an ad hoc budget planning committee to recommend ways to balance the budget, and initiated a voluntary staff separation program. The ad hoc committee asked administrative departments to identify at least another 5 percent in economies, and academic departments to aim for 10 percent or more in reductions. In February, the trustees directed the college to identify up to $12 million in savings or enhanced revenues, and mandated a full review of programs.
Reducing positions and cutting $8 million in expenses resulted in a balanced budget for fiscal years 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012. The admissions office met enrollment targets and yielded a highly qualified first-year class. In May, trustees approved the projected budget and the ad hoc budget planning committee’s recommendations for a new budget process and a set of basic operating principles for budget making.
The permanent Budget Committee’s goals are:
- Maintain the quality of Colorado College’s educational program
- Hold undergraduate enrollment target at 1,975
- Keep increase in cost of attendance as low as possible
- Provide enough financial aid to support current students and recruit an incoming class at least as talented and diverse as the present first-year class
- Retire all college debt as quickly as possible and in a time frame no longer than 15 years
- Provide compensation increases understanding that total compensation cannot increase faster than the increase in the rate of tuition because tuition pays approximately 3/4 of the cost of increases
- Provide the increases necessary to cover the continued decline in payouts from endowments due to the practice of 12-quarter averaging
Ashley said last year’s hard work and tough decisions have paid off. “We choked down the bitter pill, and as a result we have much more flexibility as to how we use our resources,” she said. She pointed out that other colleges instituted furloughs, did not hire new faculty, and overextended their financial aid resources to yield their incoming classes — at a level they won’t be able to sustain. None of those things happened at CC.
“We need to be grateful for our relatively strong resource base,” she said.
The Working Group on Staff Compensation and Classification, a group formed this year, presented a concept for one part of staff compensation in a Staff Council Hot Topics open session on Dec. 16. The group is seeking staff input on the concept, which would apply a fixed cost of basic goods and services — rather than a percentage — as part of staff salary increases. Working group presenter Chad Schonewill said the concept is aimed at reducing a widening gap between lowest and highest salaries, improving fairness, aligning with the college’s compensation philosophy and core values, and achieving sustainability.
View the PowerPoint presentation, video of the session and Staff Council minutes here. Staff Council is surveying session attendees to see if there is enough interest in the concept. If there is, the working group will pursue it further, Schonewill said.
The Bookstore Advisory Committee, working since September 2009 on the question of whether the CC bookstore operations should be outsourced or return to a self-operated model, on Dec. 10 presented a unanimous recommendation to President Celeste and Vice President for Finance and Administration Robert Moore in favor of outsourcing. The committee, which included faculty, staff and students, said:
“The committee unanimously recommends that the college negotiate an outsource contract with Barnes and Noble or Validis. These two companies appear to be more flexible in their ability to respond to our needs, and more likely to provide a good fit with CC. Follett’s service over the last eighteen months is appreciated and we expect they will work with us in the transition to a new management.”
Read about the goal of a “uniquely Colorado College bookstore,” the committee’s process and its recommendation here. Follett’s support-services agreement is scheduled to continue until late January.