Posts by lweddell

CC Launches Pledge to Increase Affordability

Pilot program boosts access for low- and middle-income students

Colorado College is launching the Colorado Pledge, a historic undertaking to address affordability concerns in higher education. CC’s Colorado Pledge is a financial aid initiative designed to ensure Colorado College is as affordable for Colorado students from low- and middle-income families as the state’s flagship public university.

The Colorado Pledge is a pilot program aimed at supporting Colorado families with adjusted gross incomes below $200,000. All students admitted to the next fall’s incoming class and transfer students who meet the eligibility criteria will receive this award. Early Action and Early Decision deadlines are Nov. 1.

“Colorado College is one of only a handful of colleges in the nation to consistently meet the full demonstrated need of every admitted student,” says Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler. “The Colorado Pledge goes one step further and is a bold initiative aimed at making a private education as affordable, or more affordable, than many public universities.”

Colorado College’s pledge is that:

  • For students from Colorado families with an adjusted gross income of less than $60,000, there will be no parental contribution for tuition, room, and board at CC.
  • For students from Colorado families with an adjusted gross income between $60,000 and $125,000, there will be no parental contribution for tuition at CC; they will only pay for room and board.
  • For students from Colorado families with an adjusted gross income between $125,000 and $200,000, CC pledges that the parental contribution for a Colorado College education will be the same or less than the cost of attendance at the flagship state university in Colorado.

CC’s strategic plan calls for an additional $20 million in fundraising, which will allow the college to endow the program for future students, thus opening the doors more widely to a Colorado College education for the best and brightest students in the state. The college already has received more than $3.5 million from generous donors, including a gift that has been issued as a challenge to other donors to match their own contributions of $50,000 or more to the Colorado Pledge.

Currently about 15 percent of CC students are from Colorado. The pledge comes as Colorado College seeks to cultivate a more diverse student body across the socio-economic spectrum. By making the cost of attending Colorado College as affordable as the state’s flagship university, CC can attract and enroll a higher percentage of students from low- and middle-income Colorado families.

“We fully recognize that middle- and upper middle-income families have been asked to contribute a high percentage of their take-home pay,” says Mark Hatch, vice president for enrollment management at Colorado College. “The Colorado Pledge, for many families, will reduce this contribution significantly and will make Colorado College an attractive option for many more students.”

Colorado College, which was founded two years before Colorado became a state, has always had a strong commitment to meeting the full demonstrated need of all admitted students. The Colorado Pledge is about affordability; it’s a commitment to students in Colorado that CC is not only the most selective college or university in the region, but is just as affordable and accessible.

The college administers a financial aid budget that exceeds $40 million annually, and approximately 50 percent of Colorado College students receive scholarship support each year.

As part of Building on Originality: The Campaign for Colorado College, a $435 million fundraising initiative that includes a $100 million effort to secure funds for financial aid, the college is raising $20 million specifically to support the Colorado Pledge.

Read more about the specifics of the Colorado Pledge.

C-SPAN Films Migrant Caravan Presentation at CC

Did you hope to attend independent journalist Alice Driver’s presentation on the migrant caravan earlier this month and were unable to make it?

You’re in luck: C-SPAN covered Driver’s talk, titled “On the Road with the Migrant Caravan,” which was held in Gaylord Hall on Feb. 5. The entire presentation can be viewed here.

The event, sponsored by Colorado College’s Journalism Institute, was held as the nation grappled with the effects of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, sparked over a funding dispute for a wall President Donald Trump wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Driver, who was introduced by Colorado College’s journalist in residence Corey Hutchins, showed photos and spoke about her on-the-ground reporting from inside the migrant caravan. She covers migration, human rights, and gender equality, and her coverage of the border has appeared in publications such National Geographic, TIME, Longreads, and REVEAL. Driver also is the author of “More of Less Dead: Femincide, Haunting, and the Ethics of Representation in Mexico.”

Exploring the Watershed

Where Does Your Water Come From?

By Annabelle O’Neill ’19 and Rosa Mallorson ’20

“Where does your water come from?” asked Environmental Studies Program visiting faculty member Rory Cowie ’04 on the first day of class. Like the places we had yet to visit, our responses stretched far, from groundwater wells in Hawaii to water tanks above Philadelphia to snowmelt in the Rockies to pipes in New York City to “I don’t know where…”

Thus began EV 311, Water: Stream Ecology and Hydrology, a Block 8 course that took students to the San Juan Mountains where we studied water chemistry and the impacts of mining. The upper-level environmental science course, which allowed us to engage in meaningful field-based learning that included environmental science subject areas such as geology, chemistry, hydrology, ecology, climate, and human/ecosystem interactions through the analysis of rivers and water, included 14 students from several majors. This course is worth documenting because it embodies the boundless opportunity CC provides for its students to investigate the world’s workings. Cowie was a biology major at CC, so he knew how to balance lecture with field trips nearly every day. Here, we share some of what we learned in the class, while illustrating the beauty of students doing science in the San Juan Mountains.

Why We Care
CC teaches us to examine and tend to our sense of place, which includes the communities, lands, rivers, challenges, and cultures that exist in the Rockies. While many of our studies center in the Front Range, the San Juan Mountains are just six hours southwest of CC and provide much of the Front Range’s water resources.

Since Cowie is an EPA-contracted hydrologist who leads a water sampling project at Bonita Peak Mining District, the Superfund Site where the Gold King Mine, near Silverton, Colorado, spilled in 2015, our coursework focused on mining hydrology. The legacy of heavy metal mining, which boomed from 1870-1990, left nearly 23,000 abandoned mines in the San Juans.

When the surface area of rock containing trace minerals such as pyrite increases due to mine tunnel construction and contacts air and rising groundwater, pyrite’s ions oxidize and form acids in water. This water then flows out of mine tunnels and nearby springs into streams, which soon flow into major rivers that are comprised of watersheds shared by seven states, 12 Native American tribes, millions of people, and vital aquatic life.

The Challenge: Five Watersheds in Five Days
We embarked on a weeklong field trip in the San Juans, studying five watersheds in five days. The trip followed two weeks of theory and practice in hydrology, mine water chemistry, stream ecology, agriculture, development, and snow science. We examined four Legacy and EPA Superfund mines with mandated clean-up, one active mine, and two major active water treatment facilities.

The trip also provided us with diverse data sets that we compiled for our final projects. Our task was to collect stream flow measurements, water quality parameters, and habitat assessments coupled with USGS historic data and lessons from experts we met along the way. This data provided evidence to compare watershed health across the San Juans and extrapolate to the entire Southwestern water regime, which eventually converges with the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Trip Log:
Day 1: Uncompahgre Watershed
Discharge and water quality parameters collected in Ridgeway, Colorado
Underground mine tour of Ouray Silver Mines and biomass filtration system
Evening soak at Ouray Hot Springs

Day 2: San Miguel Watershed
Observations of diverse, underlying geology that influences ion-availability in the rivers at the Idarado Mine passive water treatment facility
Appreciation of beavers’ tenacity and ecosystem health value
Habitat assessment of Telluride Valley Floor with Scott Johnson of the Mountain Studies Institute and Laurel Sebastian ’16

Day 3: Animas Watershed
Tour of Gladstone Temporary Wastewater Treatment Plant and Bonita Peak Superfund Site above Silverton, Colorado. Active mine water treatment requires lime, a polymer, large conical holding chambers, and the storage of heavy metal “sludge” to purify acidic and metal-loaded water
Examination of outpouring of American Tunnel and flumes at lower elevations measuring discharge
Water quality and discharge sampling of heavily impacted streams (pH ~4) during a blizzard!

Day 4: San Juan Watershed
Forest ecology lesson in Durango, Colorado
Wolf Creek Ski Resort forest health assessment
Lots of driving
Evening soak at Pagosa Hot Springs

Day 5: Rio Grande Watershed
Mining conference in Creede, Colorado
Visit to Bachelor Mountain, the Nelson Tunnel, and multiple mine portals at a Legacy mine on the Amethyst Fault in the Bachelor Caldera
Examination of discharge and water quality parameters at Willow Creek, which includes untreated water from the Nelson Tunnel
Tour of Summitville Mine Superfund site including the active water treatment facility of the open-pit mine using a high-density sludge process, ultimately purifying the water of a large quantity of metals
Analysis of San Luis Valley agricultural impacts
Data analysis and creation of final watershed report cards

FUN FACTS

  • A historic, large rock drill is difficult and heavy to hold! Rock-drill competitions still occur in Creede, Colorado, to showcase miners’ talent.
  • Beavers can plug up and flood wetlands by building dams of sticks. However, they can be deceived with large wire nets over drains called “beaver deceivers.”
  • Fire suppression has had detrimental effects on forest health and allowed the pine beetle to infiltrate Colorado’s forests.

Our class expresses gratitude to Cowie, Technical Director Darren Ceckanowicz, and Paraprofessional Hanna Ewell ’17 for teaching us how to do science, have fun, and be a team.

Annabelle O’Neill ’19 and Rosa Mallorson ’20 are biochemistry majors at Colorado College.

Incline is No Walk in the Park

Annie Engen ’19, who worked for the City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department this summer through Colorado College’s Public Interest Fellowship Program, undertook a side project that will be seen by hundreds of fitness enthusiasts. A mathematical economics major and Environmental Studies minor from Minneapolis, her project helped connect the dots between mathematics, a local hiking trail, and world-famous landmarks.

Engen created a safety sign for the Manitou Incline, a perpendicular trail on the remains of a former narrow gauge railway whose tracks washed out during a rock slide in 1990. The Incline, which gains more than 2,000 feet of elevation in less than a mile, has an average grade of 45 percent and is as steep as 68 percent in some places.

Engen’s sign lets people know that hiking the Incline “is not a walk in the park.” To put the Incline’s 2,744 steps in perspective, Engen’s sign notes that hiking the Incline is comparable to climbing the Eiffel Tower (twice), the Washington Monument (three times), the Statue of Liberty (six times), or the Empire State Building (once).

Read more about Engen’s PIFP work here.

 

CS Fine Arts Center, Migrant Exhibit Get National Recognition

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has been named the Best Gallery and Museum in Colorado, and one of the top 25 in the country by board of the American Art Awards.

Additionally, Don Coen’s exhibit of migrant workers, now on display at the museum and recently included in a Colorado College story, was featured April 8 on NBC Nightly News in a segment called “An Artist Paints the Nation’s Forgotten Migrants, One Canvas at a Time.”

Colorado College and the FAC are in the process of an historic alliance. The agreement between the two institutions calls for a four-year transition period to allow for careful planning and integration. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will retain its current name until July 1 of this year, when it will become known as the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.

Planting the Seeds of Art and Writing

Maggie Mehlman ’19, Sophia Pray ’19, and Jilly Gibbs ’20 sit in front of a large painting of a man and woman with boxes of strawberries and fields in the distance, part of artist Don Coen’s visiting migrant series on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Pray tells a group of fourth- and fifth-graders from nearby Taylor Elementary School that she likes the painting because it reminds her of California, where she is from.

“That’s good,” Mehlman says of Pray’s explanation as to why she likes the painting. “She didn’t just say ‘I like it’ or ‘it makes me happy,’ but told us why. She provided evidence for her personal connection to the art.”

David Figel ’20, Ana Ortiz-Mejias ’19, and Emily Gardner ’19 tell the students to look at various paintings in the museum, asking them to find one they make a connection with. Prompts for connections include: Which piece of art reminds you of yourself? Someone you know? A place you have been? A time when you felt a strong emotion?

Students put their hand on their head when they find a piece of art they connect to, then share their connections with their classmates. As they sit in a circle on the museum floor, Figel asks them what they learned.

“We learn more about each other when we share connections,” one student replies.

“You can always learn something new about somebody,” says another.

The 13 Colorado College students working with the elementary-school children are in Associate Chair and Lecturer in Education Kris Stanec’s Power of the Arts course, one of CC’s community-based-learning classes. Intertwined with the class was a project called “Multiple Narratives,” which fosters engagement with art through a writing curriculum that begins with students making connections between themselves and a piece of art.

The project also seeks to validate and support individual’s various narratives and relationships to art. “My approach challenges the common dominant narrative of museum education, in which the museum has the knowledge and visitors come to listen.” Stanec says.

Stanec is the Spring 2017 Mellon Faculty Fellow for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Museum. The fellowship supports Stanec’s work developing a curriculum to bring together CC students, Colorado Springs School District 11 teachers and students, and FAC docents with the museum’s collections. The Mellon grant supports the development of the Colorado College and Fine Arts Center alliance, and provides funding for supplies such as art cards, schools’ transportation and museum admissions, and pays for the near para-professional assistance of Paige Harari ’17, who has worked closely with Stanec on the project.

Every day during the first two weeks of Block 6, Stanec’s class visited Taylor Elementary (full name: Alice Bemis Taylor Elementary, a serendipitous tie-in with the Fine Arts Center), working with the students in a series of writer workshops. There they used art cards, or photographs, of pieces in the FAC’s permanent collection as writing prompts, engaging students with the art before they even entered the museum. The connections the students made with the artwork generated ideas, or “seeds” for their narrative pieces.

In his combined class fourth- and fifth-grade class at Taylor Elementary, Kyle Gilliam stresses the importance of taking a seed and growing it into a small moment, or snapshot. Working with the children, CC students taking Stanec’s class remind them to use emotion, the five senses, similes, and metaphors in their writing. The result: One girl selects a photo of a Western scene and writes, “Bang, bang! I hear the sounds of gunshots in my ears. Popcorn bursts with flavor inside my mouth.” She explains that the painting reminds her of watching Western movies with her grandmother.

After the two weeks with the CC class, Gilliam says improvement in his students’ writing was clearly evident. “Students went from a few sentences, mostly ‘telling’ about the art card, then transformed into ‘showing’ a wonderfully written narrative,” he says. Asked who benefits most from the CC-Taylor Elementary partnership, Gilliam says he sees it as a win-win for everyone. “I know that our young students benefit from the opportunity to interact with positive role models. Furthermore, this collaboration forms a connection between two learning communities that produces long-lasting benefits for all involved.”

The CC course culminated with a visit to the Fine Arts Center by the children, many of whom had never been there. Prior to the big day, FAC docents joined the CC education course, discussing research on how people learn in informal contexts. The CC students and museum docents used education theory to co-create museum experiences that would meet the goals of both elementary school teachers and museum educators.  Understanding how people learn enacted transformation that motivated viewers to look longer at the art.

“I was left speechless as I watched the students interact with art in a way that I’ve never seen before,” says Gilliam. “They were fully engaged and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and appreciated art in a new way.”

A highlight of the aptly named “Multiple Narratives” project was the elementary author-sharing portion of the venture, which took place at the FAC.

The Taylor Elementary students had been revising and rehearsing their art-inspired narratives based on the FAC art cards for two weeks. During their visit to the Fine Arts Center, Weston Taylor and Chris Bittner of CC’s ITS: Innovative Technology staff videoed each child as they read their narrative about their connection to a piece of art. The videos will preserve the students’ narratives and be available for other museum visitors to experience through a free augmented-reality app, Aurasma.

Aurasma will allow the students to view themselves reading their narratives in front of the actual piece of art that inspired it. And, even more importantly, they can share their experience with their family, as each student received a free family pass to the Fine Arts Center. Through the app, other visitors can use the students’ stories as models for finding their own connections to the artwork, Stanec says.

“My hope is that the elementary students’ videos as well as the CC students’ augmented reality ‘auras’ created as assignments in the class are accessible to museum visitors in the future, as well as expanded upon by community members, artists, and museum educators for additional exhibits,” she says. “If this technology and the writers’ workshop curriculum with art cards used in this Mellon-funded pilot program become a sustainable part of the FAC, we can continue to work toward the co-creation of multiple narratives beyond this project.”

Bañagale Composes Music for CC, FAC Production

The alliance between Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is striking a musical chord.

Colorado College Assistant Professor of Music Ryan Bañagale has composed the original score for “Enchanted April,” a production opening Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Fine Arts Center. The romantic comedy, based on the novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, is coming to the FAC for the first time, following 500 critically-acclaimed productions worldwide.

“I think this foreshadows the exciting ways that we can think about collaboration and innovation in the arts as we move forward with the CC and FAC alliance,” Bañagale says.

The music has been scored for a Colorado College student string quartet comprised of Anna Lynn-Palevsky ’18 and Naomi Sherman ’17, violin; Emily Fitzgerald ’20, viola; and Cirl Lee ’17, cello. In addition to the musicians, Max Sarkowsky ’20 and Caleb Cofsky ’17 have been assisting with the recording set-up and process, providing them with exposure to professional-level production techniques and procedures. The students have been recording in Packard Hall with the assistance of the FAC’s sound designer, Ben Heston.

Bañagale notes that there are more than a dozen individual cues, ranging from 10 seconds to several minutes in duration.  Says Bañagale of the score, “The interesting challenge has been how to sonically set the dreary mood of post-World War I London that dominates the first act with the lighter, brighter location of Act Two — a villa on the Italian coast.

An added benefit of the collaboration was the addition of the language skills of Amy Brooks, Tutt Library’s special collections coordinator and regional performing artist. Brooks, who often works as a dialect coach, met with the cast individually and in groups, helping them hone their upper-class British accents. She also coached three non-Italian-speaking actors for a show in which their characters speak fluent Italian. Says Brooks, “I see this alliance as presenting wonderful possibilities for cross-pollination.”

“Working collaboratively with the students, the FAC production team, Amy Brooks, and director Joye Levy has been a truly wonderful experience,” adds Bañagale.

An additional perk of the alliance is that Colorado College students can show up an hour prior to any performance and receive a free ticket (as available) by showing their CC ID.

“Enchanted April” runs Feb. 9-27, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Wide Community Input Gathered in CC, FAC Planning Process

The first major phase in the strategic planning process undertaken by Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has wrapped up, with nearly 1,600 people participating in the listening and information gathering process.

Four community listening sessions were held — two at Colorado College and two at the Fine Arts Center — as well as a series of small-group focus sessions and large group discussions, in order to seek input from various community constituents regarding the re-envisioning and redefining of CC and the FAC’s role in the arts in the region. In addition, more than 800 comments have been recorded from the listening sessions, comment cards, and online comment forms.

“I am so pleased with the number of community members who have participated in this process, and grateful for the care and thought that were captured in their comments. This input gives everyone involved in planning an excellent foundation for moving forward,” says Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler.

“We’re encouraged by the outpouring of thoughtful input from the community into this important process,” says Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center CEO David Dahlin. “The value of the community’s perspectives can’t be overstated as our mission continues to be primarily to the community at large. Hearing from so many what they value about the FAC and what they hope for the future will inform this next phase as we begin to develop programmatic directions that integrate the needs and hopes of both the CC community and the Colorado Springs community.”

The community comments are now being compiled, reviewed, and considered in the next phase of the strategic planning process. The subcommittees are reviewing the emerging themes for each of the Fine Arts Center’s three program areas (click on links to see the emerging themes in each area: museum, Bemis School of Art, and performing arts) and are beginning to draft program planning.

The community comments and feedback reveal several overlapping themes in the various subcommittees’ work. These include:

  • Using the unique opportunities presented by the CC-FAC alliance to serve as a bridge to and between various communities
  • Increasing access to and engagement with broader communities
  • Preserving and enhancing programming for new and existing communities
  • Leveraging resources and proximity of programs between CC and the FAC

On Feb. 1, 2017, the draft program plans will be shared with the broader community. From there, the timeline is as follows:

  • March 15, 2017: Subcommittees submit final program plans to the Strategic Planning Committee
  • April 2017: Strategic Planning Committee shares the draft comprehensive plan with the broader community
  • May 1, 2017: Strategic Planning Committee submits the final comprehensive plan to the Strategic Plan Oversight Committee
  • On or before June 30, 2017: Strategic Plan Oversight Committee approves the plan

More information is available at https://www.coloradocollege.edu/csfac/

Indy: CC, FAC Net $3.5 Million in Grants for Educational Initiatives

Colorado Springs Independent covers announcement of grants from three foundations.

10 Things About: Drew Cavin, Director of the Office of Field Study

Drew Cavin
This is a new position at CC. What does the job entail?

My job and the new Office of Field Study were created to support faculty to teach off-campus field study courses.  I plan to do this through logistical and administrative means, as well as connecting faculty to pedagogical support and in-the-field resources. 

How do you think your position will impact CC?
I hope that my position will lead to an enhanced conversation about field study and all the amazing possibilities of the Block Plan. I hope to get more students out of the classroom into memorable, transformative academic experiences where they see the world in new ways and connect deeply to the material they are studying.

What are some of your goals?
I hope to get more courses involved in innovative off-campus experiences, and I want to showcase the amazing courses being taught at CC to the world. I plan to support off-campus experience by holding workshops, easing the way for faculty to do field trips from an administrative standpoint, and also finding funds for faculty to do trips.

You started here in August; what have you noticed about CC?
People here, from students to faculty to staff, believe that anything is possible. It’s amazing to have tremendous resources, but it’s all for naught if people don’t have vision.  There are plenty of amazing people at CC with no shortage of vision.

Tell us a bit about your background before CC.
I grew up in Irving, Texas. I went to Texas A&M University, fell in love with the outdoors and my future wife. We married as undergrads and then went on to grad school together at Clemson University, and then back to Texas A&M to do Ph.D.s. She put school off when we had our first child and I finished my degree in outdoor recreation and adventure education and went into the job market. I landed my first job at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and later moved to Young Harris College in Young Harris, Georgia. All of my degrees are in recreation and parks, and my dissertation research was on the intersection of race and outdoor recreation. I’ve led
numerous off-campus trips, focused on all aspects of outdoor recreation in society, and led immersive courses in outdoor leadership, teaching group and personal development through adventure activities.

What are some personal or professional experiences you’ve had that play into your current role?
Personally, I remember having amazing learning experiences off campus when I was a student. The camaraderie with the other students and faculty, along with mind-opening learning experiences are the things that I try to consider when thinking about field study. Professionally, I am still in touch with students I took on field trips almost 8 years ago, and the experiences those students had still resonate with them personally and professionally. It is tremendously rewarding to be a part of something like that.

Who/what was the biggest influence on you?
My wife Jenny was actually a huge catalyst for me to pursue graduate school. She inspired a C+ student to go ahead and apply and after the first week of graduate studies, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in higher ed. It should also be noted that the departments we applied to really wanted her to come, and I pretty much rode in on her coattails.  I also read a lot of Edward Abbey, and his perspective on nature and preservation really influenced my desire to experience and protect and learn from our wild places.

What do you do with your personal time?
I spend time with my wonderful wife and our three rambunctious kids, Sam, 8; Lucy, 5; and Violet, 2½. We ride bikes, hike and camp, and try to get into adventures.  When I get a moment for myself, I spend it riding my bike on back roads or rock climbing.

What is your passion?
My passion is for the transformational experiences that young people can have in college. These can happen in class or at campus events or on block breaks with friends. College is one of the only rites of passage in our society, and I am passionate about students going off into the world as responsible, empathetic citizens. Students who get to see and experience the world firsthand, I believe, have a more conscious, open-minded demeanor, and tend to contribute to the common good with their lives. I am passionate about helping students realize these experiences.

Wild card: Can you tell us something about yourself that might be surprising?
My wife and I attempted a cross-country trip on a tandem bike (before kids) from Maine to Seattle.  Unfortunately we crashed about two weeks in and could not continue. We had gone about 1,000 miles and experienced a tremendous amount of kindness from the people we met and appreciation for nature from the sights we saw.