Posts by lweddell

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.

Extension Of Coverage For Dependent Children Up To Age 26

Colorado College will voluntarily implement the dependent children provision of federal health care reform, which states that employers must allow the coverage of child dependents, regardless of marital status, up to the age of 26. Coverage for these dependents must begin no later than the college’s next plan year, beginning July 1, 2011. However, with the cooperation of Great West Health Care, Delta Dental of Colorado, Eye Med Vision, and The Standard, we will offer the extension of the benefit starting September 1, 2010.

A month-long open enrollment period from August 1-31, 2010 will be solely for allowing plan enrollment for any child dependent(s) whose coverage ended, who were denied coverage, or who were not eligible for coverage at the initial date of enrollment because they did not meet the eligibility requirements at the time.

Coverage will be extended for dependent children up to age 26, regardless of tax dependency or student status. However, child dependents who are eligible for other employer-sponsored group coverage will be excluded from this open enrollment period. 

Please watch the staff and faculty digests in August for more information or visit the benefits website: www.employeebenefitswebsite.com/coloradocollege,
id: coloradocollege, password: benefits. If you have questions, please contact Shaleen Prehm, human resources manager and benefits administrator, at 389-6422.

Summer Reading List Dwindling? Check Out Class of 2014 Assignments

What are college students reading this summer?  In preparation for New Student Orientation, CC’s  Class of 2014 is reading “Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World ” by Tracy Kidder.

Popular themes at other colleges  include the Middle East, climate change, social justice, race in America, world politics, and the classics. Here’s a peek at what other colleges have assigned their incoming freshmen. Who knows, you might want to add one or two to your own summer reading list.

  • The College of Wooster: “Children of Dust” by Ali Eteraz. This memoir is about his coming of age in Islam as a resident of rural Pakistan, the American Bible Belt, and the modern Middle East.
  • Saint Michael’s College: “Field Notes from a Catastrophe” by Elizabeth Kolbert. The subtitle of this 2006 book tells more about its focus: “Man, Nature, and Climate Change.”
  • University of Dayton: “When the Emperor was Divine” by Julie Otsuka. The book details the lives of Japanese-American family members who were interned during World War II.
  • Lehigh University: “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson. The book details how the author came to build schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County: “The Translator” by Daoud Hari. The memoir reads like a novel and speaks about the horrors of the conflict in Darfur.
  • Bentley University: “A Hope in the Unseen” by Ron Suskind. The book describes the journey of Cedric Jennings, a young African American male, from the classrooms of an inner city Washington, D.C., high school into the world of higher education at Brown University.
  • St. John’s College: “Iliad,” attributed to Homer.  Set in the Trojan War, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles.

KRCC News Director Andrea Chalfin Wins Two Awards

KRCC News Director Andrea Chalfin has received two awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI).

Chalfin received second place in the news feature category for “Confronting Suicide in El Paso County and Colorado Springs.” She also received second place in multimedia presentation for “Following the Harvest.”

PRNDI held their annual conference in Louisville, Ky. KRCC, Colorado College’s NPR-member station, won in Division C, featuring organizations with one or two full time news staff. The award-winning broadcasts can be heard at:
http://krccnews.org/rccnews/confronting-suicide-in-el-paso-county-and-colorado-springs/2009/05/19/5970
and
 http://krccnews.org/rccnews/following-the harvest/2009/08/27/6822

David Weddle Publishes Book on Miracles in World Religions

Weddle bookProfessor of Religion David Weddle has recently published a book on miracles in world religions. The book, “Miracles: Wonder and Meaning in World Religions,” examines the stories of miracles among the gurus, rebbes, bodhisattvas, saints, and imams of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam through the centuries. Finding a common ground in the definition that “a miracle is an event of transcendent power that arouses wonder and carries religious significance for those who witness it or hear or read about it,” he examines each tradition through the same lens. Weddle explores the mysterious healings in the waters at Lourdes, and those affected by evangelists, and explains why Sunnis, Shiites, and Sufis disagree about the nature of miracles in Islam.

Jay Engeln Named Director of CC Alumni and Parent Relations

By Steve Elder, Vice President for Advancement
I am very pleased to let you know that Jay Engeln ’74, P’03 will serve as the next director of alumni and parent relations for Colorado College. Jay will begin July 1.

 Since graduating from CC as a biology major, Jay has brought energetic and wise leadership to a broad career as an educator, coach, and community builder. His passion for and commitment to Colorado College and the Colorado Springs community have remained strong since his graduation.

During the 1990s, Jay served as the principal of Colorado Springs’ Palmer High School, where he was widely recognized as having a transformational impact. In the early 2000s he served as the founding principal of Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch. Since 2002, he has been in demand internationally as a speaker and educational consultant on school/business partnerships and school reform issues.

Jay currently serves on CC’s Alumni Association Board. Jay and his wife Priscilla ’73 are members of CC’s 1874 Society. Their daughter, Anna Engeln, graduated from CC in 2003.  In 2000, CC awarded Jay an honorary doctorate, and in 2006 the college inducted him into its Athletic Hall of Fame.

Jay has served in board leadership positions in a number of organizations in the Colorado Springs community, including Colorado Springs Downtown, El Pomar Youth Sports Park, and The Resource Exchange (building independence for people with developmental disabilities). He is also an instructor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. 

As a senior member of CC’s advancement division , Jay adds to an already strong management team, which includes Diane Benninghoff ’68 (assistant vice president for advancement); Jay Maloney ’75 (chief development officer); Lisa Ellis ’82 (senior advancement officer and director of annual giving); Cathey Barbee (director of advancement services); and Nicole Rivet (director of foundation and agency relations, who chaired the search committee so successfully).

‘Passion for Learning,’ ‘Freshness of Mind’ Sought in New CC Admission Policy

Colorado College will adopt an alternate testing policy beginning with the Class of 2015 (fall first-year class entering August 2011) and transfer students entering in January 2011.

The current policy for Colorado College states that all applicants are required to submit one of the following:

  • The SAT Reasoning Test; OR
  • The American College Testing assessment test (ACT)

The new policy will add a third option for all applicants:

  • Three exams of the applicant’s choice chosen from a list of acceptable SAT or ACT sub scores, SAT II Subject tests, AP or IB exams, or the TOEFL test for international students. Students choosing this new option must include at least one quantitative test and one verbal or writing test. 

The new testing policy will allow students greater flexibility in demonstrating their unique strengths and mastery of subjects, while allowing the Admission Committee to remain committed to focusing on both objective and subjective criteria.

More students in the United States and across the world have access to AP and IB classes, and a growing number of students are choosing to take these tests. This group also includes many underrepresented students – including first-generation to college students and American ethnic minorities.

“While we recognize that standardized test scores have a place in our evaluation of applicants, we are most interested in making sure that we continue to have a diverse range of students who bring with them diverse perspectives on the liberal arts and sciences along with that all-important excitement for learning and an appetite for engagement,” says Michael Grace, chair of the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid. “This new policy encourages applications from a wider range of high-school students. We hope this will aid our Admissions staff in finding and enrolling the best possible student body for CC.”

“This is an exciting step for Colorado College,” says Mark Hatch, vice president for enrollment.  “The college carefully assesses the strengths of each applicant using a detailed evaluation of both quantitative and qualitative measures.  Beyond traditional numbers such as grades, class rank and test scores, the Admission Committee values the sometimes more elusive qualities of passion for learning, freshness of mind and intellectual curiosity. It is these attributes that often transfer to success in our innovative Block Plan curriculum.”

Colorado College, founded two years before Colorado became a state, has a pioneering history of innovation exhibited by its unique Block Plan, wherein students take, and professors teach, one course at a time. 

After three years of conversation and an extensive review of internal and external reports and data on alternate and optional testing policies and the role of standardized tests in college admission, members of the Committee on Admission and Financial Aid at Colorado College decided to adopt the new policy. For more information, go to: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/admission/firstyear/testingFAQ.asp

Mathias Hall Gets a Facelift

By John Lauer, Director of Residential Life and Housing

Mathias Hall, one of Colorado College’s largest residence halls, is undergoing a long-anticipated and much-needed renovation during the summer break. The improvements will enhance the quality of life for all Mathias Hall residents. The renovation will increase the flexibility of common spaces; enhance community with more inviting gathering spots; demonstrate a commitment to sustainability by utilizing low-flow water fixtures, recycled content materials, Energy Star appliances, and energy efficient lighting; and integrate technology upgrades to improve opportunities for students to collaborate on projects and assignments. Specific improvements include: replacement of the fire sprinkler system, new flooring for common areas and bathrooms, the creation of private dressing spaces in the shower areas, the creation of open lounges that bring natural light into the building’s core, and upgraded lighting fixtures for all residence hall rooms and corridors.

An exciting aspect of the project is the expansion of the college’s Living Learning Communities (LLCs) from one to four. The program is a collaboration between multiple offices within both student life and academics.  The purpose of an LLC is to provide an intentional housing community, including a dedicated kitchen and lounge area, for a group of students who would like to develop their knowledge around a shared interest. Although each community must abide by Colorado College guidelines and policies, each community also develops its own standards of living and program plans with the assistance of a staff advisor. Students who applied to participate in next year’s communities had the option of choosing among four different themes: Grassroots Organizing, The Spirit of Non-Violence, Gender and Sexuality, and Global. 

Planning and design for the renovations began in October, and construction commenced on May 14. The project is scheduled to be completed no later than August 16, as residence halls open on August 28 for the 2010-11 academic year.

Tip Ragan Gives Commencement Address for UT’s History Department

graduation-2010-coffin-ragan-millerCC History Professor Bryant “Tip” Ragan gave the commencement address at the University of Texas department of history’s Class of 2010 commencement ceremony.

Ragan, who received a B.A. from UT’s history department in 1981, told the audience that even after nearly 30 years, “Talking in front of my former professors, some of them here, and friends and colleagues is particularly nerve wracking. I feel as if I am going to be graded again.”

Almost 200 graduates of the participated in the ceremony on May 21, bringing hundreds of family and friends with them. Among the graduates was a man who took 52 years to earn his undergraduate degree. (See below.)

Ragan was introduced by History Associate Professor Martha Newman, chair of the department of religious studies, who met Ragan when they were fellow graduate students while studying in Paris.

She recounted the Thanksgiving dinner they shared in France. He had called to let her know that he’d found a turkey, which was very rare for that country. But there was a catch — he needed her assistance in preparing it for dinner. And by the way, it still had all its feathers. “He is a person who always brings people together,” Newman said. “He has the ability to get people to do things for him, all the while making it seem like it is to their benefit.” That, she said, is a skill that administrators can always use and seek to cultivate.

Ragan told the history grads, “Your liberal arts education has given you the tools in order to succeed, analytic, communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills.”

He also told them, “We could spend countless hours talking about the wonders of history, but you guys want to graduate. So I’m just going to mention three important ways that I think that history shapes us as individuals.

First, history stokes our passions. Second, it encourages us to be more cosmopolitan by introducing us to historical subjects who are very different from us and consequently makes us more open-minded and tolerant. And third, it demands that we be honest—with ourselves, with our historical subjects, and with our own contemporaries.”

His commencement address can be read in its entirety at: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/history/_files/downloads/news/spring10/prof-ragan-graduation-speech-10.pdf

The graduate was Dr. Harvey Michael “Mike” Jones, who currently teaches pathology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine. He had started at the University of Texas in 1958 intending to become a lawyer, but changed his mind after three years and decided to become a medical doctor. He scrambled to take the necessary science courses in his remaining year. So with four years of coursework, but not his bachelor’s, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis waived the undergraduate degree requirement and admitted him.

After eight years as a Navy physician, he had a private practice for 29 years before joining the UNC faculty. But his love of history — especially medical history, continued to grow over this time, and three years ago, he decided to complete his bachelor’s degree in history, saying “it just felt like things were incomplete.”

A Costa Rican Sabbatical Yields Many Surprises for Mark Hatch Family

By Greg Collette ’12 

There were 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls from howler monkeys, a two-mile walk (each way) to the grocery store, no television or Internet, and poisonous snakes. Costa Rica, besides the poisonous snakes, was the perfect place for Mark Hatch, Colorado College’s vice president for enrollment management, to take his administrative sabbatical.

            For Hatch and his family, it was the trip of a lifetime.

            After a quarter of a century working in admissions at four private colleges, Hatch was ready for a break. Feeling, sometimes, due to the cyclical nature of admissions that he was running on a treadmill, Hatch wanted an adventure. He wanted a place where he could write and reflect, a place where he and his family could reconnect and not be distracted by the trappings of American life. A sabbatical in the small town of Monteverde in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, offered the perfect opportunity.

            Established in the 1950s by Quakers who opposed the American draft during the Korean War, the town of Monteverde is considered one of Costa Rica’s Seven Wonders. The town is well-known to ecotourists for its nature preserve, Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde. The 26,000 acres, set aside by the Quakers in the 1970s, draws 70,000 visitors a year. Despite the influx of large numbers of international tourists, the town still remains relatively small and Costa Rican with only 7,000 residents – of which only 700 are American.

            Life in Monteverde was nothing like the Hatches had ever experienced. Their house had little in the way of the conveniences of living in the United States.  In addition to no Internet and television, they also had no car. But without the normal distractions separating everyone, Hatch and his family were able to reconnect. After dinner, the kids couldn’t retreat to the TV or computer. Instead, the time between dinner and bedtime was filled with family readings and storytelling.

            Outside of their home, everything was completely different. Instead of squirrels on their front porch, often there were toucans. One morning, Hatch recalls, there were eight toucans sitting on their porch chatting away. Although the flora and fauna were the most visible differences, the language and culture were the most daunting. For Hatch’s wife and daughters, they posed little challenge. Hatch’s wife knew Spanish and was taking classes in it; by the time they returned to America in December, Hatch’s 8-year-old had an 11th grade proficiency in the language.

            For Hatch, however, it was a different story. Having taken French growing up, attempting to communicate with many of the locals was nearly impossible at first. By the end of his stay, he was able to let a taxi driver know where he wanted to go, but often, his 8-year-old would translate for him, an experience he describes as “a proud one for a dad, but horrible for a 45-year-old man.”

            The language barrier did not stop Hatch from engaging in the community while in Monteverde. He began working at the school his daughters attended, the pre-K through 11th grade Centro de Educación Creativa, or the Cloud Forest School. Sitting on a pristine 106-acre campus located in the rainforest, the 200-student school focuses heavily on environmental stewardship.

            Hatch taught courses on environmental education at the bilingual school. He spent 15-20 hours a week teaching both inside and outside of the classroom. For Hatch the courses he taught were a great way to engage with the students. They spent time in the local forests, doing everything from planting trees to testing water samples. And despite a student body that is 90 percent Costa Rican, Hatch found little trouble communicating with the students, which he credits to them, saying that the students were extremely good to him.

            It seemed Hatch’s sabbatical was going to be spent doing things that were completely different from what he was used to at home. In August, the school hired an interim director after the previous director left. The new director was a local parent and did not have any administrative experience. It was not long before she asked Hatch to come in and look at the school budget. They realized that the school was in serious financial trouble. Almost overnight, Hatch’s 15-20 hours of work per week doubled. The long hours, though tiring, were not a burden.

            “Helping the school became a huge passion,” he said.

            Originally, he planned on spending much of his time writing and reflecting, but working to keep the school from closing became a huge priority, second only to his family.  Yet, Hatch still gained much insight from the experience.

            “It made me incredibly appreciative of CC,” he said. When Hatch left for his sabbatical, CC had just endured one of its toughest economic years in recent memory. In fact, Hatch had been approved for his sabbatical in May 2008, but with the recession hitting the country and the school, he decided to defer his leave until the following year.

             Although he already was amazed at how CC handled the financial crisis during the 2008-09 school year, his time in Costa Rica put a new light on how well CC was handling the economic recession. His experience also made him miss his work back at CC. Despite the cold welcome of January weather when he returned to campus, Hatch said it’s good to be back helping students begin their futures here at Colorado College.