Posts by lweddell

Get to Know: Inger Bull

Inger Bull was in her senior year of college before she figured out what she wanted to do, and, unfortunately, it had nothing to do with her major. She had nearly completed her major in math and actuarial science at Kearney State College in Nebraska before discovering her passions lay in literature and foreign travel.

“But in those days, no one asked you what your passion was,” said Bull, CC’s new director of international programs. “I was good in math and statistics, and they were pushing females to go into those fields. That was where the demand, job security, and salary were. People were trying to help, but really, it was a disservice.”

After graduation, she took off for the University of Plymouth in England, where she studied – and traveled, and met people, and experienced new food and new languages and new cultures. “It was my year of self-discovery,” she said, especially for someone born and raised in Gretna, Neb. “It was the best liberal arts education I could have received – very interdisciplinary.”

While traveling, she visited Heidelberg, Germany, and wandered through the famous university. “I loved the atmosphere there. I would walk by classrooms and students talking with professors, and I felt completely at home, even though I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. I felt so comfortable there. That’s when I knew I wanted to work at a college or university.”

She returned to Nebraska and earned an MBA at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, then went on to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln get a Ph.D. in higher education administration with a specialty in international education. Along the way, she spent a year at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. The time in Australia helped shape her thesis, titled “Faculty Exchanges and the Internationalization of the Undergraduate Curriculum in Australia and the United States.”

Bull wanted other students to have the same transformative experiences abroad as she had, so she went into international higher education administration. She worked about 18 months at the University of Nebraska’s international affairs office before becoming the director of international education at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln.

“I can’t imagine being liberally educated without traveling, even if it is within the United States. It is vital to the understanding of differences, and not being threatened by those differences,” she said. “Experiential learning is a key player in critical thinking.

“I love to watch students and see the gradual transformation in them. And it is gradual; it doesn’t happen all in one year. Sometimes the process is ongoing for years and years afterward.”

At Nebraska Wesleyan, Bull developed and co-taught two adjunct courses, one titled “Preparing for Education Abroad” and the other, “Processing the Experience Abroad.” The first one dealt with pre-departure preparations and cross-cultural communication; the second was Bull’s favorite, a writing-intensive class in which students dissected their experience abroad. “The course went way beyond asking the students to evaluate the program,” Bull said. “We asked students what their experiences meant given their host culture in comparison to their home culture. A lot of them had to relearn how to be back on campus and in our own culture. Over and over again, we saw convictions that the students had held since childhood dissolve when faced with other cultures.”

Traveling, she says, gives one a better understanding of reality. She would use one of her favorite quotes from Aldous Huxley’s “Jesting Pilate” to begin the Processing class:

So the journey is over and I am back again where I started, richer by much experience and poorer by many exploded convictions, many perished certainties. For convictions and certainties are too often the concomitants of ignorance…When one is traveling, convictions are mislaid as easily as spectacles; but unlike spectacles, they are not easily replaced.

Bull sees a major difference between the students at Nebraska Wesleyan and CC. At the former, 92 percent of the students were from Nebraska, few had been abroad before, and parents often needed to be convinced that study abroad was safe and beneficial.  “At Nebraska Wesleyan, we were working on building that ethos in, cultivating an expectation that students go abroad. At CC, that’s a given expectation,” she said. “Most of the students here have been abroad before, and fully expect study abroad to be part of their college experience.”

Bull started at CC in May, but spent June in Scandinavia with her husband, Anthony, an exercise physiologist at Creighton University, who leads a class there every other year. This year they went to Finland, Denmark, and Sweden, with Sweden being one of Bull’s favorite places: her mother was born and raised there before moving as an adult to Nebraska. In 2009 they spent the fall semester in Stockholm, where her husband was on sabbatical.

Bull’s husband is still at Creighton, and so far it’s been mostly a one-way commute: He comes to Colorado. “I love the climate here,” she said. Colorado is conducive to so much that Bull enjoys doing. A certified Pilates instructor, former college volleyball player, and lifelong fitness advocate, she especially enjoys jogging and biking (in fact, she and her husband own a tandem). Her other passion is reading; Bull just finished “Ludlow” because she felt she was part of the incoming class also. “I can’t finish a book without having the next one lined up,” she said. One of her favorite genres is historical fiction – especially when set in foreign countries.

In a moment of serendipity, Bull read Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium Trilogy” while living in Stockholm on the island of Södermalm, where the main characters live and much of the action takes place.  At the end of the semester she took the Stockholm City Museum’s “Millennium Tour” and traced the geographic locations of the books’ setting.  “I was in book geek heaven.”

Donated Butterfly Sculpture Alights at CC Children’s Center

There’s a new symbol of caring and creativity at the Colorado College Children’s Center: a brightly painted butterfly.

The 8-foot-tall metal butterfly sculpture, donated by Laurel McLeod ’69 and her husband, Jim Allen, is an appropriate image for the center.

McLeod, the former vice president for student life and later special assistant to the president, purchased the butterfly last fall at an auction sponsored by the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs. The “Butterfly & Friends” event is a community-service initiative created by the Rotary Club to raise awareness and funds to serve children and promote the arts in local schools. Participating artists contribute by transforming large-scale metal butterfly “templates” into works of art. Each transformed butterfly sculpture is then auctioned off, with more $100,000 being raised in the first three years of the program.

McLeod’s butterfly sculpture, titled “Doing Yoga with the Rotary,” was painted by local artist Kat Tudor, ‘77; her husband, Bob Tudor, created the whimsical design, in which the drawing on each side of the butterfly’s wing is a mirror image of the other.

McLeod wasn’t sure where to put her newly purchased sculpture when Debby Fowler, CC’s development officer for stewardship, suggested the Children’s Center. McLeod immediately knew that was the perfect location for it, as the Children’s Center is a place she deeply values. The sculpture was installed in early summer, once the ground was prepared for the base, and is located outside the fence on the north side of the center, where it overlooks playground equipment and a painted cow.

McLeod was a member of the first committee that sought to establish an on-campus children’s care center; as a single mother and the first CC woman administrator to have a baby and continue working, she felt such a center was vital to recruiting and retaining quality staff and faculty. (A second incarnation of the committee did succeed in getting an on-site children’s center established in 1987.)

McLeod took her younger daughter to the Children’s Center for several years. “The quality of care was amazing, and education was part of the curriculum,” she said. She recalls linguistics classes, developmental psychology classes, and drama classes working with the staff of Children’s Center. “It’s just a great place for creative development,” McLeod said.

It’s the creative development aspect that makes the site so perfect for the butterfly sculpture: The Children’s Center provides a safe, nurturing cocoon for the children, and encourages a creative metamorphosis for each child.

The next butterfly auction will be held Sept. 17 at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort; for more information go to: http://www.artsandfriends.org/Register.htm

New Arbor Raises Bench’s Profile on Campus

A bench located between Cutler and Ticknor halls has gained greater visibility on campus, thanks to the addition of a striking vine-covered arbor.

The bench was given to CC by W. Robert Brossman’s children in his memory following his death in 1997, and is inscribed “W. R. Brossman, Vice President of Colorado College 1956—1981, Pioneer and Champion of College Development.”

The stone bench was designed by Carl Reed, CC professor emeritus of art, and installed in 2001.

The Brossman children established the original fund, which paid for the design, construction, and placement of the bench. However, there was a small amount left over in the fund.

Recently, the Brossman siblings sought to lessen the starkness of the bench and give it a softer, more welcoming feel. CC’s facilities services came up with the idea of the wood arbor encased in a canopy of vines, and, using the remaining funds, they completed the additional work  this summer.

Get to know: Jermyn Davis

There is no “normal day” for Jermyn Davis, chief of staff for new Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler.

Davis, who started when Tiefenthaler took the helm on July 1, previously worked in the president’s office at Wake Forest University, so he knows how hectic the job can be. “I lived three minutes from campus, and in those three minutes, my life could drastically change,” he said.

It’s a good thing he’s used to having his day turn on a dime. Davis oversees the daily functions of the office of the president, a job that entails a wide variety of responsibilities. Among them: helping the president develop and implement strategic initiatives, coordinating senior staff meetings, serving as a liaison between senior administrators and other campus and external constituents, overseeing the presidential staff and budget, working with the board of trustees, coordinating special projects, and representing the president on various college committees. In between, he commutes back and forth from Denver. (The commuting will end in early September, when the apartment he has rented in Colorado Springs becomes available.)

“Some people may see the chief of staff as the person behind the throne, but that is not the case,” Davis said. “I love working with Jill because that is what you do – work with her. She’s that way with everyone, very collaborative. Of course, I know she is in charge, but it is great to be able to see her as more of a partner, colleague, and mentor.”

One of the things he most likes about his job is that it allows him to help people solve problems. “If there’s a problem, my reaction is ‘let’s deal with it; let’s fix it.’ I know I can’t solve everything on my own, but we can get a lot done through collaboration and teamwork,” he said.

Davis worked with Tiefenthaler on a variety of projects at Wake Forest, including an effort to start a childcare center on campus, initiatives to increase faculty-student engagement, an assessment of student life policies, and the creation of new spaces on campus.

He’s looking forward to having students back on campus and having the academic year begin. “What we do is for the students. If you lose that part of the vision, you’re not doing your job,” he said.  “Right now I have the opportunity to be in a place to help Jill and CC succeed.

“I want people to see me as someone they can go to for answers, and not get the runaround,” he said. “I want people to know they can say anything; they don’t have to filter it when talking with me. I will be accessible, and I believe in an open-door policy.”

Born and raised in Atlanta, Davis graduated from Wake Forest with a double major in Chinese and political science. He didn’t intend to major in Chinese, but since he had studied the language at the International Baccalaureate high school he attended, he decided to take Chinese to fulfill his language requirement. “I fell in love with it,” he said. “I had amazing professors, and I also had the opportunity to spend a summer in Beijing.”

As for political science, Davis said he always loved politics. “I like the data collection and the numerical aspect of it. I like studying what makes people do what they do; what gives them power and how they manipulate that power. It’s interesting to look at different events, such as the recent uprisings in Libya and Egypt and ask ‘Why there, and not somewhere else?’ ” Another area of interest is public policy and its influence on various aspects of life. He recently traveled to Liberia, a country with minimal infrastructure and devastated by decades of civil war, as part of a five-person team from Wake Forest.  The group was there to assess the possibility of a partnership between Wake Forest and the University of Liberia. “I know it is cliché, but it is interesting to see how much we take for granted: the ability to have constant electricity, running water, opening and closing windows, “ he said. “We saw that we have the capacity to do a lot for their institution by doing, relatively, so little.

Although Davis is enthusiastic about Chinese and political science, he almost didn’t major in either subject. He spent his first year of college at the Juilliard School, where he planned to study the bass. He left after a year, realizing it wasn’t for him. “I wanted a more well-rounded education; I didn’t want to be tied to one discipline. I wanted to study something that could relate to other areas, and not be one dimensional. I wanted to lead a life in which I could think critically; I wanted to get to know my professors.” He paused, then added, “I sound so CC. But it’s just what CC does so well.”

He recently attended the Aspen Music Festival and heard Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor, “Resurrection.” After the concert, he thought to himself, “Why did I give this up? That could be me.” But on the drive back, he realized he would not have the same appreciation for the concert if he were a professional bass player. “I realized I love my life now,” he said.

It wasn’t a difficult decision to move to Colorado, said Davis, a movie buff who also enjoys the arts and theater. He said there is a young feeling to Colorado Springs, and a warm and friendly feeling at the college. “The college has so many strengths,” he said. “The faculty members are so engaged. You can tell they love teaching and care for the students. The CC staff is extremely supportive, and the students are amazingly creative and talented. And then, of course, there’s Pikes Peak.”

 On his initial trip to the campus, he visited Garden of the Gods. “It was beautiful. I took a photo and texted it to Jill, saying ‘Now I know why you and Kevin decided to come here.’ “

One thing Davis is very much looking forward to is skiing. “I am dying to ski,” he said. “I can’t wait to learn how.”

Economics Professor Larry Stimpert Publishes New Book on Strategic Thinking

Colorado College Professor of Economics and Business Larry Stimpert has published a new book, “Strategic Thinking: Today’s Business Imperative.” The book provides a realistic picture of the dynamic and complex process of strategic management in organizations. Written from the perspective of a manager, the book builds on theories of managerial and organizational knowledge that have had a powerful influence on many business fields over the last two decades.  However, “Strategic Thinking” also focuses on how managers understand their business environments, assess and marshal their firms’ resources, and strive for advantage in the competitive marketplace by examining economic, structural, and managerial explanations for firm performance.

Stimpert has taught at the Korean University Business School and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Prior to entering the academic field, he worked in the railroad industry and in a variety of marketing, forecasting, and economic analysis positions.
The book, published by Routledge, is co-authored by Julie Chesley, formerly of the CC economics department and now assistant professor of organization theory and applied behavioral science at the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University, and Irene Duhaime, senior associate dean and professor at Georgia State University.

‘Western Skies’ Episode Wins First Place in National Competition

KRCC, Colorado College’s NPR-member station, took first place in the Public Radio News Directors, Inc., competition with an episode produced on the news show “Western Skies.” The episode, titled “Agriculture,” won in the Best News/Public Affairs Program category in the “small newsroom” division. The show, produced by news director Andrea Chalfin and Noel Black, originally aired on Sept. 5, 2010.

KRCC’s “Western Skies” also received a second-place award from the Colorado Associated Press in the Documentary category for the same episode. The Associated Press competition was among large market stations and not limited to public stations. The “Agriculture” episode, which sought to connect listeners with the people who produce food, interviewed people ranging from those who advocate community-supported agriculture to traditional ranchers. The full episode can be heard at: http://radiocoloradocollege.org/2010/09/western-skies-september-5-2010-agriculture/

Board of Trustees Meeting Action

The Board of Trustees voted on May 20, 2011, in favor of amending the college bylaws, effective as of July 1, 2011, to add “gender identity, gender expression” as an additional category for protection in Article IX “Equal Opportunity Statement” of the bylaws and in the college’s anti-discrimination policy. The bylaws state that any such vote is not effective until expiration of a 30-day advance notice requirement of the resolution amending the bylaws. The draft resolution for the Gender Identity Bylaws Amendment was provided to the trustees at the May 21, 2011 plenary session. The 30-day advance notice requirement for the Gender Identity Bylaws Amendment has now passed. The Bylaws Amendment will now be effective on July 1, 2011.

Henry Fricke’s Research Helps Determine Dinosaur Body Temperatures

Researchers have developed a new way of determining the body temperatures of dinosaurs, providing new insights into whether dinosaurs were cold-or warm-blooded.

A paper co-written by  Associate Geology Professor Henry Fricke discusses the techniques used to determine the body temperature of animals that have been extinct for 150 million years.

By analyzing the teeth of sauropods — long-tailed, long-necked dinosaurs that were the biggest land animals ever to have lived — the scientists found that these dinosaurs were nearly as warm as most modern mammals. The paper can be viewed at: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/06/22/science.1206196

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation’s division of earth sciences

Anne Hyde’s New Book Reassesses Critical Period of Western History

Anne Hyde, professor of history and Southwest studies, recently published “Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860,” part of a five-volume series that reassesses the entire field of Western history.

The book, published by the University of Nebraska Press, makes clear that the Louisiana Purchase did not involve virgin wilderness discovered by virtuous Anglo entrepreneurs. Rather, the United States was a newcomer in a place already complicated by vying empires.

The period covered in Hyde’s book, 1800-1860, spans the fur trade, Mexican War, gold rushes, and the Overland Trail, usually very male-dominated fields of study. Hyde took a different approach, and, using letters and business records, documented the broad family associations that crossed national and ethnic boundaries. “These folks turned out to be almost entirely people of great wealth and status who loved and married across racial and cultural lines. It turns out that the West of that period is really a mixed race world that made perfect cultural and economic sense until national ideas made that cultural choice impossible in the 1850s,” Hyde said.

“Empires, Nations, and Families” reveals how, in the 1850s, immigrants to the newest region of the United States violently wrested control from Native and other powers, and how conquest and competing demands for land and resources brought about a volatile frontier culture—not at all the peace and prosperity that the new power had promised.

Worner Campus Center Undergoes Major Renovation

This artist's rendition from Shepley Bulfinch shows the new glass doors between Rastall and the Perkins Lounge area.

The Worner Campus Center, the nucleus of all campus activity, is undergoing a major renovation that will result in a more welcoming and energy-efficient building.

Most of the Worner Center improvements are focused on the main level, with the goal of transforming the dated and congested Rastall Hall into a dining area that is bright, sustainable, and easily navigated.  A portion of the north side of Rastall will be opened to the Perkins Lounge area with full light doors (see artist’s rendition), resulting in a flexible layout that can accommodate a variety of functions. Most notable of the changes will be the servery area which will be open to the dining area and will provide a variety of new food choices.

Colorado Coffee is moving inside the entrance to Benji’s, and Benji’s will be upgraded with an improved layout, which includes a new grill area, Taqueria, Sushi, Grab n’ Go coolers, flooring, furniture, and new paint. Benji’s, along with Colorado Coffee, also will be used as an additional study area in the evenings, giving students more study area options.

Energy efficiency is a major goal of the renovation, and the project is aiming for LEED certification, said Will Wise, building trades manager for facilities and project manager for this project.  Approximately 144 solar panels producing 35KW are being installed on the Worner Center roof to help offset the electrical usage in the building. An interactive flatscreen on the main floor will be devoted to monitoring energy consumption in Worner Center, he said.

The shared kitchen between Rastall and Benji’s will have the most energy-efficient dishwasher available, one which drastically reduces water use.  The new kitchen appliances are Energy Star-rated, lighting throughout the building will be upgraded to low-energy usage lights,  plumbing will be low-flow and all 25 toilets in Worner will be dual-flush.

The building’s seven air handlers, most of which date from the original 1959 building, will be reduced to five vastly more efficient ones. The air handlers take care of the building’s ventilation, heating, and air conditioning needs.

“Our goal is to reduce energy consumption by a minimum of 30 percent,” Wise said. A 30 percent reduction would result in an anticipated savings of $108,000 a year, he said. Total cost of the project is $9 million, which includes $7.7 million for construction, as well as architect, engineer, permits, and testing fees, and funds for new paint and carpeting, and other aesthetic issues, Wise said.

The project has a tight timeline of 81 days, and in order to complete the work by the August 19 deadline, two crews are working two shifts, six days a week . Bon Appetit will then have a week to get the kitchen ready before new students arrive on campus. In the meantime, the kitchen in Bemis Hall, which was remodeled last summer in preparation for the Worner Center renovation, is handing all the campus’s summer dining needs.

The project is the first major renovation of Rastall Hall since 1988, when the building took on a major transformation, and follows recommendations made in a 2009 study involving faculty, staff, students, and trustees.