Posts in: General News

Square Dance Rounds Out Block 1

The beautiful Block 1 weather inspired a group of CC faculty, staff, and students to do some square dancing right in front of Tutt Science Building. The caller, Gregg Anderson, got everyone organized and dancing like a pro in no time (even though some in the group professed to have two left legs).  After 90 minutes of dancing, all dancers received A’s for the knowledge they acquired pertaining to left-hand stars, promenades, and do-sa-dos. Kudos to Emily Chan for organizing the event.

CC Gets $85,000 for Max Kade House ADA-Required Improvements

Colorado College has received an $85,000 grant from the Max Kade Foundation to support ADA-required renovations to the Max Kade House.

Renovations to the house, slated for next summer, include an ADA-accessible kitchen, shower, and lavatory, an exterior ramp, and improved signage. The grant will enable the college undertake the necessary improvements so that the Max Kade House is fully ADA-accessible and usable to people with disabilities.

The Max Kade House, the focal point for an active German cultural program, was inaugurated in 1964 as a residence for Colorado College students interested in German language and culture. Dr. Max Kade was present for the house’s opening ceremony, as his foundation made it possible for the college to purchase the century-old residence.

The Max Kade House also includes a garden house annex for small group screenings, meetings and study groups, and a garden for outdoor activities.

What’s Cooking at the Community Kitchen? A Major Renovation

Colorado College’s Community Kitchen, one of the oldest student-run community kitchens in the nation, underwent a renovation this summer. Gay Victoria, director of the Center for Service and Learning, reports that the changes include:

  • Moving the dishwashing operation out of the kitchen and into side hallway, and adding a rinse station and stainless steel countertops and backsplash
  • Two new freezers and two refrigerators for storing food
  • An under-the-counter commercial dishwasher
  • New slip-resistant flooring in the dishwashing and kitchen areas
  • The removal of all upper cabinets and the installation of stainless steel shelving
  • A new warming oven to keep hot foods hot until served
  • A cold salad server to keep salads on ice until served
  • A new commercial microwave for warming
  • New hanging pot racks to keep pots organized
  • A commercial can opener
  • Two new commercial food disposals
  • New commercial faucets in the kitchen
  • A new hand-washing sink in the kitchen
  • A new paint job, and lots of new trays, plastic glasses, coffee cups, and bowls

Check out all the changes next time you are helping at the Community Kitchen!

No Stiff Upper Lip While Viewing this Jessy Randall Poem

An online poem by Jessy Randall has an unusual presenter: a little kid with a British accent and enough stage presence to assure a successful theater career (even when she flubs her lines).

Randall’s poem, titled “My Friends,” is featured this month on the website Smories, which shows videos of children reading poems and very short stories written for kids.

Randall, the archivist and curator of special sections at Tutt Library, says she doesn’t usually write rhyming poems, but this one is an exception.

“I loved Cricket magazine when I was a kid, and my mom subscribed my daughter to Cricket’s little-sibling magazine, Ladybug, which has poems in it,” Randall says. She thought it would be fun to have a poem in Ladybug, and noticed they seemed to run short rhyming things.

“So I wrote a set of rhyming couplets that I thought Ladybug would eat up. Well, Ladybug didn’t care for them. They sat in my files for a long time.” Eventually, a friend sent Randall a link to Smories and she submitted her poem.

Randall, the author of several books of poetry, says “The key to the humor in the poem, for me, is making the rhyme be a little unexpected. So, if I were doing one for “Jane” I couldn’t rhyme it with “plain” – I’d have to think of something weirder, like maybe “drain.”

To watch the poem being performed, go to: http://www.smories.com/watch/my-friends/

“My Friends”
by Jessy Randall

I have a friend, her name is Claire
She likes to throw things in the air.

 I have a friend, his name is Peter
His room could be a little neater. 

I have a friend, her name is Kate
And she is always, ALWAYS late. 

I have a friend, his name is Lance
Sometimes he does a funny dance. 

I have a friend, her name is Janet
I think she’s from another planet.

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.

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.

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.

Udis-Kessler Blogs on LGBT Spirituality for Tikkun Daily

Amanda Udis-Kessler

Amanda Udis-Kessler

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.

Udis-Kessler’s first blog post was on the spirituality of same-sex marriage. More recently, she wrote about Colorado Springs’ 20th annual LGBT PrideFest and Pride Parade.

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.