Steven Hayward Publishes ‘Don’t be Afraid’

Steven Hayward, Colorado College assistant professor of English, has published “Don’t be Afraid,” a darkly comic novel of adolescent anxiety featuring Jim Morrison  – not the lead singer of The Doors who died in 1971, but a chubby 17-year-old living in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. This Jim Morrison was born days after the singer’s death, and Jimmy, as most people call him, has been living a largely invisible life, overshadowed by his older brother, and his stern and unyielding engineer father. When the older brother dies, the family’s suburban life is upended and any sense of normalcy is destroyed. The book features humor and energy, as Hayward weaves a story of the undercurrents of family life and the unpredictable ways lives can unfold. “Don’t be Afraid” is published by Knopf Canada.

Proposed 2011-12 Budget, Presidential Search Discussed at Town Meeting

CC faculty and staff attended a 40-minute town hall meeting on January 24 in Armstrong Hall to learn about the college’s proposed budget and get a brief update regarding the presidential search process.

Before the session got underway, President Dick Celeste asked several new members of the CC community to introduce themselves, including Chris Coulter, director of facilities, Shonda Graham, financial aid, Belinda Armstrong, admission office, and Pam Shipp, Boettcher Counseling Center.

Robert Moore then discussed the proposed 2011-12 budget, emphasizing that it was still a proposal and not a final budget. The budget committee will meet twice this Block to finalize recommendations to the president, who then will make the budget recommendation to the board of trustees when they meet during the last week of February. The budget is approved by the board of trustees.

He noted that CC is “in great shape financially relative to higher education,” but acknowledged that money “is still a little tight.” The endowment has been performing well; as of Dec. 31, 2010, the endowment was above $500 million and approaching the level it was three years ago. However, the payout from the endowment is based on its average value at the end of the previous 12 quarters, so the decline is still affecting the payout and will continue to do so for the next several years. Because of that, the payout CC is budgeting for the next fiscal year is about $3.1 million, or 12.5 percent, lower than the payout three years ago.

Mark Hatch reported that application numbers are strong (currently at 4,800), as is the quality of the applicant pool. The college is basing its budget on an estimated enrollment of 1,975 undergraduates. CC currently is serving more students than that, but does not want to construct a budget which requires a higher enrollment in order to be sustainable. One direct result of this will be an anticipated smaller entering freshmen class next year, Moore said.

The college also will hold down the comprehensive fee, reflecting a small increase in tuition, and no increase in room and board rates for the second year in a row. (The comprehensive fee is made up of the tuition rate, student fee, and room and board.) 

Financial aid remains the top budget priority, reflecting what the budget committee heard from campus members last spring. “There are a lot of great investments we could make for the college, but we invested in student financial aid,” Moore said. The proposal increases financial aid for entering students from $6 million to $6.5 million. Overall the financial aid budget is growing 8 percent while there is a 5 percent decline in endowment support, Moore said.

He also noted that the college believes it can maintain health insurance at a 80/20 cost allocation – 80 percent paid by the employer and 20 percent by the employee. CC is maintaining a generous benefits level, Moore said, “which is not the majority experience of most of our fellow citizens.”

Additionally, there is a small pool of $200,000 that can be allocated to those who are most in need of an increase in operating expenses.

The second part of the town hall meeting, led by Ginger Morgan and John Simons, dealt with the presidential search. They noted the search was still in process, and thus much of the information was confidential. Morgan did say the search was “vigorous and on track, the “candidate pool is rich,” and that CC “is gratified by the quality of the applicants and nominees.”

John Gould asked how the search committee was prioritizing the characteristics most desired in the presidential candidates, and was directed to the last paragraph of the prospectus on the presidential search committee website, which reads:
Colorado College seeks a visionary leader who appreciates the distinctive rhythms, challenges, and opportunities that characterize the Block Plan and champions the college’s unique pedagogy and mission within higher education. The ideal candidate will possess a record of:

  • Personal integrity, character, approachability, and a sense of humor
  • Distinguished intellectual achievement
  • Success as a senior administrator
  • Commitment to the highest standards of learning, teaching, and scholarship
  • Management that inspires confidence and demonstrates an ability to make difficult choices in an environment with multiple, competing demands
  • Strategic thinking and institutional innovation
  • Fundraising and financial management
  • Inspiring trust and building relationships with integrity across the full range of community constituents
  • Commitment to environmental sustainability
  • Commitment to diversity in all its forms
  • Exceptional communications skills.

Morgan also was asked when the new president will be announced. The answer? “When we know who it is, and they have accepted.”

The presidential search committee website is available at: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/welcome/presidentsoffice/search/prospectus/

John Papuga wins Maintainer of the Year at Facilities Services’ Awards Presentation

John  Papuga  of the grounds crew won the Maintainer of the Year Award at the annual facilities services awards presentation and  chili cook-off. The event was held from 3-5 p.m. on Dec. 22 in the facilities services department in the Van Briggle building.

The Maintainer of the Year Award, created in 1983, recognizes a member of facilities services who significantly demonstrates a commitment to practicing the Colorado College mission core values and who significantly contributes to the success of the facilities services department in the past year. In order to be considered, Papuga’s nomination had to list his specific actions, or accomplishments, over the past year, and describe the ways in which his actions or accomplishments met the award’s criteria, which include:

Demonstrating exceptional leadership skill
Technical skill
Resource stewardship
Outstanding customer relations
Improving sustainability
Successful collaboration
Successful problem solving
Achieving an outstanding accomplishment or successfully meeting a unique or unusual challenge beyond normal or routine work experiences or expectations

Ryan Smith of HVAC received the Adam Valdez Excellence in Facilities Services Award, which was inaugurated in 2001. The Adam Valdez Award recognizes a member of facilities services who consistently and over at least a five-year period demonstrates a commitment to practicing the college’s mission core values and significantly contributes to the success of the department. Criteria for the award include:

Unselfish support of others – being a team player
Self-directed and motivator of others
Positive and constructive in communications with colleagues
Innovative and resourceful  — finding ways to get things done
Sets a good example  – productive and quality work

Smith also won the Radio Personality of the Year Award, an award that is subtitled “Most Time on Two-Way Radio for Work Orders.”

Other award winners are Lee Doughty, lock shop, who received the Customer Service Award and Mike Starr, set ups and events shop, who received the Pitch-In Award. Set ups/events shop received the Spic and Span Award for having the cleanest shop, with Nick Solano accepting the award on its behalf.

The awards ceremony was held in the carpenter’s shop, with the chili cook-off entries set up in the kitchen, along with other food. Winner of the best red chili was Pete Ordway, lock shop, and best green chili winner was Jerry Switzer, of grounds.

The history of the chili cook-off was detailed in an article written by Sally Eisentraut and published in the facilities’ TRADEWINDS January 2002 newsletter:

 “Our Grounds crew is nothing if not competitive.  An ongoing argument between Jerry (Switzer) and Cecelia (Gonzales) about who makes the BEST green chili sparked an idea to sponsor a chili cook-off – just to prove who was the best.  By mid-1996 they had come up with a plan. 

The first week in December seemed an ideal time – cold enough to really enjoy the chili and a festive time to get together.  They decided to save their aluminum cans (and dumpster dive for other metals to recycle) to pay for it. They would need to collect enough to pay for two $25.00 gift certificates (one certificate for the best Red Chili and one for the best Green Chili), the tortillas, beer and dessert.  They then asked Chef Matt from Sodexho Marriott (now Bon Appetit) to judge the contest and he agreed.  They immediately passed out flyers to facilities to advertise the first annual cook-off.”

The Back Row Takes a Front Seat on Live TV

The Back Row, CC's all-male a cappella group, appears on live TV on Dec. 9, 2010, in advance of their Winter Concert.

Team-Taught Class Goes to Chile

Author Antonio Skármeta, Professors Pamela Tala and Salvino Bizzarro with their 33 students from CC enjoy a break during Block IV in Chile. Next to Skármeta (in the blue dress) is Miranda Bodenhofer, actress in the Academy Award Spanish entry in 2010 of Fernando Trueba's film, “The Dancer and the Thief.” Skármeta's book, "Il Postino," is the basis of the movie by the same name and the opera “El Cartero de Neruda” by Daniel Catán, which premiered with the Los Angeles Opera in September, 2010, and started Placido Domingo.

Bryan Rommel-Ruiz Publishes “American History Goes to the Movies”

Associate Professor of History Bryan Rommel-Ruiz has a new book out, titled “American History Goes to the Movies: Hollywood and the American Experience.” The research and writing for the book evolved from the film and history class that he teaches at Colorado College. Using films from many different genres, the book draws together movies that depict the Civil War, the Wild West, the assassination of JFK, and the events of 9/11, to show how viewers use movies to make sense of the past. “American History Goes to the Movies” addresses not only how we render history for popular enjoyment, but also how Hollywood’s renderings of America influence the way Americans see themselves and how they make sense of the world.

Brew Tasting Proves to be Popular — and Educational

Students attending the Brew Tasting in Gaylord Hall on Dec. 8.

Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, and few would argue that it is also the most popular alcoholic beverage on college campuses.

That’s why a group of CC students recently organized a beer tasting dinner, in which a variety of beers were paired with accompanying foods.

“Because of the relationship between alcohol abuse and sexual safety, I find it important to have events on campus that foster a safer drinking environment,” said Nathan Brand ’11, who was instrumental in organizing the Dec. 8 Brew Tasting, which was held in Gaylord Hall and attended by 60 guests. “While some campus events already do serve alcohol for students to enjoy, they do not incorporate an educational component. The purpose of events such as Brew Tasting is to teach people how to enjoy alcohol as an art form, rather than just simply as a means to an end.”

“The event was an opportunity for students over 21 to experience alcohol in a mature setting, in which they learned about beer and beer-food pairings.  Students also had the opportunity to interact with staff member in a social setting,” said Heather Horton, CC’s sexual assault response coordinator.

Brand, who was last year’s co-chair of SOSS (Student Organization for Sexual Safety) enlisted seniors Nick Hawks and Chris Shambaugh to lead the event, which featured eight craft brews.

Hawks, who writes the popular Brew-HaHa column in the Catalyst, said one of the goals of the Brew Tasting was to educate fellow students so they would know and appreciated what they were drinking.

He and Shambaugh selected craft beers in a variety of categories to complement a five-course meal that started with grapes and cheese and included a Caesar salad, red vegetarian chili, lamb chops, and tiramisu for dessert. “We wanted students to sip slowly and learn to identify the flavors they were experiencing. We asked them to describe and label what they were tasting,” Hawks said.

He labeled the evening a success, adding that students came up to him after the event, saying they had no idea beer could have so much complexity. The evening also had an inferred lesson, he said, which was that beer can be sipped and enjoyed; that drinking doesn’t have to lead to drunkenness, and that imbibing with a meal is a form of drinking that is an enjoyable way to consume alcohol.

The event was sponsored by Horton’s office, along with SOSS and Campus Activities.  Hawks said there are plans to hold another Brew Tasting in the spring semester, with a completely different line-up of beers. “There’s just so much great beer out there that I want to introduce people to,” he said.

Tiger-rific! Residential Life and Housing Wins CC Fridays Contest

The Winners: Residential Life and Housing.

Apparently, CC is a well-dressed group. Or at least, when it comes to donning CC apparel.

Alumni and Parent Relations. Photo by Alex Truax '11.

Erin Thacker, coordinator of sports services, reports broad participation in the CC Fridays Best Dressed Contest, which

Development Office.

began in Block II and concluded last week. The winner was Residential Life and Housing, which submitted five photos taken on five different Fridays. For their donning of black and gold and all

Finance and Administration.

things Tiger, they will receive a complimentary pizza and pasta party.

 Departments across campus submitted “Friday photos” to Thacker. “All in all it was a great contest and we had

President's Office.

wonderful participation across campus. It was great to see pictures come across my email each Friday.  Each picture was even more creative than the one before,” she says.

Get to Know: Dylan Nelson

Growing up in Charleston, S.C., where her mother’s side of the family had lived for generations, Dylan Nelson never heard race relations discussed. “There was inequity of the races, but it was an unspoken reality,” says Nelson, who, with her husband, Clay Haskell, are CC artists-in-residence for film studies.

Years later, she would explore that reality through her documentary filmmaking, as she interviewed the unsung heroes of the Civil Rights movement for her award-winning film, “Soundtrack for a Revolution.” Working on the film “was an amazing privilege,” she said. “For me, it was really wonderful to have an opportunity to meet these heroes. I felt like I was in the service of an incredible story.”

The story is that of the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, told through the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in meetings, and in jails.

“For many, the American Civil Rights movement has been distilled to Black History Month, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks. But it is so much more than that,” Nelson said. “The film takes the Civil Rights movement out of the textbooks and makes it immediate and energetic.”

There are no experts in the film; instead, the filmmakers rely on direct participants and the music of the Civil Rights movement to tell the story. “Music has an incredible ability to speak to people emotionally,” Nelson said. “We wanted to make a film that would appeal to people of all ages.”

As a film producer, Nelson is involved in all aspects of the project, from conception to research, scouting, shooting, editing, final post-production, and distribution. “When you’re a producer, a film is your baby,” she said. “You live with it through its ups and downs, and you nurture and defend it as it goes out into the world.”

Nelson’s film appears to have been well nurtured, and it is holding its own in the world. “Soundtrack for a Revolution” premiered at the Tribeca and Cannes film festivals, had its theatrical release last year, recently came out on DVD, and will air on PBS’s “American Experience” on May 9, 2011. Among other honors, it was short-listed for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and nominated for a Producers Guild of America Award, a Writer’s Guild Award, and three International Documentary Association Awards.

The film also was selected for the U.S. State Department’s American Documentary Showcase program, which presents award-winning contemporary American documentaries to audiences around the world. As a delegate for the program, Nelson was in the Ukraine in late October, where she discussed the film and conducted master classes and outreach programs on documentary filmmaking.

Nelson describes herself as a fourth-generation “CC person,” though not an alumna. Her great-grandmother, Anne von Bibra Sutton, taught German at Colorado College in the 1930s; her grandmother, Jane Sutton Nelson, was a member of the Class of ’33; and her father, fiction writer Kent Nelson, teaches as a visitor in CC’s English department. 

Nelson, who with Haskell teaches several film courses at CC, got into filmmaking in a roundabout way. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Yale University in 1996 and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon in 2001. During the summer before her final year in the MFA program, Nelson lived in Los Angeles, turning a novella she had written into a screenplay. Upon returning to school, she took a documentary film course to expand on her interest in film storytelling.

“I took that film course and it felt as though I had struck gold. Not in a financial sense, but it was as if a lightning bolt struck me,” Nelson said. “The first time I was in the field on a shoot, I was completely engaged. You are listening as hard as you’ve ever listened while thinking about the film you need to make; thinking about so much at once – the narrative, visual, technical, and interpersonal aspects.  Filmmaking is demanding on all levels.  From then on, I wanted to learn more. You could spend a whole life learning about film.

“While I still love fiction, I never looked back. I’ve been writing, researching, producing, and directing for film ever since,” she said.

Because filmmaking is so all-encompassing, the Block Plan is well-tailored to film courses, said Nelson. “It allows students to focus intensively on one final project. The students at CC are passionate, and because of the Block Plan, they are able to – and do – throw themselves entirely into their films.  As a result, they come away with an indelible learning experience and a final product of which they’re truly proud. The intensity of the Block also mirrors the real-world intensity of film production and post-production.”

In addition to teaching basic and advanced filmmaking, documentary and screenwriting classes, and thesis advising, Nelson and Haskell also co-teach the popular off-campus Block VII class “On Location: Hollywood.” While in Hollywood, students study the history of Los Angeles filmmaking while pursuing an area of film interest: a genre, profession, or area of critical study.  The class meets with prominent film industry professionals – from directors and producers to sound mixers and editors to agents and executives – in order to understand the state of Los Angeles filmmaking today.

“I think that one reason CC students respond so positively to filmmaking courses is that filmmaking represents the best of a liberal arts education,” Nelson says. “Among the most integrative of all arts, filmmaking draws from numerous disciplines and requires students to synthesize concepts, abilities, and artistic techniques they learn elsewhere in their academic journey. Most of all, making film is about making connections – connections among ideas and connections with one’s community – and to me, that’s what an education in the liberal arts is all about.”

CC students also benefit in another, hands-on way: A number have assisted Nelson and Haskell with production on their forthcoming documentaries, one about child actors in Los Angeles, tentatively titled “The Hollywood Complex,” and another on civil rights icon James Meredith, titled “Mississippi Messiah.” For the latter, Nelson, then seven months pregnant, traveled through sweltering Mississippi during the summer, staying in ramshackle hotels as she and Haskell followed Meredith on a quixotic journey.

Nelson was also a producer for the 2007 documentary “Nanking,” about the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China, in the early days of World War II. The film, like “Soundtrack for a Revolution,” was short-listed for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. For more information on the class in Hollywood, go to http://blog.coloradocollege.edu/hollywood/

KRCC Receives $5,000 Grant for Local News, Cultural Programming

KRCC, Colorado College’s NPR-member station, has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Inasmuch Foundation.

Delaney Utterback, KRCC’s general manager, said the grant would be used to help support KRCC’s local news and cultural programming.

“We’re thrilled and grateful for the support from the Inasmuch Foundation and look forward to making our local news and cultural programming even better.” said Utterback.

KRCC’s mission is to offer broadcast radio programming that reflects Colorado College’s commitment to the liberal arts and diverse ideas and people. In 2003, KRCC added news coverage from the state capitol, the “Capitol Coverage Project.”  On Jan. 1, 2005, KRCC began broadcasting locally in the form of a weekly news magazine entitled “Western Skies.”  Two years later, “Western Skies” evolved into KRCC local news with daily news segments broadcast during NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”  “Western Skies” recently returned as a monthly news magazine, focusing on a single topic affecting the Pikes Peak region and southern Colorado.  In the spring of 2009, KRCC expanded its coverage of local culture and history with the online program “The Big Something.”

In 2007, the station completed the installation of hybrid-digital (HD) broadcasting equipment and upgraded its signal to HD.  This included multi-casts with two additional channels of programming on HD2 and HD3, in addition to an HD simulcast of the main channel. HD2 is a mix of national news and music programs.  HD3 is a CC student-run station called the Sounds of Colorado College or SOCC.

Currently, the station is heard in Westcliffe, Gardner, Limon, Manitou Springs, Trinidad, Buena Vista, Salida, Villa Grove, Canon City, Colorado Springs, La Junta, Raton, N.M., and globally online at www.krcc.org.