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President Jill Tiefenthaler's Blog

Institute on Economics of Liberal Arts Colleges

I want to share this link — www.acm.edu/ICFvideos – to a set of four short new videos that distill key ideas developed for the Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s Institute for College Futures (ICF) on the economics of small, residential liberal arts colleges. The Mellon Foundation funded the ICF to educate faculty from the 14 ACM campuses on the economics and finances of their colleges in order to improve shared governance.

Economics of Higher Education

Once again, I am co-teaching the Economics of Higher Education. I teach this class each Block 5 with my husband, Professor Kevin Rask. Being in the classroom is a joy. I appreciate the opportunity to engage with our wonderful students and connect to the college’s core mission.

On Friday, the class traveled across town to visit Pikes Peak Community College (see photo below). President Lance Bolton generously spent over an hour with our students. They discussed important topics including President Obama’s proposal to make community college free, the barriers to attending college for first-generation and non-traditional students, and the impact of for-profit colleges on higher education. The students also enjoyed touring the campus and hearing directly from PPCC faculty about the culinary arts, automotive repair, welding and graphic design programs . Next week, we travel to Denver to visit the Colorado Department of Higher Education and Lieutenant Governor Garcia. I love that the block plan allows for field study!

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Facebook and GPA

Does Facebook distract from coursework and lower college GPAs? That is the question that a professor at Iowa State University studied in a paper in this month’s Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

The results indicate that spending a lot of time on Facebook lowered grades for first-years, sophomores and juniors. However, there was no correlation between time on Facebook and GPA for seniors. Perhaps by senior year, students figure out how to use Facebook without letting it be a constant distraction. You can find of a summary of the research in The Chronicle of Higher Education here.

All People’s Breakfast – CC Honors the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Colorado College celebrated MLK Jr. Day with a “day on, not a day off.”   Dr. King’s legacy calls us to act, and the day began with just that at the All People’s Breakfast, a community-wide event featuring Rev. Benjamin Reynolds, of Chicago Theological Seminary.   These pictures capture a glimpse of the event.

The day at CC continued with First Mondays “Soundtrack for a Revolution” presented by Professors Heidi Lewis and Dylan Nelson; “Courageous Conversations” led by Paul Buckley, assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion; and drew to a close with an inspiring performance by the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble.

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Welcome Back!

Dear Campus Community,

Happy 2015! I hope your winter break was filled with relaxation and fun, as you spent time with family and friends. For those of you returning to campus, welcome back, and, for those of you new to campus, welcome to Colorado College! I’m excited to be starting this new year with all of you.

CC started the new year strong with a great response to our second year of expanded half block programming. This year’s half block included over 50 credit and not-for-credit course offerings, enrolling over 570 students – a significant increase over last year – in topics ranging from MCAT Preparation to Foundational Concepts in Organic Chemistry. Thanks to Associate Dean Emily Chan and Career Center Director Megan Nicklaus for continuing to grow and refine the mix of courses we offer, reflecting a dynamic balance of opportunities for students to gain additional skills, knowledge, and experiences.

You will notice several improvements to campus. Over the winter break, Campus Safety moved to a more public and accessible presence on the corner of Tejon and Cache la Poudre, right across from Spencer Center. You also may notice activity on east campus as Outdoor Education prepares to move into a new Ahlberg House in the former Children’s Center. In addition, winter break projects included new painting and carpeting in some Armstrong classrooms, continued work on repairing roofs damaged in last spring’s hailstorm, and many behind-the-walls mechanical improvements.

Our Facilities team is preparing the campus for more changes, guided by a basic commitment to sustainability.  I invite you to see our 2014 Energy Report  that documents what we’ve done and where we are headed.

In addition to our commitment to sustainability, excellence depends on ensuring that our campus climate is inclusive and welcoming to the talented students, faculty, and staff who want to study and work here. Creating a diverse community will continue to be a top priority. The newly-formed Diversity and Equity Board and student groups led by Dr. Paul Buckley will be using the results of the fall listening sessions to bring forward recommendations during Block 5 that we will begin to act upon in Block 6.

I think about their work as yet another opportunity for our community to keep learning, because teaching and learning is the center of everything we do at Colorado College in our mission to provide the finest liberal arts education. It’s certainly my focus as I embark on teaching “The Economics of Higher Education” again this Block. This experience every year reminds me what a powerful teaching and learning tool we have in the Block Plan. The talented and hard-working students I encounter in my classes energize my work for the rest of the year.

In support of our educational mission, we will continue with plans and fundraising for the renovation of Tutt Library. With a schematic architect named in Pfeifer Partners, other developments are not far behind.  Stay tuned for more details!  Our Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching continues to support pilot projects that will shape the core programming within the new facility.

Colorado College grows and evolves as a result of our ongoing conversation. I encourage every member of the campus community to be a part of it. President’s Council and CCSGA have organized a “Conversation with the President” event for January 26, and members of the Cabinet and my office will be there to answer questions. In addition to my regular open office hours in Worner, members of the President’s Cabinet also will begin holding open office hours. Our commitment to accessibilty and transparency is part of what makes a great community even greater, and I hope that all members of our college community will continue to reach out to me with questions, concerns, and ideas.

Colorado College is in outstanding shape as we move together into the future. It is truly a pleasure to be here with all of you, and I’m looking forward to what we will accomplish together this semester.

Warm regards,

Jill

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