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President Jill Tiefenthaler's Blog

Our Strategic Plan’s Best Kept Secret: Block Projects

Sometimes people just need to come together quickly and solve problems and at CC, we can do anything in three-and-a-half weeks. It’s the philosophy of our students and now it’s a rewarding challenge that can be embraced by faculty and staff.

Block Projects support our strategic initiative of Workplace Excellence, fostering an organization that is as innovative and dynamic as the CC academic experience through vibrant collaboration. These projects, which give intense focus over a short period of time, accomplish a specific mission, and the work has a defined beginning and an end.

“It’s time well spent. One block. It’s perfect,” said Gail Murphy-Geiss, associate professor of sociology and Title IX coordinator, who has served on two Block Project teams. “We get exciting moments of innovation, and then we’re done. You’re putting the right people together in a system that works in our mindset. Why didn’t anyone think of this before?”

It’s a uniquely CC initiative that has gone somewhat unnoticed since projects launched in summer 2013. Four projects (with a fifth wrapping up now) have been completed, one block at a time, in the nine blocks since the initiative was announced. Participants like Murphy-Geiss and Mandy Sulfrian, a staff assistant in the Geology Department, who participated in one of the first Block Projects, say the success depends on bringing the right people to the table. Often, it’s people who may not otherwise interact, and those relationships are an important byproduct of the Block Project initiative.

“I liked the brainstorming and problem solving and the way it morphed into an end-product,” said Sulfrian. “It’s freeing to do it in that block timeframe. It’s intense, but very quick, because with the mentality of the Block Plan, you have to get things done quickly.”

Transparency, accountability, and efficient solutions are also goals of the Block Project concept, inviting the campus community to participate in identifying issues and solving problems.

“If there is a topic or a question about a crazy rule, bring it forward as a possible Block Project,” said Barbara Wilson, director of Human Resources, and who has served on two Block Project teams. “We all want to make CC a great place to work and we’re afforded an opportunity to contribute to the decision making of the college. We all have a voice in how we can improve it.”

Submit your ideas and review past and current Block Projects.

1 Comment

  1. A very interesting approach to non-traditional programming.

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