Jill TiefenthalerDear Alumni, Parents, and Friends of Colorado College,

The Year of Planning has been nothing short of exhilarating! Thanks to the input from students, faculty, trustees, staff, alumni, parents, and local community leaders, Colorado College is well on the way to establishing a bold plan that will guide us for the next decade.

In reflecting on this process, so many memorable moments, representative of the wide array of people invested in creating this plan, come to mind. A parent at the Homecoming Town Hall passionately describing the special “biorhythm” of CC. A group of current students imagining the technology expectations of tomorrow’s students.  Alumni, spanning decades and gathered in one room, articulating their own experiences at CC and as graduates. Rich conversations during brainstorming sessions with the planning committee chairs and the steering committee. Looking out at over 400 eager participants as I welcomed everyone to our Winter Planning Conference.

We started by framing our planning process around three questions, each assigned to a committee.  How can we further strengthen the academic program with an emphasis on engaged teaching and learning? How can our unique location, character, and community be leveraged to support the academic venture and promote a collective sense of place? Can we identify a few promising new programs that will extend our reach and help us to be better known for what we do? We also asked our on-campus community to find ways to enhance our institutional effectiveness to better position the college for evolving changes in higher education and implementation of our plan.

Our committees have been actively engaged in coalescing the myriad thoughts and suggestions offered. (Please see the article entitled “The Year of Planning: By the Numbers” for a summary of our outreach efforts and the total amount of input we have received.) The ideas put forward have dared us, as a college, to think creatively, yet carefully, about how to provide the finest liberal arts education for the 21st century. I can see this ambition for CC in the goals of our plan, which were announced in late January and are posted on our Year of Planning webpage. (www.coloradocollege.edu/strategicplanning).

Currently, the committees are working on their final recommendations.  After the committees finish their work, I will tie the ideas and themes into a narrative plan that I will submit to the Board of Trustees in July for their approval and release in the fall issue of this magazine.

Even as the final plan develops, we are moving forward in areas that will be integral to our success. With the hire of our new vice president for advancement, Sean Pieri, we are strengthening our programs for alumni engagement and support. In this issue, we introduce our new alumni relations director, Anita Pariseau, who brings more than 25 years of alumni relations experience to CC. She was director of alumni relations and executive director of the alumni association at Colorado School of Mines for nine years, and worked in both Harvard’s and Wellesley’s alumni associations. Our new director of the Career Center, Megan Nicklaus, will be joining us in July. Megan is currently associate director of the Center for Student Professional Development at Vanderbilt University. She brings experience that will help us to continue to expand our support for career development to students and alumni. Finally, I am beginning a search for our next head of information technology services. Forward-thinking leadership of information technology will be critical to Colorado College’s success in implementing our strategic plan.

We have undertaken several projects important to the student experience. We recently completed renovations to El Pomar Sports Center and construction of the new Adam F. Press Fitness Center. This summer, we will undertake a complete renovation of Slocum Hall. As with all campus improvements, we have planned this renovation with our institutional commitment to environmental sustainability in mind. The most visible part of the changes to Slocum, the west-facing addition, will give students more social and study spaces. Finally, we are entering the home stretch of our internship campaign to raise 250 internships for our students. (If you would like to be involved in this initiative, please contact Jason Owens at jason.owens@coloradocollege.edu or (719) 389-6893.)

Thank you for your engagement in our planning process. Our work together has reaffirmed my notion that Colorado College’s future is very bright. I look forward to sharing the plan with you in the early fall.

With warm regards,

Jill Tiefenthaler