Powering the Startup of the Center

In October 2013, Colorado College received an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the college’s strategic plan and enable CC to realize the Block Plan’s full potential. The grant is the largest the college has ever received from the foundation.

The grant’s primary purpose is to develop programs that will be housed in the new Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching. With the foundation’s generous support, CC will:

Encourage innovation in engaged teaching and learning by expanding upon key features of the Block Plan

  • Garner strong faculty leadership for the new center by providing opportunities for faculty to identify and implement best practices related to immersive learning.
  • Create a new Office of Field Programs (modeled after our successful Office of International Programs) and hire a professional administrator to support faculty eager to incorporate field-based inquiry into their blocks.

Intensify collaborative learning through undergraduate research and scholarship

  • Support best practices in excellent summer research programs across the U.S. and learn how to adapt new forms of collaborative research to the block.
  • Fund time for faculty to mentor thesis/research students in an interdisciplinary writing workshop throughout the academic year.
  • Support faculty to lead summer student workshops, participate in faculty development seminars, and mentor students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Offer annual workshops for faculty in disciplines where collaborative research is rare.
  • Provide stipends for summer undergraduate research fellowships in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Invite two external humanities scholars who have successfully undertaken collaborative research with undergraduates to facilitate workshops.

Investigate the distinctive pedagogical outcomes of the Block Plan, use our findings to refine our model, and share what we learn with others in our sector of higher education

  • Support the initial salary of a scholar-leader who will help us study pedagogical approaches and their effectiveness within the Block Plan.

Members of the CC President’s Office, Advancement Division, and Dean’s Office worked closely together to apply for the grant and will continue to collaborate to administer the monies and see that the terms of the grant are met.

“The Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching is a compelling and ambitious idea that highlights and expands upon the rich and varied opportunities of the Block Plan,” said Sandra Wong, dean of the college/dean of the faculty.

“Eventually it will be housed in our renovated library, and we look forward to a vibrant intellectual hub that will foster collaboration, coordinated academic endeavors, and a sense of community and common purpose. While we anticipate our new academic space, the Mellon Grant enables us to design the programs and initiatives we imagined during the strategic planning process. We are excited and fortunate to have the Mellon Foundation’s support for our programming projects.”

The Mellon Grant Timeline