Creativity & Innovation Updates and Opportunities, Block 3, Week 3

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Updates & Opportunities
Block 3, Week 3

Block 4 First Monday Presentation
Director of Creativity & Innovation
Dez Stone Menendez ’00

Monday, November 29th, 2021 
11:15 a.m.

Register in advance for this webinar here. 

View the event on the Campus Calendar here.

What is Innovation, Anyway?
Creativity & Innovation in Higher Education
In this talk, Dez Stone Menendez (’00), director of Creativity & Innovation, explores what it means to expand innovation beyond the commercial sphere to the cultural, social, and personal, and shares the philosophy and guiding principles behind the Creativity & Innovation initiative at CC. We are at a cultural moment in which challenges abound, socially, politically, economically. The world is more interdependent than ever before, and the challenges of the 21st century demand multilateral solutions that presently don’t exist. It is, therefore, critical that the current generation of college students is provided with robust opportunities to build the skills and attitudes they need to address these challenges. Although it is difficult to create a formula to prepare students for 21st century problems, there is a clear need for higher education to re-think how to help students access their own inner resources and develop the creative confidence to address areas that call out for new and radical solutions — to become changemakers in their own lives and in the world.
In keeping with CC’s history of challenging educational norms, Creativity & Innovation at CC takes a more radical approach to “innovation” than many of our peer institutions. Rather than building a stand-alone program on the edge of campus, we have taken a broader, more integrated approach by actively collaborating with faculty and co-curricular partners in all areas of the college to develop programs that help students learn to: navigate ambiguity, communicate across difference, build resilience, and move ideas into action. In this talk, Dez shares how Creativity & Innovation is working to amplify and support opportunities for students to develop the capacities that will prepare them to face the complex challenges – and unique opportunities — of our rapidly changing world.


Dez Stone Menendez (’00) started as the director of Creativity & Innovation at Colorado College in September 2016. She began working as a serial entrepreneur at age 22. The orienting principle of her work is to empower people to lead larger and more creative lives. Driven by a commitment to intuition and possibility, her experience is broad and varied: from building tiny homes and designing and manufacturing lifestyle products to incubating tech applications; there is no subject that Dez doesn’t find interesting. She founded the Possibility Room in 2009, which began as a startup incubator in Seattle focused on executing new businesses and expanding existing businesses. Dez believes that true innovation results from listening to your own unique knowing. She spends a lot of time thinking about how to cultivate containers that allow for this. She is more interested in questions than answers: What happens when we allow space for the unknown? What kind of freedom is available when we decide to be driven by values and intuition rather than convention? What is innovation, anyway?

Creativity & Innovation
Faculty & Staff Funding Opportunities

Creativity & Innovation offers two types of funding for faculty and staff: Creative Exploration Grants and Changemaker Collaboration Grants. Tenure-track faculty, adjunct faculty, lecturers, year-long visitors, and staff members are eligible to apply.
Our funding goals include:
  • Developing partnerships across divisions and disciplines that test and implement transformative practices in teaching, scholarship, outreach, and programming.
  • Integrating interdisciplinary thinking into classes and campus culture.
  • Moving theory into practice to engage faculty, staff, and/or students in applied problem-solving.
  • Exploring projects and activities that stimulate creativity and require risk-taking.
  • Developing and implementing anti-racist pedagogy and practices.
Creative Exploration Grants: Support smaller projects that allow faculty and staff members to explore a topic, process, or collaboration.
  • Individuals or teams may apply for up to $2,000 to support a project’s direct costs.
  • Grants are intended to support exploratory projects that do not presently have funding sources.
  • Projects that stimulate creativity and model productive risk-taking are encouraged.
Changemaker Collaboration Grants: Support teams of up to six to meet, dream, and plan for larger-scale projects that have the potential for transformative effects for faculty, staff, and students at Colorado College. Teams may comprise of all faculty, all staff, or a mix of both.
  • Applicant teams must comprise of at least two faculty and/or staff members representing different departments/programs. Teams of three or more members may include more than one representative from a single department or program.
  • Projects must engage students, faculty, and/or staff in applied problem-solving either within or outside of a class context.
Application deadlines for Creative Exploration and Changemaker Faculty & Staff Collaboration Grants for academic year 2021-2022:
Block     Application Deadline           Awards Announced     Earliest Project Start Date
   4              Nov. 29, 2021                        Dec. 10, 2021                        Jan. 3, 2022
   5              Jan. 24, 2022                        Feb. 4, 2022                          Feb. 21, 2022
   6              Feb. 21, 2022                        March 4, 2022                      March 28, 2022
   7              March 28, 2022                    April 8, 2022                         April 25, 2022
   8              April 25, 2022                       May 6, 2022                          May 23, 2022
 Creativity & Innovation holds regular information sessions about funding opportunities. The next session will take place at 4 p.m. January 12th, during Block J.
Join here:  

For more information and application materials visit: 


Questions? Contact: Jessica Hunter, Associate Director of Creativity & Innovation

Dynamic Half-Block

Innate Mindfulness: Exploring our Inner Ecology for Thriving on a Changing Planet


Instructor: Myra L. Jackson
Sponsored by Creativity & Innovation at CC

Dates: Jan. 11-21, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. MT each day. Hybrid format, in person when possible, virtual attendance available.
Registration is open. 
To register:


Course description: We all hold basic – although often unconscious – assumptions about the very nature of reality, including our relationship with what is commonly called “nature” or “the environment.” As well, we have assimilated a variety of sensorial habits or filters that affect the way we perceive the world. These assumptions – along with sensorial and cognitive habits – may influence our ability to perceive the problems we face and also limit our imagination, making it more difficult to conceive of a path toward ecological sustainability and social well-being. As Albert Einstein noted, “the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” We may need a new vision of reality, or even a new modality of consciousness – a more ecological worldview –to address our most urgent crises and to create a more just and sustainable human society. This experiential course is an introductory exploration into Mindfulness as innate within humans. Through it, students will discover the innate somatic sentient intelligence within every human that is the rudimentary basis of Mindfulness. In this workshop, exposure to one’s own sensorial doorways are utilized to open into the innate power within to explore the corresponding ecology within that connects every human to the ecosystems in which they live.
With Nature as a companion, students will learn strategies to skillfully work with thoughts, emotions, and sensations, while developing their capacity to enhance mind-body awareness of present-moment experience to enhance connections to self, community, and the Earth.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Gain insight into the current state of their innate mindfulness.
  • Appreciation for their body’s innate wisdom and inner resilience.
  • Learn ways to cultivate a practice that enables access to the benefits of concentrative focus that, once acquired, will provide enduring benefits for a lifetime.
  • Learn techniques to develop a healthy sense of self and safely explore emotions such as joy, kindness, equanimity, gratitude, and compassion for self and others while being with sadness, grief, loss, shame, pain, anger, and rage while recognizing their deep humanity.
  • Learn the power of applied mindful awareness in daily activities to improve communication with oneself, others, and Nature. 
  • Experience the link between self-care, group-care and Earth-care.

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Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903

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