Welcome back to campus for the 2013-14 academic year! I hope that you enjoyed a summer filled with relaxation, new experiences, family and friends. For my family and me, this was a summer to remember: we took a road trip up the coast of California, and we spent time with my entire extended family for my grandmother’s 90th birthday party in Iowa.
Those of you who are returning to campus may have noticed a few changes as well as many new faces. Let’s take a moment to welcome the newest members of the Colorado College community, beginning with the Class of 2017. This bright, creative group of students brings an array of experiences and ideas that will enrich life on our campus.
We are also thrilled to welcome Megan Nicklaus to Colorado College as the Career Center director. Megan comes from Vanderbilt University, where she worked as the associate director of the Center for Student Professional Development. Her experience will help us to continue to improve career development resources for students.
Following an extensive search, we are pleased to welcome Brian Young as our new VP for information technology/chief technology officer. Brian served as the chief technology officer for Creighton University in Nebraska. In 2009, he was recognized by InfoWorld magazine as one of the top 25 chief information officers in the country, and the only one from a higher education institution.
Over the summer, we made many campus improvements. Adjacent to the new Adam F. Press Fitness Center, you’ll notice the new track has been completed and the tennis court has been renovated. Also, a new walkway leads to El Pomar Fitness Center, and improvements have been made to the landscaping of Cutler Quad and the walkway north of Palmer Quad. Most notably, Slocum Hall, originally built in 1953, has undergone major renovations that transform it into a residence hall for today’s students. From a new open floor plan on the first floor and improvements in the outdoor space to greater numbers of wireless access points and features that increase energy efficiency, these renovations have created spaces that are more comfortable and useful for study and socializing and reflect our commitment to sustainability.
As most of you are aware, much of our work together last year revolved around the Year of Planning. Thanks to the consistent and dedicated efforts of everyone across the CC community, we presented a strategic plan to the Board of Trustees at their retreat in Vail in July, and it was enthusiastically approved. Based on what we heard from all of you about the challenges and opportunities that face Colorado College, we’ve developed the following five recommendations designed to help us build upon our core strengths as an institution:
- Provide new forms of resources and support to realize the potential of our pioneering Block Plan. We will create a Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching to be a focal point for academic support for faculty and students. The Center will eventually be located in a renovated Tutt Library. Additionally, we will eliminate program fees for field trips, blocks abroad, and other similar experiences; bolster our financial aid resources and other needed support as we continue to build a diverse student body; and increase resources and flexibility to support faculty scholarship and creativity across disciplines.
- Build both a nationally recognized summer program and an inventive half-block program for a new generation of learners. We intend to create one of the premier summer learning experiences in the country, to implement a dynamic half-block program aimed at better preparing our students for their lives after Colorado College, and to offer special short courses for alumni and parents that will allow new constituencies a chance to experience the immersive learning of the Block Plan.
- Create an Innovation Institute. When it achieves all parts of its mission, the Institute will be a sandbox for problem solving from beginning to end. It will help students and faculty identify and understand problems; disseminate research; and craft, launch, and sustain practical solutions for the real world.
- Enhance our distinctive place of learning — our campus — to support our engaged, globally connected academic program and embody our regional and historical identity. To ensure the coherence of our campus design, we will develop a master plan to help guide each new project. We will also create a communications plan that will present the college to our constituencies and to the world, and we will use the latest technology to connect those within the CC community to each other and to resources around the world. In every aspect of planning, Colorado College will be defined by its commitment to the study and practice of sustainability and will be recognized as a model of environmental stewardship and innovation.
- Focus on workplace excellence to foster an organization that is as innovative and dynamic as the CC academic experience. In the name of creativity and innovation, it is imperative that we attract and retain a diverse faculty and staff while fostering an inclusive campus culture that values different backgrounds, experiences, ideas, and opinions. To support our faculty and staff, we will create a top-notch professional development program. Finally, the college will strengthen our culture and workplace excellence by building strong internal communication, vibrant collaboration, and organizational transparency.
To read “The Colorado College Plan: Building on the Block” in its entirety, please visit http://www.coloradocollege.edu/theplan/
I hope that you feel comfortable approaching me with any questions, thoughts, or concerns you may have. If you cannot make it to Perkins Lounge for my regular student open office hours, please feel free to contact me via email or phone, or simply stop by my office. Also, I will receive regular input from the Colorado College Student Government Association and the President’s Council. These student groups serve as your representatives; please reach out to them so that your voices are heard.
Once again, welcome back to campus. I’m excited to see what we will accomplish together this year.