President Jill Tiefenthaler marked the halfway point of her second year with a winter convention to continue designing and refining the strategic plan. This plan will capitalize on CC’s best attributes and work to improve the college’s identity as a highly selective liberal arts institution. The winter convention brought together staff, faculty, students, alumni, trustees, and community members to discuss initiatives for improving CC.
This “year of planning,” following Tiefenthaler’s “year of listening,” has so far yielded 13 broad goals for the school.
“One thing we’re not short of at Colorado College is great ideas,” Tiefenthaler said.
The Winter Conference, which took place on Jan. 17, was a success in bringing together different constituencies to discuss and plan. Although it had to occur before the semester officially started (in order to allow staff and faculty to get involved), many students who were on campus during half-block were still able to attend.
One main goal includes facilitating diversity of students, staff, and faculty. Other objectives emphasize taking advantage of CC’s unique qualities, like its urban location in the Rocky Mountains and the flexibility of the block plan. This will mean interdisciplinary collaborations, more opportunities for off-campus blocks, and new projects to bolster the idea of CC as a ‘confluence’ of the region. Spaces on campus, such as the library, are being investigated to ensure that they being utilized to their fullest potential.
The planning process will continue for another few months as committees generate and refine ideas, accepting input from as many constituencies as possible. Opportunities for student involvement will include town hall meetings, chalkboards and posters, and open comments on the strategic plan website.
“Ideas need to come from faculty, students, staff, and alumni, as energy and execution needs to come from those constituencies,” Tiefenthaler said.
Later this semester, Tiefenthaler’s next step will be to prioritize the goals and solidify a plan for implementation starting next year. The five committees – Engaged Teaching and Learning, A Distinctive Place of Learning, Extending Our Reach, and Institutional Effectiveness, and Steering Committee – will work to narrow the focus of the goals until real actions can be planned.
The Board of Trustees will review the final plan in July and vote to approve a specific proposal.
President Tiefenthaler set up the “year of planning” to include anyone who wants to be heard, and she has maintained a focus on collaborative effort throughout the process.
“The process is in many ways as important as the outcome, so people can feel a sense of ownership,” Tiefenthaler said.
While there are many people involved in generating ideas and making decisions, Tiefenthaler’s tasks as the administrator remain clear.
“The hard job for me will be making sure we actually implement these ideas, and generating resources and focus to do all of them,” Tiefenthaler said.
This summer the committee will set in motion the strategic plan designed to improve on the best qualities of CC. For now, input from every constituency is invited, and the planning committee is looking ahead to further refine and clarify ideas.