President Tiefenthaler talks about a 12-block academic year, the tuition increase, the ultimate team’s ‘Harlem Shake,’ studying abroad, and CC’s new video commercials.
1. Have you fielded complaints from alumni and parents about the tuition increase announced last week?
I received about 20 notes from students and parents after the announcement of the tuition increase. Approximately five were actually positive, [saying] “I think the education you provide is exceptional. I think the tuition is also well within exceptional value for the experience.” Another five or so had questions about financial aid, and about 10 were upset about the increase.
2. It is my understanding that you initially made a proposal to the Board of Trustees for a tuition increase greater than the roughly 6% that was approved. Is that valid?
This is not true. The Campus Budget Committee, comprised of faculty, staff and students, met throughout this academic year to assess the financial needs and priorities of the college. After their hard work, they recommended to me a 5.95 percent increase in our comprehensive fee, which I adopted as my recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
3. We heard the Associated Press tried to reach you for comment on the ultimate team’s “Harlem Shake” video. Did that really happen? If so, what did you tell them?
The Associated Press has not contacted me. The only media request that I have received about the ultimate team’s “Harlem Shake” was from a Belgian student journalist who wanted [sophomore] Matt Zelin’s email address.
4. What do you think is more beneficial: Taking a summer class abroad or completing an internship?
Wow, that’s a tough one. Both are extremely valuable. If I had to choose, I would say study abroad. While everyone will get the chance to work, a college study abroad experience might be your only opportunity to live in another country and immerse yourself in a different culture. I hope that students will do both during their time here.
5. Recently I wrote my column about CC’s campus physically expanding into the community. What are your feelings on that?
I read your column and I certainly share your sentiment that “there is a kind of magic in keeping this unique learning structure to ourselves.” We don’t want to lose sight of what makes Colorado College special, which is why I spent my first year listening and why we have asked for so much community input throughout the Year of Planning. I think it’s smart to be protective of the things we love about CC, like the block plan and the special campus culture, but it’s also important to always be looking for ways to improve the college. While we don’t currently have any plans to expand the borders of the campus or make “Armstrong Hall twenty stories high,” (yikes), we are constantly evaluating our ability to match the needs and ambitions of our students.
6. Do you think that CC will ever have a student population size larger than 2,000?
Currently, our undergraduate enrollment is 2,023. It would be nice to offer the CC experience to more talented students, with an acceptance rate of 23 percent, there are many great students that we have to reject. But, of course, if we grow too much it wouldn’t be the same CC.
7. There is a rumor that the Board of Trustees and Faculty are considering an 11- or 12-block system. Can you tell us a little more?
This idea has been suggested in strategic planning brainstorming sessions. However, it came from the campus community during the process, not the Board of Trustees or me. The larger goals being discussed are how to create more flexibility for students and faculty and how to make better use of our campus in the summer. The 12-block year is just one suggestion on how to achieve these goals.
8. The college has begun advertising our academics through short video commercials both online and at events like hockey games. How do you think that portrays us?
We live in a multimedia world. Video is one way to communicate with our various constituencies.
9. If you had to find a study spot at CC, where would you go?
I love libraries! When I was in college, there was a table in the library that was my regular study spot. However, given what I have seen in a recent video, Tutt Library appears to be a little too wild for studying!
10. This happened a while ago, but why no more “Unique Intellectual Experience”?
I don’t have anything against the idea that CC is a “Unique Intellectual Adventure” but I don’t like taglines.