President Jill Tiefenthaler talks about longboarding, Chief Tief t-shirts, Tigernet2, affordable higher education, students who attend class shoeless, and the role of student journalism on college campuses.
CC’s tuition has been on the rise for a number of years, raising concerns among students and parents who want to find a balance between a great education and an affordable one. Where is that middle ground?
The price (tuition) and cost (what it actually costs to educate a student) of college is a topic of national discussion. Our $600 million endowment allows us to subsidize all CC students, as the cost to educate a student is more than full tuition. The middle ground is finding the right balance between price and quality. We want to keep CC accessible to students from all backgrounds, but our aim is to continue to provide the highest quality education, which requires having great faculty and staff, small classes, up-to-date facilities, and rich experiential opportunities outside of the classroom. This level of quality is very expensive!
A Denver Post story last week presented one man’s outrage over CC’s inclusion of “queer” as a gender in an optional part of the college’s online job application. What are your thoughts on this controversy?
I definitely understand the concern, as the word queer evokes painful memories for some. However, the word has evolved over time. At Colorado College, members of our student body, faculty and staff have embraced this term for more than 15 years as we have strived to be a more inclusive campus. Additionally, faculty members at Colorado College have taught courses on queer theory, which is an approach to literary and cultural study that rejects traditional categories of gender and sexuality.
Colorado College uses the word queer on the gender question of the optional demographic section on our employment application with the intent of being inclusive. The Gender Equity Center at UC Berkeley defines gender queer as “a person whose gender identity is neither man nor woman, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders.” I am sorry if our application has offended anyone, as our intent was certainly just the opposite.
Are there initiatives in place to bring the college into the 21st century in terms of computer technology?
Our new chief technology officer, Brian Young, started last month. Brian has already started working with his staff on a plan to position CC as a leader in academic technology and innovation. Brian brings incredible experience to CC, and I am confident that under his leadership, the talented folks who work in IT will make significant progress.
Any student who has been working on a tight deadline knows to be wary of Tigernet2. Is the college looking at any new Internet systems?
Brian and his team are working on preparing their recommendations for how best to improve our network and the wireless infrastructure. Just this week, Brian met with student leaders to get their input and hear their concerns. I expect that students will see improvement soon.
Have you ever thought about hopping on a longboard or slacklining outside of Loomis?
My daughter has a longboard, and that does tempt me. I used to have a skateboard when I was young. I have never been on a slackline. It would be fun to try it!
Have you heard about the “Chief Tief” t-shirts? A number of students made red tank tops using your name in a play off rapper Chief Keef.
Yes, I have seen the shirts. I saw the picture in the Catalyst, and a few people have sent me photos of students posing in the shirts.
CC students are known for attending class, er, shoeless. Thoughts?
Ok with me! Just glad that they are in class!
How has attendance been at your Strategic Conversations? What do attended say there?
Attendance has been great! Each trip has included a presentation by a faculty member and people love that. This week I am in D.C., and Professor Tim Fuller is giving the faculty talk. Everywhere I go, alumni and parents talk about what an important impact CC has had on them and their children.
What do you think the role of the student newspaper is in higher education?
The student newspaper plays an important role in disseminating information across campus as well as holding all campus constituents—administrators, faculty, staff, and students—accountable. Additionally, many students who work for student newspapers aspire to be professional journalists, so student newspapers are an opportunity for serious practice and responsibility.
Have you been to a show at Red Rocks yet?
Not yet. Maybe this summer!
Jesse Paul, Editor-in-Chief