In an effort to improve the infrastructure of Colorado College, President Jill Tiefenthaler and her staff have introduced a new project engaging members of the college community.
Unfamiliar to most students, Block Projects have continued to grow in popularity across campus.
“Block projects are collaborative projects which give intense focus over a short period of time (usually a block) to accomplish a specific goal,” said President Tiefenthaler.
The idea first launched in summer 2013 to support the school’s Workplace Excellence strategic initiative. Three block projects have since been completed and one is in progress.
“During the strategic planning process,” President Tiefenthaler said. “Staff members suggested that we use the energy and focus of the block plan to accomplish defined projects that required collaboration across administrative departments.”
Any member of the CC community can submit an idea for a Block Project through the CC webpage. Proposals are then submitted to the President for approval.
President Tiefenthaler says that she is looking for ideas that improve CC, can be accomplished in roughly three-and-a-half weeks, and require input and collaboration from staff and faculty from different departments. If a proposal is approved, the President works with the individuals who submitted it to appoint a leader for the project and assemble a team of faculty, staff, and/or students.
Gail Murphy-Geiss, associate professor of sociology and Title XI coordinator, has served on two block project teams.
“I think the goal of the block project is to bring the right people to the table to talk about a specific problem,” said Murphy-Geiss.
Murphy-Geiss explained that her first Block Project consisted of eliminating the category “queer” from the Human Resources faculty employment website. This project was deemed necessary after a potential employee voiced that he was offended by the word.
To come to a solution, the Block Project team looked at other college websites, did research in the field, and extensively discussed the issue.
“We all had to sacrifice, explain ideas to each other, and try to imagine what people would be like off-campus. Staff and faculty, men and women, gays and straights—all had different opinions,” said Murphy-Geiss.
Murphy-Geiss’ other block project involved equaling the playing field of the staff assistants working on campus. The result of this project was developing consistent performance-ranked ratings.
Block Projects are designed to but not limited to answering a single question.
“Anything else you might come up with, you can write in the report at the end that goes to Jill saying, ‘This is what we decided, [and] we recommend also [this suggestion]’” said Murhpy-Geiss.
Block projects give students, staff, and faculty a part in improving our CC Community.
To submit a block project idea, visit https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/presidentsoffice/block-projects.dot