Recommendation 6: Connect the CC Experience
Connect the CC Experience Initiatives:
Our students affirm the value of a liberal arts experience that broadens their horizons, deepens their insights, and develops their capacity to identify and pursue their passions. In fact, they want us to go further and find new ways to help them integrate the various parts of their CC experience and connect their college experience to their lives after graduation.
Currently the college supports many initiatives designed to support our community and our diversity and access goals, but we know little about their impact. To increase our impact, we will create a program that can be assessed and improved.
Our students also know that the liberal arts residential experience is enriched through the sharing of diverse viewpoints, experiences, and backgrounds. We are pleased that recent initiatives to extend our recruitment have improved the diversity and academic profile of incoming classes. Now we need to double our efforts to make CC accessible to more students from low- and middle-income families. We also recognize that the number of Coloradans who enroll has decreased as CC has become more selective. Therefore, we need to do more to increase the representation of Colorado students at the college as well as support educational excellence in our local community.
The action steps that make up this important recommendation emphasize four opportunities for integration — among students from diverse backgrounds; across the parts of the academic experience, including blocks, disciplines, the classroom and experiential learning, field study, study abroad, and faculty-student research; across academic and co-curricular learning; and between the CC experience and students’ aspirations for their future. Our strategies should deepen and expand our students’ education, help them explore their passions without overextending themselves, and increase the meaningfulness and potential of a CC education.
To help student integrate the parts of their academic experience we could:
- Develop a program to increase the number of college-ready students from marginalized backgrounds in Colorado. This initiative should reach out to K-12 students to ensure that they have the academic credentials, skills, attributes, and information needed to attend CC and other colleges.
- Leverage our innovative and creative culture to continue to invigorate the block. Support team-teaching and faculty teams that collaborate to create connections across the disciplines; deepen collaboration across departments, and think outside the block’s current nine-to-twelve daily timeframe.
- Develop new ways to help students reflect on and integrate what they learn across blocks and semesters, even as they manage the intensity of the block. For example, we could support more convergence classes that come together to discuss related topics.
- Design adjunct courses that bridge disciplines, focus on contemporary issues, connect college and world experience, and help students create a narrative of their CC experiences.
- Help students connect to intellectual communities before they declare a major.
- Create and support innovative forms of academic advising for students at all levels. Our program should assist students as they explore academic and co-curricular interests and offer transparent help as they investigate, select, or change their majors.
- Engage students with additional advisors and mentors, including staff mentors, to help them integrate their academic and co-curricular experiences and use their time wisely.
- Create small groups of faculty and staff to explore the connections between academic and co-curricular experiences, with an emphasis on problem-centered learning and developing deeper connections between theory and practice.
- Leverage the Fine Arts Center, Outdoor Education, Arts and Crafts, Wellness, and Innovation to encourage students in building creativity, taking risks, and recovering from failure. With these strengths, we have an opportunity to create a model program that addresses the needs of today’s students.
- Use space and technology more creatively to encourage faculty, students, staff, and alumni to gather and create linkages across departments and offices.
Formed in 2013, CC’s Mock Trial teams are coached by alumna and 4th Judicial District Court Judge Regina Walter ’80, who led a CC team to the national championship that first year. Team members learn to think critically on their feet and remain unflappable in any circumstance. These skills are taking graduates to top law schools and careers.
- Draw on the expertise of alumni, parents, and supporters to offer new forms of mentoring for students. Find new ways to bring alumni and parents to campus and send students out into the world. Using technology with consistency and sophistication is critical to this aim.
- Build on the success of the Public Interest Fellowship Program by developing new internship programs for students in a variety of sectors.
- Help students develop a narrative through which they view, interpret, and explain their CC experience. We aim to help students integrate the parts of their academic experience and link that experience with co-curricular engagement.
- Encourage and support faculty as they engage students in their professional communities of practice, including them in professional debates and gatherings.
- Expand support for students who pursue national post-graduate scholarships and fellowships.
The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.
By strengthening connections, this recommendation is designed to enrich the learning experience. As the great American naturalist E.O. Wilson noted, in the future synthesizers will run the world. Our new recommendation aims to help CC students become these synthesizers — active lifelong learners, imaginative individuals, and inspired members of diverse communities in a changing world.
- Board of Trustees – Transitions Special Project Team
- College Access Pipeline Initiative