Colorado College, an independent, coeducational, liberal arts and sciences college of bold ideas, located in the beautiful city of Colorado Springs on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains at the foot of Pikes Peak invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of assistant vice president for the residential experience.

Founded in 1874, Colorado College (CC) is ranked 27th among National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report. The college is distinct in its inimitable combination of program, place, people and pedagogy. Set in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado College is the only selective liberal arts college in the region and enrolls just over 2,200 undergraduate students. Through 37 academic departments, faculty engage students directly and prepare them for leadership in the 21st century. The College is celebrating its 50th year delivering a signature academic program known as the “Block Plan”—an intensive academic schedule that allows students to immerse themselves in a single subject for three and a half weeks, rather than balancing several courses over a semester. With a four year housing guarantee and three year live-on requirement for students, combined with an active summer conference schedule, the campus is a vibrant environment throughout the year.

The Position


The assistant vice president for the residential experience (AVP) is a member of the Student Life division leadership team and provides strategic leadership and guidance to four key units: Student Housing, Residential Experience, Conferences, and Campus Safety. The AVP reports to the vice president and dean of students (VP/dean) and maintains a dotted line relationship to the senior vice president for finance and administration, given the position’s substantial stewardship of a budget in excess of $14M. Enhancing the student experience—supporting and promoting the personal and intellectual development of students and fostering a diverse and inclusive community—is a key priority for the AVP. In partnership with direct reports, the AVP advances the design, implementation, and assessment of strategic and operational initiatives across all units. Additional responsibilities include: mentoring and developing direct reports to build leadership capacity and promote a student-centered culture marked by continuous improvement; oversight of all residential and non-residential student life facilities (66 buildings/825,000 sq. ft.) including maintenance, repair, and capital project planning in collaboration with facilities services; budget development and communication of programmatic and operational priorities in conjunction with  the divisional leadership team; coordination of parent communications along with the director of parent relations; compliance reporting and accountability (i.e., Clery, FERPA, HIPPA, Drug Free Schools Act); collaboration with Campus Safety, Emergency Management, and others to promote a culture of safety, protection of the environment, and sustainability, as well as to develop and enact protocols regarding college response and crisis management plans. The AVP is an active, engaged member of the college community who supports the goals of the Student Life division; advances the college’s strategic mission and initiatives, including anti-racism, diversity, and equity; assists with division administrative functions, goals, policy development, budget planning, and personnel management; and represents the VP/dean and college to internal audiences as well as the external community. The AVP oversees a staff of 45, including five direct reports, and a team of 110 student employees.

Additional responsibilities as outlined in the institutional job description are noted below.

Programmatic Responsibilities

  • Present ideas and concepts to the VP/dean of students that will enhance the student experience at Colorado College.
  • In partnership with direct reports, develop, implement, and assess plans that address both the strategic and operational needs of their respective areas of responsibility.
  • Provide mentoring and guidance to direct reports to support their development as leaders within their respective areas and within the division. Communicate with direct reports regarding their performance and consistently provide feedback to them that supports growth and development.

Division Responsibilities:

  • Oversee all residential and non-residential student life facilities (Worner Campus Center, Shove Memorial Chapel, Advising Hub, Interfaith House, Morreale House, Carriage House, and the Competitive Communications) maintenance, repair and capital project planning and execution in collaboration with facilities services.
  • In partnership with direct reports and the divisional leadership team members, develop budgets and communicate programmatic and operational needs to the VP/Dean of Students that affect budget requests. Monitor expenditures and ensure appropriate use of college resources across the division. Coordinate unit budget reviews.
  • In collaboration with the divisional leadership team, maintain appropriate staffing levels in all areas to ensure that staff and supervisors are actively participating in professional development to enhance capacity in their respective roles.
  • Coordinate excellent parent communications with the Director of Parent Relations.
  • Oversee the division’s compliance responsibilities (i.e. Clery, FERPA, HIPPA, Drug Free Schools Act).
  • Work with the director of campus safety and emergency management to ensure an appropriate college response and plan for crisis management. Lead efforts to educate campus on emergency response and provide leadership as co-chair of PreEMPT.
  • Support and actively contribute to the goal of achieving greater diversity, inclusion and equity at Colorado College and work effectively with all members of the campus community.
  • Promote a culture of safety and environmental protection by working in a safe manner; immediately reporting unsafe situations and accidents; following college procedures; and participating in appropriate safety training.
  • Demonstrate environmental sustainability by using college resources wisely, and supporting the college’s sustainability initiatives and innovation.

As a member of the division leadership team:

  • Assist with division administrative functions as requested to include development, implementation and assessment of division goals, policy development, budget planning, and personnel management.
  • Represent the VP/dean of students as requested in their absence.
  • In collaboration with the senior associate dean of students, monitor and manage day-to-day student experience and advise the VP/dean of students on issues that affect student life and the college.
  • Collaborate and communicate closely with other CC divisions and departments in carrying out the mission and strategic plan of the college and the priorities of the division.
  • Represent the college at key events and serve as an active member of the college community, regularly participating in institution-wide activities and providing outreach from Student Life to various constituencies on campus and within the community of Colorado Springs.
  • Represent the division of student life on committees as assigned.


The position of assistant vice president for the residential experience (AVP) represents a newly, reconfigured set of responsibilities within the Division of Student Life. With the upcoming June 2020 retirement of John Lauer, a long-term member of Colorado College, who has served as the associate vice president for student life since 2015, a decision to restructure several units comprising his portfolio has been made. Counseling and Health Services will join the Wellness Resource Center to function as a more integrated cluster, reporting up to another member of the Student Life leadership team. This will afford the incoming AVP an opportunity to focus directly on key departments directly impacting the residential student experience—Residential Experience (formerly known as residential life), Housing & Conferences, Maintenance & Projects for Student Life Facilities (residential facilities as well as Worner Campus Center, Shove Memorial Chapel, Advising Hub, Interfaith House, Morreale House, Carriage House, and the Competitive Communications).

Throughout Lauer’s tenure at CC, the number of students choosing to live in college owned residential facilities has grown significantly. When Lauer arrived in 2007, approximately 50 percent of the student body resided on campus. In 2020 with a three year live on requirement and four year housing guarantee, approximately 80 percent of all students live in college owned residential facilities. With this growth, Lauer has devoted significant time and attention to facilities management, including capital construction and ongoing renovation and renewal projects to ensure attractive, well-maintained facilities that meet college standards and uphold the expectations of today’s students and family members. Lauer was responsible for securing CC’s selection as one of three institutions nationally to take part in ACUHO-I’s 21st Century Project which brought about the construction of an innovative 154 bed new student complex for upper-class students. He also expanded housing capacity by another 175 beds through the acquisition of former private homes by the college thus creating a new network of senior cottages. Lauer is credited with building key faculty connections that have benefited the student residential experience and brought a strong business acumen to his responsibilities overseeing a significant auxiliary enterprise and generating a solid capital reserve fund that has made possible $1.5 to $2 million in annual upgrades and renovations to residential facilities.

Back in 2015 as part of a restructuring process within the Division of Student Life, the functions of Residential Life were aligned with Student Activities and Orientation with a report line to another member of the Division of Student Life senior leadership team. While this afforded greater integration with some other student-facing professionals throughout the Division and was designed in an effort to create a “hub” in the Worner Campus Center for student connection, it was ultimately determined that the move distanced staff working in Residential Life from former colleagues working in Housing & Conferences and Student Life Maintenance & Project Management. Following an external review process in summer of 2018 and analysis of recommendations, the decision was made effective summer 2019 to rename Residential Life as the Residential Experience and this unit was moved back into Lauer’s portfolio of responsibility.

During the current academic year, Lauer has been working to facilitate a greater integration of Housing & Conferences, Residential Experience, and Student Life Maintenance & Project Management for Student Life, along with Campus Safety and Emergency Management. Building out and strengthening this integration will be an ongoing responsibility of the new AVP.

The assistant vice president for the residential experience will report directly to the vice president for student life and dean of students, Mike Edmonds. Additionally, and due to the significant auxiliary housing operation budget, the assistant vice president will maintain a dotted reporting line to the senior vice president of finance and administration, Robert Moore.


The new AVP will need to develop a strong, high functioning team. This will require an investment of time and focused energy, getting to know direct reports and the individuals within units they lead. Developing a clear appreciation for current practices and establishing strong working relationships are essential before the AVP embarks upon a collaborative process to advance continuous improvement designed to strengthen the residential experience for students. Building a sense of teamwork, shared vision, and purpose throughout all reporting units to the AVP will be a top priority. As there is a relatively new reporting structure, it will be important to foster collaboration between units in an effort to create greater synergy, build trust, and familiarity with all roles and functions, along with how each contributes to supporting a positive residential experience for students in the fast paced environment of CC and its Block Plan.

As of academic year 2019-2020, the Residential Experience team led by its director, Bethany Grubbs, along with six residential life coordinators and 60 undergraduate residential advisors have adopted a new residential program that revolves around the “intentional conversations model” informed by the themes of Schreiner’s “thriving” construct. As this is a new initiative, opportunities exist for the AVP to support the Residential Experience director and staff in continually shaping this approach designed to emphasize holistic student development. Building capacity of staff to advance this model and to implement appropriate assessment measures to evaluate specific outcomes poses an opportunity for the AVP to exercise leadership and influence as the college endeavors to provide the finest liberal arts education in the country for its diverse student body.

The AVP will need to maintain a keen focus on the fiduciary responsibilities of managing a major auxiliary housing enterprise. This is particularly true in the wake of COVID-19 impacts that include a reduced conference schedule for summer 2020 directly impacting revenue and the prorated return of housing fees to students and families for the spring semester. The availability of fiscal reserves must align with a recalibrated schedule of residential facility capital renovation and renewal needs. The assistant vice president will need to work in close collaboration with the chief financial officer, manager of maintenance and projects within the Division of Student Life, and the centralized Facilities Services to develop short-term strategic plans to address maintenance and renewal projects, as well as longer-term plans for addressing high housing capacity which is currently requiring overflow triples to meet demands honoring the college’s four-year housing guarantee.

Additional priorities and opportunities for the new assistant vice president for the residential experience as articulated by stakeholders are listed below.

  • Through a collaborative process with staff, craft and widely socialize a five-year strategic plan designed to strengthen and promote the residential experience that is unique to the small, close-knit community of CC’s liberal arts institution. Articulating a clear vision of the residential experience at Colorado College and the inherent value of living on campus is imperative. Within the strategic plan, a conscientious effort to create an inclusive community must be front and center. Developing shared language around the strategic plan, vision, and values that all staff are comfortable with and can readily impart to current and prospective students and families, campus colleagues, and faculty will be important in establishing a unified organization and the best possible residential experience for students.
  • In the post-COVID-19 era, work with staff and students to strengthen community building and belonging for all.
  • Set a tone that elevates the messaging and presentation of the Residential Experience in all in-person presentations, as well as web- and print-based materials. Showcase the residential experience and its broad impact supporting the educational mission of the college.
  • Serve as a strong advocate for staff, keeping communication flowing up, down, and across the organization.
  • Support efforts throughout the Division of Student Life to update, clarify, and train staff on the Student Code of Conduct and how to equitably apply these policies in circumstances that arise within the residential environment.
  • Maintain a keen interest in emergency management and preparedness. Work closely with the director of campus safety and engage senior officers of the institutions, as well as others, in emergency training exercises to ensure effective planning for a wide-range of contingencies that could impact a residential campus.
  • Implement short-term creative solutions where possible to accommodate high demands for on-campus housing. Within the next two to three years, engage with senior officers of the college in planning for new residential construction designed to significantly reduce needs for tripling of student rooms, afford a more predictable renovation cycle, and/or ability to take older residential facilities completely out of use for student housing.
  • Devise and implement clear expectations of individual performance, support professional development, and hold staff accountable for executing all duties and responsibilities in a manner aligned with professional standards. Ensuring fair and equitable treatment of all staff is essential.
  • Support sustained efforts to build cultural competency and advance the college’s anti-racism plan across all staff and residential student populations.


By the close of the first year in the role, the following items will define success for the assistant vice president for the residential experience. The AVP will have:

  • demonstrated a forward-looking, proactive approach to their responsibilities while keeping the evolving interests and needs of CC’s student body foremost in mind;
  • forged a positive working relationship with staff and demonstrated an adaptable leadership and management style that spans generational differences, finding strategies to motivate and optimize the talents of all;
  • developed a sense of shared mission and purpose, uniting the work of residential life coordinators with that of other housing operations, conferences, facilities, and campus safety staff;
  • established themselves as a well-regarded leader on campus—someone who is solution oriented and capable of working autonomously when appropriate and as a member of a senior leadership team poised to make critical decisions in the interest of supporting students and their well-being;
  • designed appropriate professional development plans for staff—for new professionals and more veteran staff—that advances skills, competencies, and a sense of accomplishment while directly contributing to their ability to grow their career and contributions at CC.


A master’s degree plus a minimum of seven years of experience at the director level or above within a student life or student affairs division; the ability to help create and implement policy and direction for a division of student life or similar complex organization; demonstrated expertise in and knowledge of residential life and housing; ability to lead and exercise sound judgment with fairness and sensitivity; effective interpersonal and organizational skills; and an ability to work under and meet deadlines are required. The successful candidate will value the role of teamwork in a fast-paced, challenging position, and be able to implement and cultivate high standards of service for internal and external constituents.

Preferred qualifications include: a terminal degree in a related field; knowledge and familiarity with numerous areas of student life; and substantial fiscal and resource management experience.

Colorado College stakeholders also outlined additional experience, skills, and attributes that would be attractive in a successful candidate as noted below.

  • Exhibit vision—particularly as it related to an effective residential program—and forward-thinking ability; be equipped to lead, not simply to execute on others’ vision.
  • Demonstrate a high degree of cultural responsiveness and understanding of difference—understand the experience of vulnerable and underrepresented persons and demonstrate an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Possess a communicative, engaging, and collaborative leadership style that also serves to inspire others, regardless of where they may be in terms of their professional career (early stage, middle, or very experienced).
  • Readily engender the trust of others through consistent commitment to transparency of policies, practices, and processes; welcome staff input regarding decision-making.
  • Possess broad knowledge and experience across all aspects of the professional portfolio—housing & conference operations, residential program, staff management, and facilities management.
  • Have a track record that includes substantive strategic planning and teamwork directed at shaping mission, vision, and values.
  • Possess excellent communication skills and the ability to communicate up, down, and across the organizational structure.
  • Demonstrate an ability to lead change and the facility to work through ambiguity and unique circumstances.
  • Take one’s work seriously, but also bring a sense of humor and humanity to the work.
  • Be politically savvy and skilled in working within an intensive, 24/7, residential environment.
  • Serve as a strong role model who leads by example and is willing to roll up the sleeves to get the work done.
  • Enjoy engaging others—get out beyond the office to maintain an active campus presence, reaching out and engaging staff at all levels, as well as students and campus partners.
  • Recognize the importance of being student-centered and accessible—open to and responsive to student issues, concerns, and suggestions.
  • Relish the natural curiosity, intelligence, and problem-solving capability of bright, active liberal arts students.
  • Be a natural unifying force—able to bring people and units together to address challenges and to actively participate in finding solutions, shared purpose, synergy, and commitment to common goals.
  • Have a positive track record for hiring and developing talented professionals who are adaptive to change, well-equipped to advance excellence in their area of responsibility, and able to collaborate effectively with others.
  • Be knowledgeable about student development, mental health issues impacting college-aged populations, student conduct processes, campus resources to support well-being and student success, and related national trends impacting housing and residence life, including themed living environments.


An Overview of the Division

The goal of the Division of Student Life at Colorado College is to “ensure that students can maximize and leverage their time at CC and truly thrive.” To that end, the division provides a wide array of supports to help students learn and develop as leaders. It offers emergency funding for students facing unexpected financial crises. It listens to, responds to, and logs student concerns, in order to promote solutions, and provides assistance to students looking to take time off. It oversees a wide range of student services, from career and advising to outdoor education.

Student Life at Colorado College is comprised of the following units (reflects restructuring for AY 2020/2021):

  • Office of the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
  • Office of the Assistant Vice President for the Residential Experience
    • Campus Safety and Emergency Management
    • Residential Experience (residential life)
    • Housing Operations/Room Assignments
    • Conferences
    • Student Life Maintenance & Project Maintenance
  • Office of the Senior Associate Dean of Students (including student conduct)
    • Campus Activities
      • Arts & Crafts Program
      • Student Orientation
      • Competitive Communications (Speech & Debate, Model United Nations, and Mock Trial)
      • Worner Campus Center (student center)
  • Wellness Resource Center
    • Counseling Services

Leadership of the Division of Student Life

Mike Edmonds, PhD, is the dean of students and vice president of student life at Colorado College, where he has served for nearly 30 years. Dean Edmonds is also an executive-in-residence in the Economics and Business department. Dean Edmonds holds a bachelor of arts in speech and theater, a master’s, and a PhD in education from the University of Mississippi, and was inducted as a Hall of Fame graduate in 1984. He has completed a post-graduate institute at Harvard University, and is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership. He frequently judges for the National Speech and Debate Association.

Edmonds was appointed by the governor to serve on the Fourth District Judicial Commission of Colorado, and chaired the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport Commission. He is a silver lifetime member of the NAACP. For his work in speech and forensics, he has been recognized with the National Speech and Debate Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and inducted into the Gold Key Society at Emory University.

The Office of Residential Experience

The assistant vice president for the residential experience provides strategic leadership and guidance for the Residential Experience (formerly residential life), Campus Safety, Housing & Conferences, and Student Life Maintenance & Project Management (Student Life facilities management). The AVP oversees a staff of 45, including five direct reports (director of residential experience, housing & conferences manager, maintenance & projects manager, director of campus safety & emergency management, and administrative assistant), and a team of 110 student employees (including 60 RAs).

The physical office for the AVP is located in Bemis Hall. Campus Safety and Emergency Management has a customer service station in the Worner Campus Center. Campus Safety operations, including dispatch, are located at 219 E. Uintah Street. All other direct reports to the AVP have assigned office space in Bemis Hall.

Campus Safety and Emergency Management

Campus Safety and Emergency Management’s operational philosophy and motto is “professional, ethical, responsive, and kind.” In addition to overseeing security and parking issues, the department offers programs such as Safe Ride, Self-Defense, and Safety Tips for on- and off-campus students and staff.

The Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Management is responsible for providing a safe learning environment for students, faculty, staff and guests of Colorado College. Maggie Santos, a CC alum, has led the department since 2105. She oversees 22 staff, including an associate director, assistant director, four campus safety supervisors, and 16 campus safety officers.

Housing & Conferences

This office collaborates with the Residential Experience team to create inclusive, secure, and well-maintained housing that encourages student development, learning, and success. It administers the room-assignment process and manages maintenance, renovation, preservation, and custodial work. During the summer months, it runs a Conference Services program that hosts up to 2,000 campers and conference attendees each year.

The housing & conference manager implements multiple room assignment and selection processes, maintains residential records, resolves student concerns, and develops policies and procedures to increase efficiency and improve the customer interface and office experience. The manager also analyzes data to produce reports concerning future housing needs and occupancy predictions, serves as the primary housing contact for students and parents, and provides leadership in the planning and implementation of summer conference operations. Rochelle Taylor serves as the housing & conferences manager, a role she has held since joining the college in the winter of 2015. Taylor supervises three staff members—the room assignment specialist, the housing administrative assistant, and a housing paraprofessional (student employee).

Student Life Maintenance & Project Management

This department manages the projects and maintenance for 66 residential and student life buildings totaling 825,000 square feet.

Keith Beck, who joined CC in 2017, serves as the manager for this department, providing staff supervision of the maintenance team, and is involved in the planning and support of summer conferences. Beck also oversees the custodial contract for residential buildings and serves as the liaison between facility services and housing. He works closely with the budget and all capital R&R projects. He leads a team of six staff, including one lead maintenance worker, four general maintenance workers, and one laborer. All maintenance workers are assigned to specific buildings and are responsible for inventory control and execution of work orders, working closely with residential life coordinators to maintain a high level of student satisfaction through the quick resolution of maintenance issues.

Residential Experience

Eighty percent of CC students live in campus housing, which includes traditional residence halls, historic mansions, senior cottages, and modern apartments. As a residential college with a three-year live-on requirement and four year housing guarantee, life in campus housing is a central part of the holistic learning experience that characterizes the liberal-arts education at Colorado College.

The director of the residential experience, Bethany Grubbs, directly supervises six residential life coordinators (RLCs) and four front desk coordinators. Additionally as director, Grubbs indirectly supervises a team of approximately 60 undergraduate resident assistants (RAs). Grubbs is responsible for staff selection and training, as well as residential processes including theme-housing selection and break stays. She oversees functions and flourishing of the residential staff and residents, facilitates collaboration and partnership with fellow offices and departments, and serves as the primary advisor for Greek Life. Grubbs is now in her 11th year at CC, and was promoted from assistant director to director in 2019.

Each RLC is responsible for providing leadership to their student staff (RAs) and their residents. They liaise with Housing & Conferences staff, as well as custodial staff, to advocate for students’ housing and maintenance needs and to monitor the physical living space. The RLCs act as resources and referral agents for student concerns and welfare. Additionally, RLCs provide community programming and guide the RAs’ intentional conversations with residents. CC’s on-call structure provides one or two student staff members (RAs) on-call for each of the six residential areas during non-business hours, and one RLC on-call for the entire campus 24/7. Residential staff are generally the first responders to student crises. RLCs also hear the majority of student conduct cases, and utilize educational sanctions ranging from conversations to disciplinary probation. The primary role of RLCs and RAs is to build relationships and community by being visible and present in their communities.

Institution & Location


Institutional Background and History

Colorado College was founded in 1874 by minister, poet, and educator Thomas Nelson Haskell as a private, co-educational, liberal arts college modeled after Oberlin College, where he had studied. The land was provided by Civil War General William Jackson Palmer, an owner of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and founder of Colorado Springs. Katherine Lee Bates, while teaching here in the summer of 1893, wrote her famous song, “America the Beautiful.”

Located seventy miles south of Denver, Colorado College has about 2,100 undergraduates, with a recent acceptance rate of 15 percent. U.S. News & World Report ranked it sixth in “Best Undergraduate Teaching” and third in “Most Innovative Schools,” due in part to its unique “Block Plan:” Students enroll in one class every three-and-a-half weeks, and take eight each year. Nearly three-quarters of classes have fewer than twenty students, and the student-to-faculty ratio is ten to one. As part of the college’s commitment to volunteerism, all first-year students must complete a service trip.

Colorado College has a small Greek community—three fraternities and three sororities—and Division-I women’s soccer and men’s hockey teams. Its other teams compete in the Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. Located at the base of Pikes Peak, the college offers both informal opportunities to enjoy the surrounding landscape and an extensive outdoor-recreation program. Its FY 2019 endowment was approximately $772 million. Colorado College is one of eight higher-education institutions in the U.S. that is carbon-neutral.

About Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Ute, Arapaho, and Cheyenne peoples were the first recorded inhabitants of an area which would become Colorado Springs. As part of the land included in the United States’ 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the current city area was designated a section of the 1854 Kansas Territory. In 1859, after the first local settlement was established, it became part of the Jefferson Territory and then that of El Paso County. Colorado City at the Front Range confluence of Fountain and Camp creeks was formally organized on August 13, 1859 during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. It served as the capital of the Colorado Territory from November 5, 1861, until August 14, 1862, when the capital was moved to Denver.

Today, Colorado Springs is a home rule municipality that is the largest city by area (194.9 square miles) in Colorado as well as the county seat and the most populous municipality of El Paso County, Colorado.  Located 60 miles south of Denver, in east central Colorado, the city stands over 1 mile above sea level; the city lies near the base of Pikes Peak, which rises 14,115 feet above sea level on the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains.

Colorado Springs has an estimated population of 472,688 and a metro population of approximately 738,939, making it Colorado’s second most populous city, behind Denver, and the 39th most populous city in the United States. The United States Air Force Academy opened in 1958 just north of Colorado Springs. The city also is home to 24 national sports governing bodies, including the United States Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Training Center, and USA Hockey. The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings found Colorado Springs to be the fastest-growing city for millennials, and in 2018 U.S. News & World Report named Colorado Springs the most desirable place to live in the United States.

Mission, Values, and Guiding Principles


At Colorado College, our goal is to provide the finest liberal arts education in the country. Drawing upon the adventurous spirit of the Rocky Mountain West, we challenge students, one course at a time, to develop those habits of intellect and imagination that will prepare them for learning and leadership throughout their lives.”

Values and Guiding Principles

“As members of the Colorado College community, we share a commitment to:

  • honor the life of the mind as the central focus of our common endeavor;
  • value all persons and seek to learn from their diverse experiences and perspectives;
  • practice intellectual honesty and live with integrity;
  • serve as stewards of the traditions and resources of Colorado College;
  • nurture a sense of place and an ethic of environmental sustainability;
  • encourage engagement and social responsibility at local, national and global levels;
  • seek excellence, constantly assessing our policies and programs.”

“Together, we work to build a community of mutual respect where all can trust that things are done with positive intent, and balanced with open and clear communication.  The college aims to provide complete and accessible information so that all contributors know the direction of the institution and how their jobs fit into the overall structure and future of the college. As employees, we recognize our responsibility to receive, act upon and share information. Open dialogue helps to improve CC policies and practices as we aspire to make excellent decisions, hold ourselves and one another accountable, pursue appropriate transparency and coordinate our efforts.  We value discourse and encourage one another to voice concerns and ideas.”

“As an institute of higher learning, we are dedicated to the life of the mind; we prize reflection and personal accountability. We seek to sustain a workplace environment that cultivates creativity and innovation, personal and professional growth, and the health and wellbeing of all of our community members. We realize an ideal working environment identifies and magnifies people’s strengths, provides opportunities for continual development of skills and abilities, and allows for the pursuit of a healthy work/life balance. We affirm that all members of our community are integral to the important work we do.”

“We believe that a vibrant exchange of ideas thrives in an inclusive atmosphere where individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, interests and aspirations come together to forge constructive and rewarding working and social relationships. We are committed to creating a community that is respectful of the human dignity of all persons while being intellectually challenging, engaging and inspiring. We recognize that these differences can bring challenges, and we strive to create a welcoming environment that acknowledges the challenges while cultivating, exploring and celebrating the differences. This commitment requires an environment free from all forms of harassment or bullying behavior, and respect for confidential matters.”

“Our practice of these values and behaviors helps ensure excellence in our work and success in our mission.”

Commitment to Diversity

“At Colorado College, we commit to creating a fruitful climate for intellectual and scholarly growth, meaningful interaction, and common endeavors. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are key to a liberal arts education of the highest caliber.

As we celebrate the expanding diversity of students, faculty, and staff at Colorado College, we recognize that vigorous living, learning, and teaching require more than a campus of variety and difference. Our mission to engage the college in a vibrant exchange of ideas thrives on a plurality of backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints, and positionalities. We recognize that power imbalances, institutional bias, and systems of oppression can stand in the way of students, staff, and faculty achieving their potential. We are committed to cultivating mutual respect, empathy and understanding; and to building constructive and rewarding working and social relationships.”

“To these ends, we engage in the following practices and pursuits:

  • Create a campus community that is broadly accessible and welcoming to individuals of diverse identities, experiences, and aspirations. We will identify and draw on the talents and promise of local, national and global populations in our admission of students and our hiring of faculty and staff.
  • Foster an equitable intellectual and social climate that is inclusive and respectful of human dignity. We acknowledge that categories of difference are fluid and not necessarily fixed. We respect individual rights to self-identification and expression; we encourage activities, gatherings, and conversations in which individuals from all walks of life are able to fully participate.
  • Promote full engagement in courses, curricula, co-curricular programs, and projects. We will provide resources and space for distinctive projects that further our diversity goals and our shared interests and ideals.
  • Encourage Colorado College community members to be conscientious and critical thinkers, and considerate and responsible leaders.”

“In order to hold ourselves accountable we commit to the ongoing evaluation of our policies, practices, and programs to assess our progress in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The president’s cabinet and the college’s multi-disciplinary COVID-19 Emergency Response Team are meeting regularly (remotely) to assess the situation and plan for impacts to the Colorado College  campus community. The college has adjusted its block schedule, extending spring break by one week, through March 29, 2020. Block 7 and 8 classes will be delivered via distance learning. Students will remain off campus through the rest of the academic year.

The college has established the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Response Fund to support existing measures that offer housing and food assistance, academic support, and quality healthcare to every member of the CC community.

Strategic Plan

Never an institution content with stasis, Colorado College maintains a continual charge toward bettering itself as an institution for all members of its community. Looking to our illustrious past as a guide and our future as an opportunity, we at Colorado College are proud of the initiatives we’ve taken and look forward to their implementation in the months and years to come.”

“Liberal arts colleges are facing important questions about how to educate the next generation of students in this era of global change, technological innovations, new approaches to engaged learning, continued economic challenges, and increased competition for the very best students and teachers.”

“At Colorado College, we have looked closely at the various challenges, opportunities, and areas for further investment, while also taking stock of our strengths, especially the Block Plan, our distinctive place of learning, and our national reputation.”

“Because of our position of strength, our strategy at Colorado College is simply focused on being ourselves, but even better. That means focusing on quality.”

“Our strategy is to strengthen our core, to enhance what we already do. The following recommendations are designed to help us realize this strategic direction:

  • Provide additional support to realize the potential of our pioneering Block Plan.
  • Build both a nationally recognized summer program and an inventive half-block program for a new generation of learners.
  • Create an innovation institute.
  • Enhance our distinctive place of learning — our campus — to support our engaged, globally connected academic program and embody our regional and historical identity.
  • Focus on workplace excellence to foster an organization that is as innovative and dynamic as the CC academic experience.
  • Help students to build connections across diverse communities, disciplines, and academic and co-curricular experiences, and to link their CC education to their future aspirations.
  • Integrate the Fine Arts Center and develop a national model of distinction for an arts center that joins with a college to serve the campus, the community, the region, and the world.”


Jill Tiefenthaler – President

Jill Tiefenthaler became Colorado College’s 13th president on July 1, 2011. During her first two years, President Tiefenthaler began the extensive process that led to the college’s strategic plan, “Building on the Block.” Over her first 12 months, she met with students, faculty, staff, and community members, and heard from thousands of alumni and parents nationwide about their aspirations for the college. In year two, President Tiefenthaler worked with the campus community and Board of Trustees to craft a strategic plan that focuses on providing additional support to realize the potential of the college’s innovative Block Plan, enhancing the college’s distinctive place in the Rocky Mountain West, leveraging the college’s innovative and creative spirit to enhance opportunities for students, and fostering a workplace of inclusion and excellence.

Tiefenthaler is a leading scholar in the field of the economics of higher education, and is regularly asked to speak about the value of the liberal arts. A professor of economics at the college, she regularly teaches a class on the economics of higher education.

After receiving her master’s and PhD in economics from Duke University, Tiefenthaler joined the faculty of Colgate University in 1991, where she served as department chair, associate dean of the faculty, and senior adviser to the president. She then served as provost and professor of economics at Wake Forest University, where she led the implementation of the university’s strategic plan and key initiatives, including diversity in admission, establishing new models for enhanced interdisciplinary research and collaboration, and integrating the university’s undergraduate and graduate business schools.

In January 2020, it was announced that Tiefenthaler will step down as she has been named the new chief executive officer of National Geographic Society. She will continue leading Colorado College until she assumes her new role in August 2020. At its February 2020 meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously elected Provost Alan Townsend to serve as interim president, beginning August 1, 2020, and ending when a new president joins Colorado College, which is anticipated to be in Summer 2021.

Alan R. Townsend – Provost

Alan R. Townsend was named Colorado College’s provost and professor of environmental science on June 1, 2018. He will serve as interim president beginning August 2020, until a permanent successor is in place. As CC’s provost, Townsend has been the college’s chief academic officer and the college’s second-ranking officer with strategic responsibilities that span the entire institution.

Prior to joining Colorado College, Townsend served as the director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and professor in the Environmental Studies program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has a background of strong leadership, excellent strategic planning, successful fundraising, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. He earned his BA in biology from Amherst College and his PhD in biological sciences from Stanford University.

Townsend is an ecosystem ecologist who studies how ecosystems work, how they are changing, and what those changes might mean for society. His nationally prominent research includes work on nutrient cycling and biogeochemistry in tropical forests, and global-scale analyses of human impact on major element cycles. Townsend is a strong advocate of academic engagement beyond the ivory tower; he was an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow in 2001 and one of the inaugural Google Science Communication Fellows in 2011.

Academic Programs and Faculty

Students follow the “Block Plan” at Colorado College, taking one class at a time, Monday through Friday, for three-and-a-half weeks, eight classes per year, each one followed by a four-day break. The first two blocks for first-year students are part of the First-Year Program, a cornerstone of the curriculum, where they hone their reading, writing, and discussion skills in small groups. They can then go on to choose from over 80 majors, minors, and specialty programs. In addition to its undergraduate degrees, the college also awards a master of arts in teaching (MAT).

Colorado College has a student-faculty ratio of ten to one, and 73 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Colorado College in 2019 included organic biology and ecology, economics, sociology, and political science. The average freshman retention rate is 96 percent.

The college currently has 167 full-time faculty, 99 percent of whom hold the highest degree in their field. Fifty-two percent of full-time faculty identify as male, 48 percent female. Part-time faculty are about 59 percent female and 41 percent male.

The Student Body

  • Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,144
  • Total graduate enrollment: 30
  • 54 percent women, 45 percent men, 0.75 percent non-binary or asexual, 0.28 percent transgender
  • Undergraduate students who are first-generation: 18 percent
  • 80 percent live on campus
  • 65 percent “white,” 25 percent “American ethnic minority,” eight percent “international”
  • 56 percent receive no financial aid
  • 51 countries represented, most predominantly the People’s Republic of China
  • The class of 2023 had an average combined SAT score of 1430

Benefits Overview

As an employee of Colorado College, the following benefits are available:

  • Medical plan
  • Dental plan
  • Vision plan
  • Life insurance and AD&D
  • Long-term disability
  • Retirement plan
  • Retirement health plan
  • Flexible spending account
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Pre-paid legal services
  • Group home, auto, and renter’s insurance
  • Tuition remission and partial assistance

For additional information regarding benefits, please visit:

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin April 10, 2020 and will continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Valerie B. Szymkowicz at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Colorado College website at

Colorado College is an equal opportunity employer committed to increasing the diversity of its community. The college does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, gender identity or expression, disability, or sexual orientation in its educational programs and activities or employment practices.