10 Questions with Jill Tiefenthaler, CC President

President Jill Tiefenthaler talks about a tuition hike, skiing, beating up on DU, the endowment (again), strategic planning and her biggest challenges day to day.

by JESSE PAUL

CC President Jill Tiefenthaler. Photo courtesy of the President’s Office

Is it true that the college will soon be announcing a 5 percent increase in tuition costs?

The tuition increase for 2013-2014 is still under discussion in the Campus Budget Committee. That committee, composed of students, faculty, staff and administrators is charged to recommend a budget (a tuition increase as well as staff and faculty salary pool increases and other expenditure increases) to the President. I then review their recommendations and recommend a budget to the Board of Trustees. The trustees will consider the proposed budget at their meeting in late February and make a final decision. We will announce the tuition increase after that meeting. I have not yet received the campus committee’s recommendations. We still have a lot of work to do before we have a final budget or tuition increase for next year.

How do you think hockey influences the perception of locals about CC?

The World Arena holds more than 8,000 people, and so clearly our Colorado Springs community fans are a big part of filling the arena and helping us cheer the Tigers to a victory over DU this Friday! Hockey games are one way that members of our community get involved with the college. Other folks get involved by attending performances and lectures. Some get involved more directly with students by providing mentoring through internships and service opportunities. It’s all good!

Last week was the Endowment Town Hall in Worner. Do you feel that students are becoming more involved? 

I hope so! It’s a great discussion.

It seemed like questions asked about the endowment were the same ones that have been answered over and over again in the past. Why do you think that is?

I think that the Town Hall included many students who were just joining the endowment conversation. It is important that students get educated if they want to be more involved in campus issues like this one. The Town Hall forum is a good first step in the process.

As it’s getting colder out a lot of students are heading up to the mountains to ski and board. Will the Tiefenthaler family be there too?

Yes! We are already planning a trip to Steamboat.

How is the strategic planning process coming along? Any speed bumps?

So far, so good. However, the process so far has focused on outreach – hearing everyone’s ideas. It will get more difficult as the committees have to prioritize and define the specific goals and initiatives.

What do you think is the number one thing that CC grads are unprepared for going into the “real” world? 

Starting at the bottom and paying your dues. We have talented and motivated students at CC who have already done amazing things. However, in the work world, you usually have to prove yourself and work your way up. This can be frustrating.

Is “carbon neutral by 2020” going to actually happen?

We are working toward it. I can’t promise that we will make it by 2020 because it is expensive, requires major renovations of existing buildings (El Pomar is done and Slocum is next), and depends somewhat on new opportunities to purchase alternative energy in our region. However, we are going to keep moving forward.

CC is becoming a growing hub for students from far away. Are you worried about losing the local population?

Attracting bright and talented students to CC is one of the most important things that we do (the other is hiring excellent faculty and staff). While we will look around the globe for these students, we don’t want to take our local students for granted. CC’s historical commitment to our state and region is critical. I am hoping that our strategic plan identifies some new initiatives to reaffirm this commitment.

What is the biggest problem you deal with on a day-to-day basis in your position?

The hardest problems are personnel issues. We have wonderful staff, students and faculty at Colorado College. However, with 2,000 students and more than 600 faculty and staff on campus, there are always some issues.

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