2019

Dixie Goswami, Coordinator of Courses in Writing and founder of the Bread Loaf Teacher Network

Dixie Goswami has been part of the Bread Loaf School of English as a member of the faculty or staff every summer since 1979. She has held the Ruth and Lillian Marino Chaired Professorship and the Robert Frost Chair of Literature, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from Middlebury College in 1990. Across her years at Bread Loaf, she has inaugurated forward-looking courses that linked the practice and teaching of writing to cultural identity, new media, and social change. As a teacher, she revolutionized educational theory and practice by putting student voices and imaginations at the center of the learning process.

If her achievements had ended there, she would still be considered one of Bread Loaf’s most influential teachers. But Dixie’s impact on Bread Loaf and the lives it touches goes even further. She has transformed our cultural and educational landscape through service that has extended far beyond the classroom. In the 1980s, Dixie led the charge to bring public school teachers to the School of English, and now approximately 40 percent of our students come from public schools. In 1993, she founded the Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network, which soon became the Bread Loaf Teacher Network. This unique professional development organization supports teachers as they build classroom projects and pedagogies from Bread Loaf coursework that create opportunities for diverse students. She was also the visionary who created the BTN Next Generation Youth Leadership Network in 2107, which provides a platform for vulnerable youth to lead together as advocates for social justice and social change.

For over 30 years, Dixie has been the Bread Loaf Teacher Network’s heart and soul, working night and day, often on her own dime and time, to expand its impact and ensure its success. As anyone who has taught, studied, or worked with Dixie can attest, she is a force, a visionary, a change-maker, and an inspiration.

Bill Hegman, GIS Specialist and Teaching Fellow

Bill Hegman has been working with unfailing humor and energy for Middlebury since 1999. As the GIS specialist in the Geography Department, he’s supported thousands of students as they navigate their way through spatial sciences and GIS technology. To a person, Hegman’s nominators cited his sincere interest in students’ well-being; his unflagging encouragement that helps them succeed; his expansive office hours, when he’ll tackle any problem or discussion, no matter how long it takes; his help in organizing internships; his technological wizardry; and his joy in making life more fun—whether that’s by organizing a scavenger hunt up Snake Mountain, making homemade ice cream for a department gathering, or mounting student work on the walls in Bi Hall.

Nominators described Hegman as the departmental shepherd, the department’s institutional memory, and someone who flies under the radar but without whom “we would be truly lost.” One nominator noted that this summer when the department moved, “Bill went even further above and beyond his call of duty when he spent his summer almost single-handedly moving the department from the third to the sixth floor.”

A student nominator said, “Bill's patience and care for others is astounding and has made geography majors out of people who otherwise would have dropped GIS 0120. My career and interests for the rest of my life have changed because of Bill, and I cannot thank him enough.”

Wei Liang, Professor and Program Co-chair, International Trade and Economic Diplomacy

Wei Liang joined the Middlebury Institute faculty in 2007. Her research and teaching have concentrated on the governance of national and world economies—how foreign economic policy is made domestically and why governments and international organizations do what they do in international economic relations. She’s conducted field research in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States to learn directly from the policy practitioners.

Liang has been instrumental in linking the Institute and the College in a truly creative way. In summers, she leads a group of MIIS and Middlebury College students on a dynamic experiential-learning trip to China. For those participants who may not have the necessary Chinese language skills, she also brings along Institute translation and interpretation students, who can practice their interpretation skills while the other students observe professional language skills in action. There are opportunities for students to work in teams of both MIIS graduate students and College undergraduates so they can learn from one another.

Students have found these trips and many other opportunities to learn from Liang to be transformative and inspiring, impacting their overall educational trajectories. She’s invested her time and resources to make sure students have access to these opportunities.

One nominator noted: “Wei thinks not only about the curricular experiences—which are truly excellent—but also about many other details. She is incredibly caring and willing to stay up with students all night to solve any problems that arise. She is amazingly dedicated to the student experience.”

Tim Parsons, Landscape Horticulturist

Tim Parsons has been the landscape horticulturist at Middlebury since 2006. His infectious enthusiasm for the Vermont campus landscape has transformed the community into a hub of tree enthusiasts. Not only is Parsons responsible for the maintenance of the College’s urban forest, landscape design and installation, and management of the turf athletic fields, he’s an integral member of many essential committees. He currently serves as president of the Middlebury Staff Council.

Nominators described Parsons as an advocate and enthusiastic spokesperson for Middlebury’s trees, who is always happy to work with faculty and students. He’s helped students studying plant biology, teaching them about the trees on campus, tree-health assessment skills, census techniques to survey flora, and tree mapping. He’s taught a well-received winter term course about trees in the urban forest.

Parsons is perhaps best known for his fascinating campus tree walks, which introduce groups to the campus environment in a new way. A student nominator said of the tree walk: “I’ve never looked at the landscape of the school in the same way after that. The diversity and abundance are truly spectacular, and each tree is rich with a history that is now woven into my experience here at the College.”

Another said, “I’ve found that many Middlebury students I speak to share fond stories of Tim. When I talk with my friends who attend other institutions, they can’t name their own horticulturists.”

And another, about a special walk Parsons organized: “We perambulated around until it got dark, soaking up every word Tim had to say. When we eventually split, students from their first semester to their super-senior fall agreed that it ranked among their favorite events at Middlebury.”

Sheila Schwaneflugel, Assistant Director of the Betty Ashbury Jones MA ’86 School of French

Sheila Schwaneflugel has embodied the concept of going “above and beyond” throughout her career in the Language Schools.

Colleagues say she is a pillar of the Language Schools community, someone who not only profoundly impacts the Betty Ashbury Jones MA ’86 School of French, but also the students who call it their own. As the first point of contact for nearly every student, Schwaneflugel ensures that every student, faculty, staff, and assistant has the best possible experience, even when doing so is not easy or convenient. With an indefatigable commitment to service, unflappable optimism, and love of students, plus an ever-present smile, Schwaneflugel strives to make everyone’s work easier while doing her own excellent work.

This past year, she proved critical to the success of the Betty Ashbury Jones MA ’86 School of French, thanks to her unwavering dedication. During a time of leadership transition, she stepped in to temporarily fill not just the assistant director role but also the director role. Once these position was staffed she then mentored the appointee and other new staff to ensure the school would run as smoothly as possible. She made it so easy for everyone to work in the best possible conditions that this year’s challenges were almost imperceptible.

2018

Jennifer Herrera Condry, Associate Director, Intercultural Center

Jennifer Herrera Condry has worked for Middlebury in various roles since joining the College in 2002, with a particular focus over the last decade on multicultural student affairs. In her most recent role as associate director of the Anderson Freeman Resource Center (AFC), she manages the Posse program, helps to develop and staff cocurricular programs that serve underrepresented students, and supports a multitude of student cultural organizations. A fellow staff member shared that “Jennifer’s presence and guidance are integral to the continued success and flourishing of the center and its operations.”

Among many achievements over her Middlebury career, Herrera Condry spearheaded and managed the implementation of gender-neutral bathrooms in public buildings and the preferred name and gender pronoun procedures. She developed Middlebury’s first comprehensive program to support the academic and social success of first-generation students, which includes First@Midd, peer mentoring, monthly academic and community-building activities, and an annual graduation celebration. She also led public art initiatives at the AFC and more recently at McCullough Student Center.

Nominators described Herrera Condry as a role model for supporting and connecting with students, going beyond her job responsibilities to make “tremendous efforts to enhance and transform our community to become a more engaged and inclusive Middlebury.”

Jonathan Miller-Lane, Associate Professor of Education Studies and Commons Head for Wonnacott Commons

Miller-Lane, who has taught at Middlebury since 2003, has worked to encourage fundamental changes in campus discourse about race. In September 2017, he gave the first talk of the Carol Rifelj Faculty Lecture Series for the academic year, titled “Discourse and Discord at Middlebury: A Way Forward,” in which he asked the campus community for meaningful engagement with issues related to “whiteness.” 

Miller-Lane has held several institutional service roles at Middlebury, including serving as director of Education Studies, faculty head of Wonnacott Commons, lead professor for the Mellon Foundation grant that supports the Sophomore Seminar in the Liberal Arts, and lead professor of the JusTalks initiative.

One of his nominators wrote, “I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in on various classes, workshops, Commons dinners, and informal gatherings that Jonathan has facilitated. His inclusive practices have strongly informed my own approach to pedagogy and community building. The high regard in which Jonathan is held—by colleagues and students—reflects our appreciation for his sustained intentional commitment to cultivating a deeply inclusive Middlebury community.”

2017

Amy Holbrook, Academic Coordinator for the Economics Department

Amy Holbrook has served as the academic coordinator for the Department of Economics since 1993. Her nominators wrote that "although her official duties revolve around helping the Economics Department run smoothly and efficiently,” she is “a mentor, supporter, and informal cultural facilitator for Middlebury students.” Students and faculty remarked on Holbrook’s deep commitment to supporting students outside her administrative role.

One nominator wrote, “As an international student, and in the absence of my family during important events in my life at Middlebury, she was my family; coming to ISO shows, accompanying me to my first Dolci dinner and joining me for Thanksgiving lunch at the college—even inviting me to her home one Thanksgiving. Her mere presence in Warner makes the building a more habitable place with a perpetually open door guiding lost first-years and welcoming familiar faces.”

Another student nominator wrote, “Amy has always been there for me personally when times have been rough. I really do feel that there should be more people like her on this campus. It is hard coming to a place like Middlebury as a city-dweller; however I have seen Amy open her arms to many international students who have felt lost as well. I will miss Amy after my graduation, but I will be happy knowing that she will continue to be a positive force for other students coming to Middlebury.”

Tiffany Nourse Sargent ’79, Director of the Center for Community Engagement

Tiffany Sargent has worked at Middlebury since 1985 in various positions at the College that support students engaged in community service. In her current role as director of the Center for Community Engagement, Sargent and her staff work with 1,500 students each year who provide 65,000 hours of service in the local community and beyond.

And while her goal is to promote exceptional service in others, those who nominated Sargent say she herself “exemplifies what it means to unselfishly, consistently and relentlessly give back to all who are around her in ways that build a more engaged and inclusive Middlebury community.”

One of Sargent’s nominators, a faculty member, remarked on her powerful impact on teaching at Middlebury. “Tiffany has taught me important lessons about the benefits of integrative learning,” the nominator wrote. “She has helped me to see the transformative effect that community engagement can have on students’ exposure to a social problem like poverty. She has helped my teaching evolve from an over-reliance on the lecture model to a pedagogical approach in which students think in and beyond the classroom simultaneously."

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