Michael Claudon is a teacher and academic entrepreneur. Having a particular passion for the art of starting and growing new business concepts into successful enterprises, he has taught applied economics and competitive strategies ever since joining the Middlebury College faculty in 1970. For over three decades, he has mentored Middlebury students, entrepreneurs and emerging leaders from Vermont and beyond. Innovating strategies for extending learning beyond the classroom to the real world of live problem solving and entrepreneurial endeavors has consistently been the driving force of his career.
In 1987, Claudon co-founded the Geonomics Institute. He successfully grew it into an internationally respected, independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that helped accelerate economic and political transition, focusing on enterprise restructuring and business development in the Former Soviet Union. After serving as Geonomics’ president for eight years, and dedicating most of that time to teaching and mentoring emerging business leaders in the region, Claudon returned to his first love, teaching Middlebury College students.
In January 2000, Claudon organized a January term course that explored the emerging digital economy. Riding the excitement and momentum generated by students and alumni working and learning together, what was to be a one-time event has become a multi-faceted Middlebury College initiative. DigitalBridges2.0™ currently creates and facilitates programs that help people transition and propel thought into action. In addition to the annual January course and conference, DigitalBridges2.0™ has expanded to include the Middlebury Solutions Group, an undergraduate venture consultancy dedicated to helping Vermont’s entrepreneurs grow ideas into viable enterprises.
Most recently, Claudon introduced an experimental teaching paradigm, a business boot camp as it were, to the liberal arts. MiddCORE enriches the liberal arts, empowers students to pursue their intellectual and academic passions and prepares them for success in their personal and professional lives. It is taught in a hands-on, experiential learning manner by engaging executive, entrepreneur and innovator mentors who create an intensely interactive and rich learning experience.
MiddCORE drives students out of their comfort zones as they acquire skills and experience using creativity, opportunity identification, risk-taking and entrepreneurship; engage in problem-solving and decision-making at levels far beyond any previous experience; and sharpen their analytical, presentation and writing skills in collaborative and competitive settings.
The author or editor of two-dozen books and over a dozen research articles, Claudon earned his BA in economics and zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD in economics from The Johns Hopkins University.