The case study for Middlebury College's January 2003 participation in the Wharton/IRHE Program on Leadership in Higher Education helps articulate a mission for the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research; to integrate a portion of the programs central to teaching and learning at Middlebury and to house them in the new library:
"The digital revolution has, if anything, helped usher in an age when intellectual inquiry entails fewer contacts with people outside one's own domain. At the same time, many of the questions being asked and pursued on the forefronts of knowledge…require collaboration among academic disciplines. If a library as a physical amalgamation of resources seems outmoded in one sense, it nonetheless embodies the kinds of academic syntheses required to address a growing number of complex societal problems."
Such intellectual inquiry and academic synthesis are the goals of a liberal arts college, and Middlebury is well situated to integrate its curricular, service, and even physical resources within a new model for teaching, learning, and research. In a digital environment, research, teaching, and learning increasingly occur on a continuum in both virtual and physical space, at all hours of the day, independently and in collaboration, with all members of an educational community involved in all three activities. But this continuum, introduced by digital technology, can be reflected in even more areas of curriculum, in academic services, and in residential life. The Center for Teaching, Learning and Research, which integrates and supports our work together as an educational community, offers us all more options for conscious growth as learners and teachers and for informed use of ever-changing technologies and resources.
Integrating research, curriculum, and support in The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research is a step toward the academic synthesis a 21st century liberal arts college can offer both its own community members and society at large. The new library provides us with an unusual opportunity to rethink the collaboration and coordination patterns among our learning, teaching and research resources at Middlebury, and to achieve greater visibility for learning as a lifetime responsibility.
The Center incorporates the offices of the Asst. Dean for Instruction, the College Writing Program, the Writing Center, Learning Resources, Peer Tutoring, the First-Year Seminar Program, and Sponsored Research.