Spring 2009

Language Schools MiddNews PDF Version

To access a printable PDF version of the Fall 2008 newsletter, please click here.

High School Students Experience Full Immersion over Summer Vacation

Now looking forward to its second summer, the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy (MMLA), which welcomed over 600 middle and high school students last summer, will be offered in two locations: Green Mountain College, in Poultney, Vermont; and, in affiliation with the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University, at Simon's Rock (the campus of Bard College), in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Roberto d'Erizans, of the Taft School, in Connecticut, has assumed the post of academic director for the MMLA. Four languages will be offered this year-Chinese, Arabic, French, and Spanish-with plans to add German in 2010.

Transitions: Farewells and Salutations

Farewells: Jochen Richter, who has served as the director of the German School since 1998 and as a faculty member and dean for many years prior to being appointed director, will be retiring from his Middlebury position at the end of summer 2009. A man of great charisma, intelligence, and humor, Director Richter is extremely popular with both faculty and students. Under his leadership, the school has flourished and developed in exciting directions: one well-known innovation is the German for Singers and Vocal Coaches program, now entering its 11th summer.

Richter did his undergraduate work in German and English literature at the University of Kiel in Germany; received his MA and Ph.D. in German literature from Syracuse University; and is currently Mary Biehler Professor of German at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where he served as chair of the Modern Languages Department and the Humanities Division. He has been in charge of the international studies program at Allegheny since 1993. His research is primarily focused on 20th-century German literature, and his publications include articles on Barlach, Dürrenmatt, Goering, Herburger, Hildesheimer, Jens, Kunert, and Wondratschek. He has edited a volume of Günter Kunert's work entitled Schatten entziffern (1995) and published a book, Die Konzeption des "Neuen Menschen" in Ernst Barlachs dramatischem Schaffen (1992). Currently, he is editing a volume of essays on science and literature.

Associate Director Karl Obrath-well known by a generation of German School students-is also retiring at the end of the summer. Obrath studied in Salzburg and Hamburg, receiving his MA and Ph.D. in German literature from the University of Cincinnati, where he was also a lecturer. He is currently an associate professor of German at the University of Cincinnati, where he is a George B. Barbour Award recipient and has served as director of undergraduate studies, as well as director of the National Work-Study Program in Hamburg, Germany. His research interests include 20th-century German culture and literature, and the images of Mexico and the U.S. in German literature. He has taught in the Middlebury German School since 1981.

Please join us when we toast farewell to these two outstanding colleagues during Alumni Weekend, in July.

Welcome: Doris Kirchner, newly named director-designate of the German School, received her Ph.D. in German literature in 1989 from the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and is currently an associate professor of German at the University of Rhode Island. Before joining the German Program and the International Engineering Program at the University of Rhode Island in 1993, she taught at Columbia University, the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and at the Huazhong Institute for Science and Technology in Wuhan, People's Republic of China.

Kirchner teaches all levels of the German language and has designed and taught many upper-level German studies courses.

French School Faculty Member Wins France's Top Literary Prize

A member of the Middlebury French School faculty, Tierno Monénembo, has won France's 2008 Prix Renaudot literary prize for writing the best novel of the year.

Monénembo and his Le roi de Kahel (The King of Kahel) outdistanced Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, whose new book, Le Cas Sonderberg (The Sonderberg Case), was also a finalist for the Prix Renaudot.

Born in Guinea in 1947, Tierno Monénembo fled the dictatorship of Sékou Touré in 1969 and traveled on foot to reach Senegal. He arrived in France in 1973 and published his first novel, Les crapauds-brousse (The Bush-Toads), in 1979.

Now a full-time writer living in France, Monénembo has written 10 novels, including several on oppression in Africa. His 1986 novel, Les écailles du ciel (Pieces of Heaven), was a finalist for the Grand Prix de l'Afrique Noire. He is best known in the United States for L'Aîné des orphelins (The Oldest Orphan), based on the Rwandan genocide, and which was translated into English and published in both hardcover and paperback by the University of Nebraska Press in 2004.

Monénembo is scheduled to return to Middlebury in 2009 to teach for his fourth summer in the French School. The director of the School, Aline Germain-Rutherford, said Middlebury is both "proud and fortunate" to have Monénembo teaching courses in African literature and creative writing to students in the French School. According to Germain-Rutherford, the Prix Renaudot and the Prix Goncourt are the top two literary honors in France and are awarded every year on the same day in November.

Experience the Language Schools Once Again, at Alumni Weekend, July 10-12

Alumni of Middlebury's summer Language Schools and Schools Abroad are invited to join us on campus, July 10-12, to reconnect with colleagues, friends, and former Schools. The weekend will feature in-language films, sports, and concerts-the memorable "cocurricular activities" you will recall from your time at Middlebury-as well as in-language refresher courses. Vice President Michael Geisler will host an alumni reception and talk on Saturday, July 10, and two stimulating, annual events will round out the weekend: the alumni career panel and the summer Language Schools graduate conference on language and literature-both will be in English, with a suspended Language Pledge in effect.

The registration fee for the weekend is $25. For meals, participants are more than welcome to purchase tickets to dine with their School. Regrettably, we must ask that you find lodging off campus, since the Schools are bursting at the seams, and all beds are full.

For information on finding local accommodations, visit the Addison County Chamber of Commerce or the Heart of Vermont Lodging Association.

We will post the weekend schedule as it becomes available at http://www.middlebury.edu/alumni/ls/wkend. If you have questions, please call the Language Schools at 802.443.5510. We look forward to seeing you in July!

Career Services Office Kicks into High Gear for the Language Schools

Whether you are a current student of the Language Schools or an alum, the Career Services Office (CSO) is here to help you with your career goals. The CSO offers counseling, workshops, and on-campus recruiting, as well as services that can be accessed from a distance. Please feel free to visit the CSO, in Adirondack House, whenever you are in the area or to schedule a counseling appointment or enroll in a workshop.

Each summer, several employers come to the Middlebury campus as part of our recruiting program to provide informational sessions about their organizations and to recruit language students for employment. The recruiting schedule and a list of workshops are available at the beginning of the summer at the Student Arrival Center, at the Alumni Weekend registration desk, by contacting the CSO, or by checking the campus online calendar, Events at Middlebury; look under the "Career Services" link.

MiddNet is one of our most extensive online resources. It is a database of more than 8,000 Middlebury alumni who volunteer to give our students and alumni career assistance by providing information about their career fields. MiddWorks, our new networking service, actively reaches out to alumni, asking them to identify employment opportunities in their organizations or companies, to list those opportunities with the Career Services Office, and to encourage their employers to consider hiring Middlebury alumni.

For more information about any CSO resources, contact cso@middlebury.edu or call 802.443.5100.

School of Russian Alumna Named President and CEO of National Public Radio

Vivian Schiller, who earned her master's degree from the Middlebury College School of Russian in 1985, has been named president and chief executive officer of National Public Radio.

Formerly senior vice president and general manager of the New York Times online operation, Schiller has more than 20 years' experience in the media industry. Before joining NYTimes.com, she was senior vice president and general manager of the Discovery Times Channel, and prior to that she was senior vice president of CNN Productions.

Schiller began her career as a simultaneous Russian interpreter in the former Soviet Union, which led her to documentary production work for Turner Broadcasting Company. Programs produced under her auspices have earned five Emmy, two Peabody, and two DuPont awards.

When contacted by Middlebury College shortly after the NPR announcement, Schiller said, "My studies at the Russian School in Vermont and at Middlebury's School in Moscow ingrained in me a love of the Russian language and a global perspective that has informed my career in media."

Schiller, of Bethesda, Md., credits a Middlebury professor of Russian for much of her success: "I began learning Russian as an undergraduate at Cornell University with no intention of sticking with it as a major," she recalled, "but one teacher was so inspiring that I stuck with it through the master's program and beyond. And that teacher was Kevin Moss. He introduced me not just to the rules of grammar and syntax, but to the beauty and joy of Russian. And that made all the difference."

Scholarship Opportunity at MIIS for Midd Alums

Middlebury alumni (Middlebury College, Language Schools, Schools Abroad, and Bread Loaf School of English) are invited to apply for scholarships to the Monterey Institute of International Studies. These opportunities, which are competitive and merit-based, are for alumni interested in professional international careers. To be considered, students should submit an application for admission and all supporting materials, including transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, resume, and statement of purpose, by the priority deadlines. There is still time to apply for fall 2009. For best consideration, apply by May 15, 2009, for fall 2009 admission. 

Alumni Office
700 Exchange Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
P: 802.443.5183
E: alumni@middlebury.edu