Middlebury

Middlebury Language Schools to open new West Coast site in summer 2009

September 16, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz announced today that the college's 94-year-old summer Language Schools will open a second site on the campus of Mills College in Oakland, Calif., beginning in 2009.

At the Mills College location, the Middlebury College Language Schools will offer undergraduate level courses in French, Italian and Spanish - languages that will be taught at both sites. The new site will also become the exclusive home to Middlebury's Arabic program.  Projected enrollment for the Mills site is 310 students, which will increase the overall enrollment of the Language Schools to approximately 1,500.

According to Middlebury officials, the need for an additional site has been under consideration for some time. "As the United States sees the importance of second or third languages as necessary in a more globalized world, more people are turning to Middlebury as the gold standard in intensive language instruction," said Liebowitz.

"This year, we once again received a generous donation from Kathryn Wasserman Davis that fully funds 100 students across six critical languages," remarked Liebowitz. "Though originally a one-time scholarship, the donation has been extended for the next four summers as the Kathryn Davis Fellowships for Peace: Investing in the Study of Critical Languages. This dramatically increases the potential for working professionals and exceptional students, both undergraduate and graduate, to attend the Middlebury Language Schools programs."

 "Over the past several years, we have seen a steady increase in both the number of applications we receive and our total enrollment," added Vice President for Language Schools, Schools Abroad and Graduate Programs Michael Geisler. "Expanding beyond our Vermont campus seemed to be an efficient response to a growing demand for our immersion language programs." The Language Schools have also seen growing interest and applications from students residing in the western states, added Geisler, so the addition of a second site at Mills College creates an opportunity to broaden the current student base and allow the program to build on the college's affiliation with the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

The administration researched several options for a second site, and the Mills campus best met the majority of the Language Schools' needs, both in its aesthetic beauty and facilities infrastructure. The campus layout is similar to Middlebury's in that it will allow for students studying a particular language to live, eat and study separately from other language schools. Because of the program's Language Pledge, a formal commitment to speak only the language of study and no other for the entire summer session, this separation is essential to the immersion study.


About the Middlebury College Language Schools


The Middlebury College Language Schools, which began in 1915 with the founding of the German School, have long been a leader in the immersion approach to language learning. Under the guidance of approximately 240 faculty members from colleges and universities throughout the world, students of all ages and nationalities live together, totally immersed in their target language. Students live the language they have come to study, and all agree to abide by the Language Pledge, a formal commitment to speak the language of study and no other for the entire summer session. In addition, the Language Schools host many public cultural events designed to allow students to practice what they are learning in authentic situations.

Each summer, the college offers three sets of summer sessions for foreign languages: a nine-week session for Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian; a seven-week session for intensive language studies in French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish; and a six-week session for graduate-level French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. In 2007, the school initiated a master's degree program in Chinese, which students can earn in four summers at Middlebury's campus or in two summers in Vermont and an academic year at the Middlebury-affiliated Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif. The Arabic and Portuguese sessions offer non-degree, graduate-level courses, also for six weeks.

In 2008, Middlebury College opened the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy (MMLA), a summer language immersion program for pre-college students. The MMLA is a collaboration between the Language Schools of Middlebury College and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a Middlebury affiliate. The four-week residential camps offer Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish, and the 2008 sessions took place on the campuses of St. Michael's College in Colchester and Menlo College in Atherton, Calif.; the program at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., was a partnership with Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.