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A new agreement between Middlebury and Bennington College will bring all 11 Middlebury Language Schools to Vermont.

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Middlebury to Relocate Several of Its Language Schools to Bennington College Campus

March 27, 2019


MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – After a decade operating some of its summer Language Schools at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., Middlebury will consolidate all 11 of its schools in Vermont beginning with the 2020 summer session.

The change was made possible by a new agreement between Middlebury and Bennington College in Bennington, Vt., which will host several of the Middlebury Language Schools starting next year. Middlebury President Laurie Patton and Bennington College President Mariko Silver announced the agreement today on the Bennington campus.

President Laurie Patton and Bennington College President Mariko Silver signed a partnership agreement on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, to bring some of Middlebury's Summer Language Schools to the Bennington campus, beginning in 2020.

    “I’m delighted that Middlebury will be partnering with a neighboring school with such dynamic and thoughtful leadership,” said Middlebury President Laurie Patton. “Our new agreement allows for operational collaboration between two institutions that share values and goals, as well as proximity.”

    “The necessity of language education, of cultural proficiency, and of bridge-building across borders is more urgent today than ever,” said Bennington College President Mariko Silver. “This arrangement is a mutually-beneficial opportunity for Middlebury Language Schools to serve their students and for Bennington to welcome more people to our campus and to the region during the summer.”

    Middlebury’s Language Schools educate about 1,500 students each summer. Middlebury expanded its operations to Mills College in 2009 to accommodate a growing population of students, and in recent years about 300 students each summer have studied Arabic, Italian, or Korean at Mills. Middlebury has not determined which languages will be taught at the Bennington campus the first summer. Middlebury will continue to host most of the schools, which also include French, Spanish, German, Hebrew, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian.

    The campus of Bennington College.

    Dean of the Middlebury Language Schools Steve Snyder said that the schools had identified some new goals during a recent strategic planning process that resulted in the search for a new partner. The objectives—including curricular innovation, faculty professional development, research in language and culture pedagogy, and digital learning—all require additional time for the Language Schools directors and faculty to meet outside of the summer session.

    “We are creating an academy for language and culture teaching before the start of the session, a plan that requires having all of the faculty in one place,” said Snyder. “Our relationship with Mills College has been close and productive, but in light of our emerging goals, we felt we needed two campuses in much closer proximity. There was agreement in our discussions with Mills that ending the relationship would be mutually beneficial.”

    Snyder added that there will be other benefits to a second location that is just two hours from Middlebury. They include cost-saving measures, such as one summer graduation ceremony instead of two—one on each coast—and opportunities for the Language Schools students at Bennington to attend events at Middlebury.

    “We’re excited about the possibilities that this new relationship with Bennington presents,” said Snyder. “As we think about future initiatives, the presence of this proximate campus allows Middlebury to be increasingly creative in our offerings.”

    8 Comments

    Sensational news that all the language schools are headed back to Vermont. I spent the best summers of my life working on Middlebury degrees! Kudos to Dr. Patton and Dean Snyder

    by Dr William Miller (not verified)

    During the regular academic year the number of undergraduates on campus is well beyond the 1500 cited as the number of students expected to study in the 11 language schools. Why isn't there room for all of the summer school students on the Midd campus?

    by Eric Maltzman '76 (not verified)

    I am delighted to hear that all the language schools will now be located in Vermont. I spent a total of nine summers at the German, Spanish, and French schools, and am glad to see that the totality of schools will now be just a two-hour's drive away from each other on Route 7!

    by Dr Vincent DiNapoli (not verified)

    Middlebury is doing exactly the right thing. The fields of Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Pedagogy are developing rapidly. Our understanding of how people learn languages is changing everyday. It is exciting that Middlebury is encouraging its faculty to keep up and stay involved in their own professional development and the development of the field!

    by James Bernhardt (not verified)

    I am thrilled that all of the language schools will be unified once again in the state of Vermont. After graduating from the Italian School in 2008, I was so disappointed when they divided the unity of all of the language schools and isolated only a few of them on the opposite side of the country. It would be even better to get them all back on the same campus or at least in the same town, but for now, this is a step in the right direction! The time I spent at Middlebury Language Schools was one of the
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    best experiences of my life and I hope to continue to be a part of the Middlebury community in the future either as a student again or as a teacher.
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    by Lindsay Alfieri (not verified)

    While I'm glad that the campuses will all be in Vermont, I think it's sad that a few were isolated on the West coast and now at Bennington, a 2-hour drive away. It would be great if all could be located at Middlebury itself and if not, then why not switch which schools are away from main campus?

    by Randa Kayyali (not verified)

    I echo the question already asked about why all schools do not fit on the campus.

    by Helen Stone Alcala (not verified)

    I enjoyed having all the nine or so schools together on campus in 2000 and participating in intramural activities and sports. It was an enrichment to be challenged to keep the language pledge when playing or working with students of other schools languages. Those still on campus have this opportunity more than those at Bennington, while also in the beautiful setting of a nearby Vermont town. However, this still looks like a good arrangement. Either way, I feel that the main purpose of the Summer is to prepare for the year abroad in the target language
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    speaking country, and would personally focus support on the German school in Vermont and the program in Mainz!
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    by John Lauffer, MA (not verified)

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