Middlebury

May 28, 2002

Contact: Travis Fahey

802-443-5198

tfahey@middlebury.edu

Posted: May 28, 2002

MIDDLEBURY,
VT
- A conference for residential deans will
be held at Middlebury College from June 10-12 to give college administrators
across the country an opportunity to discuss a gradual nation-wide shift
toward a living and learning or “commons” residential system.

The
commons system, as it is known at Middlebury, groups students, faculty
and staff into “neighborhoods” of the college by creating mini-campuses
bound together by dorms, dining halls and academic spaces. Currently,
Middlebury College is completing the first in a series of renovations
and additions to its commons system at Ross Commons and is working on
major improvements to Atwater Commons.

For
colleges like Middlebury, the commons system is a relatively new and exciting
way to create smaller communities within the larger campus. But for some
of the nation’s oldest universities, such as Harvard, Yale, their
house and college systems are a tried and true method of binding students,
faculty and staff together. Yet college officials from universities both
familiar and new to this kind of residential model rarely, if ever, share
their vision on a national level, a gap Middlebury College officials are
trying to bridge.

“Residential
deans from different campuses don’t really talk to each other that
often, and there’s a lot to talk about, especially as we work to
complete our commons system,” said John Mangan, dean of Ross Commons
at Middlebury College.

For
Mark Ryan, professor of international relations and history at Universidad
de las Américas-Puebla (UDLA) in Mexico and a recognized expert
on development of residential commons, the importance of bringing the
deans together relates directly to the increasing awareness that education
is about more than intellectual development.

“There
are colleges all over the world that are starting to recognize the importance
of the Anglo-American educational model started by the British and adopted
by the early American universities. The Anglo-American model provides
a far-reaching concept of education that reaches beyond educational training
to the concept of developing the student on a personal level, i.e. developing
not just the intellectual side of the student but the whole person,”
he said.

Ryan
added that the conference will allow administrators to begin networking,
which will not only benefit universities in America, but those in China,
Africa, Russia, Germany and Mexico that have recently expressed an interest
in adopting the commons model.

Currently,
33 residential deans from universities across the country, including Harvard,
Princeton, Dartmouth and Yale, plan to attend the Middlebury conference.
Speakers of note will include Middlebury College President John McCardell,
who will discuss the commons system at Middlebury, and Ryan.

Ryan
was dean of the Jonathan Edwards College at Yale University for more than
20 years prior to joining the UDLA faculty in 1997, where he was also
asked to develop a residential college system. Ryan is also the author
of “A Collegiate Way of Living,” which is widely regarded as
the preeminent book on residential colleges. Ryan will lead a discussion
on the complexities of developing a new residential system.

Dr.
Robert O’Hara, who served as a resident tutor at Harvard University’s
Dudley House and was the principal founder of Cornelia Strong College
at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), will also speak
at the conference. O’Hara is an evolutionary biologist and serves
as a consultant to colleges and universities establishing residential
commons. He will present a slide show highlighting his development of
a new commons at UNCG.

The
three-day event will culminate with a tour of Ross Commons and closing
remarks by McCardell. For more information, contact Travis Fahey at (802)
443-5794 or tfahey@middlebury.edu.

Information
on the topics, times and meeting places for the conference follows

Middlebury
College Conference for Residential Deans, June 10-12, Bread Loaf Inn,
Route 125, Ripton.

*****
Schedule provided for media’s convenience only.*****

***** This
event is not open to the public. *****

MONDAY, JUNE 10

Noon-5 p.m. Registration: Bread Loaf Inn lobby

5-6:30
p.m. Cocktails

6:30-8
p.m. Opening dinner at the Bread Loaf Inn: The Commons Initiative at Middlebury
College.

Keynote
Speakers:

Ron Liebowitz, provost; and Tim Spears, associate provost, Middlebury
College

TUESDAY,
JUNE 11

7:30-8:30 a.m. Breakfast at the Bread Loaf Inn

8:30-10
a.m. Discussion Session I: Student Needs: As They Evolve, How Does
Our Work Change?

Discussion
Leader: John Loge, dean of Timothy Dwight College, Yale University

10-10:30
a.m. Break

10:30-12:30
p.m. Discussion Session II: Drugs and Alcohol: Strategies and New
Approaches in Addressing These Perennial Concerns

Discussion
Leaders: John Mangan, dean of Ross Commons, Middlebury College; Maria
Trumpler, senior tutor of Quincy House, Harvard University

12-1:30
p.m. Lunch at the Bread Loaf Inn

1:30-3
p.m. Discussion Session III: Deaning, Teaching and Scholarship:
Balancing Our Own Life of the Mind With the Lives and Needs of Our Students

Discussion
Leader: Mark Schenker, associate dean of Yale College and dean of academic
affairs, Yale University

3-6
p.m. Outdoors time: hiking, tennis, golf

6
p.m. Barbecue at the Bread Loaf Inn

WEDNESDAY,
JUNE 12

7:30-8:30 A.M. Breakfast at the Bread Loaf Inn

8:30-10
a.m. Discussion Session IV: Building community within a diverse
student population

Discussion
Leaders: David Edleson, dean of Cook Commons, Middlebury College; Anne
Mickle, house dean of Stouffer College house, University of Pennsylvania

10
a.m. Checkout and head to Middlebury Campus

10:30-12
p.m. Tour of campus and Ross Commons

12:20-1:30
p.m. Luncheon

Closing remarks: John McCardell, Middlebury College