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MiddCORE Wins National Innovation Award

December 19, 2013

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs has honored Middlebury’s MiddCORE program. Ashoka has named MiddCORE a winner of the 2014 Ashoka U - Cordes Innovation Award–one of six winners from a pool of more than 220 nominations. The award “recognizes high impact and highly replicable education innovations.”

“This is a tremendous honor and we’re proud to be in the company of the other winners,” said Associate Professor of Economics Jessica Holmes, who directs the MiddCORE program. “We also recognize the strong support we received from our incredible mentors, the administration and our colleagues at the Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the Programs for Creativity and Innovation. We are fortunate to be part of such a strong ecosystem for innovation at Middlebury College.”

The six winners, including MiddCORE, will be featured at the annual Ashoka U Exchange, an annual international conference featuring 140 institutions from 40 countries. Holmes and the other winners will speak as part of a keynote address at the 2014 conference on February 21 at Brown University. MiddCORE will also be featured with other innovators on the Ashoka U web site.

MiddCORE offers immersive learning experiences to build leadership skills and entrepreneurial thinking.

MiddCORE began in 2008 as a way to help students develop an entrepreneurial mindset and a leader’s toolkit. The full range of offerings includes the flagship winter-term immersion program, campus workshops, internships, and a new immersion program at Sierra Nevada Nevada College on Lake Tahoe, open to students from any institution.

Students work with mentors in dozens of hands-on skill-building workshops in an environment that encourages risk-taking and personal development.

“The key to the MiddCORE experience is our mentors,” said Holmes. “Carefully chosen mentors develop daily, weekly or month-long challenges that inspire students to think creatively, operate outside their comfort zone, and deal with ambiguity. Partner organizations ask students to problem-solve in real-time and find feasible solutions to authentic challenges.”

MiddCORE mentors range from CEOs, politicians and entrepreneurs to artists and actors. They provide students with intensive hands-on challenges that build skills in leadership, collaboration, idea creation, persuasive communication, design thinking, and empathy.