Stories from the Academic Life of Middlebury

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Middlebury opens new School in Morocco

The School in Morocco, the newest of Middlebury's C.V. Starr Schools Abroad, will open its doors in the fall of 2016 in Rabat, in partnership with Mohammed V University. With the School in Amman, Jordan, students will now have access to two venues to build on their Arabic proficiency and immerse themselves in Middle Eastern and North African culture.

Faculty and students collaborate on multimedia Collinwood Fire project

[collinwood.jpg]American Studies professor Michael Newbury, in collaboration with arts technology specialist Daniel Houghton and seven students, are just completing a Digital Liberal Arts project entitled "The Collinwood Fire, 1908." The project unites digital animation and historical research to tell the story of an elementary school fire in Collinwood, Ohio that killed 172 children. Through both the short animated film and the multimedia website, the project offers paths into thinking about the horror of the event and the historical moment that surrounded it. The Digital Liberal Arts at Middlebury is a Mellon-funded initiative to foster digital scholarship and collaboration.

Students experience cross-cultural community service in Japan

[ICU.jpg]The College's Office of Community Engagement, the School in Japan, and the International Christian University (ICU), Middlebury's partner university in Tokyo, will pilot a service learning project in Japan, offering students "facilitated immersion in intercultural engagement." This pilot project, which launches this summer, was proposed by Sanae Eda, director of the School in Japan, and Kristen Mullins of Community Engagement, and was funded by the One Middlebury program.  In this pilot offering, five Middlebury students will join five ICU students, and five students from ICU's other partner schools in Southeast Asia for an intensive introduction to service learning, followed by three weeks of service activities, reflection, and debriefing.

College and Institute faculty lead summer field study in China

[China.jpg]A collaboration between Middlebury professors Jessica Teets and Orion Lewis, and Middlebury Institute professor Wei Liang will result in a Summer Study program that sends a cohort of undergraduate and graduate students to China to undertake field research on topics of trade, diplomacy, and development. 

Two courses, one on each campus, were linked throughout the spring semester by collaborative research methods labs designed to prepare the students for their shared fieldwork experience. In June, the group will travel to China where they will workshop their research ideas with top scholars, and then travel to two research sites in teams consisting of a professor and a team of MIIS and Middlebury students. The students will be accompanied this summer by Middlebury Institute interpretation students who will facilitate communication.  This project is funded in part by the Fund for Innovation.

Graduate students sprint through the semester

[sprintensive.jpg]Thirty graduate students and four faculty members in the Development Practice and Policy program at the Institute are participating this spring in a unique experiment called Sprintensive.  "Sprint"ensive is literally a series of sprints: a faculty members packs a full semester course into an intensive three-week block. Each module wraps up with a few additional days to reflect, conclude projects, and get final faculty feedback. Then the group is off and running for the next in a sequence of four modules. 

Sprintensive has turned out to be much more than "block scheduling." The real innovation, says Professor Beryl Levinger, who initiated the Sprintensive concept and leads the team, is “a pedagogical approach that’s all about hands-on learning, that’s relationship-rich and feedback-rich, and that involves a great deal of peer-to-peer and faculty-student interaction.” Key innovations built into the Sprintensive experiment include thematic linkages across the four courses; coaching to make group work more effective; a highly interactive, fast-paced learning environment;  and, the introduction of “studio time” so students can receive real-time faculty feedback while working on group projects. This experiment is teaching us how best to help students master the skills needed for deep collaboration, and how faculty pivot from a “my course” to “our program.”

This program is funded in part by the Fund for Innovation, which supports program coordination, a set of faculty  and student development activities, and an evaluation process.

Middlebury undergraduates participate in groundbreaking nonproliferation research

[CNS.jpg]Four Middlebury students will have an opportunity to work with the world's leading nonproliferation specialists this summer, as they pursue internships with the Center For Nonproliferation Studies.

Michelle Kim, Luke Linden, and Minori Fryer will spend the summer in Monterey at he headquarters of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. As interns, they will work on research assignments that include developments in East Asia and Eurasia, chemical and biological weapons, and the nonproliferation work of International Organizations.  Interns develop their projects under the guidance of CNS staff, and attend seminars and lectures held at CNS throughout the summer. Interns may also have an opportunity to present results of their independent research at the end of the program. The three Middlebury interns at Monterey will join eight other interns from colleges such as Harvard, Stanford, Bryn Mawr, Pomona, and Georgetown.

Yuchen Zhu will serve as an intern in the Washington DC office of CNS. Yuchen is a Mathematics and International Politics and Economic major at Middlebury. Born and raised in Fuzhou, China, he also spent an year as an exchange student in Rome, Italy during high school before coming to the US for college. He served as a summer research assistant for the Rohatyn Center, where he worked on illegal land use in contemporary China and inequality in Latin America during the late 19th century. He has also conducted research projects for classes at Middlebury on Chinese foreign policy, China-India relations, and US-Pakistan relations. At Middlebury he has acquired Portuguese and is thinking of tackling the Arabic language next.  Yuchen is interested in nuclear nonproliferation and cooperative threat reduction, and his internship will enable him to continue his research, while also helping to coordinate the DC Mentorship Program for other Middlebury students interning in DC this summer.

Russian Language School offers innovative pre-immersion website

[Russia.jpg]To help students in the Russian summer language program prepare for their immersion experience, director Jason Merrill and four instructors from the School are developing a website of learning resources, with design support from the office of the Associate Provost for Digital Learning. The pre-immersion website, which will feature new multimedia content in 2017, is hosted on Middlebury’s MiddCreate web environment.

Middlebury in DC offers alumni a chance to learn, connect

[Murray.jpg]Forty-two Washington, DC area alumni relived the intense learning experience of a class with the legendary Murray Dry by attending his four-session course on "Tocqueville and the Affordable Care Act."  The course was organized by the Alumni and Parent Programs, supported by the Office of the Provost, and hosted by Middlebury in DC.