Approved Strategic Plan, May 11, 2006
At its meeting in May 2006, the Middlebury College board of trustees unanimously approved a new strategic plan, titled "Knowledge without Boundaries," which seeks to establish the institution as one with a global focus while strengthening its core mission as an undergraduate liberal arts college through increased financial aid, a larger faculty, and enhanced residential life.
Work on the document, which includes 82 recommendations, began in October 2004. Throughout the process, planners sought the input of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and trustees. The final plan is the college's first new strategic plan since 1992.
Said Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz, "The plan combines the values and essence of what historically has made a Middlebury liberal arts education so meaningful and effective, with some special and unique attributes that align with major 21st century issues."
According to Liebowitz, the plan recognizes the timeliness of the college's unique resources that support international education, from its nine intensive language schools and seven schools abroad to its recent affiliation with the Monterey Institute of International Studies. "We envision innovative collaboration among these entities and others to provide Middlebury students with multiple ways to meet the challenges and opportunities of globalization," he said.
"These resources, once integrated, will distinguish Middlebury from other liberal arts colleges, and set the stage for what could become a truly global institution. Our goal is to educate students who will be highly competitive in a larger international context," added Liebowitz.
For more on the plan, read the full press release. Click on the links below to read individual chapters or access the pdf versions here:
Strategic Plan May 11, 2006 (PDF, 816KB)
Strategic Plan Appendices (PDF, 450KB)
Introduction & Overview
Knowledge without Boundaries:
The Middlebury College Strategic Plan
May 11, 2006
Planning Steering Committee and President's Staff
- John Emerson, Dean of Planning and Secretary of the College, Charles A. Dana Professor of Mathematics (Chair)
- Amy Briggs, Associate Professor of Computer Science
- Rebecca Brodigan, Director of Institutional Research
- Alison Byerly, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of English
- Robert Clagett, Dean of Admissions
- John Elder, Stewart Professor of English and Environmental Studies
- Betsy Etchells '75, Executive Assistant to the President
- Ann Craig Hanson, Dean of Student Affairs
- F. Robert Huth, Jr., Executive Vice President and Treasurer
- Ronald Liebowitz, President, Professor of Geography
- Michael McKenna, Vice President for Communications
- ReNard Rogers '07, Philosophy
- Michael Schoenfeld '73, Vice President for College Advancement
- Timothy Spears, Dean of the College, Professor of American Literature and Civilization
- Charlotte Tate, Assistant Director of Rohatyn Center for International Affairs
- Michael Wakefield, Facilities Services
- Johnathan S. Woodward '06, Environmental Studies and Biology
* * *
- Kristen Anderson, Budget Director (Advisory)
- Catherine Bilodeau, Assistant to the President (Staffing)
- Amy Emerson, Senior Financial Analyst (Advisory)
Acknowledgment of Task Force members
The Planning Steering Committee and the President's Staff acknowledge the imaginative contributions and the hard work of all members of our planning task forces and other planning committees. The reports submitted by these groups last May provided the foundation upon which our planning report was built. They will also serve the College community well in the coming years in other venues. We are deeply indebted to all task force members, whose names appear at the end of this report.
The Middlebury College Strategic Plan
Table of Contents and Recommendations
Introduction - Page 1
#1: Strengthen support for a diverse student community.
#2: Strengthen the academic program and foster intensive student-faculty interaction.
#3: Reinforce the role of the Commons as a place to bring together academic and residential life.
#1: Adopt a new mission statement that reflects our aspirations and future directions.
Chapter 1: Shaping the Student Body - Page 11
#2: Seek more applicants with special academic talents.
#3: Implement an academic rating system for all applicants.
#4: Identify and recruit more top-rated academic applicants.
#5: Move gradually toward a voluntary February admission program.
#6: Increase the grant component in our aid packages.
#7: Increase the socio-economic diversity of the student body.
#8: Enhance recruitment and retention of students of color.
#9: Maintain our strong international enrollment.
#10: Create an admissions advisory committee.
#11: Create a financial aid advisory committee.
#12: Continue to offer leadership in addressing the relationship between intercollegiate athletics and academic mission.
#13: Establish a systematic procedure for consultation between coaches and other faculty members about the balance of athletics and educational mission.
Chapter 2: Enhancing Community - Page 21
#14: Cultivate leadership qualities that address societal needs.
#15: Clarify and enhance the status of the Commons Heads.
#16: Further integrate the Commons system and the curriculum.
#17: Expand opportunities for staff involvement in the Commons.
#18: Initiate a weekly College-wide convocation.
#19: Enhance educational opportunities for staff.
#20: Support staff matriculation at Middlebury College.
#21: Increase professional development opportunities for staff.
#22: Create a staff professional development leave program.
#23: Encourage staff participation in intellectual community.
#24: Strengthen supervisory training programs.
#25: Promote greater work-life balance.
#26: Encourage a culture of collaboration.
#27: Cultivate and support creativity and innovation.
#28: Increase recognition of employees' accomplishments.
#29: Expand the ways we engage alumni in the life of the College.
#30: Re-examine and strengthen our communications both within and beyond our campuses.
#31: Expand and support diversity in the staff and faculty.
#32: Recognize "Community Partners."
Chapter 3: Curriculum and Faculty - Page 32
#33: Increase faculty resources and enhance student-faculty interaction.
#34: Consolidate the College's distribution requirements.
#35: Institute a laboratory science requirement within the new distribution requirements.
#36: Enhance academic advising.
#37: Eliminate triple majors and reduce the number of double majors.
#38: Streamline departmental major requirements.
#39: Highlight the strengths of the sciences and arts at Middlebury.
#40: Strengthen Winter Term.
#41: Reinforce the first-year seminar program.
#42: Explore possibilities for Commons-based courses.
#43: Require senior work in all majors.
#44: Promote student research through a day-long research symposium.
#45: Increase funding for student internships.
#46: Create a database for service learning projects.
#47: Make better use of current teaching resources with a goal of achieving a more competitive teaching load for faculty.
#48: Develop a more flexible approach to faculty leaves.
#49: Provide more centralized staff support to reduce administrative burdens on faculty.
Chapter 4: Middlebury's Graduate and Specialized Programs - Page 43
#50: Increase collaboration across Middlebury programs.
#51: Establish a Board of Trustees subcommittee devoted to the summer program, schools abroad, and affiliates.
#52: Strengthen connections of alumni from the Language Schools and the Bread Loaf School of English with the Middlebury alumni community.
#53: Ensure that the needs of the College's summer and auxiliary programs are represented in committee and administrative structures that are responsible for operational planning.
#54: Strengthen financial aid for the Language Schools.
#55: Expand the scope of the Language Schools curriculum by integrating broader cultural content in Language School courses.
#56: Consider adding summer graduate programs in languages that are currently taught only at the undergraduate level.
#57: Explore possibilities for adding new sites abroad that support the undergraduate curriculum.
#58: Integrate the Bread Loaf School of English into the College's international focus by considering further expansion beyond the U.S. borders.
#59: Upgrade facilities at the Bread Loaf campus to ensure longevity of its historic buildings and allow for support of new teaching technologies.
#60: Develop stronger ties between the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and our academic year programs.
#61: Explore opportunities for future collaboration with the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
#62: Establish a liaison group to explore programmatic connections between the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Middlebury programs.
Chapter 5: Campus, Infrastructure, and Environment - Page 53
#63: Revise and expand the campus master plan to reflect the strategic plan.
#64: Complete the Commons physical infrastructure.
#65: Equalize housing opportunities for seniors.
#66: Improve space for departments and programs.
#67: Create more space for the arts.
#68: Strengthen our environmental leadership and reputation.
#69: Pursue alternative environmentally-friendly energy sources.
#70: Design energy efficient buildings and operations.
#71: Consider the various impacts of development on the College campus and the natural environment.
#72: Support sustainable agricultural practices.
#73: Continue to manage College lands responsibly.
#74: Continue making alterations to facilities that improve their accessibility for those with disabilities, and work toward universal access.
#75: Better utilize existing facilities through efficient scheduling and management.
#76: Increase availability of alternate forms of transportation.
#77: Search for creative ways to reduce reliance on private vehicles.
#78: Convert Old Chapel Road into a pedestrian-friendly campus artery.
#79: Explore ways to support development of a Cornwall Path.
#80: Cultivate open dialogue with the Town.
#81: Limit the use of community housing by students.
#82: Address traffic and commuting concerns.
Chapter 6: Finances and Strategic Planning Priorities - Page 62
#1: Increase financial aid to provide better access to Middlebury and thereby enrich the educational environment for our students.
#2: Expand the faculty to support intensive student-faculty interaction.
#3: Develop further and plan to complete the Commons as the cornerstone of residential life.
Acknowledgements - Page 68
Table of Contents for Appendices
Page 1: Historical Undergraduate Admissions Data: 1996 to 2006
Page 2: Middlebury College Undergraduate Enrollment by Racial and Ethnic Group: Fall 1994 to Fall 2005
Pages 3 and 4: Comparative Undergraduate Enrollment by Race and Gender: Fall 2004
Page 5: Middlebury College Study Abroad Summary: 1994-95 to 2005-06
Page 6: Comparative Financial Aid: Fall 2005
Page 7: Middlebury College Average Financial Aid Awards for Students with Financial Need: Fall 2005
Page 8 and 9: Majors of Seniors: Fall 2003, 2004, and 2005
Page 10: Comparative Endowment per Student: 2000 to 2005
Page 11: Middlebury College Faculty Grant Summary: 1996 to 2005
Page 12: Comparative Student/Faculty Ratios: 2005
Page 13: Enrollment per Faculty FTE: 2000-01 to 2004-05
Page 14: Faculty Composition: 1996-97 to 2005-2006
Page 15: Baccalaureate Origins of PhDs for Top 30 Liberal Arts Colleges: 1996 to 2004
Page 16: Comparative Number of Degrees Awarded: 2003-2004
Page 17: Total Giving, All Gifts and All Sources: 2005
Page 18: Comparative Alumni Giving Rates: 2005
Page 19: Language School Degrees Awarded: 1995 to 2005
Page 20: Profile of the Bread Loaf School of English: 2005
Page 21: Implementation and Resource Needs of the Strategic Plan
Pages 22 to 33: Implementation Table for Planning Recommendations
Knowledge Without Boundaries
Introduction and Overview
At Middlebury College we have undertaken a strategic planning process in order to re-evaluate our educational mission, our identity, and our direction. We have examined our institutional priorities and asked whether some adjustments or even an overhaul of these priorities will better serve us now and in the future. The Planning Steering Committee presents this report in the belief that it will guide the College in the pursuit of our highest aspirations while preserving what we value most deeply about Middlebury.
Charting the Future of Middlebury
A strategic planning process requires an understanding of our past and present realities, but it is mostly about our future. What are the external forces that are likely to influence our place in the larger world of higher education? What is it that will enable such an expensive mode of education to survive and thrive? What are the internal forces? Will we grow or shrink? Will we devote substantial new resources to our infrastructure? Our curriculum? Our people? What kind of students do we hope to attract to Middlebury in the future? How can we better address the needs of the larger society that we serve?
Such planning also brings with it some concrete and practical benefits. It helps us to allocate and/or reallocate our resources in ways we believe will most benefit the College in the long run, and it articulates the priorities and directions on which we will need to focus in future fund raising. Within this context, it promotes communication with thousands of loyal alumni, parents, and friends of the College about where their help and support can make the greatest difference. It prompts us to ask how we can better keep these loyal friends and alumni engaged in the life and mission of the College, and with those aspects of the College that hold the greatest meaning for them.
Most importantly, strategic planning helps us to look beyond external pressures to define for ourselves the College we want to be. It articulates the strategic goals that we believe will help us to fully realize our vision of Middlebury as a place in which the pursuit of knowledge knows no boundaries.
Although our broad-based planning process developed more than 230 planning proposals and initiatives, we have found that much of what our community values and hopes for is not easily framed in specific proposals. Some of our most important aspirations are nuanced, particularly those relating to the culture of our own community. Middlebury's identity has long embraced care and compassion, and we want to preserve these values for Middlebury generations to come. We understand that we are a privileged community, and we aim to serve the society at large. Our roles and responsibilities are specific and often unique, and we seek to be a part of a cohesive community that values and honors each others' successes. The context for higher education, and even the global context, is changing rapidly and we hope to unleash creative and imaginative responses from within ourselves. We recognize challenges both to the environment and to economic and social justice in our world, and we long to contribute to solutions that aid the very survival of our society and our planet. In short we are idealists, and we yearn to reflect our ideals in what we do and how we educate our students.
Among the many recommendations identified through the planning process, three strategic goals stand out as critical to Middlebury's future development. These three strategic goals form the rationale for many of the specific recommendations found in the report.
Strategic Goal #1: Strengthen support for a diverse student community.
For many years, Middlebury's strength has derived in large part from the quality of its student body. We should continue to admit those students who are most gifted intellectually, best able to contribute to the education of their peers, and have the greatest potential for strong leadership. Middlebury's success over the past decades in creating a more diverse student community has already contributed immeasurably to these outcomes.
Our first strategic goal is to attract an ever-stronger and more diverse student body to Middlebury by lowering some of the financial barriers to a Middlebury education. A diverse student body broadens the horizons of each student to include perspectives, attitudes, cultures, personal circumstances, and histories different from one's own, and it thereby contributes to the learning of all students. But matriculating a diverse student body is costly. The costs of a college education, whether private or public, have increased faster than the consumer price index for more than two decades. At the same time, financial aid programs from government sources have tended to shift resources away from outright grants and into loan programs. Some very able students and their families, lacking the financial means to pay for a private education at a selective college like Middlebury, are discouraged from even applying for admission and financial assistance at private colleges. At least a few of these colleges have started to respond to these realities by publicizing new financial aid packaging that increases grants and therefore reduces the debt incurred by their students. These circumstances mean that competition for the best students from families with limited resources is greater than ever. Improved financial aid packages with a reduced reliance on borrowing, especially for families with the greatest need, will help Middlebury College continue to attract the best students.
Strategic Goal #2: Strengthen the academic program and foster intensive student-faculty interaction.
This plan makes recommendations designed to ensure that a Middlebury College education will continue to be worth the substantial investments made both by students and their families and by donors to the College. The individualized attention given our students by faculty and staff members is a key part of this value. Significant teaching resources are required to support an engaged and active faculty, and to ensure small classes, excellent advising, and meaningful mentoring. Increasing the size of the faculty, while also making the best use of current teaching resources, will enable some important curricular changes. Our curricular recommendations are aimed at what we believe our students will need after leaving Middlebury as they engage the 21st century; the changes will strengthen the overall academic program. These proposals include required independent senior work in various forms, a laboratory science requirement, and revised and simplified distribution requirements that ensure a liberally educated student body. Enhancing faculty resources will also strengthen the academic profile of the College by ensuring that faculty members are able to maintain the high level of scholarly and creative achievement that makes Middlebury a vibrant intellectual community.
Strategic Goal #3: Reinforce the role of the Commons as a place to bring together academic and residential life.
Middlebury's residential Commons system has sought to provide a seamless interface between academic life and other spheres of our students' lives. Although the infrastructure is completed for just two of the five Commons, many successes in the Commons program are already visible. The decentralization of student deans has meant that students are better known to those who provide them with administrative and personal support. The location of many first-year seminar groups within a single residence hall in a Commons affords several advantages to the first-year seminar program and its associated academic advising, including out-of-class engagement among classmates that otherwise would not happen. The Commons have provided many of our students with opportunities for leadership and for programming initiatives. Commons serve as hosts for lectures, panel discussions, and other programs of enrichment, and they give participating students more immediate and personal access to these programs.
Even with these successes, many in our community believe that the Commons have yet to realize their full potential for enhancing student experiences. Our recommendations focus on expanding Commons programming over the next few years. We encourage greater connections between the Commons and the academic program, and an elevated role for the Commons Heads as intellectual leaders in the community. When College resources permit, we also support the strategically phased completion of the Commons infrastructure in the other three Commons. The College's financial capacity will dictate the pace at which we can complete the Commons physical infrastructure.
These strategic goals relate to the human dimension of Middlebury and the way in which all members of the community can work together to attain them. Our planning has also led us to see the value of expanding Middlebury's reach beyond the boundaries of the campus. Collaboration with other institutions, illustrated by our Language Schools' expanding affiliations with other universities, may be increasingly important in the coming years, both because of growing complexities in higher education and because of economic and technological challenges and advances. More connections to our local communities, and more openness to relating a liberal education to the needs of society, will play a role in shaping the Middlebury College of the future. We should strengthen our offerings in service learning to provide more opportunities for students to link what is learned in the classroom with applied work in the community and the larger society. Building on our existing strengths in specific areas of the curriculum, the College should seek enhanced support from foundations and other sources that will facilitate innovation and help develop emerging areas.
We already value leadership in students, both through our admissions decisions and in opportunities provided by our campus community. We should foster a campus culture that supports creative, imaginative, and ethical leadership by our students, and reduces bureaucratic barriers to student initiative, encouraging them to take the intellectual risks that are an essential part of learning. Students should develop a sense of balance and personal responsibility in their own lives that helps to cultivate a sense of civic responsibility and stewardship in relation to the world beyond. These qualities will be increasingly important in the world community that our students will enter when they leave Middlebury.
Mission and Mission Statement:
What Makes Middlebury Special?
From its proud history spanning more than two centuries, Middlebury College has emerged as one of a handful of the most highly regarded liberal arts colleges. Middlebury is unique among these schools in being a classic liberal arts college that also offers graduate and specialized programs operating around the world. Our planning has aimed to build on these strengths in a time of global change and intense competition in higher education by redefining the boundaries of the institution for a new century. Middlebury College is committed to educating students in the tradition of the liberal arts. This tradition embodies a method of discourse as well as a group of disciplines; in our scientifically and mathematically oriented majors, just as in the humanities, the social sciences, the arts, and the languages, we emphasize reflection, discussion, and intensive interactions between students and faculty members. Our vibrant residential community, remarkable facilities, and the diversity of our co-curricular activities and support services all exist primarily to serve these educational purposes.
As a residential college, Middlebury recognizes that education takes place both within and beyond the classroom. Since our founding in 1800, the College has sought to create and sustain an environment on campus that is conducive to learning and that fosters engaged discourse. Middlebury is centrally committed to the value of a diverse and respectful community. Our natural setting in Vermont's Champlain Valley, with the Green Mountains to the east and the Adirondacks to the west, is also crucial to our identity, providing refreshment and inspiration as well as a natural laboratory for research. The beauty of our well-maintained campus provides a sense of permanence, stability, tradition, and stewardship. Middlebury has established itself as a leader in campus environmental initiatives, with an accompanying educational focus on environmental issues around the globe.
Middlebury's borders extend far beyond Addison County. Middlebury's Language Schools, Schools Abroad, Bread Loaf School of English, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Monterey Institute for International Studies provide top-quality specialized education, including graduate education, in selected areas of critical importance to a rapidly changing world community. These areas include an unusually wide array of languages, literatures, and culture—including our programs in English and writing at Bread Loaf. The first of Middlebury's internationally acclaimed language programs originated at the graduate level more than ninety years ago, and the Bread Loaf programs were inaugurated in 1920.
Both in our central mission as a liberal arts college and in the various forms of specialized study and outreach with which we extend it, Middlebury seeks to promote the values of learning, reflection, leadership, community, local responsibility, and international awareness.
We expect our graduates to be thoughtful and ethical leaders able to meet the challenges of informed citizenship both in their communities and as world citizens. They should be independent thinkers, committed to service, with the courage to follow their convictions and to accept responsibility for their actions. They should be skilled in the use of language, and in the analysis of evidence, in whatever context it may present itself. They should be physically active, mentally disciplined, and motivated to continue learning. Most important, they should be both grounded in an understanding of the Western intellectual tradition that has shaped this College, and educated so as to comprehend and appreciate cultures, ideas, societies, traditions, and values that may be less immediately familiar to them.
Recommendation #1: Adopt a new mission statement that reflects our aspirations and future directions.
Our new mission statement reflects Middlebury's evolution over the last several decades and conveys our sense of the College as a place of unlimited possibilities where students can transcend the boundaries of their own experience by learning about different cultures, exploring new areas of study, understanding the interrelationships among different academic disciplines, and integrating that knowledge into their social and residential experience.
The following statement has now been adopted by the Middlebury College Board of Trustees through the action of its Prudential Committee on March 2, 2006.
Middlebury College Mission Statement:
At Middlebury College we challenge students to participate fully in a vibrant and diverse academic community. The College's Vermont location offers an inspirational setting for learning and reflection, reinforcing our commitment to integrating environmental stewardship into both our curriculum and our practices on campus. Yet the College also reaches far beyond the Green Mountains, offering a rich array of undergraduate and graduate programs that connect our community to other places, countries, and cultures. We strive to engage students' capacity for rigorous analysis and independent thought within a wide range of disciplines and endeavors, and to cultivate the intellectual, creative, physical, ethical, and social qualities essential for leadership in a rapidly changing global community. Through the pursuit of knowledge unconstrained by national or disciplinary boundaries, students who come to Middlebury learn to engage the world.
The Report of the Steering Committee
This document relies on reports from fifteen task forces and committees, surveys of all constituencies in our extended community, meetings with many groups on campus as well as with the Trustees, and well over one hundred hours of its own meetings and retreats throughout the past sixteen months.
Even with the diversity of approaches taken by the task forces and other contributors to the planning process, there was a surprising commonality of purpose. Middlebury's commitment to the personalized education of undergraduates is widely regarded as essential to our mission.
The focus of the plan is on strengthening the human dimension of the institution, and this means different things for different members of the Middlebury community. For faculty this means support for their creativity and growth as teachers and scholars as they work to balance these complementary roles. For staff, it represents opportunities for professional development and greater participation in the life of the College. For students it means diversifying the student body to enrich the overall learning environment and prepare them for citizenship in the world; for alumni, it means having better opportunities to stay connected with one another and with the educational mission of the College.
Chapter One: Shaping the Student Body
Every year our student body grows stronger by most measurements. One aspect of such growth has been its increasing diversity—racially, ethnically, geographically, economically, and in other important regards. One of the distinguishing aspects of the student body at Middlebury is its inclusion of many international students. Those who commented about the composition of our student body often affirmed the value of diversity for our community, and we are committed to building upon recent gains in this area. In addition to the distinguishing factors listed above, we are motivated to attract more students with a special interest in the sciences and in the arts—areas in which we offer superb programs and facilities.
Financial aid is a major influence on our ability to recruit the students we would like to have at Middlebury; in this regard, however, we have fallen behind some of our peer colleges. The major recommendation in this chapter is thus for substantially increasing financial aid at every level. More specifically, we propose shifting the form of aid decisively toward outright grants as opposed to loans, thus limiting the level of debt for all aided students. The chapter goes into detail about how this expensive priority should be accomplished.
Chapter Two: Enhancing Community
This chapter highlights the human dimension of Middlebury College. A superb student body requires superb faculty and staff. We know the College's employees are among the finest in higher education. But there are important ways in which faculty and staff could be better supported. For faculty, research funding and staff support are increasingly necessary in order to pursue teaching and scholarship at the highest level. Technology has become central to the mission of faculty members, and it often requires specialized support. Much attention also focuses on staff, and on opportunities to integrate them more fully into the educational life, including Commons life, at Middlebury. Staff tuition-support for study both here and elsewhere, as well as increased professional development funding, are among the measures strongly supported in this chapter. The recommendations of this section are geared towards creating a fully integrated community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents who have a shared understanding of the College's educational mission.
Chapter Three: Curriculum and Faculty
The curriculum is at the heart of the College. One of our three major priorities, as measured by resource demands, addresses this area. We recommend a phased schedule that will take Middlebury's current student-faculty ratio to approximately 8 to 1. Although such a shift will certainly make us more competitive with the other premier liberal arts colleges, we approach it in an emphatically qualitative, programmatic context rather than in an externally oriented and overly quantitative one. Specifically, we look at an improved student-faculty ratio as a way to move toward a carefully shaped four-year program for students that reflects the faculty's ability to model the varied stages of the learning process through their own research and creative work. We would like to see every academic major at Middlebury include some independent senior work in its requirements. This work will vary in format from discipline to discipline, and it will be facilitated by a new ability to recognize faculty members' time-consuming involvement with individual students and small groups as they pursue independent projects.
An improved student-faculty ratio will also allow our faculty to continue to pursue the scholarly and artistic work that has already contributed to raising the College's academic profile. We recommend supporting this continued success in scholarship with additional resources for faculty research and development. Our strengthening of the faculty will enable major advances in the quality of a Middlebury education.
Chapter Four: Middlebury's Graduate and Specialized Programs
Middlebury's unique breadth is exemplified by the specialized programs, including the Language Schools, Schools Abroad, the Bread Loaf School of English, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the newly affiliated Monterey Institute of International Studies, that complement the undergraduate college. Distinguished ventures in their own right, these programs collectively demonstrate an institutional commitment to education that extends beyond the college years and beyond the borders of the Vermont campus. This chapter lays out the strategic issues and challenges relating to these programs, and makes specific recommendations designed to bring these programs into a more cohesive relationship with one another and with the undergraduate program.
Chapter Five: Campus, Infrastructure, and Environment
This chapter focuses on three closely related topics. One is the College infrastructure as it relates to the Commons system. Middlebury has made a major commitment to a system of five Commons with contiguous living and social spaces, and the Planning Steering Committee reaffirms this direction. The continued development and eventual completion of the Commons is one of three chief priorities of this report. The completion of the Commons physical infrastructure will necessarily proceed in phases over many years. In the meantime, we will give priority to the continued development of programmatic aspects of the Commons, with a goal of fostering more vibrant communities and a more seamless connection with our academic programs. Over the next few years, we should plan with students how best to provide upgraded senior housing opportunities for those Commons whose facilities are not yet completed.
A closely related consideration is the relationship between the campus and the new buildings needed not only by the Commons system but also for additional classroom and office space to accommodate an improved student-faculty ratio. Finally, we looked at the larger environment of the College and at the way in which our management of lands and natural resources may reinforce the prominent place of environmental stewardship at Middlebury.
Chapter Six: Finances and Strategic Planning Priorities
We have been guided at every stage by detailed financial projections that helped inform our discussion of resource allocation and prioritization. This chapter presents the implications of the most ambitious recommendations for the College budget and for future fund raising. It also provides the financial assumptions we will use to guide our thinking and planning for the next five to ten years. We recognize that the recommendations set forth in this plan are ambitious and some of them are expensive; we have therefore suggested a carefully timed phasing of the implementation of some initiatives in order to take into account both the College's financial capacity and its plans for an equally ambitious fund raising campaign.
Appendices: Supporting Information and Data
The appendices provide background information and data that relate to many of the areas addressed by the major recommendations of this plan. As we monitor progress in implementing the recommendations of the plan, we will update this information periodically and report our findings to the community. A table included in the appendices lists all numbered recommendations and identifies the senior administrative officer who is responsible for each recommendation; it also indicates those offices, departments, and committees that will participate most directly in the implementation, and it provides projected dates for implementation.
An Overview of Middlebury's Planning Process
Soon after becoming Middlebury's sixteenth president on July 1, 2004, President Ronald D. Liebowitz and his senior staff began laying the framework for a new strategic plan, the first since 1992. A primary goal of the process was to involve many people from throughout the campus, and another was to be transparent for interested individuals in all parts of Middlebury's several constituencies.
During the fall term, Dean of Planning John Emerson worked with President Liebowitz and his staff to assemble many teams of individuals who would serve on planning task forces; these groups typically included students, faculty, administrators, and staff in their membership. A few existing committees also were given revised charges that meant they would function much as the planning task forces. By January 1, 2005, fifteen planning task forces and other planning groups had been appointed and were ready to undertake their ambitious assignments over the next four and one-half months. Among the subjects assigned to these task forces were the composition of the student body, the curriculum, staff and faculty development, and institutional change and culture. The planning task forces and the Steering Committee met regularly, from January through mid-May, when fifteen reports from the task forces and other committees were submitted to the Planning Steering Committee.
Throughout the process, the President hosted a series of open meetings for the College community to consider key themes as they emerged. In addition, the Planning Steering Committee surveyed students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents to solicit views on several subjects of interest in planning and to learn what the respondents most cherished about the Middlebury experience. Altogether we received responses to the surveys from 394 students, 126 faculty members, 210 staff members, and more than 3,500 alumni and parents.
We designed the planning process to encourage the generation of new ideas and imaginative contributions to our planning. The many open meetings, faculty meeting deliberations, intensive staff interviews, town meetings for students, e-mail exchanges with alumni, readings, and discussions resulted in an intense community-based dialogue engaging hundreds of people. The task forces and planning committees had members drawn from diverse areas of the College with the hope that they would challenge many assumptions and provide fresh views about familiar campus issues. In short, we sought to engage planning as a community of learners—with ample opportunity to teach each other, learn, challenge ourselves, and engage in lively debate.
A Plan With Vision and Flexibility
This plan offers a broad vision for the coming decade of Middlebury's evolution, and it also provides many specific proposals for change. It captures much of what the Middlebury College community values about our College, and it embodies many of the aspirations we share for Middlebury's future.
Although "Knowledge Without Boundaries" is more detailed and specific than many strategic plans, we believe that its focused recommendations improve the likelihood of our achieving the ambitious goals it sets out. At the same time, we expect that this plan will be amended and strengthened as time passes and circumstances change. The plan is a dynamic document that can be adapted to new contexts as necessary. Circumstances will change with the passage of time. What will not change is the commitment of the Middlebury community to making the College ever stronger and more effective in serving its students and its global society.
Chapter 1: Shaping the Student Body
At the core of Middlebury's mission is educating an intellectually committed, multi-talented, and increasingly diverse student body. The recommendations in this chapter focus on ways to achieve this goal.
A Superior Student Community
The quality, talents, and motivation of the people who constitute the Middlebury community define Middlebury's past, its accomplishments and standing today among liberal arts colleges, and its future promise as a national and international leader in collegiate education. Our surveys of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents reveal a strongly shared belief that the quality of the student body and the excellence of the faculty and staff are the critical determinants of Middlebury's success as an institution. They especially underscore the community's belief that the College should continue to attract an intellectually committed, multi-talented, and diverse student body. The survey results also indicate widespread support for Middlebury's "need blind" admissions policy and its commitment to providing access to all qualified applicants, regardless of their ability to finance a Middlebury education.
By almost any measure Middlebury's student body has historically been strong, and it has become even stronger over the past several decades. In 2006, a record number of nearly 6,200 students applied for admission to an entering class of around 660 that includes the February 2007 matriculates. The strength and depth of Middlebury's current applicant pool enable us to ask every year what the "shape" of the Middlebury student body should be. What qualities and characteristics of our applicants should inform those decisions that enable us to admit fewer than 25 percent of the students who apply? What assumptions and principles should guide this important selection process?
• The intellectual quality of our students. The College should seek to admit those students who are most intellectually gifted, best able to gain from a Middlebury education, excel in our academic programs, and contribute to the education of their peers both in the classroom and beyond.
• A campus environment that maximizes intellectual benefits both within and beyond the formal curriculum. The College should nurture the unique intellectual passions and diverse interests that students bring to campus, whether within specific academic programs or beyond the classroom. We should further strengthen the opportunities for student leadership through the creative use of College resources for innovative purposes, opportunities for experiencing and participating in the arts, and the availability of a rich program of lectures, panel discussions, and symposia. The prospective student best able to take advantage of these resources should have the passion and energy to pursue initiatives that sometimes fall outside established structures, and be distinguished as much by his or her entrepreneurial spirit as by a willingness to participate in a wide range of activities.
• A diverse student population. Each matriculating class should be diverse in several important respects–racial, ethnic, socio-economic, religious, intellectual, geographic, and cultural–in order to enhance the educational experiences of, and learning by, all students. In placing academic potential and intellectual commitment at the center of our admissions process, we need not sacrifice a diverse and multi-talented student body.
• Expanded access to a Middlebury education. Access to a Middlebury education should continue to be available to applicants talented enough to be admitted, regardless of their financial circumstances. To that end, offering supportive and competitive financial aid packages must remain one of our highest priorities in order to increase the socio-economic diversity in our student body.
With all that Middlebury has achieved over the past decades, we are poised to become an even stronger educational institution. A large number of those who contributed input for planning identified academic excellence and academic reputation as key goals for the institution, and the continued strengthening of our student body should therefore rank among our foremost objectives.
Each student at Middlebury can benefit from encountering a diversity of strengths, backgrounds, and interests in his or her peers. Our talented young people should have varied strengths, whether in academics, artistic performance, creativity, community service, athletics, debate, potential for leadership, or political involvement. A diverse student body benefits the entire community through the variety of their cultures and backgrounds. The admissions process should consider such factors as "one among many" in the language of federal courts with regard to minority status. In other words, no single external factor should dominate the selection decision. Every applicant should compete with every other applicant for admission, with intellectual potential and the capacity of a prospective student to contribute to the educational mission of the College as the primary criteria in determining admission. The academic experiences of all students, who together represent all of these talents and more, will be further strengthened by the diversity that surrounds them.
We have looked closely at demographic projections for the coming years that indicate a decline in the college-age population in New England. The growth in numbers of U.S. college-age students will occur primarily in the south and west. Among the fastest growing populations will be high school graduates who are Hispanic/Latino, and many of these students are potential first-generation college students. Even the brightest among these students may not be predisposed to travel far from their communities to New England to attend college. Demographic projections also indicate a growing imbalance between men and women applying to four-year colleges, with fewer young men than women considering a liberal arts education. The imbalance is especially pronounced in minority communities. Middlebury must recognize and meet the challenges of trends like these as we aspire to enroll a more socio-economically diverse and racially diverse student body.
With these broad goals in mind, we present our recommendations for further enhancing the quality of our student body:
Recommendation #2: Seek more applicants with special academic talents.
Our applicant pool continues to have an excellent academic profile. We should seek applicants with strengths in specific academic disciplines such as comparative religions, art history, the classics, problem solving in mathematics, experimentation in physics, or philosophy. We continue to desire an overall balanced student community; this community can and should be comprised of students with specialized and well-developed talents and skills, as well as well-rounded students with abilities and strengths in a variety of areas. All students admitted to Middlebury College should share a passion for learning.
We should consider new approaches to identifying talented students with special academic strengths and interests, including those in disciplines that would benefit from having more students. For example, the classrooms, laboratories, and other facilities in McCardell Bicentennial Hall, along with our superb faculty resources in the sciences, invite us to expand our numbers of students with science interests. A recent study found that students who take Advanced Placement tests in the sciences are more likely to complete majors in that area, particularly in the less commonly elected science majors. When supplemented by this and other data such as International Baccalaureate scores, we have strong predictors of academic talent for much of our applicant pool. By considering AP and other honors-level courses a student has elected in the context of the courses offered at a particular high school, we can identify talented applicants without penalizing promising students whose schools don't offer these courses.
We should take advantage of our summer programs to make sure that the College's summer students, many of whom are high-school teachers, are educated about our undergraduate programs so they will be prepared to spread the word about these programs to their students. In particular, the College might replicate in the sciences its success in graduate-level foreign languages and writing by bringing high school science teachers, and perhaps some of their students, to campus during the summer for contact with our science faculty, students, and facilities.
Recommendation #3: Implement an academic rating system for all applicants.
The Admissions Office should develop an academic rating system for all applicants. Each applicant should be rated on his/her academic qualities and potential to contribute to, and benefit from, the invigorating intellectual life at Middlebury. In making these ratings, professional judgment should be exercised that takes into account more than standardized test scores—for example, rigor of high school curriculum, unique intellectual intensity and talent, and willingness to engage in intellectual discourse going beyond that expected by one's course work. Studies at other colleges suggest that experienced admissions personnel can do considerably better in identifying intellectual promise using a range of factors than can be done using only standardized tests and/or high school grades.
In recommending the development of an academic rating, we do not suggest that Middlebury discontinue the use of other ratings of applicants—ratings that reflect special nonacademic talents and attractive personal qualities. We believe, however, that the development of an academic rating can help us keep in focus the guiding values that we have set forth above as we make difficult choices in admitting our future students. It can also serve us well as we work with peer colleges to support the common elements of our academic and educational missions.
We should monitor the relationship, both quantitatively and qualitatively, between academic ratings and other admissions variables with outcomes measured at the end of the college experience (e.g., GPA, admission to graduate programs, competition for employment, fellowships, and indicators of leadership). We should also attempt to learn from the experiences of our alumni, for example, through surveys conducted five years after graduation.
Recommendation #4: Identify and recruit more top-rated academic applicants.
We should expand our long-standing policy of attracting, identifying, and admitting the most academically gifted applicants, and we should seek to improve our admissions yield of these students through faculty and student outreach to them. Whenever possible, faculty should be involved in meeting with these top-rated applicants during their visits to campus or in contacting them early in the admissions process. We should also take advantage of our current students and young alumni and ask them to identify prospective applicants with special strengths in such areas as the sciences and the arts.
We should expand opportunities in the spring for admitted students to experience the academic life of the College and to see our faculty and students in action—for example, by encouraging more admitted students to visit the campus to attend classes and to meet with faculty. Care should also be taken to introduce prospective students to the distinctive rural character of our campus and surrounding community.
Recommendation #5: Move gradually toward a voluntary February admission program.
For the past five years Middlebury has typically enrolled at least 115 first-year students in February. The February admission program was originally used to balance fall and spring enrollments when there was a greater imbalance in study abroad semesters than now exists. It seems clear that the Feb program no longer offers a structural benefit to the College, though it may offer personal benefit to individual students. February admission can be academically and personally advantageous for some students by encouraging them to step back from their educational pursuits for a period of time. The bonding that takes place among the smaller "Feb" classes has made being a Feb a special experience for many Middlebury students.
Incoming Febs, however, face some academic and social disadvantages. We note that the responders to our annual parent surveys, who are generally positive about the Middlebury experiences of their sons and daughters, regularly cite some problems inherent in the February program—for example, the non-availability of courses needed to begin a particular academic sequence in the spring, or the challenge of integrating into the Commons System. Over the last few years, current Feb students have commented frequently on the special difficulties they face in registering for certain classes, or plans to study abroad. We suggest that the College gradually lower the size of the Feb group so that student participation in the program becomes entirely voluntary, and entering in February is a choice students make when they apply to Middlebury. We should continue to permit admitted students who prefer to begin their studies in February to do that, and we should encourage some admitted students to delay their matriculation for a full year to the following September. As we make this transition, the College should periodically assess the impact of the changes to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all of our students, including those who do begin their studies midyear.
Access for a Diverse Student Body
A diverse student community contributes to the educational experience of all students. It also contributes to fundamental needs of the society served by privileged institutions like Middlebury. Attention to racial and ethnic diversity in our student community is at least equally as important, and perhaps even more important, than our consideration of factors like artistic or athletic talent.
Closely allied with this issue and equally vital to Middlebury's strength as a liberal arts college is the matter of financial access. In order to build an intellectually and culturally vibrant community, the College must matriculate a student body that is economically diverse. Middlebury has made progress in expanding need-based aid programs in the last two decades. However, financial aid is a highly competitive area; we continue to face challenges and the financial costs of meeting them will be high. Middlebury is trailing much of its competition in the packaging of financial aid, especially in terms of the amount of borrowing we expect of aided students. We also have fewer students (currently around 40 percent) who qualify for aid than do most other peer colleges. One group that merits our special attention is first-generation college students who show exceptional promise and talent.
Recommendation #6: Increase the grant component in our aid packages.
We recommend an income-based differential aid package that provides a reduction of $500 to $2,500 per year in the loan portion of the self-help expectation, with a commensurate increase in the grant portion of the package, for all students who qualify for need-based aid. Although this reduction could be used to replace part or all of the job portion of the self-help expectation, we are especially concerned that student debt not has an undue impact on our students' post-graduate plans. We also believe that there is value in encouraging students to hold academic year jobs, by providing employment experiences as well as opportunities for close interaction with staff members.
The reduction in the anticipated debt would be greatest for students from families with the lowest levels of income and other financial resources, so that a student from a family with an income below $40,000 would have a loan reduced to $1,500 per year, those from families with incomes between $40,000 and $80,000 would be expected to borrow $2,500 each year, and those from families with incomes higher than $80,000 would be expected to borrow $3,500 instead of the current $4,000 annually. These changes would be phased in over four years, ideally beginning in the 2007-2008 academic year.
Recommendation #7: Increase the socio-economic diversity of the student body.
We recommend that the College gradually increase the percentage of students who are eligible for need-based grant assistance above the current level of around 40 percent. Although we do not specify a target percentage, we note that the proposed differential aid packaging is likely to increase the yield rate among students with financial need who are offered admission. Thus we can expect a gradual increase in the aided student population, and we should welcome that. This change will be expensive, but access to a Middlebury education for the most qualified students should continue to be our number one priority. Note that the changes in financial aid we have proposed would especially benefit our international student population. Strengthening financial access to a Middlebury education should be at the top of the College's priorities.
Recommendation #8: Enhance recruitment and retention of students of color.
A diverse student community contributes to the educational experiences of all students and thus to our core educational mission. Middlebury should continue to actively recruit and admit students of color to Middlebury who can benefit from a Middlebury education and contribute to the College's core educational mission. The shifting demographics of high school students make it essential that Middlebury continue its gains in attracting a strong minority student population, so that our student body will resemble a microcosm of the greater society. A group that continues to require special efforts and imaginative approaches to student recruiting will be African-American students. To ensure that our focus is on educational outcomes and not simply admissions statistics, we suggest a goal of annually increasing the percentage of U.S. students of color in the graduating class.
Since the mid 1960s, the College has developed innovative programs and outreach efforts to matriculate underrepresented students of color. Programs like YOU in the 1960s, the Middlebury Urban Task Forces and the Dewitt Clinton Partnership of the 1980s, and our current Posse program are important examples of special programs that have supported student of color enrollment gains. They have also enhanced College visibility in educational communities and schools where Middlebury is less well known. The sustained efforts of members of our admissions staff have, for example, increased the percentage of U.S. students of color in the Middlebury student body from 11 percent in 1994 to 18 percent in 2004.
Middlebury's Posse Program has helped us in attracting and supporting a more diverse student community, and we should continue to strengthen our efforts in other venues as well. One possible approach to expanding racial diversity is to develop a partnership with an urban school system in the South or Southwest from which few students currently apply. Middlebury would provide this school system with special opportunities for counselors and students to visit the campus, and it would emphasize that adequate financial aid is available to make it possible for students admitted to Middlebury under this program to attend. In this way, we would hope to get many strong applicants from the school, and this process could lead to our accepting other academically gifted students in the future. Using carefully targeted approaches, we would attract students from diverse backgrounds having high economic need. We note that the Admissions Office is already developing such a model with the Atlanta Public School System—the Atlanta Underground Railroad Project.
Recommendation #9: Maintain our strong international enrollment.
Our long-standing commitment to attracting and supporting a student body with 10 percent international students distinguishes Middlebury from other liberal arts colleges in the United States. These students contribute a great deal to the College and to the experiences of all students. Moreover, our commitment to international students reflects the College's determination—emphasized in its mission statement—to educate leaders for a global society. Building on the successes made possible through the Davis United World College Scholars Program, our prospects for continued progress in this important area are bright. Through aggressive recruiting efforts and competitive financial aid packages, we should continue to attract an outstanding group of international students from a broad range of countries and socio-economic backgrounds.
Advisory Committees for Admissions and Financial Aid
Middlebury differs from many peer colleges in having only limited participation by the wider college community in developing policies and practices in admissions and financial aid. Although we have for many years had a part-time faculty associate in the Admissions Office (and we support its continuation), we have not yet developed systematic ways for people from other areas, including the faculty, to support the development of transparent policies in these two critically important areas. Such participation is needed if our community is to embrace a shared goal of further strengthening our excellent and diverse student population.
Recommendation #10: Create an admissions advisory committee.
We recommend that the College establish an admissions advisory committee to help identify priorities, to provide advice to the Admissions Office on policies and practices, and to contribute to admissions decision making. The Dean of Admissions would chair this committee and its members, faculty and staff, would be appointed by the President. In particular, the role of this advisory committee would be to
• Participate in shaping goals for the composition of the Middlebury student body.
• Help evaluate the College's success in meeting these goals.
• Work with and advise the Dean of Admissions on the development of policies and procedures (for example, use of standardized test scores, early decision policies).
• Increase the transparency of the admissions process.
• Engage the faculty to help attract and yield the most highly qualified applicants.
• Participate in the decision-making process by helping to evaluate some applicants.
The early decision program is an issue that the committee may want to address. Although this program has been an effective way of evaluating some students who are especially interested in attending Middlebury and informing them earlier of our decision, we propose a general review of our early decision policies. Doing so will help us determine the optimal percentage of matriculating students who should enter through that program so that we do not restrict our ability to admit the most attractive applicants in the regular decision applicant pool.
Recommendation #11: Create a financial aid advisory committee.
We also recommend that the College establish a Financial Aid Advisory Committee to help establish policies and priorities and provide guidance to the Student Financial Services Office on its work. This committee would be chaired by the Director of Student Financial Services and would include faculty and staff representatives appointed by the President.
The College values opportunities for intercollegiate athletic competition because we believe that athletics can contribute to our educational mission: by competing one learns teamwork, "life lessons," discipline, resilience, perseverance, how to "play by the rules," and how to accept outcomes one may not like. Our intercollegiate programs often provide educational opportunities that focus in a self-conscious way on the development of leadership skills. Middlebury has an excellent coaching staff that is dedicated to our students, facilities that are the envy of peer colleges, and a tradition of attracting many excellent students who are also talented athletes. We recognize that Middlebury College alone, or even all of NESCAC, cannot by itself re-orient the priorities of other colleges, but we should provide an example of maintaining an appropriate balance between academics and athletics that serves our academic mission well.
• Athletic programs should be fully consistent with our core values of academic and intellectual excellence, and should teach students how best to achieve overall good health and well-being.
• Coaches should be systematically invited into dialogue with the rest of the faculty about the place of athletics in the whole education of Middlebury students.
• We should provide competitive athletic opportunities for a wide range of students, including those not recruited for a particular athletic team.
• A strong and varied intramural and club sport program is just as important as a high-quality intercollegiate athletic program.
• Intercollegiate athletes should be representative of their peers in academic strength and intellectual engagement, a principle that was recently reaffirmed by the NESCAC presidents as a core assumption of the eleven NESCAC colleges.
• Intercollegiate athletes should be permitted a level of balance in their lives that allows them to pursue whatever academic directions they choose, and to participate fully in other aspects of college life.
Recommendation #12: Continue to offer leadership in addressing the relationship between intercollegiate athletics and academic mission.
For three years, representatives of the Faculty Council and of the Admissions Office have met with their counterparts from the ten other NESCAC Colleges to examine the academic-athletics interface. These meetings led to recommendations that were forwarded to the NESCAC presidents. We recommend the continuation of these collaborations, which, in part, implement a "sense of the faculty" resolution about intercollegiate athletics adopted by the Middlebury faculty in October 2002.
Since making a decision to participate in NCAA post-season tournaments, colleges in our league have experienced a heightened emphasis on winning and increasing schedule conflicts with classes. These problems are not unique to Middlebury and must therefore be approached vigorously through collaboration with other institutions. In 2004 and 2005 Middlebury helped develop a collaborative national program, the College Sports Project; see www.collegesportsproject.org. This project seeks to focus the attention of institutional leaders and coaches on two fundamental issues—integration of athletics with larger educational purposes, and good educational outcomes for athletes. At the end of 2005, 138 NCAA Division III colleges and universities had agreed to participate in the project, including all eleven NESCAC colleges. Specific programs for improved athletic integration and for data collection to help better understand representativeness of athletes will begin in 2006.
Recommendation #13: Establish a systematic procedure for consultation between coaches and other faculty members about the balance of athletics and educational mission.
Our coaches are valued mentors to their athletes and they identify strongly with Middlebury's educational mission. In our busy community, though, there is little assurance of serious dialogue between that group and their faculty colleagues about such matters as recruiting, admissions, scheduling of practices and competitions, and general integration of athletes into the life of the College. One noteworthy initiative is the Faculty Affiliate program that links members of the academic faculty with a particular intercollegiate team, and we recommend a strengthening of this program. The current Athletic Policy Committee governs regulations, and we encourage a rethinking of the charge for this committee to include a broader agenda for its work. We also propose a meeting once a semester between three coaches nominated by the Director of Athletics and three faculty members nominated by the Dean of the Faculty. The agenda will be an open one, but with the general concern always being to promote communication and pursue the ideal of scholar-athletes at Middlebury. NESCAC in general and Middlebury in particular have a responsibility, and an opportunity, to offer leadership to the nation in this regard.
Chapter 2: Enhancing Community
Just as the shape and quality of the student body are essential to the mission of Middlebury College, so too is the quality of human interaction in the College community. Relationships on our campus are generally positive, strong, and mutually supportive, but we believe that they can be further improved by several measures identified below. We believe that these steps will support a community characterized by responsibility, commitment, integrity, encouragement, and trust.
The Role of the Commons
The Commons system was initiated in 1992-93 and articulated more fully through a 1998 Board resolution, with the purpose of creating a closer community of students, faculty, and staff, and to enrich the cultural and intellectual environment on campus. There are five Commons or groups of residence halls. Each Commons has a Commons "team" that includes a Commons Head(s), a Dean, a Coordinator, and several residential advisors. The Commons Head is a faculty member who works with students to develop a social and intellectual program for their Commons. Students generally appreciate the frequent access to, and personal interaction with, their Deans, Coordinators, and Commons Heads that the decentralized organization has provided.
The major goal of the Commons is to create a more seamless educational environment for our students—a residential system that supports more completely the academic, social, and intellectual development of students. The Commons strive to create more intimate communities within the larger College campus—communities in which students assume greater responsibility for their social and residential experiences on campus, and in which they receive more guidance from on-site deans and from faculty and staff who participate in the life of the Commons in a variety of ways.
The Commons system is based on three governing principles: continuing student membership, decentralized dining, and proximate faculty residence. In developing a decentralized residential and dining system, our goal has been to establish five Commons communities that complement and reinforce the traditions and values that have long distinguished Middlebury College. Further, the Commons provide an ideal setting in which members of the College community can explore questions about values and about issues that challenge the larger society.
The Commons is still a work in progress, and at this stage in the system's evolution, the pressing question is how best to combine the values of curricular enrichment and social coherence in deepening the Commons' role at Middlebury. Our committee has four main recommendations in this regard, which are described below. In advancing these proposals, we also underscore the importance of all-campus events like the Clifford Symposium picnic that was held last fall. These gatherings promote collegiality and pride in the institution, and make being part of the College community fun and enjoyable. We encourage the College to sustain and develop these all-campus traditions even as it works to develop the smaller communities represented by the Commons.
Recommendation #14: Cultivate leadership qualities that address societal needs.
The Commons system provides a variety of opportunities for student leadership, mobilizing interests that are social, academic, cultural, and political in nature. Commons Councils and Commons-initiated events offer occasions for taking initiative and responsibility that students would not otherwise have. The Student Government Association now elects many of its representatives through the Commons, and members of the Middlebury College Activities Board are also exploring ways of collaborating more fully with Commons leaders. Students likewise have the chance to mentor peers and set the tone of Commons life by serving as Junior Counselors and Residential Advisors. These opportunities are consistent with one of the Commons' founding tenets, which is to give students a greater role in governing their residential lives.
Looking ahead to the Commons' continued growth—as the central organizing principle of student life—we urge the Commons to expand their view of leadership to include qualities that will be especially important to students after they leave Middlebury. National and international events of the past few years point to a special need for cultivating the ethical dimensions of leadership, while the College's tradition of volunteer service and the emergence of service learning as a pedagogical model dramatize the social benefits achieved through local action. We see the Commons as natural gathering places for the entire Middlebury community, and later in this section we describe their role in supporting a College-wide convocation program that would bring together students, faculty, and staff for discussion and reflection. But we also see the Commons as a gateway for civic engagement, communities where students have the opportunity to turn their liberal arts education to larger purposes. We encourage the Commons leadership to keep these aspirations in mind as we continue the system's development.
Recommendation #15: Clarify and enhance the status of the Commons Heads.
As outlined in their letters of appointment, the faculty members serving as Commons Heads are meant to provide "primary leadership for fostering the intellectual and cultural development of [their] Commons." This charge speaks to one of the Commons' most important goals, which is to reinforce the educational mission of the College and provide additional opportunities outside the classroom for students to learn. The cultivation of intellectual life in the Commons is inevitably complicated by the encompassing nature of residential life, which can be marked by a variety of personal, social, cultural, and intellectual dramas. It is precisely because of this welter of activity that we need to underscore the status of Commons Heads as the principal leaders of the Commons and grant them the authority to develop the intellectual, cultural, and civic dimensions of residential life. To this end, we recommend that they serve as the leaders of the Commons community and as the final administrative authority within the Commons. This recommendation assumes that the Commons Dean would work closely with both the Dean of the College—who would continue to oversee the sensitive, specialized work that Commons Deans undertake with individual students—and the Commons Head, who would supervise/direct/guide the Dean's work within the Commons as a whole. We likewise support the idea of providing the Commons Deans more time for meaningful contact with students and other residential staff—a goal that could be accomplished by reconfiguring some of the Commons Deans' current tasks and/or reconfiguring the overall staffing within the Commons (JCs, CRAs, Coordinators, etc.).
We note that the titles used for those in leadership positions have symbolic meaning, and thus suggest that "Commons Head" or simply "Head of [name] Commons" could help convey that the Heads are central to their leadership and the direction of the Commons.
Recommendation #16: Further integrate the Commons system and the curriculum.
The most important goal of the Commons system, and the reason the College has devoted considerable resources to its development, is to enhance the overall educational experience of our students by focusing on their experiences outside the classroom. This concept was central to the vision of Commons endorsed by the Board of Trustees in 1998. Since the Commons system is the "central organizing principle" of residential life at Middlebury, it should be linked in meaningful ways to the curriculum. The Commons-based first-year seminar program, which houses members of first-year seminars in the same residence hall (and Commons), has been especially successful in integrating residential and academic life. During the fall of 2005, 75 percent of the first-years participated in this program, although in the spring, housing logistics make it very difficult to offer the program to students who matriculate in February. We would like to see the Commons-based first-year seminar program extended to as many entering students as possible. This will bring even more faculty into the Commons and their participation is valued and meaningful.
These two recommendations—the reinforcement of the leadership role of the Commons Heads and the linkage of Commons to curriculum—could also be promoted by the development of a program of courses offered by Commons Heads within their Commons. Faculty members help define and lead the Commons. More faculty participation through Commons-based courses strengthens the Commons. We offer specific recommendations for such a program in Chapter Three.
Recommendation #17: Expand opportunities for staff involvement in the Commons.
The Commons system has the potential to be an important resource for the entire campus, and we want to affirm the educational power of an inclusive residential system that gives staff as well as faculty a place to learn alongside students. In particular, we urge the Commons to create regular opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to meet in small groups to discuss specific readings and issues that are of importance to the larger community. It is especially important that these gatherings take place on a regular basis and become part of the rhythms of campus life. It is also important that the College provide more opportunities for staff members to participate in Commons' activities, for by doing so we add breadth and depth to our intellectual communities.
A Social Life that Encourages Student Responsibility and Leadership
The College's newly adopted Mission Statement identifies ambitious goals for the education we offer, including our aim "to cultivate the intellectual, creative, physical, ethical, and social qualities essential for leadership in a rapidly changing global community." Middlebury's success in achieving this goal for our students relies in part upon the interactions of faculty and staff with students, but equally on students' own initiatives and leadership.
The Commons system should be enhanced to serve these complementary aims and to support the creation of a learning community that encourages students to act constructively and responsibly. Yet, as important as the Commons can and should be in developing the values of informed citizenship and leadership, every faculty and staff member of the Middlebury College community is engaged in some fashion in the process of cultivating among students a more acute awareness of our shared humanity. Faculty and staff who work closely with students, and who know them as individuals, can influence them in making good choices about how they live their lives and how they serve the needs of their communities.
We must acknowledge that a particular problem in the social life at Middlebury, as at other colleges and universities, is the abuse of alcohol. The College responds firmly to problems of substance abuse when they arise, and it provides educational programming and takes other specific measures to discourage such problems from occurring in the first place. But this institutional role can lead students to view the administration as either an adversary or a hapless denier of the real world. We thus urge students, faculty, and staff to move past these stereotypical positions and to talk frankly about the challenge of fostering a more vibrant social life on campus. We are convinced that students themselves must assume a primary responsibility for identifying and addressing the problems of their own social lives.
As one step in this process, the College recently created a student Task Force on Social Life whose charge is to find ways to improve social life on campus and to address problems that pose threats to good health and to a safe environment. We believe that existing institutions at Middlebury—for example, the Commons, student government, student organizations, and athletic teams—can and should support and encourage student leadership to improve the experiences students have at Middlebury. We look forward to the recommendations generated by this Task Force, not simply because they have the potential to improve student social life but also because they reflect the kind of initiative we want to encourage in our students.
A College-Wide Convocation
Recommendation #18: Initiate a weekly College-wide convocation.
We should reserve an hour each week free from classes and set aside as a shared time of exploration and reflection. Further consideration of the details is necessary, but we offer the following possibilities to illustrate how a College-wide convocation might work.
The convocation would be held on a weekday at the same hour each week. Each month's convocation would introduce a broad theme, to which conversation would return in different formats. In the first week an all-community convocation with a major outside speaker would introduce the theme; in the second week Commons-based discussions would engage the convocation topic; in the third week a faculty, staff, or student speaker, or perhaps a panel, could address the theme in another all-community event; and the fourth week could remain open for reflection on the topic as small groups choose.
Lecture funds already exist to support such a series, but planning the program will require a significant commitment of time. Several members of the community have already expressed a willingness to help organize and plan a convocation program. We envision that an appointed committee of faculty, staff, and students would plan the convocations for the following year and also coordinate them with events of a related nature, such as the Clifford Symposium and the Fulton Lecture.
To encourage staff participation, supervisors will need to be supportive and flexible. In offices where staff work-schedules are harder to rearrange, a rotation might be developed so that those who are interested can still attend some of the presentations. Staff participation will support our intellectual mission and foster shared experiences among all segments of the community.
Staff Contributions to Intellectual Community
Members of the staff of Middlebury College contribute in vital and varied ways to the education of our students. The entire College is enriched by including staff members as full participants in our intellectual community. We endorse the following recommendations that speak to enhancing staff educational opportunities. Staff as well as faculty can model for our students the benefits of lifelong learning and intellectual growth.
Recommendation #19: Enhance educational opportunities for staff.
We recommend that the College increase the level of funding for staff continuing education in order to make this program available to more employees. The Continuing Education Fund currently supports eligible employees by providing tuition reimbursement for courses at accredited, degree- or certificate-granting programs. The program of study must be related to the individual's professional development. We also recommend that the Office of Human Resources communicate to supervisors the College's support for existing policies that permit staff to take courses at Middlebury if space is available, and that Human Resources work with department supervisors to find ways to accommodate such requests.
Recommendation #20: Support staff matriculation at Middlebury College.
Staff members can currently audit courses or take courses for credit at the College, and then transfer earned credits to other institutions of higher education. We believe that the ability to matriculate at Middlebury and work toward a degree here could be an important opportunity for members of the Middlebury staff. We support the recommendation that qualified staff members have the opportunity to matriculate at Middlebury College.
Recommendation #21: Increase professional development opportunities for staff.
Professional achievements of the Middlebury College staff are valued contributions to the College. Some members of the staff are active at the national level in their respective fields; they are invited to present at conferences, participate in professional networks or organizations, and attend other work-related off-campus events. We should increase the availability and level of support in the Staff Development Fund to enable more staff members to participate in professional organizations and attend work-related programs.
Recommendation #22: Create a staff professional development leave program.
We support the creation of a professional development leave program that would allow staff members to apply for a leave of absence to engage in educational or developmental activities consistent with the mission of the College and beneficial to the employee in his or her professional development. Such a program would provide staff members opportunities to develop further job-related knowledge and skills and return to campus with new ideas and energy.
Recommendation #23: Encourage staff participation in intellectual community.
We support the creation of structures that would allow staff members to participate in more educational events on campus, for example, a flextime or other cooperative arrangement within a department that would allow some individuals to attend an occasional lecture, or work with faculty, other staff, or students on committees or shared projects. Such collaborations can be very rewarding and contribute to our effectiveness and success as an institution. We ask that the Office of Human Resources initiate dialogue with supervisors about how best to encourage the staff to attend public events, affiliate with the Commons, and participate in discussions about important College agendas.
Leadership and Innovation
Recommendation #24: Strengthen supervisory training programs.
Middlebury College aims to support its employees by providing them with the information, tools, and assistance they need to maximize their success in their roles at the College. Managers and supervisors must understand and comply with many different management principles, employment laws, and College policies and procedures. To minimize the unintended application of policies in ways that are inconsistent, and to ensure equitable treatment of our employees, we recommend that the College require every new manager and supervisor to participate in a review of expectations for the new position. The employee should receive training and guidance in areas important to the new role, and this training should be administered in a timely way so that the employee can effectively assume his or her new responsibilities right away. In order to strengthen management practices across the College, each employee who is already in a supervisory or managerial role will also participate in a review and training process specific to his or her position.
Recommendation #25: Promote greater work-life balance.
As programs at Middlebury evolve, greater demands are sometimes placed on faculty and staff members who are deeply committed to the welfare of students—academically, physically, and emotionally. This dedication can lead to over-extension, stress, and diminished morale. A healthy balance between employees' professional and personal commitments, "work-life balance," will contribute to job satisfaction and good performance, improved relationships, and a sense of community. We recommend that the College explore ways to enhance work-life balance and to recognize ever-evolving life roles and responsibilities.
Recommendation #26: Encourage a culture of collaboration.
All employees at Middlebury College share a common goal of meeting the College's needs. For example, when we have a snowstorm, many employees from Facilities Services work together to quickly make buildings and facilities accessible to the College community; these dedicated employees take pride in "getting the job done well." We recommend promoting a team-work approach in all areas of the College, characterized by an ongoing willingness to support our coworkers both within and across departments. To enable this, Human Resources might establish a clearing house of information about areas and times of particular needs, so that willing employees can step in with help when that is needed. Some staff members might be cross-trained in the work of other departments.
A culture of collaboration should also extend to the College's professional staff and faculty. For example, new technologies present great opportunities to further our educational mission and to develop high quality campus resources. In order to benefit from these innovations, new collaborative relationships should be formed among the various departments and stakeholders—faculty and administration, library, instructional technology, and media services staff, computing and network support staff, museum and visual resources curators, and other collection managers and content providers. All levels of management should embrace an institutional ethos that recognizes and rewards interdepartmental collaboration.
Recommendation #27: Cultivate and support creativity and innovation.
We recommend that College leaders strive to provide for all employees an environment that encourages innovation and creative approaches to working more effectively. The people who know an area best should be encouraged to suggest innovations that can lead to improvement. We suggest that Human Resources include this goal within its program for orienting and training new managers. The area of technology can serve as one illustration; we should value technologies that allow us to do our jobs more efficiently, and such technologies extend beyond the academic realm.
Recommendation #28: Increase recognition of employees' accomplishments.
We recommend developing a mechanism to solicit information about significant staff and faculty accomplishments and milestones, and finding opportunities to publicly acknowledge these achievements. We should foster and encourage a culture in which successes in one area of the College are viewed as successes for the entire community.
Recommendation #29: Expand the ways we engage alumni in the life of the College.
We value the involvement of alumni from all Middlebury College programs. The College should move beyond its traditional methods of engaging alumni, and it must expand its efforts to engage alumni of the Language Schools and Bread Loaf.
The College should
• Expand communications to and programming for alumni of the Language Schools and Bread Loaf. Use both of these tools to help undergraduate alumni view the graduate programs as integral parts of the College.
• Take advantage of the new online community to create a virtual alumni community, providing new ways for the alumni to connect with each other and with Middlebury.
• Tailor communications and programming to target audiences by demographics such as age and special interests. For example, we could take greater advantage of broadcast e-mail and other technologies to provide information that is relevant for particular groups of alumni. Gatherings of alumni with shared experiences as undergraduates—for example, competing on an athletic team or participating in a music ensemble—are events that can lead to friendships across the generations.
• Involve greater numbers of alumni in providing career counseling to students and alumni, increasing the number of advisers in MiddNet, the online career network, creating more opportunities for networking in cities with substantial numbers of alumni, bringing more alumni to campus as speakers, and providing other opportunities for alumni to share their knowledge and expertise with one another.
• Broaden our ongoing alumni recruiting efforts through the Alumni Admissions Program (AAP) to strengthen our outreach to underrepresented groups. This could include more focused participation by Middlebury alumni of color. We should consider using recent graduates in early awareness efforts for middle school students in targeted urban areas, perhaps in conjunction with alumni of other colleges. We should also increase the involvement of alumni of the Language Schools and Bread Loaf in identifying strong applicants; many of those alumni are teachers in secondary schools.
• Provide opportunities for lifelong learning, expanding Alumni College and making faculty interaction the focus of more alumni events. We should continue to increase the numbers of courses offered to our alumni and taught by Middlebury faculty members; a course in Marine Biology offered by a Middlebury scientist in collaboration with colleagues at the Monterey Institute of International Studies is one current model. We should also consider including alumni in off-campus winter term courses, where possible, so that alumni and current students and faculty have common educational experiences.
• Use emerging technologies to provide lectures and courses to alumni through streaming audio and video and podcasts. We should find ways to provide information to alumni that is relevant to their work; one example that has proven effective over many years is BreadNet, which links Bread Loaf school teachers and their classrooms electronically.
Recommendation #30: Re-examine and strengthen our communications both within and beyond our campuses.
All institutions take steps to build and manage their reputation, so that prospective students, other academic institutions, potential supporters, and the general public are aware of the institution's achievements and aspirations. Middlebury should remain committed to an active, deliberate communications program with a goal of conveying to the world: the excellence of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni; the outstanding quality of our academic programs; and the vibrancy of our residential learning community. To this end, Middlebury should
• Strengthen its reputation for institutional leadership through outreach at the state and national level.
• Demonstrate the school's unique differences, and societal relevance, and take an active role in placing stories about faculty research and expertise to support those points.
• Increase alumni and parent engagement through targeted communications. This effort should not only include the undergraduate college, but all schools in the Middlebury family.
• Strengthen internal communication, and make sure that all constituents within the Middlebury community feel connected and aware of the matters that affect them.
• Continue concerted efforts to raise Middlebury's visibility externally and develop an approach to its own publications and communications tools that consistently reflect the objectives of its various constituencies.
Recommendation #31: Expand and support diversity in the staff and faculty.
Middlebury's success in attracting an increasingly diverse student body points to a need for greater racial and ethnic diversity in the faculty and staff. A more diverse workforce at Middlebury will not only support our student population but will also bring a richer variety of experiences and perspectives into the conversations that help define the core of our intellectual community. The College should identify strategies for increasing the diversity in the groups of new employees that we bring to the faculty and staff. The 2005-2006 Human Relations Committee released its report this spring, and the recommendations in the report will guide Middlebury's continuing efforts to strengthen and support diversity in our community.
As illustration, we identify some steps that the College should consider in its efforts to recruit and retain a more diverse staff and faculty:
• Advertise and recruit applicants for staff positions from a wider geographic area.
• Consider carefully the application materials from the strongest minority applicants along with the materials from other finalists in a search.
• Continue to identify the recruiting and retention of diverse faculty members as an important part of the portfolio of a senior administrator.
• Ensure that the administrative responsibility for supporting efforts to attract a more diverse staff and faculty is clearly understood by all managers who recruit.
• Include diversity as an even stronger focus in our expanded training programs for all managers.
Diversity is not limited to race and ethnicity, and Middlebury College should continue to embrace diversity of many kinds. We should assist all members of the community in understanding what it means to be welcoming and inclusive. We recommend the incorporation of both role-modeling and diversity training in management strategies at all levels. We also recommend that the College identify opportunities through which all in our community can learn more about each other's diverse experiences and backgrounds.
The College and the Town
Recommendation #32: Recognize "Community Partners."
We have many friends in the community who contribute in various venues to the College, our students, and our faculty and staff. We recommend that the College acknowledge our long-term community partners with annual recognition, which could be in the form of a letter, announcement, or public event. This initiative would not replace the Citizens' Medals; rather it would acknowledge the organizations and individuals who year after year make significant contributions to College programs. We believe that such recognition would help the College strengthen its positive and productive relations with individuals and businesses in the local community.
Chapter 3: Curriculum and Faculty
At the heart of our mission as an institution of higher learning is encouraging Middlebury students to explore the full range of the liberal arts and sciences and at the same time to pursue a deep understanding of the specific areas they choose as majors. Two other goals are implicit in this one: fostering an ambitious, coherent curriculum and cultivating a superb faculty, who provide a model for students of the intellectual engagement offered by in-depth exploration of a field.
Enhancing Student-Faculty Interaction
We begin this chapter with a proposal to increase the size of the faculty. In moving swiftly from that point to a discussion of curricular recommendations, we want to affirm that the most compelling justification for seeking additional faculty resources is the potential they offer for deepening and refining the program of study that Middlebury offers its students. In addition to enabling specific curricular changes as outlined below, a more competitive student-faculty ratio would ensure that faculty are able to continue to devote a great deal of time to individual students while also enhancing Middlebury's academic reputation through their scholarly and creative accomplishments.
The additional resources will give our members of our faculty more time to teach, advise students, and do research. They will enable the College to become even more competitive in appointing faculty whose highest priority is superb teaching, yet whose scholarly credentials would also make them especially attractive to top-tier universities.
Recommendation #33: Increase faculty resources and enhance student-faculty interaction.
Intensive interaction between faculty and students is at the core of Middlebury's mission as a liberal arts college. For students, the opportunity to work closely with faculty, so that their intellectual development can be guided by professors who come to know them well, is a defining feature of a Middlebury education. For faculty, the rewards of providing mentorship and developing ongoing relationships with excellent students are the reason they choose to teach at a liberal arts college rather than a university. Preserving and enhancing this unique relationship is critical to maintaining Middlebury's position among the hundreds of educational institutions in America, and to ensuring that Middlebury continues to be the school its alumni love.
While the dynamics of student-faculty interaction cannot be precisely quantified, the "student-faculty ratio," as a standard indicator of faculty resources available to each student, is one point of comparison between institutions. Prospective students, parents, faculty job candidates, and the creators of college rankings all use student-faculty ratio as a measure of an institution's commitment to making faculty as available as possible to students. Middlebury's ratio is now approximately 9 to 1 when calculated using standard methodology, as compared with an 8 to 1 ratio found at some of our peer colleges. This difference translates to a heavier teaching load than at such other institutions and to a greater number of large-enrollment classes. We have been very fortunate in having a hard-working faculty that stretches to meet student demands, but it will be difficult to sustain this high level of faculty availability without both using our faculty resources more efficiently, and expanding them in the years to come. We therefore recommend 8 to 1 as the new standard we intend to achieve.
Enhanced faculty resources could be used to further many specific curricular and educational goals. Reducing class sizes would be a primary objective. Additional faculty FTE's could be used to reduce the number of lecture classes in the 50 to 75 student range, and to bring medium-sized classes down from 45 to 50 students to 35 to 40 students. Freed from the staffing constraints that prevent the awarding of teaching credit for the substantial work of advising student theses and research projects, we could allow for a more equitable distribution of thesis advising to serve a wide range of student interests. This would be necessary in order to institute a common senior work requirement, as is recommended below. Finally, additional faculty members would allow us to build in staffing redundancies that would ensure that our complex curriculum can be well supported by departments and programs, and that no individual faculty member's contribution would be "irreplaceable" when they are on leave.
Ten curricular recommendations follow. The first seven of these address the overall structure of the curriculum; the next three deal with the pathway by which an individual student experiences that curriculum.
Curriculum and Advising
Recommendation #34: Consolidate the College's distribution requirements.
Distribution requirements were established to ensure that each student gains breadth in the study of the liberal arts. Both students and faculty have expressed a sense that our current distribution requirements have become a complex series of hoops to jump through, however, rather than a meaningful structure for shaping an individual student's course of study. We thus propose reducing the number of requirements demanded under the present system—in which students must take courses in seven out of eight groups. A relevant fact is that, as many courses have grown more interdisciplinary over time, assigning appropriate "tags" to them has become more difficult, weakening the clarity and integrity of the academic categories. We would prefer at most four or five distribution requirements. This would require re-designation of the academic categories, perhaps along more conventional "divisional" structures. Such consolidation would both make a stronger statement about the major areas we expect students to balance in their coursework and open up more options for students beyond required courses. In considering whether students would need to take all categories within a new structure, or be able to opt out of some, the EAC and faculty should engage the question of a language requirement. Recognizing that there are many practical and pedagogical reasons why a language requirement, which involves a multi-semester commitment, has not been supported by many language faculty members, we nevertheless recommend that any discussion of distribution requirements include renewed consideration of the appropriate place of languages within the general Middlebury curriculum.
The "cultures and civilizations" requirements, which were revised by the faculty four years ago, could either be part of this consideration of distribution requirements or could remain as they are, independent of changes in the academic categories. The faculty clearly supports their overall goal of requiring students to explore a variety of cultures. It is important that we continue the advances we have made in adding greater diversity to the curriculum, and strive to represent a wide range of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in the courses that we offer.
Many of our peer institutions have far simpler distribution or general education requirements than we do. For example, at one sister institution students are asked simply to take 10 courses from 10 different departments outside their major; distribution requirements simply mean that they must distribute their studies across the curriculum. Other schools typically have fewer categories than in Middlebury's requirements, with more options for satisfying each. Our planning group undertook a study of the distribution requirements at 23 similar institutions, including our group of 20 comparison colleges, and found that 19 have a science requirement, 8 have a lab science requirement, and 15 have a language requirement.
By way of example, we offer the following set of simplified distribution requirements that would achieve our objectives: Students would need to take two courses in each of the following four areas: Languages and Arts, Humanities and Literature, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. One of the courses in the Natural Sciences or Social Sciences category would be designated a "lab" course, providing a significant opportunity for independent experimental work. These new categories would replace the current eight distribution tags with four new tags.
Recommendation #35: Institute a laboratory science requirement within the new distribution requirements.
The accelerating pace of scientific discovery and the impact of new discoveries on humankind require the well-informed citizen to have a fundamental knowledge of science. Direct contact with the scientific method teaches students the value and meaning of empirically derived knowledge and critical thinking—understanding of great importance in many of life's domains. It also affords students opportunities to gain experience with varied forms of technology. Our current system gives students the option of avoiding science altogether. The objective of a science requirement would be for all graduating students to have had some course experience with hands-on, experimental science, either in the laboratory or in the field. With our state-of-the-art science facilities and laboratories, Middlebury is in a good position to consider implementing such a requirement. Many peer institutions with equivalent or lesser facilities and faculty complements already successfully mount a lab science requirement. The concern that many science faculty have expressed about whether science has a sufficiently prominent role at Middlebury might be partially addressed through such a requirement, which would send both students and prospective students a message about the significance of scientific inquiry here. The areas in which we believe that specified courses will be able to introduce students to the scientific method in a hands-on way include Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Geography, Geology, Mathematics (Statistics), Neuroscience, Physics, and Psychology.
Recommendation #36: Enhance academic advising.
Academic advising by members of the faculty helps guide students toward establishing their academic paths. We believe that a simplified structure for distribution requirements would allow for more meaningful advising by faculty, who often feel that advising has become a mechanical exercise in checking requirements rather than an opportunity for substantive dialogue about a student's interests and aspirations. Good advising requires not only that faculty have a solid knowledge of the curriculum, but also that they be prepared to help students understand the nature of a liberal arts education. We recommend that the administration seriously consider ways to reinforce the faculty commitment to general advising and to prepare faculty for their broader and more philosophical advising role.
Recommendation #37: Eliminate triple majors and reduce the number of double majors.
At Middlebury as elsewhere, increasing numbers of students pursue majors in two or more disciplines. While multiple majors can allow students to develop useful strengths in complementary disciplines, multiple majoring also complicates their schedules and often discourages students from exploring the breadth of our curricular offerings. With more active advising in this regard, we can make students aware of the philosophical and practical compromises that may occur as a result of double majoring.
Middlebury's large percentage of double majors also places a heavy burden on the curriculum and on the faculty. A student with two majors needs a place in two senior seminars, meets with two advisors, and charts two pathways to completion that must be carefully integrated. Some departments with high enrollment pressures could relieve large lecture courses by adding more sections, but lack the staffing to do so because many senior seminars are offered to guarantee spots to the majors and double majors who need them to graduate.
We propose that the EAC consider legislation that would completely eliminate the option of a triple major, and that would allow double majors to be declared only through the end of the fifth semester. Many students now return from junior year abroad, discover that they are just a course or two away from a double major, and collect that credential by declaring a second major in their senior year. Invariably, such late registrations become a problem for departments in the scheduling of senior seminars and advising of theses. (Joint majors, as planned integrations of related fields, do not pose the same problems as double majors.) This proposal would demand that students plan to devote focused attention to their major discipline, and would allow for greater emphasis on independent senior work. Similarly, we recommend not approving "special student" part-time status for students who simply want to fulfill an extra requirement or two and thus complete a double major.
Recommendation #38: Streamline departmental major requirements.
Even students who major in only one field often end up devoting a substantial portion of their courses to major requirements. While many of our top competitors offer majors requiring 8-10 courses, at Middlebury majors are generally between 12 and 16 courses. This not only reduces the breadth of students' experience, it places a heavy burden on faculty who must offer a rich array of specific courses on a consistent basis in order to permit students to satisfy major requirements. We recommend that the EAC work with departments and programs to streamline the requirements for majors to reduce these pressures on departmental curricula and enrich the liberal arts experience for students.
Recommendation #39: Highlight the strengths of the sciences and arts at Middlebury.
As we refine and enhance our curriculum we want to express our commitment to the excellence of all our programs. While continuing to celebrate recognized strengths like environmental studies, international studies, languages, and literature, we should no longer use the language of "peaks" to distinguish these areas. At this moment in Middlebury's history, we particularly want to enhance recognition of the sciences and the arts, and to convey the distinctive qualities of these programs in our descriptions of the College.
As we have found with the Bread Loaf School of English, secondary school teachers who are familiar with our academic programs can serve as wonderful ambassadors of these programs. We therefore support the creation of a small summer program that would bring a number of high school science teachers to campus each summer to study some area in depth together with one or more of our own faculty members. Such summer mini-courses could rotate among interested individuals and departments in the sciences, including biology, chemistry and biochemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, and physics.
In addition, we strongly endorse the recommendations of the Committee on the Arts that support a more structural integration of arts into the curriculum and campus life. Arts events should be more fully incorporated into the curriculum, and we should devote greater emphasis to interdisciplinary courses and team-teaching that connect the arts to other, non-art disciplines. We also recommend raising the level of support for the College orchestra and choir in order to involve and retain more of the talented musicians in our student body in these flagship organizations. In particular, we propose that the EAC consult with the Chair of Music about whether the current level of academic credit for participation in these groups is adequate to sustain student commitment. There is a complementary need to develop a wider range of performance opportunities for students. The College should also consider funding national and international tours that would increase the visibility of our music programs and serve as incentives for student involvement. We feel that the Committee on the Arts has already made significant progress in increasing the integration and visibility of the arts on campus, and we support continued efforts to establish dialogue between the arts departments and other departments and groups on campus. We encourage continued discussion of whether a Director of the Arts position at Middlebury would help foster these goals, or whether there are other means by which they might be achieved.
Recommendation #40: Strengthen Winter Term.
A prominent theme in comments from students, faculty, and staff was a desire for students to have more "quality time" for thinking, and a less frenzied schedule of commitments and obligations. Winter Term can be an excellent time for innovative courses that provide more opportunity for reflection and independent work. While the mixed feelings many faculty have about Winter Term were apparent in the extended debate on the issue two years ago, the strong majority of faculty who voted to retain Winter Term recognized that its unique schedule and configuration offers opportunities as well as challenges, and we recommend that those opportunities be used to serve the goals of this report. The Curriculum Committee and administration should encourage faculty to develop proposals for Winter Term courses that create a more intensive and independent experience for students.
In particular, off-campus Winter Term courses have provided some of the most rewarding educational experiences, as described by students and faculty alike. The planning committee proposes the immediate restoration of this program, which was eliminated several years ago for budgetary reasons, and recommends that there should be the opportunity for up to three off-campus courses per year. The major expense involved in off-campus courses is the high cost of the extra financial aid needed, so support of this program may be a goal for advancement staff to pursue as they seek contributions for financial aid.
Off-campus internships during January also provide students a unique learning experience that should be fostered within our curriculum. We address the related topic of experiential learning below.
Shaping the Student Career at Middlebury
Recommendation #41: Reinforce the first-year seminar program.
The FYS program is already a jewel of the curriculum, supported by an outstanding Writing Program. The EAC and the Dean of the Faculty need to look closely at departments' level of participation, however, to make sure that it becomes a truly cross-curricular commitment. The EAC should work with departments and programs to establish a regular rotation of FYS teaching for full-time faculty. Further, all faculty should take advantage of the excellent preparation offered by the Writing Program in order to ensure consistency of FYS courses in advising, requiring an adequate number of writing assignments, providing full response to students' written work, and creating regular time to discuss writing in class.
Recommendation #42: Explore possibilities for Commons-based courses.
In order to expand the Commons' connections to our curriculum and enable the Commons Heads to establish ties with students based on their shared experiences in the classroom, we urge the development of academically oriented programming that builds on the success of the Commons-based FYS program. For example, the Commons program could help the College to find imaginative ways to strengthen the sophomore curriculum. We recommend that the Commons Heads explore possibilities for integrating the academic program and the Commons, and that they discuss their ideas with the administration and forward specific proposals to the Curriculum Committee.
We also propose that the College establish clusters of Commons-based Winter Term classes that would give first priority to Commons residents. Joined together by a shared theme or a pedagogical approach (for instance, service learning) and organized by Commons Heads, these courses would take advantage of the Winter Term schedule through a combination of field trips, symposia, and special research projects. By building upon the model of the Commons-based FYS program, this plan would strengthen the intellectual framework of Winter Term.
Recommendation #43: Require senior work in all majors.
Independent senior work teaches students how to ask questions, how to seek answers to them, and how to communicate their discoveries clearly. Middlebury graduates should be more than good students; they should be prepared to function as autonomous learners and "teachers" of what they know. Undertaking a significant research project, creative work, or other independent work during the senior year gives students the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned about their chosen field of study. Sharing these projects with faculty mentors, fellow students, and others tests their ability to articulate and defend their ideas within a larger intellectual community. The new Office for Undergraduate Research can play an important role in supporting senior work and making student research accomplishments more visible.
Members of the Planning Steering Committee believe strongly that all departments should require an independent senior project of their majors. Such senior work can serve both as the capstone of students' work in a particular discipline and as the culminating example of the close faculty-student interaction characterizing the Middlebury experience as a whole. A senior work requirement would represent an ambitious elevation of the quality and shape of an undergraduate career at Middlebury, bringing a more sharply defined contour to a student's entire education and assuring that all our graduates gain the ability to function at a significant level as independent learners.
Such a requirement would only be feasible if the College is committed to an improved student-faculty ratio, as described elsewhere in this report. In many departments, it would in fact be impossible for the current faculty to advise substantial projects by all of the students majoring in that area. Although a reduction in double majors would partially address this problem, additional faculty resources would still be needed.
An Enriched Curricular Context
Recommendation #44: Promote student research through a day-long research symposium.
The planning committee recommends that the College institute a day-long research symposium, of the kind developed successfully at other colleges, which focuses on student work. Activities would include public lectures given by students and poster-presentation sessions that would highlight student work in senior theses, independent projects, or internships. Such a day-long celebration of student work would take place late in the spring semester, and would replace the day off for Winter Carnival that currently takes place early in the semester. It would support, and be supported by, a new expectation for independent senior work in all departments. The Office for Undergraduate Research would be responsible for developing, coordinating, and promoting this event, which would give visibility to student independent work and encourage students to regard their independent work, and that of their peers, as a serious commitment that is highly valued by the College.
The curricular recommendations outlined in this report are intended to produce a certain kind of graduate: a person who has read and thought broadly on a wide range of topics within the liberal arts and sciences; whose close relationship with teachers and advisors has given him or her a sense of participation in a vibrant intellectual community; who has become sufficiently advanced in a specific area of study to have expertise worth sharing with other students and faculty; who can critically analyze and investigate problems using appropriate information resources; and who leaves Middlebury with a capacity for independent thought and analysis that will foster a lifetime of continued learning.
Experiential learning opportunities, including service learning courses, internships, and independent projects, all extend learning beyond the classroom in important ways. Summer internships often exemplify the kinds of experiential learning programs that have benefited Middlebury students in recent years. Student employment on campus can also have a valuable educational component. The planning committee supports increasing the opportunities for experiential learning and expanding internship opportunities. Two specific proposals have emerged that we support as part of the strategic plan:
Recommendation #45: Increase funding for student internships.
Internships will be increasingly important in a liberal arts context, and students' financial circumstances should not exclude them from these valuable opportunities. We support augmenting the funding for student internships; this would enable equal access to internship opportunities, regardless of financial resources, and would contribute to our goal of attracting a more diverse student body.
Recommendation #46: Create a database for service learning projects.
We recommend that the College create a "Request for Proposals" database to solicit service-learning project ideas from potential community partners and alumni. This would serve to increase experiential learning opportunities for students, provide a source of meaningful project ideas, and better engage community partners and alumni in the educational process. At least one of our peer colleges has been very successful in using this approach to match community needs with learning opportunities for students.
Enhanced Faculty Support
Recommendation #47: Make better use of current teaching resources with a goal of achieving a more competitive teaching load for faculty.
The growth of our complex, interdisciplinary curriculum has demanded a significant investment of faculty time and attention. The complexities of student schedules often require that a student consult with multiple advisors or department and program chairs. The number of distribution and major requirements to be fulfilled means that students often have very specific curricular needs that must be met in a given term; this is particularly the case because many Middlebury students go abroad their junior year, creating a need for even low-enrollment courses to be taught very frequently. A parallel issue from the faculty side of the equation is that the present teaching load guidelines have sometimes led to departmental offerings being designed in order to satisfy individual instructors' prescribed teaching responsibilities, rather than for the purposes of maximum efficiency and pedagogical effectiveness.
We believe that the review of the curriculum outlined above should be accompanied by a careful assessment of teaching resources in all departments. Streamlining department and program requirements, reducing double majors, and creating equitable teaching loads that do not drive departmental curricula may all yield teaching resources that can be used to implement some of the above recommendations. Moreover, reconsideration of the tasks currently required of department chairs and other administrators might make it possible to reduce the course releases currently given as compensation for administrative work, which would in turn allow us to devote more faculty resources to curricular innovation.
Careful attention to current resources, along with a gradual increase in the number of faculty, should thus make it possible to move in the direction of a standard teaching load that is more comparable to that of the very best liberal arts colleges.
Recommendation #48: Develop a more flexible approach to faculty leaves.
Beyond improving the student-faculty ratio to 8 to 1, as described in the first recommendation of this chapter, the College should also make changes to ensure that faculty research time is used most efficiently. A more flexible approach to faculty leaves would allow us to maximize opportunities for grant funding of faculty research. Specifically, we propose allowing faculty to pursue exceptional opportunities that may fall outside the normal leave sequence. This would not only enhance the academic prestige of the institution, it would also promote the level of research engagement that allows Middlebury faculty to model and mentor meaningful research on the part of students. We also recommend enhanced faculty development funding that would offer better support for faculty and reduce the time spent securing support. Some of the recommendations in this area are already in the process of being implemented.
Recommendation #49: Provide more centralized staff support to reduce administrative burdens on faculty.
Recognizing that faculty time is a valuable resource, we recommend a reduction in the amount of time faculty spend on administrative work that the institution could support in other ways. The increasing demands of technology have meant that many faculty members spend a substantial amount of time on technical or clerical tasks that did not exist ten years ago, or were done by other offices. Providing more centralized and coordinated support for a variety of support tasks—such as creating course web pages, digitizing information, or placing course materials on electronic reserve—would free faculty time that could be better spent working with students, preparing for class, or conducting research.
A Coordinated Approach to Educational Quality
The Planning Committee offers the preceding recommendations as a unified sequence—intended to strengthen the faculty, to clarify the goals of a liberal education and to shape the four years of a student's career at Middlebury into a more progressive whole. Such an ambitious enhancement of our undergraduate program will of course need to be deliberated with the utmost seriousness by the entire faculty, working through its elected committees. We emphasize, however, that revisiting so many curricular matters in this coordinated fashion holds enormous promise for the College. It can reinforce our mission and provide a meaningful context for academic advising. It can re-affirm the common cause for which faculty and staff, students and administration are all gathered together here.
Over the past several decades, Middlebury has made striking commitments to a new Commons system as well as to the construction of world-class facilities in the arts and sciences, an extraordinary new library, and a residential system second to none. We celebrate the fact that so many achievements have come at a time when interdisciplinary initiatives were also enriching our College so dramatically. The further changes proposed in this report focus primarily on our educational activities per se. Our committee's firm conviction is that the present recommendations build upon and consolidate the College's recent gains in a coordinated and strategic fashion. If enacted, they will assure a new degree of curricular coherence, a sense of community that more fully integrates members of the staff, and an intensity of student-faculty interaction equal to or exceeding that at any college in the country. The changes described here do not simply call for new faculty resources or institute new requirements. Rather, they offer a compelling vision of educational quality in which students, faculty, and staff all undertake specific new responsibilities in a cooperative spirit. We contemplate this package of recommendations as a remarkable opportunity to advance in our mission and in the success with which we implement it.
Chapter 4: Middlebury's Graduate & Specialized Programs
Middlebury's undergraduate liberal arts program is, and should remain, at the core of its identity and mission. Radiating outwards from this central point, however, is an array of affiliated programs that enhance the luster of the College as individual and distinctive entities, and also combine to create a network of opportunities that is unique among liberal arts colleges. These programs, situated across the United States and around the world, represent knowledge without boundaries both for undergraduates and for the hundreds of graduate students whom they serve.
Middlebury College is not simply an undergraduate institution of 2,350 students. It also encompasses several graduate and specialized programs that take place during the summer and academic year, in the U.S. and in other countries. It includes nine intensive Language Schools that enroll 1,300 students each summer, taught by 215 faculty; seven Schools Abroad, which enroll more about 140 graduate students and 180 undergraduates yearly; the Bread Loaf School of English, which enrolls 500 students at five sites; and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, with its 230 attendees each summer at the Bread Loaf campus. In addition, Middlebury College now has an affiliate, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, with whom our relationship is beginning to develop.
These programs offer tremendous advantages, both educational and logistical, to the College. The Language Schools and Schools Abroad have solidified Middlebury's dominance in language learning and strength in international studies. The Bread Loaf programs embody a proud tradition in literature that is crucial to the College's traditional liberal arts identity. The affiliation with the Monterey Institute expands Middlebury's commitment to language study to graduate professional programs that demonstrate the importance of language mastery to many careers and forms of public service. While these programs differ from each other in the extent of their connection to the undergraduate curriculum, all of them chart pathways outward from the undergraduate experience that are a model of the kind of expansive, continuing education that Middlebury seeks to cultivate in its students. In addition, many of them offer specific opportunities to Middlebury undergraduates that are available nowhere else.
While many colleges strive to recoup campus operating costs and keep staff employed year-round by hosting miscellaneous meetings or high school sports camps on their campuses when college is not in session, Middlebury offers summer programs that contribute significantly to its reputation and its mission. Many students come to Middlebury on the recommendation of a high school English teacher who attended the Bread Loaf School of English; many faculty interviewing for positions across the College mention that they first heard of Middlebury through its renowned summer Language Schools; many visiting poets and novelists know Middlebury primarily as the host of the country's first extended writers' workshop, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. We are very fortunate in claiming programs of such distinction.
Nevertheless, it became clear in the course of the planning process, as well as in discussions leading to the College's recent affiliation with the Monterey Institute of International Studies, that we could do a better job of articulating, and capitalizing on, the synergies created among the separate educational entities that make up Middlebury College. This chapter offers some recommendations about ways to strengthen the links between these programs and the undergraduate college, as well as some recommendations specific to individual programs. We believe that understanding the connections between Middlebury's various components is essential to creating a unified sense of purpose among all areas of the institution.
Recommendation #50: Increase collaboration across Middlebury programs.
Middlebury's specialized programs are a resource that should be more systematically integrated with thinking about the undergraduate curriculum. Our undergraduate program could benefit greatly by increased cooperation of faculty and students at Middlebury College with faculty and students at our partner institutions and C.V. Starr Middlebury Schools Abroad, the Language Schools, the Bread Loaf School of English, and the Monterey Institute of International Studies. The directors and deans of all of these programs should be encouraged to work with the College's academic administration and faculty to seek productive venues for exchange and collaboration. For example, we recommend the creation of a joint position, the Robert Frost Writer-in-Residence, which would serve both the summer and the undergraduate programs. The establishment of such a position should be a fundraising goal for the coming campaign, and other specific points of connection should be developed that would allow for more cross-fertilization among programs. Increased collaboration among programs will maximize the resources of each and enhance the cohesiveness of the College as a whole.
Recommendation #51: Establish a Board of Trustees subcommittee devoted to the summer program, schools abroad, and affiliates.
Currently, issues specific to the Language Schools are discussed by the Board in the Educational Affairs Committee. This committee is also the main venue for discussion of curricular matters, faculty issues, faculty salary goals, admissions updates, and other important matters related to the undergraduate academic program; thus, Language School and Bread Loaf-related issues receive limited attention from the Educational Affairs Committee. While matters specific to facilities, budget and finance, etc. would continue to be discussed by the board committees concerned with these areas, general curricular and strategic issues related to the graduate and auxiliary programs should be given a full airing in a separate board subcommittee. Although the Monterey Institute is governed by its own Board, issues related to collaboration between Middlebury and the Monterey Institute of International Studies would also be within the purview of this committee. Establishing a separate subcommittee would increase the general knowledge about these programs among trustees and ensure that they remain a visible part of Middlebury's strategic direction.
Recommendation #52: Strengthen connections of alumni from the Language Schools and the Bread Loaf School of English with the Middlebury alumni community.
Although they receive Middlebury College diplomas, the alumni of the Language Schools and Bread Loaf School of English tend to consider themselves graduates of those programs first and foremost, and only secondarily graduates of Middlebury College. We recommend developing and enhancing connections with the alumni of these programs. Removing boundaries that may now be present has the potential to create a broader network for all alumni, and to help the College strengthen financial support for the programs these alumni attended as well as for the College as whole. Some initial steps, such as including the Language Schools and Bread Loaf School of English in traditions like the awarding of canes at graduation, have already been taken. In addition, hiring an individual in College Advancement whose work is devoted solely to Language Schools and Bread Loaf fundraising might prove an effective means of directing energy towards that body of alumni. Targeting alumni of these programs in specific mailings, and looking for more opportunities to include them in campus activities sponsored by departments including Career Services, as with undergraduate College alumni, would also help to solidify that relationship. If Middlebury's programs are to function as a coherent whole, graduates of those programs should feel a shared affinity with the College and with each other.
Middlebury Summer Language Schools
The gradual expansion of the Middlebury Summer Language Schools over nearly a century has paralleled the development of an increasingly internationalized undergraduate curriculum. The first Middlebury Summer Language School, the School of German, was established in 1915 as a graduate program. Middlebury now has nine schools—Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish—which offer a range of courses for both undergraduate and graduate students. With approximately 1,300 students, the Language School population is more than half that of the Middlebury undergraduate student body. In 2005, the Middlebury Language Schools awarded 207 graduate degrees: 204 M.A.'s, and 3 D.M.L.'s, Doctor of Modern Languages. Approximately 100 Middlebury undergraduates attend the Language Schools each summer in order to prepare to go abroad or accelerate their language study, and the Language Schools curricula are designed to articulate seamlessly with the Middlebury programs in each language.
The unique—in fact, trademarked—"Language Pledge" refers to the 24/7 immersion method used by the Language Schools. With all of its successes, this approach to language instruction also poses many logistical challenges on the Middlebury campus. The need for rapid reconfiguration of residence halls into language-specific communities that incorporate classrooms, dorm rooms, faculty housing, and dining and program space, places an enormous strain on the Middlebury staff. While staff members have risen magnificently to the challenge, this process could be better integrated with other aspects of College planning.
Recommendation #53: Ensure that the needs of the College's summer and auxiliary programs are represented in committee and administrative structures that are responsible for operational planning.
Middlebury College benefits from having year-round operations with a variety of schools and programs. It is easy to forget that Middlebury is a 12-month operation that does not enjoy the "downtime" for maintenance and repair that other schools take advantage of during the summer. The consequence is that facilities decisions are often made with the undergraduate program in mind, and without full consideration of the effect on summer programs. We recommend that an automatic second stage of consideration be routinely added to all major campus planning decision-making processes. In particular, facilities planning should be considered incomplete until the question of effect on summer programs has been carefully addressed. Each major facilities planning committee should always have at least one member who represents the College's summer programs. Administrative decisions on major building maintenance, upgrades, and renovations should be made early enough in the fiscal year that these projects can be factored into enrollment decisions for the summer programs. Better integration of planning for all of Middlebury's programs will ensure that they are viewed not as competing with each other, but as complementing each other.
Recommendation #54: Strengthen financial aid for the Language Schools.
For the Language Schools, as for the undergraduate program, financial aid is necessary to ensure access by a wide range of students. The Language Schools are in a very strong competitive position. Nevertheless, attending a Language School at Middlebury is in many cases more expensive than studying at a program overseas, and students for whom expense is a factor may choose to go elsewhere. (Current total costs for the 6-week, 7-week, and 9-week programs are $5,700, $5,850, and $7,700 respectively.) We recommend that the College seek to increase the amount of financial aid available to potential applicants to the Language Schools through fundraising efforts directed toward Language School alumni.
Because the burden of paying for graduate study often follows an accumulation of undergraduate loans, Language School students are very sensitive to the level of funding available, and must make decisions about attendance with those considerations in mind. We recommend that the process by which Language Schools financial aid is awarded become as transparent as possible, and that every effort be made to shorten the turn-around time for financial aid applications so that students who travel to the summer programs from all over the United States can make travel arrangements in a timely manner. This will help ensure that qualified students are able to take advantage of these unique programs.
Recommendation #55: Expand the scope of the Language Schools curriculum by integrating broader cultural content in Language School courses.
The Language Schools curriculum has had a longstanding focus on language and literature. Increasingly there is also interest in particular regions and cultures. Expanding the amount of cultural content in summer language courses will provide Language School students with as much of the cultural "reference" or "background" knowledge of the foreign culture as possible. Given the varying levels of difficulty among the Schools, the depth of content coverage will vary, but developing a curriculum that is more consistent across similar levels or groups of languages will allow for the possibility of some common programming in the summer schools. It will also increase the opportunities for participation from non-language undergraduate faculty, further strengthening the ties between the Language Schools and the undergraduate curriculum.
Recommendation #56: Consider adding summer graduate programs in languages that are currently taught only at the undergraduate level.
The Language Schools do not currently offer a comprehensive degree program in every language. Several of the programs offer undergraduate courses only. For the first time in 2006, the Schools of Arabic and Chinese will each run one non-degree graduate-level course with a focus on continuing education for language instructors teaching at the college and high school levels. If these experiments are successful, the Language Schools may seek to add M.A. degrees in Arabic and Chinese to the existing graduate offerings in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. In addition, a recent external review of the Doctor of Modern Languages program offered recommendations that would make that degree truly competitive with existing Ph.D. programs by drawing on both the Middlebury Language Schools' traditional strength in language teaching methodology and the future focus on the teaching of a broad-based cultural studies expertise. All of these developments have the potential to enhance the scholarly credibility of the summer language programs.
Discussions are currently ongoing regarding the possibility of adding or expanding language programs on non-Middlebury sites. Given the space constraints on the Middlebury campus, this seems the only viable way to consider adding programs. The affiliation with the Monterey Institute may offer the possibility of basing some language programs in California rather than Vermont, but any Middlebury Language School would have to replicate the isolation and intensity of the Middlebury environment in order to provide an authentic Language School experience. Any new Language School program would need to generate its own operating revenue, as do the current Language Schools. All of these recommendations for possible expansion are contingent on comprehensive institution-wide planning that considers plans for Language School development in conjunction with developments in the undergraduate curriculum in languages, international studies, and related fields.
C.V. Starr Schools Abroad
Recommendation #57: Explore possibilities for adding new sites abroad that support the undergraduate curriculum.
Middlebury seeks to create an integrated Language Schools/Schools Abroad curriculum that co-articulates not only with the language programs, but with relevant academic-year disciplines at Middlebury College. It is important, therefore, to be alert to new emphases in the undergraduate program that may require the addition of new sites abroad in areas that are of interest to our students. For example, Middle East Studies faculty at Middlebury have been involved in discussions for several years about the possibility of adding a C.V. Starr School in an Arabic-speaking country. Depending on future political developments, we may also explore further the possibility of a site in Israel. We should be flexible in responding to curricular needs, both in considering new programs where necessary, and in allowing for program reduction where a need no longer exists.
Bread Loaf School of English
Recommendation #58: Integrate the Bread Loaf School of English into the College's international focus by considering further expansion beyond the U.S. borders.
The Bread Loaf School of English has historically sought to establish itself mainly as an institution at the service of American teachers teaching literature written in English. Even BLSE's campus at Lincoln College, Oxford, fits this pattern, as British literature has historically been at least as central to American education in English as has American literature.
The time will come, however, when the Bread Loaf School of English must look beyond the borders of the U.S. and consider both opening campuses abroad and recruiting more secondary-school teachers from abroad. This expansion is in keeping with the increasingly international focus of Middlebury College. Instruction in the languages of the countries into which BLSE moves, for the better understanding of literature and other cultural forms, may be contemplated. At some point, the Bread Loaf School of English may consider possible cooperation or overlapping with the Middlebury Language Schools and Schools Abroad.
The opening in the summer of 2006 of a new school in North Carolina gives the Bread Loaf School of English a campus in every quadrant of the country. The Bread Loaf School of English may eventually consider expanding into countries other than the U.S. and the U.K. Mexico remains an attractive possibility, because of demographic patterns in the U.S. So do regions of the world about which American and British writers have written extensively, such as Provence and Tuscany. Other countries where the Bread Loaf School of English might find fertile ground for development, both for the education of American teachers in non-U.S. cultures and for work with non-U.S. populations of teachers, might include (among many possible examples) East Africa and India. Explorations of some of these possibilities have already begun.
Recommendation #59: Upgrade facilities at the Bread Loaf campus to ensure longevity of its historic buildings and allow for support of new teaching technologies.
The Bread Loaf campus is a "jewel" in the Green Mountains near Ripton. Although programs on the Bread Loaf campus do not compete with the undergraduate program for control over the design and use of spaces, they do operate in an environment in which repairs have been a lower priority. The best season for maintenance work is also the time of peak usage; not surprisingly, these facilities have not been maintained to the high standard of the Middlebury campus.
An assessment of the buildings at the Bread Loaf campus has found that most of the major buildings need substantial work on their foundations. The needed work began in the summer of 2005 with the replacement of one foundation, and similar projects will be needed over the coming years to preserve the integrity of the historic buildings at Bread Loaf.
The Bread Loaf summer programs seek additional space for classrooms and rehearsals and additional space (beyond the computer center in the basement of Davison Library) for technology and technology training. Bread Loaf would also benefit from having more space for training its students in new teaching technologies. The Bread Loaf School of English has been a leader in the use of technology by teachers to exchange teaching materials and stay networked with their fellow classmates year-round. Keeping the technology on the mountain campus current while also respecting the rural, isolated atmosphere so prized by participants is a challenge that we need to meet.
Bread Loaf Writers' Conference
Recommendation #60: Develop stronger ties between the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and our academic year programs.
The success of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference is apparent in its many imitators. Other colleges and universities offer summer writing workshops modeled on the Bread Loaf experience, and some have evolved into serious competitors. But the Writers' Conference is more competitive, and more highly regarded, now than it has been for many decades. Middlebury stands to benefit from increasing the visibility of its connection with the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Some of those who have heard of the BLWC have no idea that it is part of Middlebury College; some of its attendees do not associate their experience in Ripton with the programs offered to undergraduates on the Middlebury campus. Middlebury's strong program in literature already takes advantage of the connections of our Middlebury College writers with their colleagues at the Writers' Conference, and Middlebury student writers have opportunities to participate in the conference if they are qualified. Nevertheless, Middlebury College's reputation in literary study could be strengthened further by encouraging writers who are here for the conference to return during the academic year, so that they are aware of what our undergraduate program offers.
Monterey Institute of International Studies
Recommendation #61: Explore opportunities for future collaboration with the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
The Monterey Institute of International Studies is a cluster of graduate programs with approximately 700 students. Through graduate programs that, along with the Middlebury Language Schools, are unique in their emphatic focus on cross-cultural understanding and language fluency, the Monterey Institute prepares professionals for business, public sector, and non-profit organizations in the international arena.
Though the affiliation is not expected to affect Middlebury's undergraduate curriculum or undergraduate faculty directly in the near term, adding the graduate programs in international studies as affiliates to our current offerings strengthens Middlebury's impact in the area of international education, and allows the College to play on a larger and more visible national and international stage in this increasingly important area of the curriculum.
The Institute encompasses four graduate schools that offer a variety of possibilities for eventual collaboration with Middlebury's graduate programs.
The Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation (GSTI, or T&I), is recognized as the best program of its kind in the country, with a prestigious international reputation. It is well-positioned to develop programs that would complement our existing summer language curriculum. Due to the "No English Spoken Here" ethos of the summer language schools, we cannot presently offer courses in translation, interpretation, English as a Second Language (ESL), or the teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Affiliating with the Monterey Institute of International Studies allows us to plug this gap without undermining the summer language school pledge.
The Center for Non-proliferation Studies (CNS), the largest non-governmental organization in the world devoted to non-proliferation research and training, offers the only graduate concentration of its kind in the United States, and is one of two in the world. With satellite offices in Washington, D.C., and Almaty, Kazakhstan, CNS provides training, internships, and research opportunities which could be offered to Middlebury faculty and students as well. CNS routinely imports chemists, biologists, and physicists to teach courses on weapons of mass destruction it is otherwise unable to offer. Already, collaborations are underway between CNS and Middlebury science faculty. This summer, for example, Middlebury and Monterey will jointly sponsor a conference at Middlebury that will provide training to college and university faculty interested in developing courses dealing with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, or biological) and related nonproliferation policies.
The Graduate School of International Policy Studies (GSIPS), a policy school requiring fluency in a second language, offers potential programmatic links not only with the Language Schools but possibly with Middlebury's programs in international studies. Faculty exchanges in the future could give interested Middlebury faculty the opportunity to experience graduate teaching.
The Graduate School of Language and Educational Linguistics (GSLEL) complements Middlebury's graduate language programs with graduate courses in linguistics, applied linguistics, and second language acquisition. It may be possible to develop joint programs in the future.
The Fisher Graduate School of International Business (FGSIB) is unique in requiring language competency for graduate study in international business. It seems likely that in the future, Middlebury's Language Schools could be a source of language competency for many Fisher students. Though this program may seem furthest removed from the liberal arts college curriculum of Middlebury, already some Middlebury economics faculty members have expressed interest in exploring the possibility of Middlebury undergraduates taking business courses at Fisher.
Monterey has the potential to increase the College's visibility, expand important networks for both undergraduate and graduate students, offer non-academic opportunities for our students and faculty, and make the undergraduate college more competitive within our group of peer institutions. It should allow the College to project itself more broadly and extensively as a leader in the ever-important area of international education. Monterey's content-based M.A. programs (beyond degrees in language, literature, or culture, which is what our Language Schools now offer) have the potential to broaden the reach of the Language Schools, which do not offer M.A.'s in foreign language pedagogy, in translation and interpretation, in linguistics, international public policy, or international business.
The presence of graduate programs at Monterey has already attracted strong interest from our 21 partner universities of the C.V. Starr Middlebury Schools Abroad (in Europe, Asia, and Latin America), institutions that have not pursued collaborative ventures with Middlebury, or with our faculty, because we are an undergraduate institution with few opportunities for their students or faculty. Monterey's programs offer students at those 21 partner universities graduate programs and research positions that would invite engagement with Middlebury here in Vermont as well as with a Middlebury at Monterey. Uses of new technologies such as streaming video may contribute to educational ties among the various Middlebury programs around the world.
The partnership with the Monterey Institute offers great potential, but it is important to establish a mechanism for ensuring that the two institutions continue to explore ways in which they both might benefit from further collaboration.
Recommendation #62: Establish a liaison group to explore programmatic connections between the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Middlebury programs.
This liaison group should consist of representatives from the Language Schools and also the undergraduate program, and would be charged with considering ideas from individual faculty or administrative offices to establish programmatic connections with the Monterey Institute of International Studies, as well as with generating such ideas themselves. Members of this group would help to ensure that the newest addition to Middlebury College's array of affiliated programs finds an appropriate point of connection with the College as a whole. Just as the Language Schools and Bread Loaf School of English began as administratively independent entities that gradually grew closer to their home institution, so the Monterey Institute may become more closely connected with the Language Schools and other parts of Middlebury College over time. A gradual and natural evolution may lead to educational links between the Monterey Institute and Middlebury programs, thus supporting our goal of knowledge without boundaries. One of Middlebury's greatest strengths throughout its history has been its ability to evolve and expand as an institution. Our historic success in doing that, while remaining committed to maintaining the residential liberal arts college environment, provides a valuable blueprint for the future.
Chapter 5: Campus Infrastructure & Environment
In order to provide the finest physical environment, the College should practice responsible stewardship of our landscape, buildings, and human capital. In all areas of the institution we should promote the principles of environmental sustainability, accessibility, and the efficient and coordinated use of human capital.
Education at Middlebury College takes place both within and beyond the classroom, in an environment that is conducive to learning and that fosters stimulating conversation. Our natural setting in Vermont's Champlain Valley is crucial to our identity, providing refreshment and inspiration as well as a forum for community engagement. Our facilities not only support our academic and extracurricular programs but also impart a sense of permanence, stability, tradition, and stewardship.
Recommendation #63: Revise and expand the campus master plan to reflect the strategic plan.
The growth of Middlebury's physical plant during the past two decades has significantly enhanced the opportunities for learning on campus while also boosting the College's reputation as a leading liberal arts college. At the same time, many respondents to our planning surveys expressed concern that the development of new infrastructure neither compromise the human scale of the campus nor disrupt the open vistas that have long distinguished Middlebury's natural landscape. The Planning Committee believes it is imperative that we preserve the physical beauty of our Vermont campus and that we approach all prospective building projects with a keen awareness of the College's historical commitment to environmental responsibility.
The College is undertaking a new master planning process that will explore and incorporate the facilities implications of the strategic plan to create a framework for development of the campus over the next 5, 10 and 25 years. Of particular importance are the completion of the Commons, as well as plans for transportation (cars, people, service and emergency vehicles), sustainability, accessibility, academic and administrative department distribution, landscape, and utilities. We recommend that the campus master plan encourage human-intensive activities to take place near the central arteries of the campus, while preserving the "open" and "green" character of the core campus.
The Commons System
The Commons system represents a compelling vision for residential life at Middlebury, and we are mindful of the progress that the College has made in developing it since the Board of Trustees endorsed the Enhanced Residential Plan in 1998. In particular, the completion of Ross Commons and Atwater Commons provides models for student residential life. At the same time, the lack of equitable housing across the five Commons, especially the lack of sufficient senior quality housing in Brainerd, Cook, and Wonnacott Commons, has hindered the system's acceptance among students.
With Atwater and Ross Commons now "fully articulated," we face the challenge of eventually finishing the physical infrastructure for the remaining three Commons. This plan recommends that the College focus first on supporting Commons programming and providing more equitable access to existing senior housing. We should then return to the Commons infrastructure, where our first priority is to provide upgraded housing for seniors and the second is to construct additional dining halls. Given other planning priorities and the College's finite resources, we recognize that we are not likely to achieve all of these objectives within the scope of this planning process. We therefore urge that the College press ahead with plans to enhance the programmatic aspects of Commons life and to find ways, apart from building new residence halls, to improve access to good senior housing across the Commons.
Recommendation #64: Complete the Commons physical infrastructure.
We are committed to the eventual completion of Middlebury's residential Commons system. We recommend that the College move ahead with plans to renovate additional senior living quarters in selected residence halls. We further recommend that the College identify ways in which the "public" residential spaces in Brainerd, Cook, and Wonnacott Commons can be enhanced. These enhancements might include refurbished and expanded lounges, additional or improved kitchens, and the more prominent display of student artwork in public spaces.
The completion of the Commons residential spaces will likely mean building three new residence halls to serve Brainerd, Cook, and Wonnacott Commons. A consideration of the College's financial capacity, and of the claims of other significant planning initiatives on our resources, suggests that the timing of these projects needs careful consideration. Therefore, we recommend a plan for the renovation of existing dormitories and the construction of new residence halls that proceeds in phases.
In the short term, Proctor Hall will continue to provide dining for many students, and needed upgrades to its infrastructure cannot wait for the future construction of additional Commons dining. We recommend that the College take needed steps soon to extend the useful life of Proctor Hall by renovating and upgrading the building's mechanical systems, serving area, dining hall, and lounges. The construction of the remaining dining halls for Brainerd, Cook, and Wonnacott should await the completion of Commons housing.
Recommendation #65: Equalize housing opportunities for seniors.
Until attractive senior housing is available in all five Commons, the College should consider revising its room draw procedures, or redistributing housing from Ross and Atwater, so that rising seniors have relatively equal access to high quality housing. We propose that the Dean of the College convene a working group that includes Commons leaders and student representatives to study this issue and develop recommendations for addressing senior housing needs.
We are fortunate with the recent addition of two state-of-the-art facilities that support the academic program: McCardell Bicentennial Hall (in 2000) and the new Library (in 2004). The 2008 opening of the Axinn Center at Starr Library, which will house a center for literary and cultural studies as well as the history department, will provide many needed faculty offices and teaching spaces. Nevertheless, there are some pressing facilities needs in the academic program, which will necessitate shifts in several academic departments over the next five years. The Bread Loaf campus has its own facilities needs; we have placed our recommendations for Bread Loaf in Chapter Four.
Recommendation #66: Improve space for departments and programs.
We recognize a need to provide space for additional faculty, and for departmental consolidation in the context of the master planning effort. When the Axinn Center opens, several departments will vacate space in Munroe, Adirondack, and Wright Theater, and this change will provide the opportunity to consolidate other departments currently located in more than one building. The campus Master Plan will provide additional information in a more comprehensive view of the College's facility needs.
Recommendation #67: Create more space for the arts.
We recognize a need to make more space available for studio art classes and students. It is increasingly difficult to accommodate the studio art program in safe and suitable spaces in Johnson, and other campus spaces are being used for student work in an ad hoc manner. A recent external review of the studio art program noted the lack of appropriate space for thesis students' work and even for some classroom work. As the forthcoming master planning process considers reallocation of academic program space it should consider these needs.
We recommend that Commons buildings include spaces for music and dance practices, informal performance, and student art exhibitions. Providing such spaces will help diminish the current division between artistic activity that is based in the academic programs, and student-initiated performance groups or projects that often compete for space with "official" events. The College will consider these needs as it completes the remaining infrastructure for the Commons.
Though the arts are vibrant and thriving on the Middlebury campus, artistic activity is often concentrated in a few dedicated spaces, such as in the Center for the Arts, rather than being visible in many places across campus. We should seek to integrate art with other forms of campus life, and to make artistic production, practice, and performance something that happens all around us. Better mechanisms and support for mounting displays of faculty and student artwork throughout the campus would strengthen the community's appreciation for creative work.
Guidelines for Future Growth
The Middlebury College environment extends beyond particular buildings and infrastructure to embrace not only the Town of Middlebury and other surrounding communities but also the natural landscape of the Champlain Valley. As the College improves its physical plant through new construction and renovation, we should bear in mind this sense of connectedness and responsibility.
Recommendation #68: Strengthen our environmental leadership and reputation.
Middlebury College's tradition of environmental awareness formally began in 1965 by establishing the first undergraduate environmental studies program in the country. More recently, the College's environmental achievements and sustainable endeavors have received high visibility in the local and national media and at many national and global conferences, in addition to recognition through numerous awards. We believe that Middlebury can further strengthen its position as an environmental leader by continuing to provide an exemplary education that incorporates scholarship, research, and applied experience spanning from local to global, and preparing our students for a world in which environmental issues are embedded in every decision.
Recommendation #69: Pursue alternative environmentally-friendly energy sources.
Middlebury has a demonstrated commitment to research, test, and utilize alternative energy sources and building methods that are more environmentally-friendly than traditional practices—for example solar panels on a campus building, a wind generator, or College vehicles fueled by bio-diesel fuel or electricity. Of particular note is the biomass plant that is under development at the central heating plant; it offers the potential to pay for itself in a few years, to realize significant cost savings for the College in the long run, and to reduce our dependence on petroleum-based energy sources. We should enhance our effort to purchase clean, renewable energy; implement additional alternative energy systems; and maintain our momentum towards the timely fulfillment of our carbon reduction commitment. These steps will aid the College in achieving the student-initiated goal endorsed in a 2004 vote of the Board of Trustees for reducing the College's greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
Recommendation #70: Design energy efficient buildings and operations.
Future campus renovation and new construction should incorporate sustainable design and construction as well as highly energy-efficient systems. In addition, our daily campus operations should feature sustainable practices and energy efficiency; therefore, we should enhance our program to encourage resource conservation by all members of the campus community.
Recommendation #71: Consider the various impacts of development on the College campus and the natural environment.
With the development of a new facilities Master Plan during 2006 and early 2007, the College is adopting a strategy of comprehensive campus planning that addresses both the built and the natural environment. A trustee resolution led to the creation of "Designing the Future: A Framework for Sustainable Design and Environmental Construction at Middlebury College", which should be incorporated into the College's Building Design Guidelines as well as inform the new Master Plan process. In carrying out renovation or new construction, attention should be given to the siting of buildings, view corridors, relationship to the natural environment, lighting, landscaping, and circulation, as well as land-use policies that incorporate best stewardship practices, restoration, and creative options for land use.
Recommendation #72: Support sustainable agricultural practices.
The College is a strong supporter of local farmers and local producers. Approximately 20 percent of the College's food purchases come from local farms or producers. A greenhouse where students conduct research provides greens and herbs for campus food operations, and a student-run organic garden not only provides produce but cultivates an appreciation of local agrarian concerns. Our use of local sustainable wood in campus construction and furnishings has been a catalyst for a new sustainable wood industry in Vermont. The College should continue and expand practices that have a positive environmental influence on Vermont and the region, as well as enhance sustainability principles at Middlebury's programs across the United States and abroad.
Recommendation #73: Continue to manage College lands responsibly.
The College should continue to manage its open lands carefully, especially with regard to sustainable development, mixed use areas, and landscape-level issues in the region (agriculture, forestry, wetlands, restoration, and pathways). We should also continue to use these resources for educational purposes and for student research projects. College lands are overseen by the Board through an ad hoc subcommittee on lands, and the proceeds resulting from their careful development should support the educational mission of the College.
Recommendation #74: Continue making alterations to facilities that improve their accessibility for those with disabilities, and work toward universal access.
The College has made good progress in enhancing the accessibility of its physical plant, both with new buildings and with renovated spaces. Nonetheless, our location on a hillside, winter climate, and many older buildings mean that universal accessibility remains a significant challenge. Renovation projects each year afford opportunities to incorporate principles of universal access. We urge the College to include a full access survey, estimate, and implementation plan as part of the Master Plan. The goal should be to implement universal access over some defined number of years, at the same time that funding for this effort is balanced with the other fiscal needs of the College.
Recommendation #75: Better utilize existing facilities through efficient scheduling and management.
The recommendation in this plan for improving the student-faculty ratio and for a reduction in the number of courses that enroll over 50 students means that even with a student body fixed at 2,350 students, more small and mid-sized classrooms may be needed. Instead of constructing yet additional classrooms after the completion of the Starr-Axinn project, the College should seek to use buildings and existing classrooms for longer periods during the day, especially at lower-use hours, and to maximize our use of the physical plant and the energy necessary to operate it. A space management system should also address competing demands for building use by the academic program and other College offices, as well as work space assignments for College employees.
A Pedestrian-Friendly Campus
A pedestrian-friendly campus is one in which the physical and cultural environment of the campus is strongly conducive to the use of non-motorized and public modes of transportation. The College community has discussed various suggestions for becoming a more pedestrian-friendly campus over the past 15 years, and the present strategic planning progress provides an opportunity for us to take the next steps.
Success in moving ahead with the pedestrian-friendly campus will depend in part on our addressing transportation needs in the College community. A comprehensive transportation study as part of the campus Master Plan will carefully examine how we move people and vehicles (service, passenger, emergency) through the campus, with a goal of making it more pedestrian-friendly. The next four recommendations identify goals and strategies that should be a part of a transportation plan emerging from this study.
Recommendation #76: Increase availability of alternate forms of transportation.
To promote non-motorized transportation on campus, we need to provide safe and universally accessible travel paths that accommodate both pedestrians and bicyclists. Although winter conditions make maintenance of pathways a challenge, we should seek to improve their utility and make them look less like roads designed for vehicular traffic. Our successful "yellow bike" program serves as an example of what we can do to reduce our dependence on motor vehicles on campus.
Changes in car usage should be augmented by more frequent campus shuttles (fueled by green technology) to transport students, faculty, and staff around campus, especially in winter. We recommend a further expansion of the Addison County Transit Resources' shuttle service to help address transportation needs on campus as well as those between the College and transportation centers in nearby cities. We note the recent discontinuation by Vermont Transit of bus service between Middlebury and Burlington and Rutland; this change creates a need for additional shuttle services to nearby cities where connections are available to major population centers. The College fleet and campus vehicles should continue to be converted to alternatively fueled vehicles following the example of the electric golf carts, Honda hybrid sedan, bio-diesel Gators, and Gem electric truck.
Recommendation #77: Search for creative ways to reduce reliance on private vehicles.
As an environmental leader, Middlebury should address the growing and multidimensional problem of cars on campus. This step would elevate the profile of Middlebury's commitment to the environment, social equity, institutional health, and relations with the surrounding town and communities. Over many years, representative groups on campus, including Faculty Council, Staff Council, Student Government Association, Environmental Council, and the Carbon Reduction Initiative Working Group, have sought solutions to this complex challenge. We recommend that the College implement a comprehensive plan to reduce the reliance on motor vehicles both on and around campus. Among the steps that should be considered are the following: providing incentives for faculty, staff, and students not to bring cars to campus; restricting student cars; providing premium parking spots for those who carpool; and requiring that student cars be parked in assigned lots at the periphery of the campus. Our strategy should also include ongoing community education about newly introduced policies and their environmental, social, and community benefits. We recommend that the President appoint a committee to assist the College in moving toward implementation of these proposals.
Recommendation #78: Convert Old Chapel Road into a pedestrian-friendly campus artery.
A reconfiguration of Old Chapel Road is an important and symbolic step toward the realization of a pedestrian campus. Making Old Chapel Road more pedestrian-friendly may lead to a loss of parking spaces; the changes would necessitate the creation of additional parking for College employees. With any plan that emerges, limited parking needs to remain on Old Chapel Road for those with disabilities who need access to the central campus, and we must also provide for access by emergency and service vehicles.
Recommendation #79: Explore ways to support development of a Cornwall Path.
Conversations have begun with the Town of Cornwall and the Addison County Planning Commission about the possibility of developing a trail through College lands from the McCardell Bicentennial Hall parking lot to James Road. We envision a dirt trail similar to the Trail Around Middlebury (TAM). Such a trail would offer an opportunity for recreation and relaxation to members of the larger community and also provide more convenient access to the knoll where the College's organic garden has been established. Questions remain about the most appropriate way to develop such a path. But we believe that, in some form, it could be extremely valuable both in itself as well as a way to bring into focus the many resources for environmental education clustered on that side of the campus. Among these are the garden, the recycling center, the windmill, and a field in which students and a local farm have begun discussing the possibility for an organic dairy operation.
The College's location on a ridge, which looks toward the Town of Middlebury and the Green Mountains to the east and toward rolling farmland and the Adirondack Mountains to the west, contributes immeasurably to what makes Middlebury College uniquely attractive to prospective students from around the world. We believe that few colleges and their towns have experienced more mutual benefits from their cooperation over the years than have Middlebury College and the Town of Middlebury. As the "Town's College" we should continue to identify new opportunities for cooperation and collaboration with the Town of Middlebury.
Recommendation #80: Cultivate open dialogue with the Town.
We urge the President and the Treasurer to continue to maintain and cultivate an open dialogue between the College and the Town as partners sharing a location, land, infrastructure, and resources. Regular meetings with town officials contribute more generally to positive relations in the community. We believe that the College has done this well, and we urge that it continue.
We cite the College's recent financial commitments to the Town of Middlebury, Porter Hospital, the Middlebury Area Land Trust, the United Way, and other area organizations as positive examples of such cooperation. The College should continue working with the Middlebury Area Land Trust on trails, parks, and agricultural and viewshed easements, because these are initiatives from which both Town and College can benefit.
To foster additional town-gown connections, we suggest that the College and the Town consider the possibility of sharing spaces where appropriate. Places and facilities that serve the public as well as the College create points of interface and help build community. The Town Hall Theater is a good example of a place whose vitality would be enhanced through joint development and shared use.
Recommendation #81: Limit the use of community housing by students.
The College should reduce its pressures on the community's residential housing stock by continuing to limit the number of seniors who are permitted to live off campus. We believe that having 60 seniors in off-campus housing is about right, and that it is unwise to allow this number to rise to 100 or more as it did a few years ago. We note that with a gradual and modest growth in the size of the faculty, it is more desirable to have newer faculty members living in the town community not far from campus both from the College and Town's perspectives.
Recommendation #82: Address traffic and commuting concerns.
The College should cooperate with town officials as they explore ways to address the gradually worsening local traffic situation. The Board of Selectmen has recommended a second bridge; if the project moves ahead, it could help reduce potential risks for the College in having a single relatively narrow bridge that fire-fighting equipment needs to cross in the event of a fire on campus or in the adjacent community. The College should also consider strategies that could enable more College employees to live closer to campus. For example a few small houses now used by students might gradually be converted to housing for new faculty and staff. Among the several benefits would be a reduced amount of commuting in Addison County.
Chapter 6: Finances & Strategic Planning Priorities
In reviewing the resources needed for planning initiatives, we frame our initial discussion in terms of three major and resource intensive strategic priorities:
1. Increase financial aid to provide better access to Middlebury and thereby enrich the educational environment for our students.
2. Expand the faculty to support intensive student-faculty interaction.
3. Develop further and plan to complete the Commons as the cornerstone of residential life.
A significant part of Middlebury College's strength today derives from wise and prudent fiscal management of the College over many decades. The College has operated with balanced budgets that provide funds to care for our relatively large and stunningly beautiful campus in Middlebury, thereby avoiding the challenges of deferred maintenance that have plagued many colleges. Middlebury has carefully managed a growing stream of gifts to the College, so that their long-term capacity to support programs for which they were intended has been maintained even in times of high inflation. These practices, as well as the remarkable generosity of the College's alumni and other supporters, have allowed our endowment to grow to three-quarters of a billion dollars at the end of 2005. Annual giving from our more than 22,000 alumni body reached a record-high participation in 2005.
It is also important to acknowledge, however, that the dozens of ambitious recommendations contained in this report will only be possible in the context of an equally ambitious fund-raising program. We are optimistic and excited about the prospect for success in this area, given our superb development staff at the College and the many ways in which Middlebury merits such support. But the community will need to keep in mind that the package of proposals here will depend upon substantial increases in the endowment and operating funds and that they will need to be phased in as additional resources become available.
This chapter of the planning report outlines financial assumptions that will guide the use of College resources to achieve these planning initiatives, and it prioritizes those recommendations that require significant resources. All planning recommendations reviewed in this chapter were introduced in earlier chapters, and we include some recommendations beyond the three summarized above primarily as illustration of initiatives having significant costs attached.
Current Financial Context
A core objective in using College resources is to maintain balanced annual operating budgets that reflect the goals of the strategic plan under a set of realistic and prudent financial assumptions. By 2009 these budgets should return our rate of spending on the endowment to the traditional level of five percent. The budgets should continue to reflect Middlebury's strong commitment to its people; providing both adequate financial aid to meet the full assessed need of all aided students including our 10 percent international student population, as well as competitive compensation for faculty and staff. These budgets should also continue to reflect the College's strong commitment to its facilities, providing adequate resources for the ongoing maintenance and modernization of the College's buildings. Our ability to address other planning initiatives depends in part on managing budgets that first satisfy these important needs.
The College's annual revenue derives primarily from three sources: comprehensive fees, income from invested funds, and gifts and grants to the College. To balance the budget, the College will continue to charge families a competitive comprehensive fee, and it will need to supplement this revenue with increasing levels of endowment income and annual gifts. Budget planning on revenue growth that is dependable and sustainable reduces risk and the potential for negative outcomes.
• The College will continue to have balanced operating budgets.
• The budget will provide competitive salaries and benefits for all employees.
• The College will continue its commitment to need-blind admissions and to meeting the assessed financial needs of students who qualify for financial aid.
• The budget will include adequate provisions for maintenance and modernization.
• The comprehensive fee will remain the primary source of revenue for operating the College.
• The endowment spending rate will return to five percent by fiscal year 2009.
• We assume that our invested funds will provide a nine percent annual return.
• We assume a six percent annual increase in the annual giving fund and alumni giving participation rates even higher than the record 55 percent rate just achieved.
• New gifts, increased fee and endowment revenue, and budget reallocations will provide for the incremental operating costs associated with strategic planning initiatives.
• New capital projects recommended in the plan will be considered either when the project provides an economic payback (e.g., biomass project), when all associated costs for approved projects are covered by new gifts, or after the spending rate on the endowment has returned to five percent.
Seeking New Resources
The strategic plan identifies initiatives that will require additional resources beyond those projected in the current planning model. The model already assumes a growing revenue stream derived from gradual increases in the comprehensive fee, a nine percent annual return on the endowment, and a steadily increasing level of giving to the College. To carry out our most ambitious planning recommendations requires that the College launch an equally-ambitious fund raising campaign that can help in meeting both our ongoing annual needs and the new initiatives identified though the planning process.
The Three Major Strategic Priorities
The time is right to return our attention to the human dimensions of Middlebury. The highest priorities identified in the strategic plan are to ensure financial access by all students to a Middlebury education, and to enhance faculty-student interactions. We advance these priorities, recognizing that the College has succeeded in building a superior physical infrastructure to support teaching and learning.
The third substantial funding priority—the completion of the Residential Commons physical infrastructure—will be done in three phases. The first phase will focus on the programmatic needs of the Commons and will begin immediately. The second phase considers building new student residential space and renovating certain residence halls. The third phase completes the decentralized dining portion of the Commons program. Phases two and three will occur as financial capacity permits. These phases could be accelerated as a result of significant additional endowment performance or restricted gifts beyond current expectations.
We outline the three strategic priorities with their associated costs in more detail below. Approximate costs appear first as the eventual annual increments to the operating budget, and then either as increases in the endowment needed to generate the funds to support the incremental annual operating costs, or as capital costs for new construction. Note that operating costs are those incurred each year, and they would thus need to be incorporated in the College's annual budgets. Given a spending rate on invested funds of five percent, a $1 million new expense in the annual operating budget would require $20 million in new endowment if investment income were the only source for the new initiative's ongoing support. Capital costs are large expenses that we incur once, such as when we replace a boiler to heat the campus or when we build a new residence hall. Some capital initiatives, such as a new building, increase operating costs because of their upkeep and maintenance needs.
These three major priorities, as well as other priorities identified in this strategic plan, will be undertaken as financial capacity permits.
Strategic Priority #1: Increase financial aid to provide better access to Middlebury and thereby enrich the educational environment for our students.
Eventual Incremental Annual Cost to the Budget: $5 million.
If this initiative were to be funded fully from endowment earnings, the endowment would have to increase by $100 million.
Increasing the level of financial support available to students having demonstrated need is our top priority because we believe matriculating the students we accept is the best way to increase quality and diversity, broadly defined, and thereby create the richest learning environment for our students. Within this priority we include
• Increasing endowment support for grants and scholarships
• Increasing the size of grants in financial aid packages in order to reduce the size of student loans
• Limiting the amount of debt that students from the neediest families are expected to assume
• Expanding access to internships for students who could not otherwise afford them
• Providing financial aid to support winter term off-campus study
Strategic Priority #2: Expand the faculty to support intensive student-faculty interaction.
Eventual Incremental Annual Cost to the Budget: $4.25 million.
If this initiative were to be funded fully from endowment earnings, the endowment would have to increase by $85 million.
Providing additional resources to support the faculty in strengthening teaching, reducing class size, fostering continued close interactions with students, improving opportunities for student advising and mentoring, and implementing specific curricular changes is also a top priority. This item supports
• Maintaining competitive compensation to attract and retain an outstanding faculty
• Adding 25 faculty members
• Increasing funding for faculty research and development
• Providing additional funding for faculty-student collaborative research
Strategic Priority #3: Develop further and plan to complete the Commons as the cornerstone of residential life.
Eventual Incremental Annual Cost to the Budget: $4.6 million.
If this initiative were to be funded fully from endowment earnings, the endowment would have to increase by $92 million. The additional capital costs are approximately $90 million. (This estimate is based on the most recent estimates for the cost of completing the Commons infrastructure. A committee will provide a more detailed assessment of the Commons' needs, and the estimate is likely to change as the program is tested and refined over time.)
Continuing to address the goals for the Commons, including the eventual completion of the Commons infrastructure, is our next priority. We envision
• Phase 1: Enhancing Commons programming each year and addressing access to existing senior housing
• Phase 2: Adding upgraded housing for seniors through renovation and new construction
• Phase 3: Building Commons dining for Brainerd, Cook, and Wonnacott Commons.
Additional Planning Priorities
In addition to the three highest strategic priorities, other important planning initiatives also have associated costs. Designated gifts will meet some of these needs, and other initiatives can be handled through the annual budget process and the reallocation of existing resources. We present below cost estimates for planning initiatives in three categories with specific illustrative examples. Other important planning initiatives that make fewer or no demands on financial resources are not listed here.
Additional priorities and costs for initiatives identified below
Incremental Annual Cost to the Budget: $1 million. If this initiative were to be fully funded from endowment earnings, the endowment would have to increase by $20 million. The additional capital costs are approximately $5.1 million.
Staff support, development, and professional growth
• Maintain competitive compensation to attract and retain an outstanding staff
• Expand professional development and educational opportunities for staff
• Increase staff diversity
Bread Loaf School of English, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Language Schools, and Schools Abroad
• Increase the availability of financial aid
• Improve salaries for faculty
• Create a Robert Frost Writer-in-Residence faculty position to strengthen ties between the Bread Loaf School of English and the undergraduate college.
Enhancing our commitment to the campus environment
• Install the biomass energy facility
• Implement strategies to meet our carbon reduction goals, for example, by reducing energy use for transportation
• Make the campus more ADA accessible, with a goal of universal access
• Make the campus more pedestrian-friendly
Financial Capacity and a Wise Use of College Resources
The combined estimated costs of all the strategic planning initiatives identified above create an incremental impact on annual operating budgets of approximately $15 million which, given the limited discretionary resources available in our budget, is a significant increase. The total capital costs of the projects needed to support these initiatives, along with the incremental endowment dollars necessary to support these initiatives on a yearly basis, is approximately $392,000,000. These amounts leave no doubt about the magnitude of the challenges we face, both in terms of attracting generous support from our alumni and friends, and strengthening the performance of our endowment.
The strategic plan identifies many initiatives that require significant resources beyond those now projected by our current ten-year planning model. We will need to schedule the introduction of new initiatives to match the availability of financial resources. Progress with planning initiatives will come at a pace that can be supported and sustained by the addition of new resources or the reallocation of existing resources. We recommend the following strategies to support the planning priorities.
• Introduce the changes in financial aid packaging one class at a time, beginning with the class that enters in fall 2007.
• Expand the faculty gradually, perhaps at a rate of about three or four positions per year, beginning in fall 2007. In addition to allowing new funds to be raised to support this initiative, this gradual approach avoids the displacement in the community that accompanies rapid expansion.
• Provide support for the Commons system in phases, with programming initiatives accomplished before undertaking the construction of new residences or dining facilities. New construction will only begin as the required financial resources become available, and needs for improved residential space will be met before we add the dining components to the remaining three Commons.
• Make other budget decisions that are consistent with both the relative importance of the initiative and the availability of College resources.
• Develop a fund raising plan for increasing our financial capacity as an essential part of the implementation of new planning initiatives.
• Pursue those strategic initiatives identified by the planning process sooner than expected if and when large restricted gifts make it possible to do so.
Acknowledgement of Task Force Members
The Planning Steering Committee and the President's Staff acknowledge the imaginative contributions and the hard work of all the members of our planning task forces and other planning committees. The reports submitted by these groups in May 2005 provided the foundation upon which this planning report was built. They will also serve the College community well in the coming years in other venues. We are deeply indebted to all those named below.
Task Force on Campus Facilities and the Environment
- Glenn Andres, Christian A. Johnson Professor of Art
- Scott Barnicle, Atwater Commons Dean
- Lisa Boudah, Director of Public Safety
- Pieter Broucke, Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture (chair)
- Kateri Carmola, Assistant Professor of Political Science, C. A. Johnson Fellow in Political Philosophy
- Norman Cushman, Director of Facilities Services
- Nan Jenks-Jay, Director of Environmental Affairs, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies
- Jodi Litchfield, ADA coordinator
- Thomas McGinn, Project Manager, Facilities Services
- Clare O'Reilly '05
- Stephen Trombulak, Mead Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies
- Win Wassener, Consultant to Facilities Services
- Lisa Ayers, Manager of Events Scheduling and Information (advisory)
- F. Robert Huth, Jr., Executive Vice President and Treasurer (co-liaison)
- Jennifer Nuceder, Course Scheduler (advisory)
- Maria Stadtmueller (advisory for College Advancement)
- John Tenny, Chairman of Middlebury Board of Selectmen (advisory from the Town of Middlebury)
- Michael Wakefield, Maintenance Electrician, Facilities Services (co-liaison)
Task Force on Commons and Student Life
- Katherine Smith Abbott, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, Co-Head of Ross Commons
- Douglas Adams, Director, Center for Campus Activities and Leadership
- Carolyn Barnwell, '06
- Stanley Bates, Professor of Philosophy
- M. Eli Berman '07
- Thomas Corbin, Assistant Treasurer and Director of Business Services
- David Edleson, Dean of Cook Commons
- Marichal Gentry, Associate Dean of the College
- Ann Craig Hanson, Dean of Student Affairs (member and liaison)
- Augustus Jordan, Director of the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life
- Gary Margolis, Director of the Center for Counseling and Human Relations
- Bettina Matthias, Assistant Professor of German
- Robert Ritter, Head Football Coach, Assistant Men's Lacrosse Coach
- Timothy Spears, Dean of the College, Professor of American Literature and Civilization (chair)
- Patricia Zupan, Professor of Italian, Head of Cook Commons
- Matthew Biette, Director of Dining (advisory on dining)
- Rebecca Brodigan, Director of Institutional Research (advisory)
Task Force on the Composition of the Student Body
- J. MacLeod Andrews, '07
- Murray Dry, Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science
- Miguel Fernandez, Associate Professor of Spanish
- Roman Graf, Associate Professor of German
- Susan Levine, Alumni and Parent Program and 50th Reunion Coordinator
- Kathy Lindsay, Associate Director of Admissions
- Michelle McCauley, Associate Professor of Psychology (chair)
- Patrick Norton, Controller
- James Ralph, Professor of History
- Russell Reilly, Director of Athletics
- Dena Simmons, '05
- Susan Watson, Associate Professor of Physics
- Rebecca Brodigan, Director of Institutional Research (advisory)
- Michael Schoenfeld, Vice President for College Advancement (liaison)
Task Force on the Curriculum in the Liberal Arts
- Susan Campbell, Dean of Faculty, Associate Professor of Psychology (chair)
- Robert Cluss, Dean of Curriculum, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Katharine DeLorenzo, Field Hockey Coach, Assistant in Physical Education
- Nancy Fullman, '07
- Peter Hamlin, Associate Professor of Music
- Brett Millier, Reginald L. Cook Professor of American Literature
- Christian Keathley, Assistant Professor of Film and Media Culture
- Alison Byerly, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of English (liaison)
- Michael Geisler, Dean of Language Schools and Schools Abroad, Professor of German (advisory)
- Sheldon Sax, Director of Education Technology (advisory for technology)
Committee on Experiential Learning
- Jessica Holmes, Assistant Professor of Economics
- Remy Mansfield, '06
- Diane Munroe, Coordinator for Community Based Environmental Studies
- Robert Prigo, Director of Program in Teacher Education, Professor of Physics
- Jaye Roseborough, Executive Director, Career Services (chair)
- Tiffany Nourse Sargent, Director of the Alliance for Civic Engagement
Committee on International Study and Languages
- Ian Barrow, Associate Professor of History
- Jeffrey Cason, Associate Professor of Political Science (co-chair)
- Armelle Crouzières, Associate Professor of French
- Kathleen Foley-Giorgio, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of International Students
- Michael Geisler, Dean of Language Schools and Schools Abroad, Professor of German (co-chair)
- James Maddox, Director of the Bread Loaf School of English
- Ana Martinez-Lage, Associate Professor of Spanish
- Carrie Reed, Associate Professor of Chinese
- Allison Stanger, Director, Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, Professor of Political Science
Committee on the Natural Sciences in the Liberal Arts
- Scott Buckley, '07
- Robert Cluss, Dean of Curriculum, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry (chair)
- Marcia Collaer, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
- Noah Graham, Assistant Professor of Physics
- James Larrabee, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Sallie Sheldon, Professor of Biology
- David West, Associate Professor of Geology
Committee on the Arts
- Penny Campbell, Lecturer in Dance
- Christa Clifford, Operations Manager, Center for the Arts
- Eliza Garrison, Instructor in History of Art and Architecture
- Peter Hamlin, Associate Professor of Music
- Sujata Moorti, Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies
- Eric Nelson, Professor of Studio Art
- Paul Nelson, Boardman Professor of Mental and Moral Science
- Edward Perry, Fletcher Professor of the Arts
- Jeffrey Rehbach, Library and Information Services, Director of Chamber Singers
- Richard Romagnoli, Professor of Theatre
- Liza Sacheli, Marketing Manager, Center for the Arts
- Richard Saunders, Director of the College Museum (chair)
- Penny Upson, Administrative Associate, Center for the Arts
- Greg Vitercik, Professor of Music
- Susan Walker, Associate Director for Internships, Career Services Office
- Johnathan S. Woodward '06
Task Force on Faculty Resources
- Jason Arndt, Assistant Professor of Psychology
- Alison Byerly, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of English (member and liaison)
- Eric Davis, Professor of Political Science
- F. Robert Huth, Jr., Executive Vice President and Treasurer
- Kathryn Morse, Associate Professor of History
- Eric Nelson, Professor of Studio Art
- Michael Olinick, Baldwin Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy
- Carol Rifelj, Dean for Faculty Development and Research, Fulton Professor of French (chair)
- Christopher Watters, Heinz Given Professor of Premedical Sciences
- Andrew Wentink, Curator of Special Collections and Archives
- Frances Farnsworth, Coordinator of Sponsored Research (advisory on grants)
- Sheldon Sax, Director of Education Technology (advisory for technology)
Task Force on Institutional Change and Culture
- Kristen Anderson, Budget Director
- David Donahue, Associate Dean of Library and Information Services
- David Dorman, Professor of Mathematics
- Barbara Doyle-Wilch, Dean of Library and Information Services
- Mary Hurlie, Senior Director, Administration and Organizational Effectiveness (co-chair)
- Nan Jenks-Jay, Director of Environmental Affairs, Senior Lecturer in ES (co-chair)
- Beverly Keim, French School Coordinator
- Andrea Lloyd, Associate Professor of Biology
- Thomas Corbin, Assistant Treasurer and Director of Business Services (advisory)
- F. Robert Huth, Jr., Executive Vice President and Treasurer (liaison)
- C. Drew Macan, Director of Human Resources (advisory)
Committee on Staff Diversity
- Phil Benoit, Director of Public Affairs
- Barbara Doyle-Wilch, Dean of Library and Information Services
- Marichal Gentry, Associate Dean of the College
- Roman Graf, Professor of German (co-chair)
- Jennifer Herrera, Assistant in Academic Administration
- Mary Hurlie, Senior Director, Administration and Organizational Effectiveness (co-chair)
- C. Drew Macan, Director of Human Resources
- Jaichandra Shankar, Financial System's Manager, Controller's Office
Task Force on Language Schools, Bread Loaf School of English, and Bread Loaf Writers' Conference
- Robert Cohen, Associate Professor of English
- Michael Collier, Director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference
- Michael Geisler, Dean of Language Schools and Schools Abroad, Professor of German (co-chair)
- Gloria Gonzalez Zenteno, Associate Professor of Spanish
- Audrey LaRock, Spanish School Coordinator
- James Maddox, Director of the Bread Loaf School of English (co-chair)
- Kevin McAteer, Director of Principal Gifts
- Carmen Tesser, Portuguese School
- Alison Byerly, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of English (liaison)
- Lynn Dunton, Senior Budget Analyst (advisory)
- Howard McCausland, Director of Network Design and Operations (advisory on technology)
Task Force on Planning Communications
- Ann Crumb, Associate Vice President for College Advancement
- Ronald Dragon, Dining Services
- Timothy Etchells, Editor, Electronic Communications
- Mary Hurlie, Senior Director, Administration and Organizational Effectiveness
- Elizabeth Karnes Keefe, Assistant Dean for Language Schools
- Margaret Paine, Director of College Communications (co-chair)
- Michael Schoenfeld, Vice President for College Advancement (co-chair and liaison)
- Rebecca Brodigan, Director of Institutional Research (advisory)
- John Denny (advisory from Middlebury College Alumni Association)
- Carrie Rampp, Area Director of Curricular and Co-Curricular (advisory from LIS)
- Jed Smith, member of the Board of Trustees (advisory)
- Alexander Stanton '07 (advisory from SGA)
Task Force on Staff Development and Professional Growth
- Matthew Biette, Director of Dining
- David Donahue, Associate Dean of Library and Information Services
- Barbara Hofer, Associate Professor of Psychology
- C. Drew Macan, Director of Human Resources (chair)
- Patricia McCaffrey, Assistant Banquet Chef, Dining Services
- Patrick Norton, Controller
- Dean Ouellette, Supervisor of Maintenance Electricians, Facilities Services
- Elizabeth Sacheli, Marketing Manager, Center for the Arts
- Harold Strassner, Coordinator of Contracted Services, Facilities Services
- April Tuck, Associate Director of Human Resources
- F. Robert Huth, Jr., Executive Vice President and Treasurer (advisory)
- Charlotte Tate, Assistant Director, Rohatyn Center for International Affairs (liaison)
Task Force on Staff Roles and College Mission
- Janis Audet, Assistant in Academic Administration
- Heather Cahill, Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Programs
- Barbara Doyle-Wilch, Dean of Library and Information Services (chair)
- Karen Guttentag, Associate Dean of Students
- Wayne Hall, Supervisor, Facilities Services
- Mary Hurlie, Senior Director, Administration & Organizational Effectiveness
- F. Robert Huth, Jr., Executive Vice President and Treasurer (member and liaison)
- R. Matthew Longman, Dean of Wonnacott Commons
- Margaret Nelson, Hepburn Professor of Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies
- Steven Reigle, General Manager, Retail Dining Operations - McCullough
- Linda Ross, Assistant Director of Custodial Services
- Ellen Usilton, Compensation Manager, Human Resources