Diversity and Community
Campus scenes highlight the breadth of Middlebury's diversity. Dean of the College Shirley M. Collado explains Middlebury's philosophy of diversity. We seek to push the boundaries and move past the usual concerns, such as skin color. Members of our community are encouraged to think about the "hard questions" and "speak what is unspoken."
Inclusive, engaged, welcoming…
At Middlebury, we strive to make our campus a respectful, engaged community that embraces difference, with all the complexity and individuality each person brings. We are dedicated to learning, growing, and becoming our best selves. This process is by nature a little messy and chaotic—yet it can be highly rewarding.
Groups of people from a variety of backgrounds and with differing viewpoints are often more resilient and adaptive in solving problems and reaching complex goals than more homogeneous groups. They coalesce into an effective community that benefits from the talents and identities of each individual.
We can be such an effective community…
We believe that it is possible for people from all over the world to come here and thrive. We believe that it is possible to be here and not only learn about other people but also discover a lot about ourselves.
When we think of diversity…
We think about the visible and the invisible parts of our identities—the many layers that make up who we are. When we think of who we are as a community, we recognize that diversity is what we have most in common.
Building a welcoming, diverse campus involves more than bringing lots of different people to Middlebury; it involves taking chances:
Even though a campus may become more diverse in terms of the numbers of underrepresented groups present, the level of engagement can still be inconsequential if those representing different viewpoints are not encouraged and supported to express them. . . . And if the wariness about discomfort is stronger than the desire to hear different viewpoints because engaging difference is uncomfortable, then the quest for diversity is hollow, no matter what the demographic statistics on a campus reflect.
— President Ronald D. Liebowitz, Baccalaureate 2007
We will know that we’ve succeeded in reaching our goal of having an openly engaged campus when the members of our community—students, faculty, and staff—can talk about all the issues—even the difficult ones.