The Value of Discomfort


dance footsteps pattern



Learning to dance with others can be awkward—and intimate. Beginners step on toes, stumble, and feel silly. To progress, they must take chances and step outside their comfort zones.



Taking Chances

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.