The Middlebury Board of Trustees held its winter meeting January 27–28 at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Every two to three years the board agenda focuses on activities at the Institute. Board members reviewed the Institute’s business plan as well as Middlebury’s overall finances, academic planning, and construction projects. They also approved a new rate of tuition, awarded tenure to one professor, and participated in a professional development session led by researchers and students from the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC) and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).
Expanding In-Person and Online Programs
In the opening session on January 27, Jeff Dayton-Johnson, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Institute, provided an update on the Institute’s academic and business plans, which focus on adding new in-person and online programs. Global security, environmental sustainability, and intercultural communication continue to be the key areas of academic focus, drawing upon the Institute’s strengths. The Institute will offer new online microcredentials in translation and localization management and in financial crimes starting later this year to offer shorter components of our career-relevant degree programs to a broader audience of learners. The guiding principles of the plan include expanding and diversifying academic offerings, connecting with Middlebury’s global footprint, and restructuring cost and revenue streams in response to enrollment challenges. This includes bringing undergraduates for Study Away in Monterey through programs like the California Climate Semester and having graduate students attend the Language Schools in Vermont.
Back to the Classroom
In the afternoon, Professor and Director Bill Potter and Professor Jeffrey Lewis of CNS presented to the board a realistic scenario involving a reported launch of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile in North Korea and discussed how decision makers could interpret the ambiguous signals and make prudent decisions. They were joined by graduate students Madeline Berzak, Sam Lair, Lisa Levina, and Tricia White, the lead graduate research assistant on the New Tools team at CNS.
The board then participated in a skill-building session with Jason Blazakis, Alex Newhouse, and Matthew Kriner of CTEC. Like Institute students, the board was challenged to think critically about a complex extremism-related topic and communicate a concise and clear analytic viewpoint on it. They completed an exercise on open-source intelligence training and were provided a demonstration of data science expertise.
President’s Update: Community Connection and Global Reach
On January 28, Middlebury President Laurie Patton and members of the Senior Leadership Group discussed goals for financial sustainability, academic excellence, educational relevance, global engagement, institutional visibility, and belonging and inclusion. Patton noted progress on the project to improve the quality of everyday work life for faculty and staff, particularly business processes. She also shared that we had an initial conversation with the town of Middlebury about environmental sustainability planning. She shared that the Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation has gained traction locally and nationally, and that Middlebury is launching this winter and spring a new study away program in Puerto Rico and a School Abroad in Kazakhstan. Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Khuram Hussain has continued to implement the strategic plan for Middlebury, and alumni engagement will be a priority as we move forward with Middlebury’s comprehensive campaign. She also noted the exciting success of the campaign to date.
David Provost, executive vice president for finance and administration, said that Middlebury has faced both expected and unexpected challenges during the past year largely due to inflation, market volatility, greater need for financial aid from admitted students, and a commitment to raising salaries for the lowest paid workers. The projected deficit for fiscal year 2022 has increased from $5.5 million to $7.6 million as a result. Enrollment has fluctuated at the Middlebury Schools Abroad as some programs were suspended or moved due in part to the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 restrictions in China. Provost said he expects this year’s endowment performance to improve over last year. The focus for the fiscal year 2024 budget will be faculty and staff salaries and, as always, supporting the Middlebury mission.
Making Connections in Academics
Also Saturday, Michelle McCauley, interim provost and executive vice president, highlighted efforts to create more opportunities for undergraduates to participate in programs at the Institute through CNS and CTEC, and for Institute students enrolled in the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies Program to participate in Language Schools in Vermont. She also discussed leveraging undergraduate participation in the California Climate Semester at the Institute and ensuring that important initiatives such as Conflict Transformation, MiddData, language fluency, and Energy2028 are woven into the curriculum throughout Middlebury. Her focus has been on continuing the late Provost Jeff Cason’s legacy of developing and ensuring our global network of educational opportunities.
Vice President for Advancement Dan Courcey gave an update on the campaign, which is in the leadership phase—when conversations take place with those donors closest to Middlebury. To date, Middlebury has received $254.8 million for the campaign, with an additional $20.1 million pending final documentation. Our total now stands at $274.9 million, adding close to $100 million to the Middlebury endowment. When looking at our pillars of the campaign, following is a breakdown of what we have raised so far:
- 46 percent of the $215 million goal for access and financial aid
- 44 percent of the $120 million goal for academic excellence including professorships and curricular academic programs
- 73 percent of the $55 million goal for experiential learning
- 52 percent of the $77.5 million goal for unrestricted support
Courcey also announced the Campaign Leadership Committee members: Koby Altman ’04, Churchill Franklin ’71, Janet Halstead Franklin ’72, Parker Harris III ’89, Anne Davis Peterson ’85, and William F. “Ted” Truscott ’83. We will share more information about specific gifts in upcoming announcements.
Construction Update and Motions
The board also heard a presentation from Selldorf architects on a potential new museum project, including potential programming design, which has been recently funded by a donor. The board passed a number of motions, including one to authorize the purchase of solar panels to be installed on the roofs of eight buildings at the Institute. The solar arrays will provide more than 80 percent of electricity for the Monterey campus, in support of the Institute’s Climate Action Plan, which follows the goals of Energy2028. The board also agreed to sell unused IP addresses for an expected price of $1 million. Proceeds will be used to fund an IT tech fellow position. The trustees approved a comprehensive fee increase for the undergraduate College of 4.5 percent for the 2023–24 academic year, in line with peer schools. Tuition was set at $64,800, room and board set at $18,600, and the Student Government Association fee set at $480, for a total comprehensive fee of $83,880.
The trustees in December approved the tenure recommendation for one faculty member, Julia Berazneva, economics, whose promotion from assistant to associate professor will be effective July 1, 2023.
The board will meet again May 11 through May 13.