MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — The Middlebury Board of Trustees, at its annual meeting on May 12–13, approved an expense budget of $280.6 million* for fiscal year 2018, which begins on July 1, 2017. That represents a 2.9 percent increase over the current fiscal year’s budget. The board also approved a capital budget for the year of $12 million.
The budget encompasses the operations of Middlebury College, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Middlebury Language Schools, Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad, Middlebury School of the Environment, Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English and Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences.
The board also approved tenure recommendations for three members of the College faculty, effective July 1:
- Anne Goodsell, Associate Professor, Physics
- Rachael Joo, Associate Professor, American Studies
- Julien Weber, Associate Professor, French
At the board’s opening session on Friday morning, trustees heard from three senior administrators: Middlebury College Director of Admissions Greg Buckles, Vice President for Advancement Colleen Fitzpatrick, and Executive Vice President for Finance David Provost. Buckles reported on the College’s most recent successful enrollment season, which produced a higher-than-anticipated yield. Fitzpatrick updated trustees on year-to-date fundraising results and the progress her office is making in implementing organization changes recommended following a recent external review. Provost described the significant progress Middlebury achieved in closing its operating budget deficit through a combination of revenue growth and low expense growth. The FY2018 budget approved by the board calls for a return to a 5 percent endowment draw—the first time the institution has reached that benchmark in more than a decade.
At Saturday’s board meeting, Provost Susan Baldridge provided trustees with a draft of the forthcoming strategic directions for Middlebury that represent a primary output of the Envisioning Middlebury strategic planning effort that began in the spring of 2016. The Middlebury community will be introduced to the draft starting this spring and continuing through the summer and early fall. The board expects to vote on the final directions and supporting recommendations in the fall.
The board also heard from President Laurie Patton and received reports from several other senior administrators about the protests that occurred on March 2 around the scheduled talk by political scientist Charles Murray.
In other board-related news, the Prudential Committee of the board, in April, approved an increase of 4.9 percent, or $3,547, for annual tuition and room and board charges for the 2017–2018 academic year. The increase will bring the cost for a year at Middlebury College to $67,048, including $52,080 for tuition and $14,968 for room and board. An additional mandatory student activity fee will increase by $1 to $416.
In March, the Prudential Committee approved a change to the Middlebury College Core Retirement Plan. For new employees, beginning July 3, the institution’s contribution to the plan for employees aged 45 and up will be 11 percent of gross salary.
In committee meetings Friday morning, trustees discussed a number of topics and initiatives, including the following:
- The role of “design thinking” and how it can inform priority setting and decision making across the institution.
- A regular review of the performance of the endowment and the current investment strategy of Investure, Middlebury’s investment manager.
- The role of environmental studies and other environmental education at Middlebury, both at the undergraduate College and through the Center for the Blue Economy at the graduate Institute in Monterey.
- The place of centers at the institution, both at the College and the Institute, and how they serve the curriculum in addition to their research missions.
At the boards of overseers meetings in the afternoon, topics of discussion included:
- Strengthening Middlebury’s student-alumni mentoring network. The College board of overseers heard from staff members at the Center for Careers and Internships about innovative programs and emerging technology platforms for making and sustaining connections between alumni and students. The board strongly endorsed moving ahead with the development of an action plan.
- How Middlebury can move forward in preparing students to enter a diverse workplace and the role of cultural competency instruction.
- Progress toward enrollment growth at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. The Institute will see increased enrollments for the 2017–2018 academic year for the third consecutive year.
- The planned replacement of Middlebury’s current Enterprise Resource Planning system and the role of the Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium in that decision.
- A review of the efforts undertaken this year to achieve greater diversity and foster a climate of greater inclusivity at the College, including work at the Anderson Freeman Resource Center, the expansion of the JusTalks program to all students, and an initiative to increase participation in experiential learning programs.
- Enrollment updates for summer programs at the Language Schools, Bread Loaf School of English, and School of the Environment.