MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Middlebury Board of Trustees held its winter meeting Thursday, January 23–Saturday, January 25, on the campus of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California—a new tradition to connect the board with both campuses.

On Saturday, the full board approved a 3.73 percent increase in tuition and fees at the College for the 2020–2021 academic year. Next year’s comprehensive fee, which includes tuition, room, and board, will be $74,510, and the student activity fee will be $436.

The board also authorized the renovation of Warner Hall, which houses the full Mathematics Department and partially houses the Economics and Luso-Hispanic Studies Departments. Work is currently scheduled to begin in July 2020 and conclude in May 2021. The scope of the project is similar to current work taking place at Munroe Hall and includes the installation of an elevator, new mechanical and fire protection systems, new windows and interior finishes, and upgrades to classroom technology. Middlebury now strives for Universal Design, which goes beyond ADA compliance, in plans for renovated buildings, including Warner. The new walkway that will lead to Warner will be one example of this effort. It will replace stairs and a ramp so that all individuals will enter the building the same way.

The trustees also approved the tenure recommendation for Tracy Weston, a member of the Education Studies Department. Her promotion from assistant to associate professor will be effective July 1.

The board formally adopted the bylaw changes that officially rename the College, Schools, and Institute Boards of Overseers as the Boards of Advisors. Another bylaw change permits a second student constituent advisor to serve on the College Board of Advisors, beginning July 1, 2020. The addition of a second student (serving a two-year term) will provide continuity to the student representation on the board, since the Student Government Association president ordinarily serves for only one year. The board had discussed both changes at its last meeting in October.

The meeting location at the Middlebury Institute in Monterey, California, provided an opportunity for the board to learn more about the Institute’s outstanding programs, faculty, and students. Trustees also spent time with Institute staff and faculty, as they do in Vermont. On Friday, a variety of presenters, including those mentioned below, spoke on the following topics:

  • Deputy Director Kris McGuffie ’97 and MANPTS* ’19 and digital researcher Alex Newhouse ’17, MANPTS ’18, of the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism spoke about their work studying and monitoring the intersection of terrorism and technology. They presented and answered questions about their projects on white supremacist fundraising, right-wing extremism on social platforms, and the potential weaponization of AI. They also spoke about the need to train a new generation of terrorism and extremism researchers in digital skills, in order to confront the rising trend of internet-inspired terrorist attacks. (*MANPTS is a Master’s in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies.)
  • Phil Murphy, associate professor and director of the Mixed-Methods Evaluation, Training, and Analysis (META) Lab, discussed the history of the lab’s creation and some of its completed projects.
  • Gael Meraud, assistant dean for career and academic advising, and Bryce Craft, director of employer relations, reported on the numerous ways in which the Institute’s Center for Advising and Career Services (CACS) has been successfully collaborating with the College’s Center for Careers and Internships (CCI).
  • Jason Scorse, associate professor of international environmental policy and director of the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE), provided background on the CBE and recent achievements, and shared some thoughts on future opportunities for collaboration with the College that could allow undergraduate students to integrate their work in environmental studies with the CBE’s offerings at the Institute.
  • Jeffrey Knopf, professor and program chair of nonproliferation and terrorism studies; Jessica Varnum, deputy director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies; and Rich Wolfson, partner advisor of the Institute board, professor emeritus of physics, and adjunct faculty in international environmental policy (IEP), described the Institute’s academic program in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS), its Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), and the relationship between them. The three also discussed the “Study Away at Monterey” program in NPTS/CNS and how it is an example of a successful collaboration between two Middlebury entities that serves students well.

On Saturday, Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program (EANP) at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and a professor, spoke to the trustees about his research, which involves the use of satellite images to monitor nuclear and missile programs in countries such as North Korea, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. His presentation included information about North Korea’s test of a new long-range missile and Iran’s January 8 missile attack on Iraq’s al-Asad air base.

The board also participated in professional development sessions with Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), who gave a presentation on emerging trends in higher education, and David Eagleman, neuroscientist and bestselling author, who spoke about neuroscience and artificial intelligence.