MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The Middlebury Board of Trustees, at its annual meeting May 6–8, approved a fiscal year 2022 operating budget with revenues of $277.4 million and expenses of $283.4 million. The board passed a resolution at its last meeting to maintain an annual balanced budget but made the decision to support a modest deficit of $6 million. The deficit is due to the lingering impact that COVID-19 will have on revenue and expenses across the institution in fiscal year 2022. The board at its October 2021 meeting charged the administration to propose a funding source for the deficit, with earnings from the endowment being the last option under consideration.
Trustees also approved tenure for four faculty members and received updates on COVID-19’s impact on students, the College’s Action Plan for Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the new residential life program BluePrint, and the BOLD initiative–a women’s leadership program.
David Provost, executive vice president for finance and administration, shared the positive news with the trustees that the projected $18.5 million deficit for fiscal year 2021 had decreased to $9.5 million. Provost said the decrease in the deficit was an achievement given that the total financial impact of COVID-19 on Middlebury was $62.1 million in additional expenses and lost revenue. This sum includes a range of items from lost room and board revenue to tent rental to training for remote instruction. Middlebury received $7 million in state and federal aid, bringing the actual financial impact of COVID-19 to $55.1 million.
“We have managed our finances remarkably well through a very difficult period,” said Provost. “We did it by coming together, making people our priority, and living without items previously in our budgets.”
“Putting people first meant offering every student at the College the option of on-campus or remote study and keeping everyone employed,” added Provost.
The operating budget encompasses the functions of Middlebury College, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, the Middlebury Language Schools, the Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad, the Middlebury School of the Environment, the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English, and the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences.
The trustees approved a fiscal year 2022 capital budget of $25.7 million, which will fund the renovations of Warner Hall, Voter Hall, and Dana Auditorium. Work on Warner and Voter, which was delayed due to the pandemic, will begin in June, and renovations in Dana will start in August.
The board also set the tuition and fees for Middlebury schools and programs for the 2022–2023 academic year. Increases in the fees due to rising program costs range from about 2 to 2.5 percent.
President Laurie Patton updated the board about progress in global engagement, environmental leadership, and other topics, as well as COVID-19’s impact on these areas. Patton pointed to grant-supported faculty initiatives to create a more equitable curriculum and classroom as a recent academic achievement. She also noted the importance of acknowledging Middlebury’s success during the pandemic.
“We are approaching the end of the year after keeping our campus healthy with few cases of COVID-19,” said Patton. “At the start of the year we had no way of knowing if this was achievable but the hard work and sacrifices of our students, faculty, and staff enabled us to maintain a vibrant learning community.”
Barbara McCall, associate executive director of the Center for Health and Wellness; Mark Peluso, chief health officer and College physician; and Derek Doucet, dean of students; gave the board an update on COVID-19’s impact on student mental health, COVID-19-related conduct, and clinics hosted by the College to support the vaccine rollout in Vermont. They also attributed low infection rates among students–five cases in the fall and 12 cases in the spring–to strong student compliance with COVID-19 College protocols.
Miguel Fernández, chief diversity officer, offered the trustees an assessment of the progress on the College’s Action Plan for Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Fernández said that current efforts are focused on five areas: faculty and staff, students, fostering and restoring community, accessibility, and transparency and accountability. He noted new developments in each of these, including the establishment of a task force that presented a proposal to senior administrators last month for the creation of an LGBTQ+ resource center to be located in the new student center, the establishment of monthly meetings between senior administrators and a group of BIPOC student organization representatives to focus on anti-racism work, and the hiring of an expert in universal design as a consultant to the new first-year dorm project.
Of the 61 strategies outlined in the multi-year plan, 32 have been accomplished or were ongoing in the first eight months since the plan was launched.
Associate Professor of Psychology Rob Moeller, who also serves as director of residential education and innovation and director of MiddCORE, provided the board with a snapshot of BluePrint, the new residential life system that the College began as a pilot in the 2019–2020 academic year. During the current academic year, the program expanded from its residential base to incorporate collaboration with campus partners, including the Center for Careers and Internships and the Center for Health and Wellness. A rollout planned for the fall will include all first-year students.
Sujata Moorti, dean of the faculty, gave a short presentation on the BOLD Women’s Leadership Initiative, which provides scholarships and career development opportunities to a cohort of women students. It is celebrating its fifth year at the College.
The trustees elected additional term trustees to the board: Barbara Griffin Cole P ‘21, Carol L. Jones LS ‘00, who previously served as a trustee from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2016, and Mary G. Powell. They elected a new alumni trustee, Danielle “Dani” Virtue ‘82, P ‘10, ‘15, effective July 1. All will serve five-year terms.
The board also re-elected the following trustees: Catherine G. Lee ‘92 will now serve as a charter trustee after 10 years as a term trustee and Lucienne “Lucie” M. Ide ‘97 will serve as a term trustee after serving one term as an alumni trustee. Five others–Belinda L. Badcock, Parker Harris III ‘89, Suzanne “Suzie” Reider ‘87, Mark D. Spence ‘98, and Kashif Zafar ‘92–will serve second terms as term trustees.
Edward “Ted” Virtue ‘82 and Garrett M. Moran ‘76 were named emeriti trustees as of July 1.
The trustees also elected two new partner advisors: Elaine White Gómez ‘93, a graduate of the Middlebury Institute, will serve on the Institute Board of Advisors and Susan “Susie” J. Scher ‘86, a former Middlebury trustee from 2006 to 2016, will be a member of the College Board of Advisors. The trustees elected Peter Burrows to a third term on the College Board of Advisors and Jane Edwards to a third term on the Schools Board of Advisors. Margery Mayer was elected to a second term on the Schools Board of Advisors.
The board named three student constituent advisors for one-year terms as of July 1. Roni Lezama ‘22, incoming president of the Student Government Association (SGA), will serve on the College Board of Advisors; Morgan Moore ‘22, incoming president of the Institute’s Student Council, will serve on the Institute Board of Advisors; and Clara Wolcott ‘22, a junior at the College who attended the Middlebury Chinese Language School, will serve on the Schools Board of Advisors.
The board approved tenure recommendations for four members of the College faculty, effective July 1:
Carrie Anderson, associate professor, History of Art and Architecture
Ananya Christman, associate professor, Computer Science
David Miranda Hardy, associate professor, Film and Media Studies
Rebecca Mitchell, associate professor, History
Trustees also approved the promotion of two members of the Middlebury Institute faculty to the full rank of professor, effective July 1:
Leire Carbonell-Aguero, professor, Spanish Translation and Interpretation
- Moyara Ruehsen, professor, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies