The world is evolving rapidly. The Middlebury Institute is too. Here’s what you need to know for the upcoming academic year, 2020–2021.

The Time Is Now

The urgency of a Middlebury Institute degree has never been greater. The world needs people like you who believe that now is the time to start making a difference. We are as committed to our ideals, our mission, and to your education, as we have ever been.
 

These past months have been challenging for all of us. A global pandemic, economic upheaval and a popular uprising, demanding real social change. The urgency of a Middlebury Institute Degree has never been greater. The world needs people like you. People who are globally literate, compassionate, and committed to making an impact for the greater good.

Here at the Institute, we are committed to a transformational educational experience, that will help you hit the ground running in your chosen career. The stakes are high as our nations and our communities turn inward and insular. Collaboration and imagination on a global scale matter now more than ever.

Let me highlight some unique features of the Middlebury Institute Education.

First, there is the practical approach to preparing you for a career of global action. Through relevant hands-on coursework, internships, research opportunities, and real world projects, with real clients, deadlines and deliverables you will be able to build your resume and network while earning your degree.

Second, we are a small institution with many world renowned experts on international development, conflict resolution, trade, environmental policy, non-proliferation, terrorism, language education, localization, international education, translation and interpretation. All of our experts are dedicated to our mission and they will be your mentors, your collaborators, who bring real life in the field experiences to the classroom.

Finally, I have to say a word about your classmates. People like you, from different backgrounds and all corners of the globe who understand the role of effective policies in creating lasting change, the importance of digging into and understanding complex issues to get to the heart of a problem, and how multilingualism can serve as a vehicle for multilateral action towards peace, human rights, sustainable development, security, and global understanding. People like you who believe that now is the time to start making a difference.

I know you have a lot of things to consider, and that these seem like particularly uncertain economic times. I am not going to pretend that this is an easy decision to make, but I can tell you this, we are as committed to our ideals, our mission, and to your education, as we have ever been.

Our faculty are dedicated to creating the best remote class experience possible. With support from our office of digital learning and inquiry, who’ve organized a summer camp online and instruction and curriculum design. Classes will be offered both asynchronously and synchronously. And all lectures will be available as recordings to help you experience benefit from all the hallmarks of a Middlebury Institute Education.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic. Our staff will be offering services that align with your time zones, your needs and your goals. And we’ll be working hard to create and maintain the sense of community we value so greatly.

In these extraordinary times, it is important to search for the common values that unite us as people to find a purpose in our shared humanity. We can’t wait to welcome you to our Middlebury Institute Community.

Now more than ever, as countries around the world face new and persistent challenges, your Middlebury Institute education can help you make a meaningful impact for the greater good.

What to Expect for the Fall 2020 Semester

Remote Instruction, Uncompromised Quality

The 2020–2021 academic year at the Middlebury Institute will start with remote instruction throughout the fall. We will bring students back to campus in 2021 if we can do so safely.

  • This fall all classes will be taught remotely. While the public health and immigration situations are constantly changing, we want to give you certainty now so that you can make concrete plans for the upcoming semester.
  • Our faculty are working closely with our Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry (DLINQ) to redesign their curricula to make the most of the technology available, ensuring we deliver the highest-quality remote instruction. We are leveraging feedback we received from our current students this past spring when we had to suddenly switch to online courses; this fall, we will have had the time to be more intentional in course design and delivery.
  • All of our programs, except International Education Management (IEM), will be taught remotely only until students and faculty can safely return to campus. IEM students will have the option to complete their degrees online OR move to campus when we reopen. More details to come.

This fall, as always, the hallmarks of a Middlebury Institute education endure:

  • Your career development and success are our focus from your first day of class.
  • Our immersive approach allows you to apply practical skills in your field of study before you graduate.
  • We prepare you to engage the world’s greatest challenges and needs.

Insights from alumni, students, faculty, and staff

During these uncertain times, we know there is much to consider. Middlebury Institute alumni, students, faculty, and staff share their experiences and respond to some of your most commonly asked questions.

Good morning everyone, Ewandro Magelhaes here and then to answer the question why MIIS? Well very simply put, because most likely your career is going to be divided into before and after MIIS if you can study here, I know mine was, I was already an interpreter when I came to MIS back in 2007 and I was in as an advanced entry MA student and again in my, on my mind I thought I was just going to coast for a year by the Pacific ocean and just you know, enjoy and have fun, not really learning much but boy was I wrong? Not only did I learn a lot but more importantly I was put in contact with the movers and shakers that make this profession what it is.

So basically why MIIS? Because the right people are here and if you want your career to progress like mind did coming from just being a conference interpreter in Brazil, to becoming an interpreter in the international scene then you know doing all the big summits and so when and eventually landing a job as the chief interpreter of a United Nations Agency and now back in the US as the co-founder of KUDO, a platform that is pushing the envelope on the Nason field of Remotes and Lieutenants Interpretation, you gotta come to this .

Hello, my name is Castelline Tilus, and I’m a 2017 graduate from the Middlebury Institute. I graduated from the IPD program, which is the International Policy and Development master’s program. It doesn’t feel like it’s been three years, but since I left the Institute, I went on to co-found a data lab in Haiti. We’re a data lab that’s endeavoring to do so much as an early-stage organization. We’re educating the next generation of data scientists and technologists in Haiti, we’re consulting for NGOs, and local government ministries, and we’re doing public research. So those are our three core pillars that we’re intervening in, in Haiti, and I have a great team that I’ve been working with, and I’ve been fortunate to work with some really incredible youth in some of our signature education programs.

So how does this tie to my education at MIIS? So, I had a concentration in data monitoring and evaluation within my program, and I chose to use the skills I acquired to go into the field of data science. And so, now, it’s something that I’ve been able to use in my entrepreneurial work in Haiti, and it’s integral to, again, having gone on to co-founding this organization. So, I’m really grateful for the two years that I had at MIIS, for the time I spent at the data lab, as a TA, for the incredible mentors I had, teaching me how to program, teaching me how to think, and how to ask great questions. These are the same types of skills that we’re working to increase in Haiti, data science, analytics. We’re trying to, also, inspire a new generation of technologists. So, the goal is, the students that graduate from our training and education programs will go on to build data products, provide services that will address problems that they identify, to address community challenges.

Hello everybody. My name is Min. I graduated from MIIS, from the translation and localization management program in 2017. My language combination was Chinese and English. Before I decided to go to MIIS, I was actually accepted by a few schools in the US and also in the UK, In programs such as education, communications and linguistic studies. I eventually picked MIIS because it has a very unique offerings of courses in translation studies, localization technologies and also business. I have a great passion in languages and also globalization. I also wanted to work in the tech industry.

So eventually I decided to go to MIIS. And at MIIS, I not only learn so many… knowledge from school but I also was able to engage with the localization industry. I remember driving to the Silicon Valley with my friends and also my classmates. We attended a few localization events and was able to network with the localization professionals in the industry. Right now I am a language manager at Google. I manage the simplified Chinese language for all our Google products. I’m very excited about the work that I’ve been doing now and I’m very grateful for the knowledge that I learned at MIIS.

Hi, everybody. My name is Nomsa Ndongwe, and I am a graduate research assistant at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, which for those in the business, we call CNS. I have been very fortunate to be working at the Center for a year and a half now, and it’s been an incredible experience.

I’m just here to let you know for those of you who are wondering about professional mentorship in the age of Corona, CNS seamlessly adapted to the new normal. And we are working remotely, we are communicating with our senior staff members remotely as well as within our circles as graduate research assistants, you know, via email, WhatsApp group chats, all of the things. I love the fact that our most senior executives, which would be Dr. Potter and Jessica Varnum, are still very much available via email, via text, via phone call. And they have been so great at just making the whole process as painless as possible. You are going to learn so much if you reach out to them.

Whether or not you’re working at CNS, or you’re interested in working at CNS, or you’re interested in pursuing something that you think CNS might be able to help you with, I would definitely suggest that you shoot them an email, and introduce yourself, and get that ball rolling.

The mentorship at MIIS, I would say, is very good. And one of the things I love most about the way they mentor you in a professional way is that all doors are open, there are no sacred cows. And I think you guys are going to have a great time and you’re going to learn so much. I know I have. I’ve learned so much in terms of the field I’m trying to professionalize in as well as just in general in terms of navigating the workspace or developing skills on how to communicate and get our message across in non-traditional or non-conventional ways. So I look forward to seeing you around, whether remotely or in-person, and good luck.

Hi, my name is Julius Moye. I’m a graduate student here at the Middlebury Institute. I’m a dual degree student in international trade and economic diplomacy as well as the nonproliferation and terrorism studies program with a financial crime management specialization.

I wanted to talk briefly about just navigating summer plans and internships in light of COVID-19, as the summer of COVID also happened to be my first summer here at the Institute. And soon I realized what one of the silver linings was in this whole switch to remote work. While my original plans did fall through, I was able thereafter to negotiate to have three internships over the summer, one in an investment firm, the other doing strategic trade controls and nonproliferation with the National Lab, and the third with an international trade consulting firm up in the Bay Area. And what was really great is that together, these cover all of my interest areas and degrees simultaneously. And I never would’ve been able to have that breadth of experience if we didn’t move to remote interning.

So indeed, even during all of this, I realized that while one door closed, several others came open. And that while things may seem uncertain and unstable during all of this, and that this indeed was a massive disruption in one respect, it’s also creating new paths for us here as Midd students and as aspiring professionals in our fields.

Hello, everyone. My name is Gabriel Guillen, and I’m a professor at the Middlebury Institute in the Language Studies Program. And the question that many of you have is, can you actually learn a language online? And the easy, immediate response from me is, yes, you can.

Of course, there are many variables that influence in your ability to learn or to maintain a target language, like time. Time is very important, the most important variable. Try to find time to spend, to work on your target language every day. One hour, two hours, three hours, four hours, five hours, but every day. Your motivation is very important.

Try to connect your hobbies and your profession with the target language. Try to see yourself engaging in a conversation in the target language in the immediate future. Try to see yourself, if you want to get the advanced level, try to see yourself working in the target language. And of course, what you do with the language is very important. Try to make it meaningful. Listening input is very important. Try to find adequate input for you.

Right now, I’m collaborating with a language learning app, Lupa, and what they do is amazing. They take Radio Ambulante in Spanish, and they adapt them for language learners at the intermediate and advanced level. So try to find listening input very important. And also I recommend you to find a language learning social network. One that I like right now, is Hello Talk, because it has 30, probably more than 30 million users so there you can engage in conversation native speakers and you can also do recordings and you can write and you can provide feedback in English if English is your first language. And very important, you can request feedback, you can ask your partners to give you feedback on your target language.

Hey there, I’m Alisyn with the Office of Student Services. And I wanted to share with you three specific ways that you’ll be able to make connections with students remotely.

The first way is through My Community, which hopefully you already know about, and you’re already a part of. My Community is a private social networking platform for the Institute. It’s open to all current students, incoming students, as well as staff and faculty. It is a wonderful space for you to connect with other incoming students around hobbies, interests, career goals, and it may be some specific items related to your degree program. So I hope you’re already in My Community and utilizing it regularly.

Secondly, your new student onboarding orientation process will begin a little bit earlier this year. We will have an online course available, optional for all new students to complete if you’re interested. And in the course, you’ll get to engage directly with faculty, with other students in your cohort, and you’ll also be placed in a small cross programmatic group of students that is representative of your incoming class called a cohort. So you’ll have your cohort, you’ll have this robust class of resources, information, and live sessions, you’ll get to see a lot of the same faces in these activities and events that are happening online. So that’ll be a great way that you can make early connections. Certainly through your degree program, you’ll be able to make a lot of connections. You’ll get to know the other people in your program very well, once the semester begins.

Finally, student council and student clubs make up your student organizations on campus. And those student organizations are active, they’re always planning events and activities online, and there’s a lot of opportunities to meet other students that way. So that’s just a taste. There’s more, there’s more to say, but I’ll leave it at that and hope that you’ll send me any questions you might have about this topic.

My name is Winnie Heh, and I am the career advisor for Translation, Interpretation and Localization Management. Why is this a good time to pursue a master’s degree in one of those areas? First, in the increasingly interconnected world, language is the last barrier to access information, goods, and services within countries and among countries. As a result, we have seen healthy growth in the language services industry, which is estimated to be $50 billion a year globally. I’ve always felt that it’s better to enter a small but growing industry rather than a big and declining industry. The good news is the language services industry is big and growing. Secondly, it has been said that translation is the second oldest profession in the world. To be clear, translators have always played a role in human history. It’s nothing new. But what is new is the integration of language and technology. The technological tools available to us now and into the future will enable us to meet the ever stronger push for speed, quality, and cost optimization in delivery of language services. Linguists of the future need to have impeccable linguistic and cultural skills. They also need to have the skills to continue to learn and adapt to new technology that’s bound to emerge. And finally, they need to have the business and communication skills to thrive in this new world. Pursuing rigorous academic training will allow you to pivot to your future career goals with the greatest efficiency. Thank you for watching, and I wish you the best of luck.

Hi, my name is Bryce Craft and I am the Director of Employer Relations at the Middlebury Institute. And a question that I hear from time-to-time, “Is it a good time to go to grad school?” Of course we all have our own personal and unique circumstances we must consider, but let me say this as it relates to answering that question. The opportunity to gain new skill sets and a degree that can separate you from the competition in a job search or assist with advancing your career, in my opinion, that’s a very good thing to consider when taking your next career step.

What’s better than gaining new skill sets and perfecting your craft in a way that will allow you to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact, an immediate difference? From the public sector to Fortune 500 companies to international development and international education, making a positive difference through immediate impact is key. Basically, the ability to hit the ground running. And that’s what we consistently hear from our employer partners and is exactly why they continue to recruit MIIS students and alumni.

In fact, we recently surveyed our employer partners and over 80% of them are still hiring. And we have been as busy as ever connecting with employers, posting opportunities, and setting up virtual recruiting sessions. And a big part of that is, not only are MIIS students well-educated, talented, and are able to hit the ground running, they are also incredibly passionate about wanting to make a difference and a positive impact on our world. And employers see that and they recognize those qualities, and it’s why they continue to recruit from MIIS. And now is as important as ever to make that difference.

Additionally, going to a grad school like MIIS will introduce you to so many opportunities that you may not be aware of. From different sectors to industries, organizations to companies, jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities. You don’t know what you don’t know and grad school can and should serve as a catalyst to both learning and exploring your next career step. So is it a good time to go to grad school? It’s an amazing time to go to grad school.

Career Benefits of Remote Learning

More and more often, we are hearing that employers are looking for job candidates who are able to work remotely and manage teams across time zones. It appears that no matter the field or discipline, remote work (and remote learning) are becoming increasingly relevant and may be the key to your success.

And while the pandemic has accelerated the changes in the way we work and learn, the world was already heading in this direction, following a trajectory in which virtual interaction was as likely as in-person communication.

We strongly believe that there is no better place than the Institute to help you develop the skills needed to successfully navigate a remote learning and working environment. As part of your graduate school experience, you will have access to support networks that will allow you to learn without fear of “failure”; we’re confident that you will discover a capacity to thrive in a remote space. You will join us back on campus when we can safely welcome you and you will emerge better positioned to compete and excel in whatever work environment you encounter.

An Inclusive Approach for International Students 

We are keeping the needs of our many international students in mind as we plan our fall courses. We are paying particular attention to time zones, technology platforms, and each class’s mix of synchronous and asynchronous elements.

  • All classes will have asynchronous content, giving you the flexibility of learning at a time that works for your time zone and schedule.
  • Any content that needs to be synchronous will be offered at a time that works for the majority of the students in the course. For example, synchronous activities in our Chinese translation and interpretation courses will be offered at an appropriate hour for students based in East Asia. If a student cannot attend a live class, it will be recorded for them to watch at a later time.

International students, please note that if you are based outside of the U.S., you will not need a visa to study remotely. The F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange visitor) visa is required only when a student is intending to enter the U.S. and engage in in-person courses. Our International Scholars and Student Services team will reach out to you as we prepare to return to campus to help you get your appropriate visas and documentation completed on time.

Incoming students who are currently in the U.S. and hold a valid F-1 or J-1 visa status, please contact ISSS (isss@middlebury.edu) regarding your eligibility for the transfer of your SEVIS record or guidance regarding next steps.

Remote Learning at the Middlebury Institute

To learn more about our approach to remote learning, watch the recording of our recent online discussion.

Remote Learning at the Middlebury Institute

Devin:

Well, hello, and welcome to this online discussion about remote learning at the Middleburry Institute. My name is Devin, and I will be your host. Thank you for joining today’s discussion.

Devin:

So the disruption to our spring 2020 semester has highlighted the importance of remote learning, as a complements and alternative to on-sight learning. So we wanted to give you a little bit of insight on our approach to remote learning. Today we are joined by three faculty members, who will discuss remote learning and its challenges and benefits. So I’d like to pass this over to our faculty.

Maha:

Welcome, everybody. Great seeing you all. Looking forward to taking your questions. A very brief introduction before we get on with the Q&A and done with our brief overview of answers and points in anticipation of your questions. So. I’m originally from Kyrgyzstan. Before I joined academia, I worked in a lot of the jobs that you’re probably interested in, with local and international organizations helping refugees, working on human rights and also had briefly worked with Parliament on policy changes.

Maha:

I’ve been MIIS for 13 years. Right now I’m with a program called Master of Public Administration. It’s part of development policy and practice. So I teach both international policy and development and MPA students as well. My classes include leadership and organizational change. I also teach practicum. Love these courses. And my research are related to corruption, behavior change, social innovation, future of work. So I like to be all over the place.

Maha:

I have two kids. Live in Bay area. I love MIIS. I love what MIIS stands for. I love amazing students our institution attracts. And I’m really looking forward to working with you. David?

David:

Yes. Hello, everyone and welcome. It’s so exciting to see you joining us from all over the world, which is part of what we enjoy most about working at MIIS. I’m a professor in the international education management program. And I’ve just finished my fourth year at MIIS. Before that, like Maha, I worked in the field that many of our students go into. So, I worked for about 25 years in international education, primarily with study abroad and exchange. I did that work in St. Paul, Minnesota, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in San Francisco and Santa Clara, California.

David:

And so I got to see that side of the work and now it’s my pleasure to, what I think of it as, prepare the next generation of leaders of the field through the work that I do at MIIS. And I teach both, in the international education management program and in the language study, French, program at MIIS. So, Barry?

Barry:

All right. Thank you. So my name is Barry Slaughter Olsen. And I’m a professor of translation and interpreting within the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation and Language Education. I have been at the institute for, well goodness, if I do the math, almost 14 years as a regular faculty member. But as many of you that are planning on study either translation, localization, or interpretation, or any combination of those, know, our faculty all continue to be active in their fields of endeavor in interpreting, translation, localization in different ways.

Barry:

And so, I am also a conference interpreter and I’ve always had my eye on the future. And so I have been focusing, actually for over a decade, on remote interpreting, also looking at artificial intelligence, and all of those kinds of things. And I’ll also just throw out there that I’ve been teaching online for the last four years. I’ll share a little bit more about that later. So that’s my little teaser. So, I’m going to hand it back over to Maha.

Maha:

All right, so I’ve been looking to quite a few incoming students like you who are reaching out, trying to figure out how their MIIS experience might be like. And they ask great questions. So from a lot of the questions I saw, maybe I’ll start off by answering two most common question I’ve been getting. And then David and Barry will do the same and then they can open up the Q&A, right? So one question that, actually Jerome, I spoke to yesterday, he articulated beautifully.

Maha:

He says, “How do I make best of my MIIS experience?” And a lot of you also asked, “How is my MIIS experience going to be different if you’re compelled to learn remotely, as we had to switch in the second half of spring.” So there are three elements to MIIS experience in my opinion. There are more obviously, but I’m going to focus on three. One, is obviously, the course work. All of you have been probably looking at the courses, the programs, et cetera. And that’s really important, but not the only important thing.

Maha:

The other one is, obviously, your relationships with faculty and staff, mentoring that you get from us. And all the extra curricular opportunities you will pursue and get helpful support from us. And three is your relationship with your peers, networks, learning, and all that comes with it. So I’m going to review each of them a little bit in general detail as well as tell you have each of them may differ in their remote format, if again, if you’re compelled to teach remotely in the fall. Just a little caveat.

Maha:

As an educator, I think, I love teaching students and one-on-one interactions. So there is nothing more than I want to get back to school, it’s been … But at the same time, there is a lot of learning coming out. And so I’m trying to look at this holistically. So whatever I say is really only my perspective, I don’t speak for any other faculty or any other department. So I hope it’s going to be still useful.

Maha:

So the first element, as I said, is course work itself. And here are a couple of tips. It helps if you have clear idea of why you are here, what do you want? Where do you want to be? Where do you want to take it? And it also helps to understand for you, your own strengths, your own aspirations. Because one thing is to have a passion, but if you don’t have strengths to support it, it may not be optimal, right, your experiences. So I think between now and the fall, if there is one thing you could do, maybe look inside introspectively and to figure out, what is it that I’m good at? What are my natural tendencies? Where do I naturally excel on which I can build on?

Maha:

There is a really good book that I loved reading a couple of years go and I’ve been recommending to my students. Its called Designing Your Life. And it has real interesting tips that can help you to figure out what are some of the patterns, natural patterns that you have that you could build on. So I recommend you to look at it. And it has great tips as well, just overall in how do you build a satisfying, fulfilling life, full life. So obviously, it’s important to know what is it that you want? And once you have figured out, make sure that whatever courses that you take, they help you advance whatever goal, whatever interest that you have.

Maha:

For example, if you’re interested in working, let’s see … If you’re interested in working in NGO’s fighting homelessness, for example, in my MPA program you have quite a few students who are interested in it. In policy class, for example, it’s one of the required class, you may wish to focus on homelessness policies in your papers. Obviously, each class gives you a lot of discretion to tailor a course to your interests, right? And in economics, you may look at the economic aspects and consequences and costs.

Maha:

In courses like leadership or organizational developments, something that I teach, you may want to look at how an organization fighting homelessness operates and how effective it is in really implementing whatever goals or mission does it have, right? And so on. So again, if you actually know what is it that you want to get from the program, then that will help you focus. That will help you take more out of the program. And give you a depth and cohesion, okay.

Maha:

I know some of you may be thinking, how do I know? I’m coming to grad school to figure it out. I’m a little confused. I have a lot of interests. I just want to explore and that’s perfectly legitimate, we have a lot of students who are like that. And hopefully, when you come in, you will be able to take different classes and explore different interests. So one thing that can really help you to make best of the coursework is to give feedback to faculty. Because it’s very hard to read your mind.

Maha:

As much as faculty love working with students, as much as we want you to succeed and strive, if you don’t know what’s in your mind, it’s very hard, especially remotely, now. It’s harder to read people, right. So if you want the course to work for you, I recommend you actually go to office hours. I’m thinking, when I was grad student, I never really went to office hours and what a shame. Now I have students who never come to office hours and I’m like “Please do come. We are here for you. And give us feedback, tell us how we can help you to make best of this opportunity.”

Maha:

So anyways, how is it going to be different in remote format? In my experience, it hasn’t changed much. For example, last semester, I taught my practicum course. It’s a lot of one-on-one work, where students actually do a consulting project with a client. And use those projects as stepping stones for looking for jobs or for interviews, et cetera, to enrich their portfolio of what they actually can do. So I’ve been working one-on-one with them and we just did little bit more intensely.

Maha:

So it hasn’t changed much. So I guess the difference will be … for my other courses, it’s going to be a lot more one-on-one and we will rely a lot more on your feedback, obviously. So anyways, the difference again, for remote, is going to be we would need a lot more feedback from you, we would like you to share with us what’s going on, what’s working, what’s not. And hopefully we’re going to make it work.

Maha:

So the second element of MIIS experience is faculty and staff mentoring. As I said, if you know what you want to do, even if you’re not clear about where you want to go, just have conversations. Initiate conversations, follow up. Faculty are here because they enjoy working with students. And there are a lot of projects, especially hands on projects. You may have picked MIIS because we focus on applied elements of learning, right, not just theory, but also how do we apply that theory to have a real impact. So there are a lot of opportunities that faculty announce, staff announce, et cetera.

Maha:

So it helps for you to go to staff, like career advising office is excellent. We have amazing staff members. You have faculty and you can come to us and use us as a sounding board to help you figure out what you want to do. Or if you already know what you want to do, help us figure out how you can actually get better at it and how you can get deeper, how you can build experience, et cetera. Okay. So again, foster those relationships, take initiative.

Maha:

If you are passive, if you just keep it to yourself, it’s very hard for us to engage you. So please take initiative. And I’m saying these things based on experience of observing students who really excel and who just come out and they strive. And all of the students had one thing in common, which is they took responsibility for their own learning. They took charge, they were active. They initiated conversations. They experimented. And so please keep that in mind.

Maha:

And the last element, but probably the most important is actually the peer community relationships. I don’t want to be presumptuous, but in my humble opinion, the best thing about MIIS is not faculty or our courses, but our students. I think MIIS is a magnet for amazing people who come from all over the world, who care about bigger issues, who want to make an impact. And that really, I think is the best part. And I hope all of you will make really good connections, build great networks, learn from each other, have an amazing social life.

Maha:

And this is one thing that I’m a little concerned, if you actually switch remotely, you coming in, being new, it may take little bit more effort to actually engage with your peers remotely. That’s going to be a little bit more challenging. But I’m really hoping that as somebody who grew up with online, as being your more of a like extension computers and mobiles being your extension, I hope you will be better at it than generation Xers like me.

Maha:

So anyways, those three components. Coursework is really important, especially if it really helps you figure out, deepen your interest and expertise and skills. Relationships with faculty and staff and extracurricular opportunities. And three, most important, relationships that you build with your peers, are all important and I hope you will keep in mind all three. Sorry I went on little bit too long than I expected. I’ll take questions after we hear from David and Barry, thanks.

David:

Thank you so much, Maha. And I’ll just jump in to share some of the things that I have found really rewarding about being able to integrate more remote elements into my teaching. And so, as I mentioned, I work in international educational exchange, and before we all began teaching remote, I already had realized that I spent about 20 hours a week in video conferences and meetings with collaborative teams around the world. Partnerships all over the world are part of what make international education happen.

David:

And on top of that, as that field is becoming more conscious of the financial, environmental and social costs of global student mobility, we’ve been asking questions about how we facilitate international and intercultural exchange in other ways, right. And how we create other models for connecting across distance and learning about one another and gaining new perspectives. So as we moved online, I realized that when I wanted to, for the portions of my classes that were still synchronous or at the same time.

David:

When I wanted to bring in guest speakers, it was simple, we were already on the platform. I didn’t have to fight with the classroom computer or set up an extra microphone and camera to make that work. But instead, I could bring guest speakers in, I could bring alumni in and I could do what we strive to do at all our teaching at MIIS, which is connect our students to the professional community that they are becoming part of and that they are learning about. And so, that’s been one of the pieces that I have really enjoyed.

David:

I’ve also found that by having the technology as a facilitator for learning, getting students involved in real world problems and actively using the tools that they’re going to use in the workforce, is a much more direct link. So often in class, we would talk about the theory, we would practice maybe on paper or whiteboards or in discussion, and then we would move to the next step of what does this look like when you design a website. Or for the marketing class I teach, when you build these social media advertisements to try and attract those students to your program.

David:

We were already on that platform and collaborating in those documents that would become the thing that were models for what they would do. So some of that has been very exciting. And in fact, partly related to the wonderful questions that are starting to come in, in chat, shortly into the spring semester moving online, I decided that for two of the three classes I will teach in the fall, I was going to use at least a hybrid model for teaching. And have few, if any of my class sessions in-person in order to better model the professional community and the way that we work professionally.

David:

Now, being together, I would have used some different things but I had recognized some of the key advantages that I had of really modeling the professional environment through the remote teaching. One other thing I do want to touch on that I think is an exciting possibility about teaching in this way. And that has to do with the language study work that we do. So as I mentioned, I’ll be teaching language study class in French. And it’s an upper level class, a 400 level class on comparative education in the francophone world.

David:

So with that class, if it’s fully in-person and locked into a specific time period, my ability to connect with students and educators in Haiti, in Senegal, in La Réunion and other parts of the francophone world to talk about how they’re experiencing education. That capacity is much more limited if it has to happen at 10 a.m. Pacific in California. But when I’m building my class with some synchronous, some together time and some asynchronous time, I can record a dialogue with those partners around the world, share it with the students, or I can have them use their class time to connect remotely with people in the language.

David:

And then another element that I really like, is I’ve got tools I can use to have students record comments or videos in the target language in French for me and I can give time based feedback to students on their actual videos. In the classroom, when we’re having a vibrant discussion, I can’t remember every little piece of feedback I want to give on language or syntax or meaning, or references I want them to look at. Because it’s happening in real time.

David:

What I’m able to do with technology is have those recordings of each student and give time based feedback so that they can really attend to each of the elements that they might want to pursue further or the areas that they want to improve on. So those are some exciting things. But now I’ll pass it off to Barry who shared a lot about the first thing I talked about, which is the way the remote learning models are professional communities. So, Barry, please take it away.

Barry:

All right, thanks David. So I’ll take just a few minutes and I want to focus on how the Middleburry Institute has always had in its DNA, a focus on replicating or preparing students to be able to go out and work in the market and to understand market conditions. And that’s something that was a huge part of my own education when I was at the Institute in the 90s, getting my Master’s degree before I went out. Professors were able to connect us to those networks where we wanted to work, to help us prepare appropriately so that we could get the jobs and also build the careers that we wanted to have.

Barry:

Now, what has been happening over the last decade has been a … and I’m speaking about translation, interpreting, and localization. There’s been a slow creep lead by translation towards remote work and towards collaboration with remote teams. And localization has been in just behind translation. And interpreting has been probably the reluctant cousin that continues to drag its feet and is very happy with the way things are. What happened with the COVID-19 pandemic, is that interpreting was basically dragged into the virtual world and we are now adapting to that at the professional level.

Barry:

And so all of the adjustments that we went through in March, when we had to switch to fully online courses, were basically a little bit ahead of the curve of what was going on at the United Nations. And I’m talking about Nairobi, Geneva, Vienna, New York, Bangkok, Santiago, all of them. As well as other international organizations such as the World Health Organization, Organization of American States, World Bank, IMF, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That’s the public sector.

Barry:

The private sector, the same thing. Suddenly they’re saying, “How do I hold my event to release my product?” “How do I get this information out?” “Oh, we’ve normally done this in nine languages in Las Vegas at a big trade show. How do we do it now?” And so what has happened is that the virtual space, multi-lingually has also exploded. And all of the practitioners are trying to figure out how to do this. Some were prepared, some were ahead of the curve. And so the transition was very simple for them. But for the vast majority, it has been a challenge and continues to be a challenge in a lot of ways.

Barry:

Now, I mention all of this because I wish I could say that I did this out of some amazing prescience on my part. But in 2016, I decided that it was time to uproot my family, move from beautiful Monterey after a decade and move back to Washington D.C. and begin to teach my courses online with my students in Monterey. Little did I know that a scant four years later, we would be in the situation we are in. And so the transition for me, from my 70/30, 70% online, 30% on-campus. when I moved to 100% online my students were already equipped, largely to be able to do this.

Barry:

And I’m talking consecutive interpreting teaching, simultaneous interpreting teaching, we already had professors for translation that were teaching online in a similar format where they would be 70% online, 30% on-site where they would fly in or they would drive in to the campus. And so, when we made that transition, it was much smoother because of the existing expertise that we had. Now, I will be the first to say that I am looking forward to the time when I can move back to Monterey and return to face-to-face teaching.

Barry:

However, I am one of those firm believers that we are going to see a shift. It may not be from one semester to the next, but we will see that hybrid’s going to make sense. I’ve actually had students that have connected to my classes and then they said, “Professor Olsen, just so you know, I’m connecting from my parents house in upstate New York. I hope that’s okay.” “Fine with me, you can do the work. You’ve got the connection, not a problem.”

Barry:

I’ve had other situations where I’ve had students that needed to take exams because they had to leave early, and they took the exam in Madrid as they were getting ready to start an internship. And we were able to make those adjustments. And so, you’ll see that I’m kind of a glass-half-full kind a guy. I see a lot of positive things that have come out of this. One is I actually know my students better now that I am away. Nobody came to see me during office hours. Now people come and talk to me and I’m actually in contact with them through WhatsApp groups for each of my courses. I can immediately send out information.

Barry:

So there are a lot of positive things about it. But I will say this, for those of you that are concerned, you’re thinking, “Okay, how are we going to do this online thing?” It’s going to be super important at the very beginning to build a community of practice. And if we get to do hybrid, which is my hope, I can’t wait to fly into Monterey the last part of August and be there for the first two weeks to get to know everybody face-to-face, get to talk to them, let them see that I’m actually a physical human being and not just a professor on a flat screen.

Barry:

But if that doesn’t happen, I’m going to be putting in just extra effort so that we can build that community. Because you’re going to find it’s going to be this safe space where you get to come and you get to take off your armor and you’re going to see where the chinks are. And we’re going to help fix that and we’re going to get you trained, right. And so, that can be done on-site, it can be done online. And at the end of the day, and this is the big part. When I was getting ready to graduate, it was really hard to get a foot in the door at a lot of the organizations and in the market because they were saying, “Well, you’re so new. Do you have any experience?” Like, “Well, I want to get the experience with you so that I can have it.” Right.

Barry:

And so it was a chicken and egg thing sometimes. What has happened with COVID has totally turned everything on it’s head for interpreting, translation, localization. It has to be online now. Everybody’s working online. And so in that, we mirror what the real world is. But additionally, the younger generations, and I say this very honestly, and I still like to consider myself part of the younger generation, all though you look at me and you’re probably going “Yeah, right.” But you’re only as young as you think you are.

Barry:

But you understand technology, you’ve grown up with it. It’s not that you’re not going to have to learn things. But you’re much more accustomed to it and that opens doors for you to be able to work in these new modalities on virtual teams that cross two continents. And working in virtual meetings and then adapting and working in face-to-face and then dealing with hybrid, all of that is there.

Barry:

And so, I think I’ll wrap up there because we want to leave time for questions. But I hope that, that’s been helpful as I’ve tried to explain a little bit of how what we’re going to be doing this fall and what we always do mirrors what’s going on in the real world. So I’ll leave it at that and I think I had it back over to Devin, now.

Devin:

Thank you, Professor Olsen. And I appreciate all of the opening remarks. So we’re going to move to Q&A section at this point. So I see some of the questions have already started coming in. And I should note that our colleague Jill Stoffers is also in the room and helping manage the chat for me. So there’s a chance that she may answer some of your questions directly if they’re pretty specific. But feel free to type questions there. We’ve already gotten a few.

Devin:

And the first one that’s already had an up-vote is “I understand that we will not know if we will be working remotely until the 22nd, but have any ideas been thrown out about perhaps some courses being remote and some in-person? Or is this going to be an either or decision?” So I’ll just field that. It’s my understand that everything’s on the table. And I think everything also has the potential to shift. So on-site components could contract or expand based on what the pandemic or state and local government regulations will allow. So it is a fairly fluid situation and I think that everything’s been considered and on the table. So thanks for that opening question. And hopefully that helps.

Devin:

David, I think this is a good question for you. Because I’ve seen great examples of answers to this in the international education management program, but “Are there any social peer-to-peer activities that were created in the spring specifically to accommodate the newly remote learning style by MIIS or by the students?”

David:

Thanks, Devin, that’s a great question. In fact, we thought a lot about this. So the moment we heard that we needed to move to remote teaching and learning in order to protect ourselves and our students and all of our communities. We got together as a faculty with a group of our students leaders in international education management to look at what we could create. And in the end, what we decided to build were a series of informal events, coffee chats, and lunch breaks with faculty and students.

David:

We also created a number of alumni panel conversations that students could join. And then even move informally, we started doing a couple weekly game events and a couple weekly movie nights where we could just get together. Because a thing that we realized as Maha said was that a key value in our community is the chance we all get to know one another and especially the chance you all get to know one another. You come to the institute with a lot of world experience, of professional experience, and you benefit from bouncing ideas off one another and exchanging that. So we wanted to keep creating those opportunities.

David:

Another kind of thing that happened was also student driven. We saw many of our … So our student council immediately created some special funding for clubs to request assistance to create new programing. And so some clubs created new book clubs and it had funding to be able to buy and send the eBooks to students wherever they were in order to get them. Other clubs hosted movies or games and sometimes needed to buy access to an online platform to be able to use that. So it was a fairly quick pivot from funding that might have been available for snacks at a reception to funding that was available to get books to students wherever they are or to purchase access to a platform so students could play trivia together or otherwise connect informally, socially or things like that.

David:

So there was a lot that happened with that building community that was driven both by the programs and faculty and also by the students. So I hope that gets at some of, I saw two questions like that. So if we didn’t cover something, I’m happy to add more. And I don’t know if Maha or Barry saw anything related to kind of student lead or department lead initiatives to create community.

Maha:

Yeah, those are great example David. In our program, the student coordinators, they took initiatives, they collected ideas from students and they started implementing them to see what stakes would resinate, what doesn’t. And just generally, that’s really one example of how students really take charge. Students have a lot of leeway, faculty invite students and they participate in our meetings. So I don’t know about other programs but in our programs, students are invaluable members of that whole take initiatives, implement them, and get a lot of our support.

Maha:

So yeah, if you guys have ideas, I think that would be terrific once you come in. There will be a lot of avenues for you to actually do something about it if there is somethings that you want to address, if you want to mobilize students around some issues. Or yeah, if you want to create a community around something new that doesn’t even exist in the community. So there are a lot of avenues.

Devin:

Excellent. Thank you. Thank you, Maha and David. Barry I think this might be a good question for you. But I think anyone on the panel could probably have an answer. “How did international students manage remote learning this semester? Did most of them stay or leave? If they left, how did the time difference have an impact?”

Barry:

Great question. With my students, the distances for a couple of them were very long. However, they gratefully went from the global north to the global south and they were only one or two time zones away. So across the board, it did mean that they had to meet a little bit later in the day vis-à-vis when my students in Monterey would. Many of the international students remained until the end of the semester. And so it wasn’t really an issue. I did have a couple of students who returned to Brazil and so they were connecting from there.

Barry:

And the main issue was them getting set up quickly and having the internet access that they needed, which they were able to get. And after that, we set up and things worked just fine. However, I do recognize, for example, I notice we have a number of students that are connecting probably from Asia. And so, the difference there is significant. And as I have thought about that and waiting to see what my student makeup will be for my courses, I will find out, first off, what time zones they’re in.

Barry:

This is of course if this is the way things work out. I would look at what time zones they’re in and then I’m going to come up with a sweet spot. And probably look, if I have too, and move a class from say, 10 a.m. on a Tuesday, to another time that works better, we’ll do that. We’ll find a way to make it work. Because my classes are largely synchronous, I don’t do a lot of asynchronous work because I’m teaching skills and doing a lot of coaching. So with interpreting, it’s a little different. With those courses that are going to be more asynchronous in nature, they’ll be project based, that’s going to be I think easier to handle when you’re dealing with significant differences in time zones. If you’re interested more about this.

Barry:

I’m going to put in a little plug here, Devin. Later this month, I believe it’s on June 30th, I’m actually going to be speaking at Hong Kong Baptist University on remote interpreting technologies and platforms, and how all of this has come about in the last decade. Feel free to sign up. It’s free. And I’m going to be able to talk a lot about the tech that I use in my classes. So just mention that there. But it is an issue and it’s going to be addressed, if we have too, through flexibility.

Devin:

Excellent. Thanks for that. David, did you have something to add?

David:

Yeah, I feel like there are a number of other … I kind of can’t help but see the chat and listen to this. For my classes in the spring, I had students disperse quite a bit. Not quite in the same ways as Barry, and so, one of the things I did was minimize the time that was synchronous. Because in the spring we shifted, we didn’t want to try and reschedule, we couldn’t reschedule everything. For the fall, what I’m planning, one of my classes I have planned to be entirely asynchronous, meaning there will be no fixed class time, but all of the ways we interact, via video, via text, and in other ways will happen when the students access it.

David:

That said, one thing that I always add when I have more computer based learning, is one-on-one meetings with students which I can accommodate in a time zone that’s convenient for the student. So that has been a big advantage of the remote learning. Is that I can see each students work more clearly when they submit in our online … and I tend to do both text and video based online discussions, as well as somethings where students watch short lectures, like five minutes or less and then respond and react or relate to them.

David:

But then the secondary piece is I’m then able to integrate more frequent one-on-one meetings with every student in the class so that I can talk about their specific needs, their goals as a student and how I make sure that they get what they want out of the class. In looking at fall, for the language study French class I have, I’m expecting to do some synchronous class time. And what I anticipate I will need to do, is offer my live class time in two times.

David:

So I may have it in the morning and then also in the evening or something like that, as a way to make sure that students can be together at a time when they’re able to learn effectively. But the first step, like Barry said, will be surveying my students, finding out where they are and how best to meet their needs. Because in the end, that’s what teaching is about for us, right, it’s not about me and what’s convenient for me at a time of day, it’s about how I can really make it work for students. And that’s true, whether we’re in a classroom or online, right. Things come up, that means students can’t be there, so we adapt to that.

David:

So hopefully that gets at a couple of these questions around how do you manage the fact that we’re all not together in the same time zone. And we have a lot of, fortunately, a lot of great tools for doing that. And a lot of techniques that allow for similar or even better interaction when we do that.

Devin:

Great, that’s really helpful. So I do think that it helped address a question about going remote. “Is there a possibility of having the lessons recorded?” So I think in some cases, or many cases, the answer will be yes, of course. Some activities within the classroom need to be synchronous and about interaction. So I think time zone appropriate synchronous activities is what I think I’ve heard each of you address. This is a hard question, so I guess whoever jumps on it first can take it. We probably don’t have time for everyone to answer just because we’re already a quarter to the hour.

Devin:

But, “Which programs had the most success moving to remote teaching last semester? And which programs were not as successful?” And then maybe adding to that, “What lessons were learned from the challenges?”

Barry:

I’ll jump into that one immediately and I’ll say, my online courses rocked. I’m going to be honest, they worked, they worked well. And we did some awesome stuff. And the reason they worked is because I knew the technology out there that we needed to do the job. My students were actually already accustomed to it because I had taught them to use it. So they went away to spring break and then came back and we just kept on going. Now that wasn’t the case for everyone else, and the problems that we ran into within translation and interpreting had to do with professors and other interpreting students getting up to speed on the platforms that were going to be used, right.

Barry:

And so it really had to do with that. You’ve got to make sure that you learn the platform and know how it works for the education to really work. And so you have to spend that time at the beginning to get familiar with what you need to be able to do. Now in terms of those that struggled to make it online, I’ll let David or Maha jump in if they heard of any experiences. But I know that when we got together for multiple training sessions, for multiple town halls with faculty, I was, and seriously, I’m not trying to put lipstick on a pig guys, I’m not.

Barry:

People kept saying “I’ve been surprised at how well this has worked out because I was expecting a disaster.” And I think that was across the board, we were all saying, “How can we do this?” “I’ve never done this before.” But by putting in those extra hours and that preparation, my hat’s off to the faculty because they were able to have successful courses and do some really good stuff. So there were a couple of classes where things crashed because the technology didn’t work the way they had planned or hoped, but you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. I’ll stop there and see if David and Maha want to add anything else.

Devin:

Well, that’s a great segue to the next piece.

Barry:

Okay.

Devin:

And David and Maha can certainly chime in first about this. But you mentioned technology being used, so what technology would be required specifically? So webcam, headphones, what software? What platforms or online tools have faculty been employing?

Barry:

Okay. I’m going to jump in again because this is like my thing. And I can tell you exactly what I want my students to have. If they’re going to be connecting from home, I want them to have a dependable, wired internet connection that’s broadband. I would like a minimum of five meg up and five meg down. And better if you can get it. The first thing that you should purchase beyond a computer if you don’t have one, is a headset. Because it’s going to improve your fellow classmates and professors ability to hear you and for you to hear them.

Barry:

And for those of you who are going to be in interpreting classes, they are a requirement. And I provide all of the information on what kind of headsets I think work well. But you definitely want to have a good headset. An integrated webcam on a newer laptop that’s maybe two years old or less, will work fine for you to connect. You don’t need to buy a specialized webcam. You want to have a computer. I would recommend that it be a core i7 if you’re getting a Windows’ computer.

Barry:

If you’re using a Mac, a MacBook will work fine if it’s say 2017 moving forward. You may have to buy an adapter for connecting to a wired internet connection, just because Apple messes with all of those, and they limit them. So those are really the basics. And then you need to have a quiet place where you can attend class without interruption, right. And sometimes that can be difficult but you can set it up and make it happen. Those are really the core things, software wise, it’s going to depend on your professor and what they’re using and what they prefer. But Zoom is kind of like the core of the synchronous stuff. But there are other things that are used. And I’ll be quiet now.

Maha:

Thanks, Barry. I’m actually the other extreme. I don’t even use a headset. All I use my laptop, I don’t know how old it is, does fine job. My students have done fine. What they use is a lot of Google Doc which allows interactive peer collaboration. Zoom has been essential. Yes, I agree about the stable connection if possible. That has been really important for me. So yeah, just basic laptop and a decent connection has been more than sufficient in my classes.

Devin:

All right, excellent. Thanks for that. And just, there’s, I think a quick follow up that I caught and I won’t catch all the quick follow ups but, “If MIIS goes fully online, will they be providing these materials like headsets to students?” And the answer for spring was, there was an emergency fund for students to be able to get technology that they needed and also a loaning program of webcams, head sets, et cetera, as we had to pivot pretty quickly in the spring. And I know this is a topic that’s being discussed, but I’m not sure of any policies or programs for that yet. I guess that’s pending the decision as well.

Devin:

So Maha, quick question for you, well I shouldn’t say quick, it might not be. But, “Are you familiar or aware of discussion that there’s been around networking remotely in planning post graduation careers?”

Maha:

I know that in our program, Scott Webb, has been working really hard trying to create opportunities. But, I mean, it has been happening, even before now. Because a lot of the jobs are not, not all jobs in Monterey, actually most jobs are outside. So a lot of the work has been remote already. So it’s not that much of a difference. There used to be trips, for example, we used to have trips to D.C. where our alumni and our contacts arrange a lot of kind of tours to most desired companies and organizations in the past.

Maha:

They had to cancel it in the spring. But I think they had remote version of it. So yeah, I don’t think they missed a beat. They worked really hard, I’m sure they’re doing their best to arrange what’s possible. And I’m sure they’ll keep coming up with new ways.

Devin:

Yeah, and then also to plug a prior discussion, if you weren’t able to see it but the advising team actually put together a presentation that addressed some of that, you know, how that happened during spring, how that potentially could happen in the fall as well. So I definitely recommend checking out that discussion. There’s a couple questions that have come in that I think I might do my best to field. And then of course, happy to have additional information added if you have it, from the panel.

Devin:

But one is, “I understand your desire to be flexible with the fall semester, however people are planning, whether they’ll be moving, quitting jobs, et cetera. How certain can we be that the decision on the 22nd will be the final decision?” And that’s been up voted a number of times. So what I know is that that exact question is kind of at the root of the core of figuring out what the fall will look like. So, what a priority is or key principle is making sure there’s continuity of education. And so I think those factors are all coming into play. And there will certainly have to be some remote components, we know that. We know that some international students may not be able to secure a visa on time. And so having a remote component that exists is going to be crucial for this fall semester. So hopefully that helps to address that, at least partially.

Devin:

And then, “When we get our decision on the 22nd, will that decision be applicable to all courses or will each program faculty announce each of their arrangements?” So my understanding is that it’s likely to be a universal decision because it’ll probably be a school wide policy and or local or state wide government regulation helping to inform that. So that’s my understanding. Of course, that may not actually be the case. So we’ll have to wait for that announcement.

Devin:

And again, this might be a wait and see, “If you live by the school, may you visit campus more often. And I may be hoping to get hired on campus.” So again, that’ll be, I think, I hope part of the announcement on the 22nd about how much of campus is open for the fall term. So we’ll be looking for more information there.

Devin:

So another question has come, talking about, I think adjusting class schedules. So David this might be a good one for you. “I hear all about this adjusting the schedule of individual classes to fit where people are from class to class. How do you plan to make it so individual classes don’t overlap?”

David:

In a way, that answer is quite easy, we talk to our students and we coordinate as a faculty. So we are, as an institution, each professor does not act independently, we act with and on behalf of our students as a group. So as we look at those opportunities, we will survey students, we will talk together, and we’ll work together. So what I tended to find was if I needed another time to meet with students, I would meet with them at times when there weren’t other classes scheduled. So it really hasn’t been challenging and I don’t anticipate that to be the hard work. The hard work of the semester will be the important work we always do to meet each individual students learning needs and help you get ready for the future you want.

Devin:

Excellent. Well, thank you very much. It appears that the questions have slowed down a bit. Which is appropriate because we’re coming up on the end of the hour. But I’d like to invite our panelists to say any kind of closing thoughts or remarks or pieces of advice that you may have for students that may have to incorporate some remote learning into their future. And Maha, I know that you addressed some of this in your opening remarks.

Barry:

Well, I’ll go ahead and just say that, and I did allude to this, but what is going on right now, the world over, in the world of work, is not something that’s going to go away. It will shift, we will get back to hybrid situations. But the reality is, is that the remote communication, remote teams, remote collaboration, teaching and learning, interpreting, translation, it is not going to go away. And so I don’t know of one professor that would say, “Oh, I would love to just go online or do hybrid.”

Barry:

We would all like to have all of our students in the same place, in that beautiful campus, doing everything that we’ve always done, but I think we just have to take that reality check and say “This isn’t just MIIS. This is MIIS doing what it’s always done at a time when a pandemic is shifting the way that we do things across all aspects of our lives.” And so if you can look at whatever is going to happen, I’m just as eager to find out what’s going to happen on the 22nd as all the students.

Barry:

If you can look at that through that prism, there’s really a lot to be learned, a lot to be gained from forging ahead and not taking a wait and see approach. That’s what I would throw out there.

Devin:

Thanks. Excellent. Well, we appreciate that Barry. There was a quick question that came in about fall enrollments and I see that Jill answered that. You know, that is the case. So far we have more students planning to enroll this fall than we expected. So hopefully that’s a trend that continues. So, thank you all for coming. We’re excited to work with you, whatever the format may be. And I did put in the info @MIIS.edu email address, in case you have additional questions, you can send them there. And then we can funnel them to the panelists.

Devin:

Also, above in the chat, there are the bios for each of the panelists. And I’d like to thank them for taking their time out of their afternoons/evenings. And thank you for joining us from all over the globe. I know it’s at odd hours for many of you. So much appreciated. And I hope you have a good day or evening, whatever it may be.

Barry:

Bye, everyone.

 

Financial Support and Affordability

In these uncertain times, and as we all face unprecedented challenges, the Institute is committed to providing additional financial support for our students:

  • Student Emergency Fund grants: full-time current students and full-time incoming students who have confirmed their enrollment may apply for an up to $1,000 grant. These funds will be applied directly to your tuition.
  • For students who cannot take classes full time in the fall but want to maintain progress toward their degree, we are reducing our per-credit cost from $2,030 per credit to $1,777 per credit for students who take 11 or fewer credits in the fall. Students taking 12 or more credits will be charged the comprehensive fee. Please note that if you move to part time, your scholarships and grants will be prorated. If you take fewer than six credits, you will no longer be eligible for federal financial aid.

A remote fall may also offer you cost savings with respect to relocation and rent, depending on your situation. In addition, U.S. citizens and permanent residents may consider taking advantage of the lowest interest rates ever for federal loans. Irrespective of where you are based, you can use those loans to offset your living costs while you study.

What to Expect for 2021

A Planned and Gradual Return to Campus

We are implementing a return-to-campus protocol under which students can return to campus for in-person instruction when state and county guidelines, as well as our campus capacity, allow us to do so.

  • We are actively working on plans for phased reopening of our campus in coordination with public health officials and Middlebury health experts. For example, this summer we will start offering no-contact checkout and pickup of physical resources from the library, in addition to the wide range of electronic resources.
  • We will carry out this return in line with public health guidance and our own campus capacity to have students on campus. This includes provisions for social distancing, masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitary measures, restrictions on public spaces on campus, and testing, tracing, isolation, and quarantine.
  • We will make further announcements about the dates for students’ return to campus, including possibilities for J-term and spring, during the fall semester.

Returning to the World

Getting you back to campus is only one part of our “return.” While a growing list of remote immersive experiences are available to you as an Institute student, we are working with our external partners and employers to get you back into the field, with in-person internships and immersive learning, fieldwork, and study abroad. The timing of these will vary by the partner or employer and the location of the opportunity.

The New Norm

We are excited to say that, even when this pandemic is over, we will not simply be returning to the way we used to operate. We have learned new ways to teach, learn, and work. The world and the challenges we train our students to address have changed. We will continue to adapt to prepare you to advance understanding, promote peace, and drive change in pursuit of a more just world.

Next Steps

Please review your next steps and contact your enrollment advisor if you have questions.

Questions?

Please review our updated Frequently Asked Questions, where you will also find contact information, should you have further questions: