The Middlebury Institute is planning a return to primarily in-person instruction starting in the fall of 2021.
While vaccines are readily available in the Monterey area, we also realize that there will be many variables in the fight against this global pandemic that we can neither predict nor control. With that in mind, we are preparing for several scenarios that balance remote and on-site activities—all of which will allow students to return to campus for a meaningful in-person educational experience. We continue to prioritize the health and well-being of the MIIS community worldwide.
It is our hope that our fall semester plan will allow international students, not already in the U.S., to secure the documentation needed to enter the country to begin their in-person studies in Monterey. Our International Student and Scholar Services colleagues will help students admitted for fall 2021 navigate the process.
Some of you may wish to start your MIIS studies remotely. We will share more details about your online options for fall 2021. In the meantime, you can learn more about our approach to remote learning.
If you are interested in starting your graduate degree this fall, we strongly encourage you to submit your application and supporting materials at your earliest opportunity so that we have time to work with you to plan your next steps. Apply now.
We have a dedicated Return to Campus Strategy team working hard to ensure we are ready for a safe and productive return to campus. Here is an update on our progress as of April 13, 2021 (we will update this section as further progress is made).
- California eases restrictions: as of Tuesday, April 6, Monterey County moved to the Orange or Moderate Tier, in accordance with California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Reaching this tier is an important step toward our campus reopening for fall. This tier allows for 50% capacity in classrooms combined with 6-foot distancing. The mask mandate and distancing guidelines remain in place.
- Full reopening of California: Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans for moving beyond the current COVID blueprint to a full reopening, effective June 15. Additional details note that all industries across the state will be able to return to usual operations with common-sense risk reduction measures, such as masking and vaccinations. Institutions of higher education will be allowed to conduct full-time, in-person instruction, in compliance with Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards and public health guidelines.
- Expanded vaccine eligibility: Effective April 15, everyone in Monterey County, 16 years of age and older is eligible for the COVID vaccine. The Monterey County Department of Health and the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula are both good resources for finding sites and appointments for the vaccine.
- Getting your vaccine: We expect that by the start of the fall semester, all faculty, staff, and students coming to campus will be vaccinated, except those who have a religious or medical exemption. This is to provide the best possible protection for our entire community. If you are not able to get a vaccine before you arrive on campus, we will have a list of resources available, so that you can schedule your first vaccine as soon as you arrive.
- We will use PolicyPath, a health-check app, as a way of clearing faculty, staff, and students to visit or work on campus. Faculty and staff still will be encouraged to work from home when possible. PolicyPath was used at the Middlebury College Vermont campus in fall 2020 as part of a successful semester that featured a mix of on-site and online instruction.
- We have installed Wi-Fi access points for outdoor spaces around campus to strengthen wireless reception.
- Plexiglass shields have been installed in most forward-facing offices and reception areas.
- We have installed MERV 13 air filters in HVAC systems on campus to increase the filtering of circulated air. Ventilation and air circulation in indoor spaces has been assessed, and plans are underway to make improvements where needed.
- We have secured large quantities of masks, hand sanitizers, and protective gloves for members of the campus community who may need them.
- To be prepared for the unlikely case of an outbreak on campus, personal protective equipment (PPE) will be distributed to the Emergency Response Team, Security, and Facilities.
- To allow for socially-distanced, on-campus work, study, and meetings, you will be able to reserve appropriate spaces through our online reservation system.
- We have notified faculty that they are free to convene small groups off campus (for now) when state and county guidelines allow and when wearing masks and social-distancing is practiced.
- Classrooms have been designated for small group meetings and one-on-ones. Some of these classrooms have already been made available to faculty, staff, and students currently in Monterey.
- Special lanyards are being designed and will be used as part of our plans for a safe return to campus.
- For students who need a quiet place with reliable Internet for job interviews or special projects, we will be offering limited temporary use of campus offices.
- Certains groups of current students living in Monterey County can sign up for an appointment to receive the vaccine.
- No-contact checkout and pickup of physical resources from the library have been in place since summer 2020, in addition to the wide range of electronic resources.
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.
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.
Our current academic year features remote instruction.
- Our faculty have worked closely with our Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry (DLINQ) to optimize their curricula to make the most of the technology available, ensuring we deliver the highest-quality remote instruction.
- We are leveraging feedback from our current students to continually improve the remote learning experience.
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.
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 students based outside of the U.S. in mind as we plan our courses. We are paying particular attention to time zones, technology platforms, and each class’s mix of synchronous and asynchronous elements.
- Many 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 you cannot attend a live class, you should alert your instructor as early as possible and work with them to make an alternate plan e.g. check if the class will be recorded for you 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding your eligibility for the transfer of your SEVIS record or guidance regarding next steps.
Financial Support and Affordability
For students who cannot take classes full time this academic year but want to maintain progress toward their degree, we have reduced our per-credit cost from $2,030 per credit to $1,777 per credit for students who take 11 or fewer credits. Students taking 12 or more credits will be charged the comprehensive fee. We will not be increasing any tuition costs for the 2021–22 academic year—both the comprehensive fee and per-credit cost will remain the same. Learn more about tuition costs.
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.
Remote learning 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.