Return to Learn: Middlebury Alumni College (for parents and friends too!)

Join old friends and new in this beloved Middlebury tradition!

Return to Learn

Learn from some of the College’s finest faculty while enjoying delicious meals and spectacular views on our Bread Loaf campus. Join us next year August 31– September 3, 2023.

View Photos from 2022

Event Highlights

  • A visit from President Patton on Thursday afternoon
  • Cocktail hours outside the Little Theater
  • Movie Night!
  • Conversations over meals and evening receptions
  • And five courses taught by some of Middlebury’s finest instructors

ADA Accommodations

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides a range of supportive accommodations for students with disabilities at Middlebury. For ADA accommodations, please reach out to the DRC staff at



Email us at or call the Alumni Office at 802-443-5183.

2022 Course Descriptions & Homework

Dissecting the Radical Right
Jason Blazakis

This course focuses on the radical right and will examine U.S.-based and transnational aspects of the extreme far right. The course will examine the various ideologies far-right actors adhere to, the way they communicate over a broad range of platforms, and how they are financing themselves in increasingly novel ways.

Upon completing this course, participants will understand that right-wing extremism is not monolithic and that there are a broad range of diverse actors who populate the fringes of the far right. Finally, the course will examine the policies that have been adopted to counter the extreme far right and what more can be done to counter the growing threat of far-right violence in the United States. 

Big Data—What’s the Big Deal?
Alex Lyford

Big data. Machine learning. Data mining. P-hacking. What does it all mean?! In this course, we’ll deconstruct some of the most common jargon surrounding big data and statistical methods. We’ll answer questions like, What exactly is big data? How do modern machine learning algorithms actually work? Why is it so easy to lie with statistics? As we’ll soon find out, it doesn’t take a PhD to understand how modern statistical methods function.

In our few days together, we’ll learn how statisticians and data scientists tackle the challenges presented by the copious amounts of data in the world today…and some of the ways where they get it wrong! Although this course will utilize some elements of probability, mathematics, and coding, no quantitative or coding background is required. 

Reading Modern Poetry
Brett Millier

In this course, we will read together poems by American poets of the 20th century. Our goal is both to appreciate what the poems have to say (and to enjoy how it is said) and to learn something about how modern poems are made and about the poets who made them.

Great poems don’t mean the same thing to everyone who reads them, or even to you every time you read them—meaning resonates differently as our lives and circumstances change. I hope to introduce you to new poets and poems, and perhaps to reacquaint you with poems you once knew and find out what they mean to you now.

Insects in a Chemical World
Greg Pask

Smell and taste are universally the most important senses in the life of an insect, driving critical behaviors such as foraging for food, finding a mate, and locating an egg-laying site. In this course, we’ll explore the chemical world from the perspective of an insect and learn how this basic understanding of insect chemical detection can both support insect conservation efforts and control health and agricultural pest insects. In addition to insects of global importance, we will also go into the field to observe local species in wild and agricultural spaces.

Dictators and Democrats
Nadia Rabesahala Horning

This course interrogates the seldom-questioned distinction between dictatorial and democratic rule. After examining the conceptual differences between the two categories, we will turn to evidence to investigate to what extent the line between dictatorship and democracy is clear vs. blurry.

Short lectures and readings, class discussions, and simulation exercises will guide our learning, while various media will enable our assessment.

Alumni and Families
700 Exchange St.
Middlebury, VT 05753