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. This year’s dates are September 1–4, 2022

Details for Participants

Visit the Schedule for the full roster of events, and find information on Bread Loaf on the Details for Your Stay page.

Planning Your Drive?

Please keep in mind that lots of road construction is happening! For the latest road conditions, visit New England 511 and select Vermont.

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


Wednesday Early Arrival With Lodging With Lodging Without Lodging
$625 $565 $465

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

Refund Policy

We will honor refund requests for any reason through August 9, and COVID-related requests up until the first day of Alumni College (September 1, 2022).



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

Class Participants List

See who else has signed up for your course by checking this list.

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.


Jason Blazakis (Dissecting the Radical Right)

Jason Blazakis in light blue and white checked button-up shirt

Jason M. Blazakis is professor of the practice at and director of the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He is also a senior research fellow at the Soufan Center and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and many other publications. From 2008 to 2018, he served as director of the Counterterrorism Finance and Designations Office, Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, U.S. Department of State. He is currently writing a book on terrorism finance for Cambridge University Press.


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

Alex Lyford in short-sleeved dark grey polo shirt

Alex Lyford is an assistant professor of statistics at Middlebury. He received a PhD in statistics from the University of Georgia in 2017, and his research areas of interest are machine learning, eye-tracking data, text analysis, and the mathematics of board games. His most recent work involves applications of machine learning to eye-tracking data to better understand how students interpret graphs. Alex’s loves include pickup soccer, skiing, hiking, and playing games.



Brett Millier (Reading Modern Poetry)

Brett Millier in dark blue velvet top and purple earrings

Brett Millier is the Reginald L. Cook Professor of American Literature at Middlebury College and chair of the Department of English. She is the author of Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It (1993) and Flawed Light: American Women Poets and Alcohol (2009), and the associate editor of The Columbia History of American Poetry (1994). She is coeditor of Adrienne Rich: Poetry and Prose (2018) and of Rich’s Selected Poems (2018), and is currently at work on a study of Rich’s poems. Millier holds a PhD from Stanford University and a BA from Yale, and has taught at Middlebury since 1986.



Greg Pask (Insects in a Chemical World)

Greg Pask in light grey tshirt, smiling

Greg Pask is an insect neurobiologist with interests in understanding the powerful sense of smell that insects use to navigate their environment and communicate with one another. In particular, his research focuses on the chemical language of ants and fireflies and the specific genes involved in detecting social cues.




Nadia Rabesahala Horning (Dictators and Democrats)

Nadia Rabesahala Horning in white scoop-necked sweater and beaded choker necklace

Nadia Rabesahala Horning P’19 teaches courses that span various social science disciplines. A trained political scientist, she published The Politics of Deforestation in Africa in 2018 and is currently working on a project that investigates why some highly skilled African professionals return to Africa, while others do not. She holds a BA in international studies and MA in international transactions from George Mason University and a PhD in comparative politics from Cornell University. A native of Madagascar, she was educated on three continents and has experienced life under a variety of political regimes.

Alumni and Families
700 Exchange St.
Middlebury, VT 05753