A student works with a HOPE volunteer to organize the food shelf.
A student works with a HOPE volunteer to organize the food shelf.

Learn in the classroom and in the world. This is community-connected experiential learning.

Privilege & Poverty (P&P) is comprised of a growing group of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners who share a common interest in studying Privilege & Poverty. We believe that collectively grappling with the problems associated with inequality—in both its domestic and global forms—represents a remarkably good application of a liberal arts education.

If you are interested in exploring the Privilege & Poverty Cluster please reach out to any of us for a conversation. We would be delighted to advise you on how to get started with the study of Privilege & Poverty at Middlebury.

Hector Vila

Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric

Professor Héctor J. Vila is serving as the P&P Academic Director for academic year 2020-2021 while Prof. Matt Lawrence is on leave. 

Professor Vila, an associate professor of Writing & Rhetoric, brings his extensive experience and expertise in experiential learning, student cohort-building, and academic inquiry into inequality to this role. His book, Life Affirming Acts, Education as Transformation in the Writing Classroom  (Heinemann/Boynton-Cook) addresses the tension between race and gender, class, and the education system. Héctor’s book article, Digital Stories in the Liberal Arts Environment: Educational Media Communities at the Margins,” with Barbara Ganley, in Media Communities, Brigitte Hipfl, Theo Hug, ed. (Waxmann, Berlin and New York) demonstrates how digital media can break down harsh boundaries between students and education. Further essays on education, marginalization, and identity are published by the Community Works Journal. Of interest may be More Than a Gesture: Toward a Pedagogy of Community, Degrees of Separation: Helping Students Find Safe Spaces for Thinking and Being, and Star Wars Civilization and Stone Age Emotions. The Ecology of Teaching is an interview about service learning, particularly at Middlebury College.

Davis Family Library 224
Office Hours:
Fall 2019: W 12:30 to 3:30 & by appointment

Jason Duquette-Hoffman

Assistant Director, Privilege & Poverty

Jason Duquette-Hoffman serves as Assistant Director for P&P - coordinating the experiential learning, co-curricular programming and community partnerships that underpin the P&P educational experience. Prior to joining Middlebury’s Center for Community Engagement, Jason led a service-learning partnership between the University of Vermont and the Vermont Attorney General’s office, with a joint staff and faculty appointment. Jason has taught undergraduate and graduate level public policy courses, undergraduate courses in consumer law and policy, and public-sector service-learning in UVM’s Community Development and Applied Economics Department and Master of Public Administration graduate program. 

Ashley Laux


Ashley Laux is the Director of the Center for Community Engagement, one of the three Middlebury College Experiential Learning Centers. In her role at CCE, Ashley supports and leads a host of community-connected academic and co-curricular initiatives that connect students and learning to the larger community. 

26 Blinn Lane

Matt Lawrence

Faculty Director, Privilege & Poverty

Matthew Lawrence is Assistant Professor of Sociology and a Barksdale, Jr. Faculty Fellow. Professor Lawrence teaches a range of courses, with a particular focus on education, inequality, social mobility, social statistics, data and research methodology.

Professor Lawrence is on leave for the 2020-2021 academic year, during which time Professor Héctor Vila is serving as interim Academic Director. 

Munroe Hall 412
Office Hours:
Spring Term: Mondays 3:30-4:30, and Thursdays 10:30-12:30
Tom and Nancy Shepherd
We are deeply grateful for Nancy Hamilton Shepherd ’53 and her late husband Tom Shepherd for their vision and initial funding that helped to launch Privilege & Poverty at Middlebury.

Center for Community Engagement
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

(802) 443-3580