The following projects are currently being supported by the Ron and Jessica Liebowitz Fund for Innovation
Beyond the Page
For decades, a diverse cohort of professional actors (the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble) have served as part of the Bread Loaf School of English (BLSE) teaching force, collaborating with faculty to bring theater arts practices into Bread Loaf classes and catalyze critical thinking. Beyond the Page expands the reach and impact of this work – from the graduate to the undergraduate classroom and from the discipline of English to diverse fields across the arts and sciences. BLSE will partner with Middlebury faculty and students to develop a sustainable model of theater arts practices that has the potential to grow across the institution and revolutionize what teaching across the liberal arts can be and do.
BIPOC Faculty Community Initiative
Housed in the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE), this project will support a peer mentorship program for faculty from under-represented backgrounds.
CoLab: Where Critical Service Learning Meets Action Research
The Institute and California State University Monterey Bay are forming a partnership with the goal to make a tangible difference in structural problems that confront the communities of our region. This grant will help formalize CoLab which was created in 2016. This new work will connect a variety of resources from the two institutions to provide community-engaged research training, supported by faculty fellows, community fellows, and a graduate assistant.
Digital Teaching and Learning Fellowship Program
As we look to a post-pandemic future, intentionally designed digital learning, including hybrid and online modalities, can support key institutional goals: curricular flexibility, inclusive and equitable teaching and learning, and offering access to new audiences of students, each identified as key institutional goals. To build institutional capacity toward these goals, the Digital Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellowship program will provide Institute faculty an opportunity to build on new skills and knowledge they developed over the last two years, with the support of digital learning experts at Digital Learning & Inquiry (DLINQ).
Diverting Hate, A Student-Led Counter-Terrorism Initiative
Diverting Hate uses strategic targeting fueled by network analysis and a database of known misogynistic terms and profiles, to divert susceptible men away from dangerous paths and towards resilience-building tactics. These tactics live on a website that we’ve carefully curated to incorporate community groups and mental health organizations that are focused on men’s well-being.
Exhibit Sharing: Middlebury College Museum of Art and MIIS
This project will arrange for the exhibit, “Being There: The Photographs of James P. Blair,” to be placed on permanent view at the Institute. The collection, on exhibit at the College in 2019, contains a wide range of images from around the world taken by Blair during his 35-year career working for the National Geographic Society. In addition, a collection of pre-Columbian pottery and related materials, gifted to the Institute, will be shipped to the College to be on display in the Davis Family Library and be available as an important resource to faculty and students in anthropology.
History of Science, Medicine, and Technology
Through this initiative, several faculty in the History Department have established a new track within the history department’s curriculum to allow students, be they science-minded or humanities based, to focus on the history of science, medicine and technology (HSMT). Across the country, HSMT is currently among the most popular and appealing fields of academic study among both humanities and STEM students. This project includes researching best practices within this discipline; invite leading scholars to Middlebury; and develop a collection of new courses to launch this track.
Inclusive Hiring Fellowship Program
The Inclusive Hiring Fellowship Program is a pilot model to build an onramp for women transitioning back to the community after incarceration and will provide the critical pillars of support - stable employment, reliable housing, and robust wraparound support services. Program participants will be employed at Middlebury in entry level operations positions and have an opportunity to gain skills and build personal agency. Women will also have VT Works for Women staff support, intentional programming as a cohort and housing in Middlebury.
Mental Health and Well-being for BIPOC students
This initiative, a partnership between Counseling and Health & Wellness Education, focuses on the mental health of students of color by addressing the impacts of racism on students of color through supportive, affinity-based psychoeducational spaces, primarily through workshops provided by practitioners of color for students of color.
The Envisioning Middlebury strategic planning process inspired a group of faculty and staff members worked to create midd.data a “major new initiative designed to provide students equitable and inclusive access to powerful tools for empirical research, data analysis, and critical digital scholarship from the moment they arrive on campus”. After significant iterative planning, this initiative was formally announced to the College by the Provost in the fall of 2020. The authors of the report “envision a future in which every Middlebury student is data and digital fluent”. Conversations with the Provost and leaders of this group continue in order to realize the goals of the initiative that are outlined in the report.
Middlebury Escape Room
The Middlebury Escape Room will offer an environment that combines community building, fun, and the opportunity to learn about Middlebury’s unique culture. Designed with Middlebury community members as the target audience, the Middlebury Escape Room will be grounded in Middlebury’s value of inclusivity and focus on conveying information about the Energy 2028 Initiative and the Twilight Project as well as aspects of the natural environment of Middlebury.
Middlebury Formula Hybrid Team
The Middlebury Formula Hybrid team built a hybrid race car to compete in the Formula Hybrid & Electric Student Racing Competition in May 2022.
Public Humanities Lab Initiative
The Axinn Center’s Public Humanities Lab Initiative is designed to help students and faculty integrate Humanistic learning in creative ways into public facing and/or community curated projects that address social and cultural issues of urgent importance. The “Laboratory” element of these classes is envisaged to reshape possibilities for Humanities classes on campus by promoting hands-on engagement with varied experts and organizations, both within our Vermont context and beyond.
Vermont Innovation Summer Cohort Internship Program
As part of the “Vermont Innovation Summer,” the Center for Careers and Internships (CCI) began a summer internship program that focuses on the Vermont start-up ecosystem, with a living-learning-working immersion experience. In addition to the experiential component, this program will foster internship and career opportunities for the Middlebury College student and new graduate, thereby encouraging and facilitating Middlebury talent to remain in Vermont during summers, after graduation, and beyond.
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