| by Nicole Veilleux

Staff, Updates

September at Middlebury: A Peek from Across the Campuses 
As we step into September, it’s great to see how this month brings unique experiences to our various campuses. Here’s a glimpse of what September is like for the Vermont, California, and Schools Abroad campuses: 

  • Vermont Campuses (Middlebury, Bread Loaf): The campus is bustling with students again, and the temps are beginning to cool. It’s the perfect time for outdoor activities, apple picking, and exploring Vermont.  

  • MIIS (California) Campus: Our California campus finally is basking in the warm and sunny Californian weather, providing the ideal backdrop for outdoor gatherings and community engagement. As we enter week three of term, it is great to see students and colleagues populating the campus again. 

  • Schools Abroad Campuses: Like VT and CA, across our Schools Abroad locations, September signifies the beginning of a new academic year for students and staff. It’s a time of excitement and anticipation as international learning experiences unfold.  

Middlebury Staff Council: The Heart of Employee Engagement 

For those who may be new to our community or need a refresher, the Middlebury Staff Council is a dynamic group of your fellow colleagues, elected by staff employees and recognized by the Board of Trustees. Our primary mission is to represent your interests, contribute to a positive working environment, and foster open communication between staff and administration. We achieve this by: 

  • Listening and Responding: We actively listen to your ideas, opinions, issues, and concerns, ensuring that your voice is heard. 

  • Formulating Recommendations: We organize data, staff views, and other valuable information into reports that lead to actionable recommendations, changes, and solutions. 

  • Communicating with Administration: We serve as a direct link to Middlebury’s administration, conveying your reports and recommendations. 

  • Regular Meetings: Our monthly Staff Council meetings are open to all members of the Middlebury community. We are setting up the fall meeting scheduled now. Details will be posted to the Staff Council calendar and sent out as they become available. 

Get Involved: Your Voice Matters 

We encourage all staff members to actively participate in shared governance by joining a committee or actively participating with the Staff Council. Your insights and perspectives are invaluable in shaping the future of Middlebury. We are always eager to welcome new members into our team. 

Stay up to date with Staff Council news and events to learn about upcoming opportunities, meetings, and events that facilitate collaboration and engagement within our community. 

Thank you for being a vital part of the Middlebury family. If you have any questions, ideas, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Together, we can continue to make Middlebury a great place to work.


2023-24 Committee Selection Update: Staff Council is in the process of choosing chairs for the committees, who will then reach out to interested staff, set up a meeting schedule, and an agenda to start off the year. If you are interested in joining a committee and haven’t contacted us yet, please submit an interest form. Staff Council work is considered paid time and should receive your supervisor’s support, as scheduling allows. Much of the work the Staff Council does can be considered professional development within the Skills Matrix. 

Seeking a District E Representative: We are reaching out to individuals and district groups to fill the District E Representative position. If you are interested or have questions, contact Colleen Norden at cnorden@middlebury.edu

District E Areas: Budget Office, College Bookstore, Controller’s Office, Finance and Treasurer’s Office, Human Resources, Public Safety, Ralph Myhre Golf Course, Rikert Outdoor Center, Snowbowl, Student Employment Office, Student Financial Services, Student Mail Center


Employee Mixers (VT): The President’s Garden Party in Middlebury was well attended with a mix of faculty and staff. After being individually greeted by President Patton, the crowd enjoyed mingling under a tent behind 3 South Street with delicious food and beverages provided by friendly staff. Thank you to all the staff who contributed to the event, from the landscaping and setup to the logistics that day. Our Events Committee is working with Human Resources and the Faculty Council to plan more opportunities for employees to socialize together and will send details out as soon as they are confirmed.

Upcoming Events 

  • Wednesday, 9/27 (CA) - Join us for the Color Me MIIS Campus Event! The vibrancy of campus life is calling and we invite you to celebrate the spirit of our campus! Get ready to immerse yourself in our school colors, esprit de corps, and fun! School-colored snacks and drinks provided! Compete in our MIIS Trivia game! Open to MIIS staff, faculty, and students! 1:30 p.m. in the Holland Courtyard.

  • Friday, 9/29 (CA) - Join the The Mid-Autumn Festival, observed widely throughout China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. Participants will gather to learn about this festival celebrated in a lot of Asian countries. 6-8 p.m. in the Sampson Center Dining Room. 

Meeting Updates

Staff Council is working on a schedule of meetings for the fall. If you would like to see a particular guest or have a potential presentation for an open meeting, then email staffcouncil@middlebury.edu your suggestions. 

Representative Spotlight: TONI M. THOMAS

Toni M. Thomas has been an integral part of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) community for over two decades. As the Associate Dean of Academic Operations, Toni’s influence resonates throughout MIIS, helping shape its academic operations and fostering a positive learning environment.  

Toni’s journey with Middlebury began in October 2001. Not only has she been a valued staff member for many years, but she also completed her MBA program here, graduating in May 2000.

She has served as the District M* Member at Large since 2021, contributing her expertise and insights to the broader Middlebury community. Her role extends to Co-Secretary of the Executive Committee, where she facilitates communication within the council. Additionally, she has participated in the Compensation and Communications committees, dedicating her time and energy to addressing critical staff concerns. 

What inspired Toni to join Staff Council? She recognized the need for a strong staff voice in decisions that impact their work. Her motivation also stems from her desire to foster stronger relationships between the Institute and the College. Toni believes that by enhancing mutual understanding, we can streamline decision-making and ensure that everyone benefits equitably. 

Toni’s favorite Middlebury resource is the vibrant learning community. She actively participates in various workshops, including those led by experts like Renee Wells and Melissa Sorensen. These experiences have enriched her perspective and expanded her knowledge, reinforcing the importance of continuous learning in our community. She also values community gatherings at MIIS as an opportunity to connect with peers. 

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Toni has a passion for adventure travel. Her adventures have taken her kayaking and rafting in stunning locations worldwide. She’s paddled through the waters to witness the grandeur of Alaskan glaciers and ventured into the ocean for kayaking experiences in New Zealand. 

Join Toni in making Middlebury an even better place for all by expressing your interest in joining Staff Council. Simply fill out this form to submit your interest. 

*District M represents: Middlebury Institute staff.