| by Jim Ralph

Faculty, Undergraduate Research

Proposals for Middlebury’s intellectual kick-off event for the academic year, the 2022 Clifford Symposium, are being accepted until Friday, January 14. See more information about past symposiums at go.middlebury.edu/clifford.

Update: The deadline for proposals has been extended to January 14, 2022.

Dear Colleagues:

I write to invite proposals for the 2022 Nicholas R. Clifford Symposium, which will run from Thursday, September 22nd through Saturday, September 24th. Proposals should be submitted to the office of the Dean for Faculty Development and Research (adeans@middlebury.edu) no later than Wednesday, December 15, 2021.

Traditionally, proposals have been submitted by groups of faculty who are willing to serve as a program committee to organize the symposium.  Successful proposals will develop topics with interest and entry from a variety of disciplines across the curriculum. We are particularly interested in ideas that can foster collaboration and dialogue between the academic “divisions,” as well as between the curriculum and students’ co-curricular opportunities. Although the symposium will be open to the public, potential organizers should consider the primary audience to be Middlebury students, faculty, and staff. It might be helpful to think of the Clifford Symposium as the signature intellectual kick-off event of the academic year. Proposals that include students as active participants and that feature events that might be incorporated into the syllabi of courses across the fall curriculum are especially attractive.

The program committee will be responsible for inviting speakers and organizing the lectures, panels, and other events. While in the past the Clifford Symposium traditionally relied heavily on support from one or more academic coordinators,  for the upcoming year Jen Nuceder, Manager of Academic Office Support, will be available to offer logistical support in addition to her other responsibilities.  The Academic Administration will provide strategic guidance in helping to launch a successful symposium. It will convene a working group on the Clifford Symposium which will brief the program committee on the various elements of a good symposium and serve as a conduit to the various offices at the College whose services will be required.

A budget of $15,000 exists to support the Clifford Symposium. This budget may be used to cover honoraria and travel expenses for visiting speakers and meals for symposium participants as well as to support the organizing effort. The planning committee for the Clifford is encouraged to collaborate with other departments, programs, and offices on campus to pool budgets and host events. The Academic Administration will not provide additional funding to the Clifford Symposium beyond its allocated budget, in deference to other curricular and co-curricular needs we would like to support throughout the year.  Please note that the Clifford need not have events planned for all three days designated on the calendar for the symposium. We believe that a successful symposium can accomplish its goals with moderate use of outside speakers and performers in conjunction with the tremendous resources that exist right here in our faculty, students, and staff.

Proposals for the 2022 Clifford Symposium should include 1) a description of the proposed topic; 2) an account of how the topic would be of interest to a wide range of students, staff, and faculty and would make connections across disciplinary boundaries; 3) a description of the ways the topic could unite curricular and co-curricular offerings at Middlebury, if applicable; 4) a list of possible visiting and local speakers; 5) an estimated budget; 6) the names of the Middlebury faculty who are committed to serving as the program committee to plan this event; 7) a plan for organizing the symposium, including the names of the staff who have agreed to support the planning effort.

We in the Academic Administration will begin review of the proposals after the December 15th deadline in hopes of announcing a selection by the end of fall semester.

The Clifford Symposium—which draws its inspiration from the late Nicholas Clifford, a wide-ranging and talented scholar and teacher—is annually one of our most significant experiences as an intellectual community.  We look forward to hearing your ideas for the 2022 symposium. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this process or the Clifford Symposium itself, please let me know.


Jim Ralph

Dean for Faculty Development and Research


Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research
Davis Family Library, Suite 225
Middlebury, VT 05753