Board of Trustees approves English school, makes Abenaki school permanent and supports school projects in Puerto Rico

MIDDLEBURY, Vermont – Middlebury’s board of directors has approved several new programs and initiatives: an English school at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, a school in Abenaki, a new master’s program in teaching Korean and plans for a school in Puerto Rico — at its October 21-23 meeting. The meeting was the first of the board to be held in person since January 2020.

“The new schools and programs will add depth to Middlebury’s strong language offering and study opportunities beyond the Vermont campus,” said Laurie Patton, President of Middlebury. “As we look to the future, Middlebury will continue to be a leader in language education and immersive cultural and educational experiences. “

Launched in the summer of 2022, the Middlebury English Language School will be located at the Middlebury Institute in Monterey, California, and will integrate several of the Institute’s intensive English programs. The Abenaki School, established as a pilot in summer 2020, will become permanent in 2022. This is the 12th language school in Middlebury to be created. The School of Korean’s new master’s program, which begins in the summer of 2022, will begin to address the critical need for teachers who are trained practitioners, proficient in the Korean language and culturally competent. Once the details of the Puerto Rico school are finalized, the new school will join the 16 Middlebury schools overseas. The program is scheduled to begin in fall 2022. Additional details about the school in Puerto Rico will be announced at a later date.

Mental health resources, admissions, institutional priorities and language schools

On Friday, October 22, board members heard from Barbara McCall, executive director of the Center for Health and Wellness in Middlebury, talk about the mental health programs and services available to students at the College. McCall described Middlebury’s offerings related to prevention, intervention and postvention strategies and processes. The center has new leaders at the office, department and division levels who work together to assess program, service and staffing needs.

Dean of Admissions Nicole Curvin provided an update on the College’s recruitment efforts and outreach to potential students, including students of color and international students. Noting that applications are at an all-time high for the 2025 class, Curvin said it was important to continue to focus on national demographic shifts and underserved students. Partnerships with organizations such as the Posse Foundation and collaboration with other colleges and universities are also essential to the college’s admissions efforts. Curvin noted that affordability communication is also a priority for Middlebury and a major concern for prospective students.

On Saturday, October 23, the directors heard from several members of the Senior Leadership Group. President Laurie Patton discussed Middlebury’s institutional priorities, including financial sustainability and academic excellence. In an area of ​​global engagement, Patton discussed the goal of restoring enrollment in overseas schools to previous levels in anticipation of the transition from a pandemic to an endemic period. Patton and the Trustees also honored Gus Jordan, former executive director of the Center for Health and Wellness, who recently retired after 25 years at the College.

Steve Snyder, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Language Schools, provided an update on the 2021 summer language schools session and highlighted the challenges and opportunities for schools in the postpandemic environment. Snyder said the challenges include the lingering effects of the pandemic and visa and travel barriers for international professors. Online learning and inter-agency collaborations present opportunities for growth and increased academic offerings.

Financial update, design review, gifts and actions

The planned four-storey residence will house 276 first-year students.

David Provost, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, gave the financial overview. The most recent data is characterized by two themes, according to Provost: a lower than expected deficit and significant returns on investment for the year ending June 30. After the board meeting on Monday October 25, he shared details of Middlebury’s financial operating results and an endowment report for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 in a a message to the community. Provost and Patton both reiterated their commitment to focus on salaries in the budget planning process for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2022 and ends June 30, 2023.

Provost also briefed the Trustees on the news first year housing and student center projects. He said the planned four-story, 78,000-square-foot residence will house 276 students and feature gathering spaces for socializing and studying. In keeping with Middlebury’s commitment to universal design principles, every room will be fully accessible. The building will be located west of Coffrin Hall and the Chateau and north of Forest Hall and will replace Battell Hall, which will be dismantled. Members of the Senior Leadership Group are working with the Board of Directors on the construction schedule, which is expected to begin in one to three years.

Located on the current site of the Proctor Dining Hall and adjacent tennis courts, the new student center will house multiple spaces for student organizations and most of the offices that serve students, from student financial services to student activities. The center will feature a spacious dining room that can accommodate 1,200 people, which will replace Proctor. Current tennis courts will be moved to sports facilities. Provost noted that this project is in the preliminary programming and design phase and would not start for three to five years.

The new student center, currently in the preliminary design phase, will be located on the current site of the Proctor dining hall and adjacent tennis courts.

Directors also heard about the fundraising progress. Colleen Fitzpatrick, vice president for advancement, said Middlebury received two gifts of $ 10 million. One of the donations comes from Ted ’83 and Kathy O’Connor Truscott ’83 and will support faculty and students by establishing an endowed chair in Black Studies, expanding financial aid to undergraduates and graduate studies and providing unrestricted support to institutional priorities.

An anonymous donor has donated $ 10 million that will be used to renovate the Christian A. Johnson Memorial Building, which houses Middlebury College’s architectural studies program and studio art department, and to advance planning for a new museum to be located on the north side of the campus.

The board also took the following actions:

  • Approved 2022-2023 tuition and fees for the Middlebury Institute. There are 583 full-time and 112 part-time students enrolled at the Institute this fall, similar levels to the previous year. Enrollment in translation, interpretation and localization management degree programs reaches a record high of 264.

  • Accepted the results of the audits for Middlebury’s fiscal year 2021, which ended June 30, 2021, and the College’s retirement plan for the calendar year ending December 31, 2020.

The board will meet again from February 10 to 12.

Sylvester L. Goldfarb