Category Archives: Midd Blogosphere

Envisioning Middlebury: Talk by Gardner Campbell on Friday

Gardner Campbell

We are pleased to announce the second in our series of speakers for Envisioning Middlebury, our yearlong conversation.

Dr. Gardner Campbell serves as associate professor of English and special assistant to the provost at Virginia Commonwealth University. In his talk, he will discuss how the paradigm of “romantic computing—the experience of wonders [and] uncanny encounters” through technology—can help us fulfill our highest educational ideals.

Dr. Campbell will speak at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey on Friday, May 6, at 12:15 p.m., PDT, in the 499 Van Buren videoconferencing room. Vermont participants are encouraged to attend and participate in the videoconference in Davis Library 105 at 3:15 p.m., EDT.  Opportunity for discussion immediately following.

Envisioning Middlebury is a community conversation to engage individuals across the Middlebury community. These discussions will form the foundation for Middlebury’s strategic planning process. Please join us by attending the talk and engaging in our community conversation.


Susan Baldridge

May EFAP News: Keeping up with Your Connections

e4 logo

Are You an Effective Communicator and an Active Listener?

We are busier today than ever. Technology keeps us updated and accessible 24/7; however, all of our high tech resources have created several communication challenged individuals.

Communication is a two part process consisting of someone effectively relaying their message and someone else actively listening to receive the message. In order to successfully send and receive a message, both segments need to be operational. Let’s break communication basics down into five categories:  interpersonal skills, problem solving/leadership, public speaking, written communication, and active listening.


A recent study by Career Builder identified that companies reported 52% of recent college graduates, hence new employees, lack interpersonal skills. Graduates struggled with conversations, making eye contact, listening, and even basic business appropriate dress and personal hygiene. Companies shared that during interviews many graduates couldn’t execute a firm handshake or properly introduce themselves. Be aware of your body language and facial expressions, and practice interviewing and presentation skills until you feel comfortable with them.


Millennials have grown up with highly structured and scheduled lives. One down side of this is the lack of opportunities for problem solving and leadership. If situations are always defined for you, and groups always pinpointed, then it is difficult for leaders to emerge. Independent thinking and problem solving has been stifled in our present world where most problems are left to be solved by an internet search. Challenge yourself and others to brain storm and problem solve in a “low tech” way.  Just use paper and pencil or the dry erase board. Offer opportunities for mixed groups to work together; you may see glimmers of the next great leader there.

Corporate leaders must be skilled in explaining concepts enthusiastically to others. If you can’t clearly communicate a concept, then you will never be able to “sell” it to others, and you may lose credibility as your audience could just interpret it as you don’t even understand the idea yourself.


The Career Builder study also identified that 41% of recent college graduates lacked public speaking skills. Some are born with this talent, but the majority of us must work at it. Preparation, practice, repeat. Not only does this apply to public speaking, but simple professional tasks such as answering the phone or introducing yourself. For the most part we live in a very casual society; however, polished, precise responses in public, within interviews, or on the phone can make or break the deal.


Instant everything has taught us to shorten words and ignore grammar. Professionally, you need to ensure your message matches the media. Reports, emails, and business documents should all contain proper grammar, correct spelling, and appropriate capitalization. Write it, read it, proof it, spell and grammar check it, then walk away. When you come back proof it again before you send it, and if you can run it by someone else for review, go for it. Informal style in normal business communications is not acceptable. If you are using social media for campaigns, then you have the opportunity to be less rigid; however, still following old school rules will help you look professional.


The best way to demonstrate active listening is to focus on the speaker and their content during the conversation/presentation, . Even asking questions aids in active listening. But if during a conversation, all you can think about is what you should say when you get the opportunity to pipe in, then you are internally focusing on your own thoughts and not the message of the sender. Practice active listening, remove all distractions, and completely focus on the speaker.

Most importantly whatever you are communicating about be sure to let your passion for the subject show. “Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.”

– Jim Rohn

FREE Webinar:
Communicating in Relationships: 5 Steps to the Best Fight Ever

May 17th

12-1pm and 3-4pm EST

11-12am and 2-3pm CST

10-11am and 1-3pm MST

9-10am and 12-1pm PST

Wouldn’t it be great if you could express yourself well in a fight and ask for what you really want and need? In this practical, research-inspired workshop you will learn how to transform your next conflict into a conversation that leaves both parties feeling heard and respected.

REGISTER TODAY! Space is limited
Click on the time you would like to attend above.

You can also log on to with your username and password. On the homepage, click on “UPCOMING WEBINARS,” and follow the easy instructions.
Unable to make it to the scheduled webinars?
We have them archived for your convenience. Visit click on E4 University, then click on Webinars to search by  webinar title. 

e4health administers the College’s EFAP program.  To access their comprehensive web site, with many tools and articles, go to the e4health web site.
Username:  middlebury college
Password:    guest
Or call them at: 800-828-6025
(phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

New Employee

DSC_0165 bwIn this post we’ll introduce you to a new member of the Middlebury College staff. Please join us as we welcome Sonja to campus!

On April 1, 2016, Sonja Burrows joined the Instructional Design team in the Office of the Associate Provost for Digital Learning, where she provides guidance and support for digital projects across the institution with particular focus on the Language Schools and Schools Abroad. As a language educator, second language acquisition scholar, and digital language-learning expert, Sonja brings to her work an on-the-ground understanding of the diverse ways in which digital projects can amplify language and cultural learning environments.

Prior to joining the Office of Digital Learning, Sonja developed curricula for summer language academies as well as digital language courses at Middlebury Interactive Languages. She also taught Spanish both at Middlebury College and the University of Oregon, where she developed a specialization in Spanish Heritage Language pedagogy. A self-described language geek and cultural scholar, Sonja has lived, worked, and taught in five countries outside of the United States. She speaks English and Spanish, some Italian and French, and aspires to learn Portuguese.

Sonja holds a Ph.D. in Romance Languages from the University of Oregon, as well as Master’s degrees in Spanish literature from the University of Oregon and in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the School for International Training. Her fields of expertise and scholarly research aim to bridge the disciplinary gaps between literature and linguistics, and include Spanish Heritage Language pedagogy, Spanish in the U.S., and English-Spanish bilingualism.

Women’s Soccer Babysitting Event

Middlebury Women’s Soccer is hosting a Kids Night on Friday, May 6 from 5:30-10pm at the Peterson Family Athletics Complex.  Parents may drop off their children, ages 4-13, between 5:30 and 6pm for fun games and age appropriate activities.   For more information, registration, and release, please visit, or call x5410.

Why Trump’s Vice Presidential Choice Is Worth More Than Warm Spit

It is easy to mock, as much of social media did, Ted Cruz’s decision last week to announce that Carly Fiorina will be his vice presidential running mate. For critics (myself included), it appeared to be nothing more than a last-moment Hail Mary pass designed to blunt Donald Trump’s momentum coming out of The Donald’s […]

ACTT In-Progress Project Presentation for GoogleApps for Edu and OneDrive

Tuesday, May 17th from 3-4pm LIB 105A or Polycom 712833 The new ACT Team process includes in-progress project presentations. These presentations are meant to inform the community about how things are going, what has been done and what still needs to be done, what is going well and what are the challenges.


In this meeting we will look at the GoogleApps for Edu and OneDrive projects. In-progress project presentations are open meetings, anyone may attend. Please feel free to share the invitation with anyone you feel is interested in the topics discussed.

ACTT In-Progress Project Presentation Video Streaming Service

Tuesday, May 10th from 3-4pm LIB 105A or Polycom 712833 The new ACT Team process includes in-progress project presentations. These presentations are meant to inform the community about how things are going, what has been done and what still needs to be done, what is going well and what are the challenges.


In this meeting we will look at the Video Streaming Service project. In-progress project presentations are open meetings, anyone may attend. Please feel free to share the invitation with anyone you feel is interested in the topics discussed.