Academic Roundtable – College-Wide Learning Goals: Next Steps

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Friday, April 25 @ 12:15 p.m., Davis Library 230

Members of the Ad Hoc Assessment Committee: Susan Baldridge, Chair; Amy Morsman, Amy Yuen, Bill Peterson, Michael Newbury, Damascus Kafumbe, Hang Du

The Ad Hoc Assessment Committee will describe the initial work it has done to create a framework for assessing students’ progress toward the faculty-endorsed College-wide learning goals.  They’ll share the lessons learned during their evaluation of oral presentation skills at the Spring Symposium.

Lunch will be served. Please RSVP to dbernier@middlebury.edu by noon Tuesday, April 22.

Sandra Carletti awarded a Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation fellowship

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Sandra Carletti (Italian) has been awarded a fellowship from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation for a project titled The United Tables of Italy: Pellegrino Artusi and the Unification of Italy in the Kitchen. The grant will enable Sandra to travel to Italy during her 2014-15 leave to do research at the Pellegrino Artusi library in Forlimpopoli, Emilia-Romagna, which houses the archives for the iconic cookbook that Artusi published just thirty years after the official unification of Italy. She plans to examine documents and collect materials to enhance her teaching of Italian culture and history and to support creation of a new course on the intersection of literature, food, and language in the representation of Italian identity.

In Another County: One Week in America’s Natural Gas Mecca

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

On January 31, eleven Middlebury students—outfitted with cameras and field recorders—piled into a 15-passenger van and motored seven hours south to Bradford County, Pennsylvania, home to one of the most densely hydraulically fractured regions in the United States. Their week-long Middlebury Alternative Break (MAlt) Trip in Eastern Pennsylvania was structured as an opportunity to explore energy issues. It was a leap into the unfamiliar, an attempt to humanize the social, political, and environmental dimensions of natural gas extraction.

Two of the participants chronicled their experience.

The first thing we did when we rolled into Bradford County was scan the scenery for signs of hydraulic fracturing: the “frack” pads, the clear cuts of forest, the cesspools, the bulky rigs and power stations. Instead, we saw a community enduring what seemed to be the consequences of the natural gas industry’s “boom-bust” economy. We observed only vestiges of the gas companies: the occasional water truck, a frack pad, or pickup stained packed with pipeline, stained ink black. Landmen had already collected signatures from landowners’ to drill. Wells had been drilled, fracked, and re-fracked. For the lucky few, royalty checks, big or small, were streaming in. The traffic that accompanied the initial fracking boom had thinned. Local shops, hotels, and restaurants, once teeming with contractors, landscapers, and engineers, were emptied.

frack

One of the authors, Zane Anthony, standing at an abandoned fracking site in Pennsylvania

We wondered where everyone had gone. (To the next fracturing sites outside the Marcellus Shale border, we would learn—to North Dakota or Oklahoma where communities were being zoned and primed for drilling, fracking, and extraction.)

It seemed that everyone we encountered had a story. One resident we met was Carol French, a lifelong dairy farmer and Bradford County resident, who along with fellow dairy farmer Carolyn Knapp, founded Pennsylvania Landowner Group for Awareness and Solutions (PLGAS) in 2008. PLGAS provides a forum for community resistance to unjust business practices by the gas industries in the region.

Carol told us that she had never considered herself an activist type. Then, she leased her land to Chesapeake Oil Corporation. Drilling began on her property, and her water turned to gelatin. She and her livestock developed rashes all over their bodies. Her adult daughter became sick multiple times and ultimately moved out of town. Carol sells her milk to many corporations, but she no longer drinks it herself. She said her community was now fraught with environmental health risks as a result of the industry’s unregulated, unrestrained efforts to extract.

Later in the week, we visited the office of the Bradford County Planning Commission. They told us the fracking industry has funneled wealth into the area and enabled farmers to sustain the economic viability of their livelihoods. We asked them about Carol’s and Carolyn’s claims. They said water contamination as a result of hydrofracking was not a prevalent issue, insisting the industry is safe. PLGAS and the Planning Commission’s stances on natural gas issues were fundamentally divided. We were in a dual reality.

We also encountered middle ground. We met with a man at the county’s conservation agency who considered fracking one of the most effective farmland conservation efforts he had ever witnessed. In the county, many of the farmers are elderly, and a farmer’s retirement is his land. We were told that royalties from the industry have allowed many farmers to remain on their land into retirement. Without this option, the conservation agency’s representative told us, developers would have purchased the land, subdivided it, and built “McMansions.”He also noted that the industry has encouraged people to break their conservation easements with the agency to allow for more fracking and paid for the resulting fines. It is not yet understood how fracking has impacted the land and its resources, he said.

We also interviewed a couple who leased their 200 acres at the height of the boom and today earn substantial income from royalties. With this money, they installed a geothermal heating system on their property. Other families, they noted, leased early on for a fraction of the price of those who waited long enough for higher royalties, which has resulted in a substantial wealth gap previously unseen in the area.

On the last night of our trip, we worried that once we returned to  Middlebury our memories of this place would fade, that we would forget that our lives are so deeply rooted in energy consumption, consumption that affects communities like this one in complex and permanent ways. But this concern didn’t last long. We had traveled to a seemingly foreign  jurisdiction to see first-hand the environmental and societal impact of natural gas extraction; when we left, we were determined that our experience wouldn’t be left behind.

Zane Anthony ’16.5 is a biology major from Annapolis, Maryland. Sophie Vaughan ’17 is an environmental studies major from Oakland, California.

This is the first Dispatch in a three-part series chronically student-led Middlebury Alternative Break Trips.

Careers in the Common Good – in the Arts!

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Interested in the arts? Here’s something to get you thinking about how the arts can be applied to a career in the common good! Stephanie M. Heydt is the curator of American art at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA.  Read this short New York Times interview to learn a little about how […]

HR Update: This Week’s Employment Snapshot

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

There are currently 9 faculty positions, 41 external job postings (regular, on-call and temporary), and 2 internal job postings on the Middlebury College employment opportunities web sites.

Employment Quick Links:

Faculty Employment Opportunities: go/faculty-jobs (on campus),http://go.middlebury.edu/faculty-jobs (off campus)

Staff Employment Opportunities:  go/staff-jobs (on campus),http://go.middlebury.edu/staff-jobs  (off campus)

Please note – to view only internal staff postings, please use the internal posting search filter that was highlighted in this MiddPoints article.

On-call/Temporary Staff Employment Opportunities: go/staff-jobs-sh (on campus),http://go.middlebury.edu/staff-jobs-sh (off campus)

Blood Drive Wednesday the 23rd

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Atwater Commons is partnering with the Red Cross to host a Blood Drive in McCullough Social Space on Wednesday, April 23rd, from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

When: Wednesday, April 23rd, from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Where: McCullough Social Space.

Walk-ins accepted. Please bring photo ID or donor card.

For more information or to register ahead of time go to www.redcrossblood.org or contact David Dolifka (ddolifka@middlebury.edu ) of Atwater Commons.

blood drive

90 minute Course Overview: Effective Communications & Human Relations Skills – The (8 week)* Dale Carnegie Course

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
This is an informational overview for the Dale Carnegie Course, an 8 week workshop aimed at improving communication and interpersonal effectiveness.
Led by: Agnes Cook and Bryan Bissell of Dale Carnegie Vermont
  • Learn about the course content and methodology
  • Ask questions
  • Hear testimonials from past participants which demonstrates some of our methodology, content relevance,
  • Learn a tool you can use immediately
  • This is informational, you are not required to commit to the full course

Tuesday April 22, 2014 from 1:00-2:30, Location: Kirk

click here to Register for 90 minute overview

* The full Dale Carnegie course will be offered starting in June (8 weeks for 3-1/2 hours per session) the 90 minute overview will provide information about the course  whether you are interested in understanding more about the course for you or your staff members for the upcoming session or future sessions. The full course description  is below along with the 8 week schedule.
Click here to register for the 8 week session
Schedule: 8:30- 12:00 one day per week for 8 weeks

1. Tuesday June 10 in McKinley House
2. Wednesday June 18 in Kirk (note – this is the only Wednesday class)
3. Tuesday June 24 in Kirk
(SKIP WEEK OF June 30-July 4)
4. Tuesday July 8 in McKinley House
5. Tuesday July 15 in Kirk
6. Tuesday July 22 in Kirk
7. Tuesday July 29 in Kirk
8. Tuesday August 5 in Kirk