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Middlebury College Receives 2015 Community Engagement Reclassification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

For several years the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has helped frame and articulate “best practices” in higher education/community collaboration and learning. In 2006 the Foundation offered the first elective “Community Engagement” classification. That year, Middlebury’s (then) Alliance for Civic Engagement (ACE) applied for and received recognition in the inaugural round on behalf of the College. This past year, in addition to new applications, colleges and universities that were recognized in either 2006 or 2008 needed to reapply in order to be approved for reclassification. On January 7, 2015 the Carnegie Foundation, in collaboration with the New England Research Center for higher Education (NERCHE), awarded Middlebury College and others distinction through the 2015 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

This designation recognizes excellent work by faculty, staff, and students from multiple areas across campus (e.g., academic departments in the Arts, Humanities, Languages, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and other interdisciplinary programs; collaboration with Monterey and Schools Abroad; and offices/programs such as Community Engagement, Privilege & Poverty, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, MiddCORE, Programs on Creativity and Innovation in the Liberal Arts, FoodWorks, Athletics, the Center for Careers & Internships, the Scott Center, CTLR, Orientation, JusTalks, the Commons, and more)—along with dozens of collaborating community partners. Examples of community-connected teaching, learning, and research initiatives; faculty-advised and student-led projects; volunteer efforts; internships; off-campus federal work study commitments; grant opportunities; alternative break trips; and more—demonstrated our alignment with institutional mission and priorities, overall, and the College’s continued commitment to work with and strengthen communities through partnerships, near and far.

From the Carnegie Foundation:

“Your application documented excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement, and it responded to the classification framework with both descriptions and examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement.  The application also documented evidence of community engagement in a coherent and compelling response to the framework’s inquiry.

“Your campus is one of 361 institutions that now hold the Community Engagement Classification.  It is heartening to see this level of commitment and activity.  Clearly, higher education is making significant strides in finding ways to engage with and contribute to important community agendas.  There is much to celebrate.”

“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

“This is the first time that there has been a re-classification process,” noted Amy Driscoll, Consulting Scholar for the Community Engagement Classification, “and we are seeing renewed institutional commitment, advanced curricular and assessment practices, and deeper community partnerships, all sustained through changes in campus leadership, and within the context of a devastating economic recession.”

Middlebury is one of 157 colleges and universities in the country to receive re-classification. This reclassification is valid until 2025.

“We applaud the Carnegie Foundation for recognizing the importance of setting high standards for valuable campus/community collaboration and articulating benchmarks to help guide those of us striving to pursue excellence in our work, while also drawing national attention and recognition,” comments Tiffany Nourse Sargent ’79, Director, Middlebury College Community Engagement. “One of the exciting points to underscore from this extensive self-study is the celebration that community engagement initiatives now generate from multiple points across campus, involving many more academic and co-curricular entities than was the case in 2006. While we in the Community Engagement office continue to serve as the ‘hub’ for campus community engagement initiatives, it is wonderful to see more and more positive connections campus-wide. To all who have contributed, thank you for your time, expertise, dedication, and good will as we work together to provide valuable and impactful learning experiences for our students and nurture strong and healthy communities.”

Middlebury women take a snowy ride up to Ripton, ca. 1940s

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

In this clip, members of the Women’s Forum of Middlebury College load up holiday gifts into a truck parked behind Forrest Hall, en route to the Meeting House in Ripton, VT. Upon their arrival in Ripton, local children run (and slide, trudge, and sled) to meet them. The Middlebury women, joined by a costumed Santa, distribute their holiday gifts.

Established in 1937, the Women’s Forum was itially organized to further interest in economic, political, and social issues of the day. In 1944 the group merged with the Student Action Assembly to focus on social and service work. This clip dates likely dates from the early to mid 1940’s.

Happy holidays from Special Collections & Archives.

Destination Recreation: Christmas Tree Farms

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Destination Recreation: Christmas Tree Farms.

Here I am on the Vermont WCAX TV Channel Check out the vid and don’t mind my hair! MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – WCAX

Whether it’s already cut and waiting or still hiding in the field, a tree farm can hold that perfect centerpiece for your holiday living room.

And at Werner Tree Farm in Middlebury, they say picking out your own tree at a farm is a traditional Vermont Christmas experience.

“I think in Vermont people are more willing to go out take a walk and cut their own tree down and get their hands a little bit dirty,” says manager Amanda Werner.

Most people make it a family outing, she says, getting outdoors and spending time together.

“Part of that is being able to come out and walk around the grounds and look at the trees. A lot of people, even the ones that end up getting a pre-cut tree, like to walk through the fields,” she says.

One visitor to the farm is Maggie Nazer, an exchange student at Middlebury College. She says in Bulgaria they bought their trees from vendors on the street. This is her first time to a tree farm, and she has friends to help her.

The group is learning a few things in the field, such as why it’s important to know the height of your ceiling before you get to the farm.

“A standard ceiling is about eight feet tall which means you might have to make it a little bit shorter. If you do, I’d suggest doing it from the bottom so you keep the shape of the tree intact,” Werner advises.

A few minutes later, they spot the one. Nazer gets to cut it down.

“Wow it smells so good,” she says.

Once the tree is brought out of the field they put netting around it and then tie it down to the car. This tree is headed to the Middlebury campus, where students will make ornaments for it.

“It’s amazing. It’s so much fun. I think it’s great just having this ritual and really be able to feel the Christmas spirit,” says Nazer.

She’s one of many getting her tree here. The farm says they sold 1,200 last year and expect to do even more this year as demand increases.

New Special Collections Summer Hours

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

A change in Summer Hours for Special Collections on the Lower Level  of the Davis Family Library was approved by the LIS Area Directors at their recent meeting. The following hours will be in effect immediately:

Tuesday, May 31-Thursday, June 2      By Appointment Only

Friday, June 3                                           Open 1-5 p.m.  for Reunion Weekend

Saturday, June 4                                      Open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. for Reunion Weekend

June 5-19                                                  CLOSED

Monday, June 20-Friday, August19     By Appointment Only

Monday, August 22-Friday, September 2    CLOSED


Are you reading this post via a feed reader? If so, read on…

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

On Tuesday May 31st we’re going to change the categories on this blog, so if by any chance you’re using a feed of a specific category, that’s going to break. We suggest subscribing to the whole blog for maximum enjoyment! If you’re not a LIS staff member & would like to filter out the more staff related posts, you can subscribe to the new “Middlebury Community Interest” category after May 31st. The other categories will be “LIS Staff Interest”, and “Post for MiddPoints” which will cause the post to be added to the MiddPoints blog too. All the old categories except “The Essentials” will be converted to tags for easy searching.
The LIS Web team developed this new scheme, following recommendations that came out of the open meeting about the future of the LIS Blog (including a call for simplified categories). The AD Team reviewed and approved these changes. We welcome your comments.

WordPress feeds can now include pages

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

During the past few years new versions of WordPress have made this system much easier to use — and our community has made use of these new abilities to make a wide range of sites structured in many ways.

Most of the content in WordPress sites are Posts, chronologically ordered entries that make up a ‘blog’ or news site. Pages on the other hand, are non-time-dependent content that can be arranged in a hierarchy. Traditionally, Pages in WordPress sites were used mostly for describing the blog, contact information, or other content that rarely changes and isn’t ‘newsworthy’. (more on Posts vs. Pages)

Recently, a number of sites have been making increasingly large use of Pages, such as to hold curricular resources that are then referenced from Posts describing assignments that use them. For sites that make significant use of Pages, site-owners can now enable the RSS Includes Pages plugin so that new pages are added to your site’s main feed. For course sites in WordPress, enabling this plugin will allow page additions to be fed into the Course Hub as updates.

We still recommend making use of Posts in WordPress sites to share new material with readers rather than heavily using Pages as Pages are still second-class citizens in many ways (such as support for tagging and categorization). With the new RSS Includes Pages plugin, Page-heavy sites can now feed new content to the Course Hub and others subscribed to their feeds.

Wireless in the dorms

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

There are approximately 60 buildings classified as dorms here at Middlebury providing beds to over 2400 students in 5 Commons.  From a ‘wireless’ perspective these dorms can be divided into three broad groups in terms of how many Wireless Access Points or WAPs they have:

  1. those that have moderate coverage
  2. those that have minimal coverage, typically in lounges only
  3. smaller houses that require only one or two WAPs

As mentioned in a previous blog post, LIS has embarked on an ambitious project to upgrade the campus network infrastructure, including improving wireless in the dorms.  All dorms are currently getting new network switches added to their wire closets to prepare for phase two, the deployment of new WAPs.  Dorms in the first group above (and gradually those in the third group as well) are getting all of their old WAPs replaced with newer equipment, while dorms in the second group are getting new WAPs deployed throughout. Dorms in the first group will be re-visited later on to determine if there are still gaps in the wireless coverage.

As an example, Hadley, Milliken, Kelly-Lang and Stewart are in group 1.  These dorms have had all of their old WAPs upgraded.  Hepburn is an example of group 2.  It has had new WAPs installed throughout the dorm.

Atwater A & B, Gifford, Battell, and Chateau are in progress now.  New switches have also been placed but not yet connected in Coffrin, Pearsons, Starr and Painter, which will also need new WAPs installed.

As you might imagine, this is an enormous task requiring lots of planning and coordination.  Please bear with us as we try to do this with minimal interruption to your access to the network!