Tags » orientation

 
 
 

Getting Comfortable at Middlebury

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
The Studio Art Tour was one of 68 trips offered during Orientation.

The Studio Art Tour was one of 68 trips offered during Orientation.

When a cluster of first-year students dropped by the art studio and gallery of Sarah Wesson last week, the local oil painter showed works she had created in Italy, Maine, New York City, and Vermont.

She discussed her painting technique and her feelings about abstract art, and then she paraphrased Henri Matisse. When buying a piece of art, Wesson said, it should feel like a comfortable chair.

At that moment Matisse’s metaphor of the comfortable chair was fitting on another level. The students were on an Orientation trip that was all about getting comfortable: comfortable with their peers, with the Champlain Valley region, and with each other as members of the Middlebury Class of 2017.

Wesson3_9116

Sarah Wesson

The Studio Art Tour group was one of 68 MiddView Trips that set out from Middlebury on Friday, Sept. 6. The trips, which were a required component of Orientation, were split into three categories: Vermont exploration, wilderness experience, and community engagement, and each trip was led by members of the sophomore, junior, or senior class.

Organizing the logistics for off-site excursions for some 629 first-year students was the responsibility of the Dean of Students Office with Amanda Reinhardt in the pivotal role of trips coordinator.

The shape of Orientation trips at Middlebury has been through many changes over the past decade, Reinhardt said, but in 2013 a combined commitment by students (in the form of financial support from the Student Government Association) and the Administration (in terms of staffing and all other resources) created the new, comprehensive MiddView Trips program.

“This year the trips were built right into the Orientation schedule. The members of the incoming class selected their top four choices, and we did our best to accommodate their requests. Almost without exception, every first-year student participated in a MiddView Trip,” Reinhardt said.

There were, for example, wilderness trips such as hiking portions of the Long Trail, rock climbing in Bolton, sailing on Lake Dunmore, and canoeing on Tupper Lake. There were community engagement experiences at the John Graham Emergency Shelter for Addison County’s homeless and at Zeno Mountain Farm in Lincoln, a program that supports lifelong friendships for people with and without disabilities. And there were Vermont exploration trips designed to investigate local ecology, storytelling and folklore, rhythm and dance, and food systems in the Green Mountain State.

Anne Cady '73

Anne Cady ’73

After spending an hour with Sarah Wesson in the Battell Block, the Studio Art Tour set out for Bristol to meet Anne Cady, who has her studio and gallery in a former grist mill located behind a row of storefronts on Main Street.

Inside Cady’s spacious studio the students sat on stools and boxes in a semicircle around the artist and introduced themselves. They hailed from U.S. cities like Tucson and Buffalo and Los Angeles, and from China and Colombia and the United Kingdom, and all of the students, regardless of their hometowns, shared a deep interest in art.

Cady discussed her own background as an art teacher and gallery owner, and explained that she didn’t explore her full potential as a painter until the 1990s. “Now if I don’t paint every day, I lose my momentum. And I love to paint every day. But if you are doing this as your work, your income, then you have to realize that the business side of it will take a lot of energy too, so you have to balance that out.”

Surrounded by her recent paintings of hilly Vermont landscapes, the 1973 Middlebury graduate said, “For me it’s all about color and composition. Having clarity and a clean line help me go a little more wild with the color. I concentrate on form and color to tell a story in each of my paintings.”

Following a detour for ice cream at Lu Lu’s in Bristol, the next stop on the Studio Art Tour was Daniel and Dennis Sparling’s studio located a quarter-mile down a long dirt driveway in New Haven. Dennis, the father, is primarily a metal sculptor. He said “having practical artistic skills allows you to do the passion work,” and he showed the first-year students some examples of both: the things he does for money and the pieces he creates for the love of art.

Daniel, the son, inherited many of his father’s talents but has branched off into designing and building specialty masks, castings, and prosthetics for independent filmmakers. Most recently Daniel has been shooting aerial cinematography with his business partner — lavish sweeping shots for television commercials, films, and private enterprises. The partners have built a number of remote-controlled aircraft (“Okay, you can call them drones,” Daniel said) that will fly with a 10-pound video camera, which is also remote controlled from the ground.

Daniel Sparling

Daniel Sparling

“It’s tough to make a living as an artist. You have to swallow your pride a lot of times and take jobs you never thought you would have to take. But it also helps to be handy, to be able to do a lot of different things. The way I see it,” Daniel said, “Art is 60 percent tenacity and drive, and 40 percent talent.”

On Sunday the Studio Art Tour continued with leader-led activities and reflection, and concluded with a visit to the Edgewater Gallery in Middlebury and a debriefing session.

“Bonding” is a term often used in reference to Orientation trips, regardless of whether it’s a strenuous hike in the Adirondacks or a visit to the organic farms of Addison County. Derek Doucet, Middlebury’s director of outdoor programs and club sports, put it a little differently when he said, “Intimate small-group experiences provide opportunities for students to make genuine connections across typical social boundaries.”

“They also offer to first years a welcome chance to catch their breath before delving into the semester, and they provide space for intentional reflection about what it means to be in this time of transition to college.”

Metta Orientation

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Amidst all the confusion and exhaustion of Orientation our Middview trips made it possible for us to run away from shaking hands and urging to remember as many names as possible. This was an opportunity to ground yourself, reflect on what being yourself at this new place would be like and in the same time- spend time and get truly close to a small group of wonderful people.

Meditation, yoga, camp fire, marshmallows, sleeping in yurds, making a compost, picking herbs and veggies, sharing fears, sharing most personal stories all contributed to the magical experience we created during our long weekend at the Metta Earth Institute in Vermont. See the photos and feel the positive vibes!

999628_10201408853015241_1935420165_n 1240167_10201408834774785_1368287036_n 1175428_10201408838254872_624738128_n 1185710_10201408832894738_1975617437_n 1231344_10201408843415001_1690800862_n 1239540_10201408833654757_1481226952_n 1235927_10201408837414851_1349884250_n 1208658_10201408843975015_998302832_n 1004860_10201408850815186_1607960126_n 1235153_10201408846055067_723507083_n 1240246_10201408833374750_494785754_n 1240337_10201408834134769_1667689411_n 1175394_10201408847295098_1781281459_n 1185066_10201408849055142_1609613938_n 1239964_10201408835854812_463520525_n 1184791_10201408852575230_769103794_n 1044813_10201408851695208_1719923680_n 1255208_10201408850575180_792231740_n 1175477_10201408839774910_1590716052_n 1234843_10201408843695008_760467306_n 1239801_10201408856215321_537598536_n 1185096_10201408833894763_1834631270_n 1174885_10201408848575130_1247629636_n 1240559_10201408833214746_1587737984_n 1185438_10201408855135294_332384447_n 1238056_10201408851135194_21611979_n 1235454_10201408832694733_286808833_n 1234399_10201408837014841_1953215585_n 1175130_10201408834414776_181754063_n 1016166_10201408844215021_1130704243_n 1234044_10201408858175370_204912337_n 1000012_10201408846375075_944227408_n 1185151_10201408835094793_1254084712_n 1208995_10201408849255147_407552149_n

Welcoming First-Years on Move-in Day

Categories: Midd Blogosphere, video

It’s a scene almost as familiar as Old Chapel itself: First-year students and their families pulling up to Battell Hall after a long drive, nervous and excited, ready to dive into life at Middlebury. We caught a few of these scenes as the Class of 2017 arrived.

Orientation Checklist for LIS Staff

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The Education and Training Team has developed a checklist for LIS supervisors to go over with new staff (although we think some not-so-new staff may appreciate this as well).  You can find it on the LIS page under “About LIS.”  We’ve incorporated input from the AD’s and manager’s group and it will change over time as we get more feedback.  Our intention is that the supervisor (perhaps with help from other designated colleagues) will work through this checklist with new hires, explaining and answering questions as they go along.  It is not meant to be a self-service learning tool, although new staff can use it to go back and explore topics more in-depth on their own.  You’ll notice some entries have a link and some don’t.  We only linked to things that weren’t already major links on our public LIS pages so new staff learn to navigate the LIS site as well as become familiar with major “go” shortcuts.  We hope our new checklist will help supervisors get new staff off to a great start in LIS!

– Your Education and Training Team: Pij, Brenda, Mack, Andy, Kim (College Advancement)

Road Map to Student Services recap

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Yesterday Pij and I represented LIS at the Road Map to Student Services event; part of First Year Orientation, which was held concurrently with the Academic Forum in Kenyon. Half of the incoming First Year class attended the Forum while the other half were given “Passports” and asked to collect stickers from each Student Services station they visited (after which they were rewarded with a “frozen novelty”). Then they switched, and the students who had already attended the Forum attended the Road Map event. Since Pij and I handed out a sticker to every student with whom we spoke during the 2.5 hour event, it was easy to keep track of how many we’d spoken with—over 80! No wonder my voice is a little hoarse today.

What kinds of questions did we field? Pij may have heard other questions, but I think by far the most common questions were relating to connecting to Wireless, installing Microsoft Office, and followed by general questions about how to find/check out books and other materials from the Library. Other questions I heard ranged from “What is LIS”, to “Do you have any job openings?”, to “Can you help me set up email on my smartphone?”. Quite a few students stopped by without specific questions, and Pij’s go-to prompt, “Have you been able to set up your computer okay?” was great at drawing out other concerns and questions. I copied her and used that question quite a few times, and also tried asking about their First Year Seminar courses, which gave me a chance to let them know that a Librarian was assigned to each course, as well as a Peer Mentor and explain about CTLR and how it was related to the Library.

All in all it was a great chance to meet new students, hear how things were going for them, and also learn (from Pij) what to say about some of the most common tech-troubleshooting questions. It also underscored for me how essential it was for Pij and I (as LIS representatives) to be fully up-to-speed on recent and forthcoming changes in technology infrastructure and research tools.

Orientation for New LIS Staff

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Here’s a rough list of ideas that we developed at a recent meeting to figure out how we can systematically make sure that all of our new LIS staff members are provided with opportunities to learn about LIS and the College.
  1. Revive the new employee handbook–> Carol thinks she might have a copy of this somewhere.
  2. Find a moment for each new staff member to review the recently launched strategic planning website
  3. Invite new staff members to already regularly scheduled staff meetings for the various work areas in order to provide them some insight into what the various work areas do –> we would need a good list of such meetings and when they occur to make this happen
  4. create a somewhat informal mentoring program that gives new LISers a person to turn to for questions   –>we need to identify someone to make this happen
  5. make sure that all new staff member get to meet everyone in their area on their first day of work, and everyone in LIS within the first month of work (see also increased social activities)
  6. have a monthly or bi-monthly lunch/coffee to introduce new people and provide a chance for new people to ask questions/learn
  7. find out more about what happens at the HR orientation to avoid duplication
  8. share the HR checklist for supervisors of new employees and develop our own checklist (based on this) that supplements that checklist
  9. consider developing an internal to LIS facebook-like thingy that would allow everyone in LIS to share information about themselves with new staff members (their job duties, their work histories, their photos, and if willing, their personal interests/hobbies)
  10. increase the number of all-LIS social activities in order to encourage interaction across work groups
  11. encourage work groups to host open houses for their areas to educate others about what they do
  12. use all-LIS staff meetings to repeatedly introduce new folks, and vice versa, think of creative ways to allow new folks to meet the rest of us
  13. provide new hires with a list of 10 people that they really should meet in their first 100 days of employ

Please feel free to make further suggestions using the comments below. It isn’t clear that there will be time or energy or interest to do all of these things.  For now we just want to continue to brainstorm ideas.

Agenda for 20 May Manager’s Meeting

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

1. Discuss assessment pilot projects (see https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYZPHKugPdOiZGNzdDV0aDNfMjVnNnpma2ZmMg&hl=en )

2. Discuss annual planning calendar (see http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/2010/05/19/annual-planning-calendar/ )

3. Brainstorm ideas for how to orient new staff members to LIS (we’ll post the list of ideas to the blog after the meeting)