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Recently, I had the pleasure of welcoming the Class of 2016 to Middlebury. They are now full-fledged members of our wonderfully vibrant community.  For some of them, it may seem like a long way from home and a stark contrast to all that is familiar. But I believe they will find their time here to be both challenging and rewarding. Continue Reading »

At Middlebury, all of us—students, staff members, and faculty members—seek the delicate balance between focusing on the immediate challenges before us and reflecting more broadly on our values and long-term goals. Integrating these two is the core of our professional and personal work: my colleagues and I regularly explore the larger questions of the latter category with each other and with the students we support, as this directs us all in important ways in our day-to-day decisions. Continue Reading »

Nearly a year ago, I announced the formation of the Task Force on Alcohol and Social Life to assess the relationship of alcohol to social life at Middlebury. The task force submitted its formal report to President Liebowitz and me in May, which outlined many recommendations for addressing alcohol-consumption concerns, social life programming, and improving current policies and procedures.

Task force co-chairs, Dean of Students Katy Smith Abbott and Coach Bob Ritter, have provided an update about the status of the report with important news about some of the recommendations.

Your comments and feedback continue to be valuable to our work in this area. Please don’t be shy about communicating your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Welcome Students

I hope your summer was full of wonderful experiences, meaningful reflection, and some good adventures. I am looking forward to meeting new students and reconnecting with those returning. Visit go/doc to check for my open office hours.  I’d love to see you and hear about your hopes for this year.

We will post to the blog weekly this year and have a great lineup of guest bloggers. Blog posts will begin on September 12, shortly after the start of classes. I will kick off this year with some important updates about work accomplished this summer. Stay tuned!

Travel safely and see you soon.


Summer is nearly here. More time to plan. Maybe even time for a good novel—or two.

I hope all the members of this community are able to change the pace of their lives a little this summer and enjoy simple moments and new experiences.

I would like to thank the guests who took the time to write posts this year. The posts were insightful, creative, thought provoking, and sometimes a little feisty. They elicited a lot of discussion—although often in places other than on the comments section of the blog. Continue Reading »

Dear Readers,

I’m pleased that Vincent Recca was able to take time during this hectic end of the semester to be my guest blogger today. I’ve come to know Vin well in his role as SGA president and in his work on Community Council and other campus initiatives. Not only is he a talented problem solver, able to find solutions to complex issues, he’s also great collaborator. Today, Vin shares what he’s learned during his tenure on the SGA.  —Shirley M. Collado Continue Reading »

As we go into our last classes and finals, I want to pause and take stock of the things that stood out for me over the year. Here are a few observations:

1. In Vermont, winter without snow is like a barbeque without charcoal. It’s just plain pitiful. The first year I lived here, I learned the hard way what happens when you don’t put snow tires on your car. So this fall, I put them on early! And there they were all winter long: a constant reminder of just how uninspiring it was to have none of that freezing, slushy stuff to contend with. Gazing at my tires one gloomy day, I realized that what I missed most about snow, besides its beauty, was the basic challenge it presents—survive or surrender. Continue Reading »

My guest blogger today is Kemi Fuentes-George, a new member of our faculty, who teaches environmental studies and political science. He tells a very personal story about identity, which I personally connect with. I want to thank him for his honesty as a newcomer to campus, and I am very excited that he is a member of our faculty.
 —Shirley M. Collado

As a Caribbean immigrant living in New England, my thoughts turn naturally to issues of diversity. We have a sense that it matters, but how?  So I decided to think about diversity from my current position of a faculty member, as well as what it meant to me as a student, lo, these many years ago. Continue Reading »

Dear Readers,

My guest blogger today is Taylor Shepard ’12. Taylor has served as SGA press secretary, working closely with many campus groups and LIS to improve communication on campus. She has some interesting observations about the way we get information out and what might be holding people back from changing old patterns. We would love to hear what you think about this topic. Please weigh in with your comments.

—Shirley M. Collado Continue Reading »

My guest blogger this week is Ellen McKay, the program coordinator for the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life. Ellen works closely with students on a wide range of projects related to spiritual and social life on campus. When we think about diversity, matters of faith can sometimes be overlooked, and Ellen’s post highlights just how important they are to many students.

—Shirley M. Collado Continue Reading »

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