It was a very busy summer here on campus with convocation and commencement exercises for the Language Schools and the Bread Loaf School of English, not to mention the infamous leaf-logo, but it is hard not to feel energized with the beginning of a new academic year upon us.
I am launching this blog to communicate directly with you, to get feedback from you on specific issues, and to hear what might be on your mind.
The topics I am working on and want to share in the early weeks of the semester include:
(1) student work load: This issue came up during some of my lunches with students last year, and I shared the concern with my faculty colleagues at the opening faculty meeting last week. I will be working with provost Alison Byerly and Dean of Faculty Susan Campbell to figure out the best way to hear the concerns of students on this matter and get faculty reaction to those concerns. I look forward to hearing the views from students, especially, on this topic.
(2) plans for amending the Commons system, the so-called “4/2 system” that Dean Spears and I outlined for the residential life staff at their orientation session last week. We will be announcing some open meetings to present the plans and get some feedback. Will look forward to read your reactions here as well after I post the outline of the changes we are contemplating.
(3) student social life: The apparent lack of options for students is both a concern and challenge to me and my administrative colleagues. I will provide updates on how we are responding to the proposals made in the special student task force on social life report, and how the space down town (the former Eat Good Food restaurant space) might figure into increasing social options for students.
(4) the College’s upcoming “Initiative,” which is our home-grown term for the large fundraising campaign we will launch in October to secure resources to support the major goals in the College’s strategic plan. I hope to convince many students to get involved in this effort, which will include a number of on-campus opportunities over the next five years for them to meet and engage supporters of the College who we hope will see the great things our students, the faculty, and staff are doing and, as a result, will want to support the College in the coming years. And
(5) the Monterey affiliation, a subject I recently addressed with a (long) memo to the community, but will, in the coming weeks, provide more specific thoughts about how this initiative relates to current students at Middlebury.
This year will be a very busy one, which means I plan to post things here about once a week. I welcome responses, and will read every one of them, but I can’t promise I can respond to all posts I receive. And while I may not be able to respond to all of your comments and questions, I will benefit greatly by learning what is on your mind. And that is really the purpose of this foray into the blogosphere: to hear more from you and know better what you are thinking to help me and my administrative colleagues make the Middlebury educational experience the best it could be.
As with most things new, this blog is a work in-progress, and I suspect it will evolve over time. That said, since one never ends one’s education, I will be learning from writing and participating in this new medium.