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To:       Members of the Monterey Institute of International Studies Community

From:   Clara Yu, President; Sunder Ramaswamy, President Designate

Date:    September 15, 2008


We are writing to share with you our plans to continue developing The Monterey Institute’s role and stature as a leader and innovator in international education. 



As you may recall, in October of 2006, the Institute adopted an ambitious 4-year strategic plan to achieve academic excellence, financial sustainability, and global prominence.  Strengthened by its affiliation with Middlebury College, the Institute moved quickly in the first year of the plan’s implementation to improve its infrastructure, increase its recruitment and advancement efforts, and place itself on a sound financial footing.


Last year saw accelerated progress. An Academic Excellence Task Force (AETF) was convened to explore the intersection of the Institute’s strengths and the world’s needs, and refine areas of curricular focus to strengthen the Institute’s leadership role in international education.


The AETF issued its report in January 2008, mapping out the curricular foci, student learning outcomes, and pedagogical principles upon which to build a unique educational model at the Institute: the Monterey Way 2.0. Underlying the report was a strong belief that the Institute as a whole needed to overcome inherent structural and cultural obstacles that had resulted in operating inefficiencies and limited opportunities for our students.


Integration with Middlebury College

The decision to integrate the Institute into Middlebury College has been approved by both Boards, with a projected closing date of June 30, 2010. The Institute will operate within Middlebury’s single 501(c) (3) corporation, while maintaining autonomy in critical areas such as academic operations, the curriculum, admissions, financial aid policy, degree requirements, compensation, and the hiring, evaluation, and promotion of faculty.


We have worked with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) to ensure the smooth transition of the Monterey Institute to NEASC accreditation as part of Middlebury College. In the spring of 2008, the College submitted a petition for substantive change to NEASC, indicating its intention to integrate the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Middlebury College into a single institution of higher education. In July, each campus received an official NEASC visit to gather the information required to act on this petition, the first step toward joint accreditation. We expect to receive a positive response in the spring of 2009.


Academic Excellence and Reorganization

Last Spring, following the AETF report, faculty members submitted over thirty proposals for new courses that cross school and disciplinary boundaries. Thanks to tremendous effort on the part of faculty, ten of these were ready for the academic year 2008-09.  However, we also realized that in order to fully realize the promise of Monterey Way 2.0. and ensure the highest quality curricular and research collaborations over the longer-term,   we would need to find a superior operating model for the Institute. It became clear that the existing four-school model is not optimal or consistent with our future vision.


At the June Board meeting, we presented a confidential draft of a reorganization plan to the trustees. This plan represents our judgment regarding the structure that would best facilitate the implementation of the Academic Excellence recommendations, and create a seamless experience for students as they navigate the broader curricular and career options available to them in a more integrated academic environment. The proposed structure was favorably received by the trustees, who instructed us to share the reorganization plan with the Institute community, firm up the details, and present the plan for final approval in October, and for implementation during the academic year 2009-10.~


This new organizational structure includes the following elements:


(1) The President of the Institute will report both to the Monterey Institute Board and to the Middlebury President. The President will, in turn, have five direct reports: a provost; and four executive directors in charge of advancement, communications, finance and business operations, and planning and special projects, along with an executive assistant.


(2) The administration of academic programs will be organized in two schools:

                  * The Graduate School of International Policy and Management

                  * The Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education


Each school will have a dean who will, assisted by department chairs, oversee the faculty and curricula of the school. The boundaries between these two newly configured schools will be deliberately porous.


There will also be a dean of advising, who will oversee a suite of coordinated services that provide advising, mentoring, and career development to students in all programs. This will place more emphasis on students’ needs and interests, helping them to navigate through a more open curriculum, leading to optimal career opportunities as well-informed professionals.


(3) Within the context and time frame of this reorganization, our intention is to retain and strengthen current curricular offerings, not to eliminate them. To this end, while our academic programs will continue to evolve, as they have in the past, the Institute will keep its existing programs intact during this reorganization period.



Creating a new vision for the Institute is exciting and energizing; implementing it will require all of us to be thoughtful, flexible, and focused on the strategic interests of the Institute as a whole.


We appreciate your active participation and contributions. We invite you to join us for a Town Hall meeting for faculty and staff on Thursday, September 18.  Another Town Hall meeting is scheduled for students on September 25. Both meetings will take place in Irvine Auditorium from 12:15 to 1:45 p.m.


If, as you think about the information we have provided above, you wish to submit questions anonymously and in advance, you can place your questions in the special boxes at the Library circulation desk. You may also submit questions via email to president@miis.edu. We will, of course, entertain questions in person at both meetings.


We look forward to hearing your thoughts, and engaging in constructive dialogue.

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