Go to this google form to write a note about how Professor Povitz has impacted you.
Professor Povitz is a kind, genuine, and thoughtful person who also happens to be an incredible teacher. She teaches with grace and is able to create a learning environment where students are comfortable and open to engaging in conversation and getting deep into the topics at hand. Professor Povitz allows students to be creative in their learning, and empowers them to take everything they can from the class. My brief time at Middlebury would not be the same without Professor Povitz’s class, and it would be a truly devastating loss to the History department if the diversity of underrepresented topics she teaches is removed from the course offerings. Jewish studies is already a small department, and losing a professor of her kind will cause serious detriment. Middlebury needs a professor like professor Povitz to encourage acceptance of Jewish people of all intersections. I implore you to offer Professor Povitz a tenure track or partner hire for the sake of hundreds of students who her teachings have touched, and the hundreds more to come.
Dear Administration, In the fall of 2019, as I began to finish up my college search process, Middlebury trended towards the top of the pack. Still though, my parents thought I should sit in on a class before applying Early Decision to a school so far away. After combing damn near the entire catalog, searching for what I thought would interest me the most, Professor Povitz was one of the two people I reached out to. She was teaching a class called History of US Radicalism, which sounded right up my alley. I was then happy and excited to see I had gotten an email back that I was welcomed to the class. Excitement turned to apprehension as the day drew nearer. Had I really just decided to waltz into a 3-hour discussion seminar for college students? And I had to do the reading? And I had to find something called LaForce Hall? (That’s not LaForce! That’s Ross! Oh, I guess it’s LaForce.) Anyways, the day finally arrived, and believe it or not I did do the reading, and I managed to find Laforce Hall, and I managed to waltz into class. Still, the being in class part is probably what scared me the most, I had sat in on my other class earlier that day, and wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. But, when Professor Povitz and the other students walked in, I immediately got caught up in it all. The content was full of things I had never heard of, all of which I wanted to know more about. The discussion was stimulating and kept me engaged. Most incredibly of all, when you needed to go to the bathroom, you didn’t have to ask! At the center of it all, though at the same time managing to stay in the periphery, was Professor Povitz, who moderated and pushed forward the discussion so well three hours felt like half of one. The solitary, unconfident move by myself to say something during the entire class was immediately noticed by Professor Povitz, who encouraged me to share. She took my idea seriously, and we included it in the discussion going forward. As a high school senior unaccustomed to having these sorts of academic discussions, it meant the world to me. When I left the class, more than anything I wanted more of that. I went home and applied Early Decision to Middlebury College. I’m here now (History Major! Class of ’24!). Last semester I took Modern American Jewish History with Professor Povitz. It was surreal to find myself back in class with the professor who for me had meant Middlebury to me before I even really knew Middlebury. It was everything I had wanted and more. Professor Povitz is the kind of professor who is keenly aware of students’ needs. Week by week, the class followed a strong and reasonable arc. As a faculty member, her classes deal with issues not touched on often enough. As a lecturer, she knows students’ limits, and works to keep them engaged. As a discussion leader, she knows how to challenge and push a class to formulate its thoughts. As a human, she is kind and empathetic. That last point truly is central to my understanding of her. Still though, I haven’t gotten the opportunity to take History of US Radicalism beyond that single class. I would really love the chance to do that. -Ewan Inglis ’24 PS. I had Professor Ayoub over J-Term and I learned a truly mind boggling amount of Arabic. That class was one of the most enriching and amazing educational experiences I’ve ever had! I loved it!
I have heard amazing things about Professor Povitz’s impact on my friends who have been in her courses. She is a highly beloved professor on this campus and if would be a tremendous loss to the school to see a professor who touches so many students and teaches about to many important topics go.
Professor Povitz has been one of the most impactful professors I have had during my time at Middlebury. I am a senior Neuroscience major and took Professor Povitz’s History of Sexuality course the Spring of my Junior year. I am interested in history yet primarily study STEM. History of Sexuality was such a profound learning experience solely due to Professor Povitz’s expert knowledge and ability to teach the material in a challenging and exciting fashion. She engages with her students and seeks to offer any support she can. She encouraged all students to come to office hours so she could get to know our interests beyond the classroom. Professor Povitz is the best lecturer I’ve had at Midd and she cares deeply for her students, something that is not always immediate in the classroom. After History of Sexuality I proceeded to take two more courses with Professor Povitz during my Senior year. I took her J-term course Practicing Oral History and I’m currently enrolled in Black and Jewish Feminist Perspectives. All of her classes have been my favorite classes at Middlebury. The latter class is a 400 level history seminar. I am taking it because I am interested in the material and because I so enjoy Professor Povitz as a professor. The class meets once a week during the night… Evidently, Professor Povitz is that good of a professor where time of day does not matter to take one of her classes. The fact that I am taking a 400 level history seminar course when I am not a history major or minor should also speak to Professor Povitz’s teaching abilities and the immense interest she garners with the courses and topics she teaches. Professor Povitz’s queer identity and interest and expertise at teaching queer histories has been incredible for me personally as a student. Having Professors with a shared identity as you who also teach incredibly important and often untold histories has been instrumental in me feeling like I belong on this campus. Professor Povitz’s importance to this campus cannot be put into words. She is an excellent Professor who should be kept on staff due to the many reasons I have outlined above. I know my positive experience from Professor Povitz’s classrooms is not unique. Any student who takes one of her classes leaves with a greater understanding of marginalized histories and in my case, a greater sense of Middlebury community (I know this is true of many others too). Please reconsider Professor Povitz’s position at the college. She deserves a tenure track or a partner track. Write the wrong that has been assigned and flip the narrative on the heteronormativity prevalent in partner hires at the college.
I was doing an exchange semester at Middlebury through the AVIC program when I met Prof. Povitz as I was taking her class, The Histories of U.S. Radicalism. Through the course, I was introduced to some major works of Black feminist writers, and Prof. Povitz guided me in framing research questions and connecting it to my work in other classes. This class proved to be the seed for my current PhD studies, as I study the aesthetics Dalit-Black solidarity in the twentieth century at the Comparative Literaure program at Northwestern University. Prof. Povitz insisted on creating a warm and welcoming space for her students, where we were repeatedly encouraged to (un)learn and grow together. She makes the classroom a space for deliberate discussion and thought, where we are constantly provoked to think about our complicity and role in creating a world we want to live and build together. It would truly be a loss for the Middlebury community to lose Prof. Povitz, as her incomparable scholarship and thoughtful critique is at the helm of new critical inquiry in history. Prof. Povitz is an academic mentor, and above all, a beacon of light who has the capacity to transform the experience of Middlebury as a space for intellectual learning and personal growth for her students. It is imperative for a private liberal arts college such as Middlebury to keep Prof. Povitz as a voice of concern, critique, and care in the institution.
Dear Middlebury College, Professor Povitz is one of the best professors I have ever had at Middlebury. She perfectly walks the line between demanding growth and effort from her students and being kind and supportive. She is incredibly knowledgeable of a variety of different topics and brings energy, interactive activities, honesty, passion and intelligence to the classroom every day to make every class a valuable, unique, and engaging experience. She and her partner are essential and irreplaceable parts of the Middlebury faculty because of their unique backgrounds and knowledges in the queer, arabic, jewish, history, and gender studies community. I have participated in a Torah Study group with Professor Povitz that was one of my favorite Jewish experiences I have ever had on campus. I have also taken her History of Sexuality class. As a gender studies major, by the end of this semester with the leave of Profesor Gupta, as a department we will have a total of two full time professors. This is honestly a disgrace to such a robust and generative area of study. Because of this gender studies majors are often forced to to classes with professors unqualified to teach gender studied but who are allowed to cross list their courses so we have enough options to graduate on time. Professor Povitz’s class on sexuality was an incredible Gender studies and History class, and she has the perfect set of knowledge and pedagogy to teach this types of fascinating classes at Middlebury. She is irreplaceable. It would be a horrible and impactful mistake and a disregard for our education to not offer her a tenure track here. Please do.
My Professor Povitz has been one of my most impactful professors at Middlebury. I first took her course History of Sexuality in the US last spring. I found the course material absolutely fascinating. I was so excited to be learning about a different type of history than I had in the past. Professor Povitz was such an encouraging and engaging professor. This course inspired me to take two more classes with her. i then took Practicing Oral History, which was so amazing and I think so helpful to learn about for academia and then Feminism in Jewish and Black Perspectives. I think it is really valuable to have a professor at Middlebury so passionate about Judaism, especially in ways that are different from typical ways in which we learn about Judaism at Middlebury. As a Jewish student, this is really important to me and I would be really disappointed to see Professor Povitz leave as I think her courses are really valuable and important for the Middlebury community.
I have only just begun my first class with Professor Povitz and already I know that she is an amazing professor who is essential to our community. I am taking her class Black and Jewish Feminist Perspectives (HIST 0448) and after one class I have learned so much on topics that should be more widespread. Professor Povitz is sharing super valuable knowledge and in doing so making our campus a more kind and welcoming place. As a Black Jewish woman there aren’t many, really zero places, where my various identities converge and in this class I was able to find that space.
I am a senior, so I have had a range of different academic experiences. Compared to my other professors, Professor Povitz is a genius in keeping students engaged — when other professors stick to the classic reading/lecture structure, she is able to assign meaningful readings, assignments, and day-to-day class plans that connect students to each other and keep us interested/passionate in the course material. While I have led discussions in other classes, when I was assigned to lead class discussion in her class, she gave me the most agency and greatest experience of intentional collaboration with her (i.e. us sharing a google doc to plan class agenda).
Although I have yet to have Professor Povitz as a professor for a class, my Sophmore year I met with her many times during her office hours, seeking council on student activism projects I was working on. Though I was not even her student at the time, Professor Povitz prioritized my learning and showed up to support me, taking hours out of her week to meet with me and lending me books of hers to read to support my learning and help answer my questions. Additionally, as a queer student on campus, I feel exponentially safer and more woven into the Middlebury community when I know there are faculty members who represent and understand an important part of my experience. Professor Povitz is vital to this institution and it’s students in immeasurable ways. It is a grave oversight not to recognize that fact.
Professor Povitz has been one of my favorite professors I’ve had in my 4 years at Middlebury. I think I learned the most in her course out of all my courses. Professor Povitz is frankly incredible and I think it’s absurd that Middlebury hasn’t offered her tenure. She treats her students like capable adults and holds us to a high standard, which is effective in showing us what we are able to achieve. Most importantly Professor Povitz holds space for groups of marginalized groups of students on campus and I think plays an essential role in the history department of expanding who’s history we are teaching. It would deeply sadden me if Midd were to loose a person as important as Povitz to making campus a progressive and inclusive space.
Professor Povitz’s History of US Food Politics class exposed me to some of the most interesting readings I have done during my time at Middlebury. I found myself sharing readings about the 1902 Kosher Meat Boycott, Black Panther breakfast program, and even the Park Slope Food Co-op with friends, many of whom went on to take classes with Professor Povitz. Professor Povitz holds a high standard for her students, and though her assignments were sometimes challenging, I felt that my writing improved significantly. Professor Povitz is unlike any other professor I have had at Middlebury, it is impactful to see a queer professor teach marginalized histories in such a dynamic way while still making time for things like Torah study. If Middlebury intends on being a progressive institution, keeping beloved professors like this is vital.
I am fortunate enough to have had Professor Povitz as my professor twice and, most recently, as my thesis advisor. My experiences working with and learning from Professor Povitz have been nothing short of outstanding, and I cannot recommend her as a professor and advisor enough. The two classes I took with her––History of Urban Food Activism and History of U.S. Radicalism––stand out as some of my favorite classes I took over the course of my Middlebury College career. Not only does she know so much about her field, her passion for it is exceptionally evident and contagious. This wealth of knowledge and passion is reflected in the way she masterfully plans her courses. Her syllabi are well thought out and expertly layered so that all of the material feels connected, grounded, and relevant. She also regularly asks for feedback from her students to improve their experiences. As a student, I felt like my perspective and comfort in the classroom mattered, which made it so accessible to actively participate in her classes. In addition to crafting great classes, Professor Povitz successfully builds and leads a classroom environment. Her class on U.S. radicalism remains my favorite class of college. In this seminar, I felt that the class was a community of learners, cultivated by the way Professor Povitz introduced classroom expectations and sustained the classroom over the course of the semester. She facilitated conversations that were fruitful and enriching, offering her own expertise while continuing to let us be the leaders of our own learning. Professor Povitz has high expectations for her students, which was evident from the first class I had with her. These expectations elevated the rigor of the classroom. They have also encouraged me to believe in my own work and capacity more deeply, particularly through the process of writing my senior thesis. As my advisor, Professor Povitz has been the most incredible advocate and resource for my project. She has helped direct me to pertinent sources and lines of scholarship, while being available to listen to me think outload during our thesis meetings––which pass quickly because of the quality and depth of conversation. She even connected me with one of her contacts and a prominent scholar in the field of my thesis, which allowed me to interview the author for my project. Her comments on my writing are always detailed, thorough, and constructive, and she asks questions that push my project forward. I know that my thesis would not be the same without her guidance and support, and I could not be more grateful to have her as my advisor. I have nothing but good things to say about Professor Povitz. She has shaped my experience at Middlebury for the better. I have learned so much from her scholarship and ways of thinking. She is a true asset to her students, the classroom, and this college.
To Whom it May Concern: Professor Lana Povitz embodies the promises that Middlebury makes to it’s students in her contributions to academic content that emphasizes diverse perspectives, her commitment to soliciting feedback from students to ensure that her teaching methods meet their needs and her engagement with the Middlebury community. To this first point, Prof. Povitz teaches courses on radical social movements, Jewish life, mental health, food studies, and queerness as well as historical methods. Middlebury has made numerous promises over the years to improve curricula to better represent scholarship and experiences from minoritized groups, a task that has often fallen to the labor of professors of color. Prof. Povitz does this work already. She also teaches cross-listed courses in two departments on campus that are increasingly popular, but sorely lacking in faculty: Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies and Food Studies. Losing Professor Povitz would not just be to the detriment of the History department, but to these departments as well. Finally, Prof. Povitz teaches history courses that are exciting and engaging to students who are not history majors, often will long waitlists for her classes. Study across disciplines is one of the tenets of a liberal arts education and losing a professor who builds bridges for students would be deeply counterproductive. Secondly, Professor Povitz takes not just the subject of her work seriously, but her teaching style is of great importance to her too. In all of the classes I have taken with Professor Povitz, she has genuinely wanted to know how students responded to her pedagogical choices and would make adjustments based on feedback. In my experience at Midd, this is a rarity, with most professors waiting for feedback until course response forms, at which point it is too late to change the learning experience of the current class. She has an uncanny ability to facilitate a unified classroom culture, with students connecting with each other across class years and personal backgrounds to learn together. Even when I was not Prof. Povitz’s student but would spend time with her as a mentor, she would talk to me about the classes that she was planning and ask for my opinion about what my peers would be most likely to respond to. In this way, Lana Povitz is not just a brilliant historian, but a dedicated professor. Finally, it is likely that if Middlebury does not keep Professor Povitz, they will also lose her partner, Professor Dima Ayoub. In addition to the knowledge that Middlebury will forfeiting if these two beloved professors leave, it will also miss the ways that they contribute to culture and student life outside of the classroom. Unlike some of their colleagues, these are two professors who deeply want to be at Middlebury and show their commitment through engagement: hosting events for students, attending events with Middlebury Hillel and hosting a Torah study, engaging in academic projects with students, and truly getting to know us as people by making time to have meaningful conversations during office hours and over coffee. Personally, I feel like knowing and learning from Professor Povitz has significantly shaped my experience at Middlebury. It saddens me deeply to think that future Middlebury students will not have the chance to grow as scholars and people from her support. Losing both Professor Ayoub and Professor Povitz would leave a consequential hole in the Middlebury community. Sincerely, Grace Weissman
I took one class with Professor Povitz (History of Sexuality) and it was just so much fun. She found a way to make the class lively while teaching us about serious issues. Her special instructional methods helped us to think critically about how historical events have shaped gender and sexuality as we know it today. Professor Povitz found a balance in making the course a fun environment, but also very educational. It’s hard for me to retain onto information of past college courses without looking back on my notes, but I can easily recall some of the major events in US History as it relates to gender and sexuality.
I took Professor Povitz’ Oral Histories course over J-term and it was fantastic. Her course was very well-structured and the assignments all fit perfectly, and I genuinely enjoyed doing them. She was an incredibly energetic professor who made it clear that her goal was to engage the students. She then helped us as we conducted our own oral history projects. It was an amazing opportunity to learn new skills, which is sometimes lost in the humanities. I have her again in History of American Freedom and she is equally as passionate and engaging. Again, she assigns us interesting, unique projects. Professor Povitz is extremely intelligent and a great professor. She is vital to the Middlebury community.
Professor Povitz was the first Middlebury Professor that I connected with and made me feel like my decision to come to Middlebury was the right one. I took a class with her my J-term of my freshman year, and after a difficult fall semester of adjusting to college and life away from home, I finally felt like I found the academic rigor and passion I had been looking for, in a class that kept an eye always towards what we were getting out of the class, whether it be specific skills or broader lessons. The class was the first one I couldn’t stop talking about to my friends. I went on to take another course with Professor Povitz the following year and have kept in touch with her since. She is invaluable to the community and college.
keep prof povitz!! she gave me so much confidence and really took time to notice unique qualities in all of her students. i loved her class; i felt more engaged sitting through her lectures than i have with many of the tenured history profs at the college.
For four years, I was surrounded by friends raving about Professor Povitz and telling me about what an amazing professor she is. Finally, in my final semester, I decided that taking a course with Professor Povitz was a “Middlebury must”. I had incredibly high expectations for her, given what all of my friends had said. Luckily, Professor Povitz met and exceeded those expectations. She created a comfortable, inclusive, and welcoming classroom environment in which we were all able to both engage in intellectual conversations and express our own emotions and concerns. She constantly probed us to dig deeper, analyze more thoroughly, and engage in the material to the best of our abilities. She was inspiring, encouraging, and thoughtful and one of my favorite professors at Middlebury. I am deeply saddened that I was only able to take one course with Professor Povitz, but even more saddened by Middlebury College’s actions. Professor Povitz is everything I ever wanted in a professor and she has had a profound impact on our community. She deserves to stay at Middlebury College and to be recognized for her wonderful contribution to our community.