Professor Povitz's Courses

I took Professor Povitz’s History of U.S. Radicalism class in the fall of 2019 on a whim. I didn’t expect to enjoy the class as much as I did, but it was one of my favorite classes that I ever took at Middlebury. Prof. Povitz doesn’t lecture in the traditional way, which is what I had expected of a history class, but rather she creates a really open yet rigorous discussion space and taught us how to be better learners, in addition to, of course, the course content. Two years later, I still regularly use the frameworks she taught me to think about the impacts, influences, and legacies of social movements. In class, we were encouraged to think of good questions and to be curious and honest rather than eloquent, and to treat the class like a community with common standards and dreams. She was always extremely supportive and dedicated inside and outside the classroom, always being willing to give advice in office hours on any topic, even lending me books that she thought I would find interesting (which, of course, they were). She made her own course survey at the end of the semester, saving time for us to discuss in person what we most enjoyed and what we felt could have been better, a rare ask from a Middlebury professor. In spring 2020, I took another course with her. In the face of the pandemic, she created a survey asking what we needed most and sent us two playlists. She instituted a letter writing practice, where we write a letter about our lives and the readings, to encourage us to stay connected in a more human way while still critically engaging with the course content. When on campus, if I or any student mentioned an event that we were planning like a rally, a concert, a conference, or other event, she always came to support us with enthusiasm and deep care. I am so grateful to her for all that she taught me both when I was a student and after graduating as we have kept in touch since I left Middlebury. I know that all students who cross her path –in the classroom or outside of it–recognize the truly inspiring and passionate person that she is. Middlebury has already gained so much from her time as a visiting professor, that it would be a true loss to pass up this opportunity to offer her a tenure-track position. 

Cara Levine ’20

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