Susan Baldridge to Step Down as Provost

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE

By ELAINE VELIE

Susan Baldridge will step down as provost, the chief academic officer for all Middlebury institutions, at the end of the calendar year. Baldrige will return to her position as professor of psychology after going on full leave from 2018 to 2019.

Baldrige said that her decision to step down was personal.

“Having brought the Envisioning Middlebury work to the Board for their endorsement in October was an important landmark, and the time felt right for me personally to step away, take my long-delayed leave, and think about what comes next,” said Baldridge. Baldridge brought to fruition the Envisioning Middlebury strategic framework, which was ratified by the board of trustees in late October.

In an all-school email, President Laurie L. Patton announced that Jeff Cason, dean of the schools and an international studies professor, will become provost on Jan. 1. He will hold the position for 18 months, but Baldridge will assist Cason this spring while serving as provost-on-leave.

Then-president Ron Liebowitz and incoming president Laurie Patton jointly appointed Baldridge as provost in 2015. Baldridge held several other administrative positions during the previous 14 years, and before that had served as a faculty member for 10 years in the psychology department.

“As provost, I’ve been lucky to be engaged in very concrete ways with some of the most strategic issues in higher education — diversity and inclusion, digital learning, affordability and access,” Baldridge said.

Baldridge emphasized her efforts to create a more inclusive community.

“I’m honored to have been able to contribute to our efforts to develop a more diverse and inclusive community, both as the lead for the Creating Connections Consortium (C3) for the last several years, and more recently through my work on the BOLD initiative,” Baldridge said. As provost-on-leave, she will continue work on the C3 faculty diversity and BOLD women’s leadership initiatives.

As provost, Baldridge also worked on fiscal management. In her email, Patton praised Baldridge for her work on decreasing the operating deficit. Baldridge echoed this sentiment. “I’m pleased and encouraged by the progress we’ve been able to make toward financial sustainability,” she said.

Baldridge expressed confidence in the administration to achieve its goals.

“Administrators are frequently asked, often incredulously, why anyone would want to take on one of these roles. The challenges can be significant, the hours are long, and it is virtually impossible to make everyone happy,” Baldridge said. “But it’s also an opportunity to be able to serve the community, protect and enhance our educational mission, and shape the institution’s future. And I know that Jeff and my other administrative colleagues will be working diligently to achieve those same goals.”

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