President Announces Four New Projects


President Laurie L. Patton sent four school-wide emails last week outlining major projects occurring in the spring and following semesters. The emails laid out a variety of initiatives including accreditation, transformational goals for the institution, a contest for new traditions and restorative practices on campus.

In the first email, Patton announced that Middlebury’s accreditation evaluation is scheduled for fall 2019. To prepare for the review, the college will launch a self-study addressing the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ (NEASC) nine standards for accreditation.

Interim provost Jeff Cason and associate provost for planning LeRoy Graham will co-chair the self-study, which will be coordinated by the Office of the Provost and will seek input from the steering committee. 

A draft of the final self-study is projected to be finished by spring 2019 and then will be distributed among the Middlebury community for review. The NEASC will receive the final report from Middlebury in summer 2019 and its review team will visit several on-campus locations in the summer and fall.

In the second email, sent Wednesday, Feb. 14, Patton announced that the Board of Trustees endorsed three transformational goals for the college as next steps in the Envisioning Middlebury process.  The committee that spearheaded the effort described the Middlebury they envision by pursuing their goals: Middlebury as a center for persuasive and inclusive dialogue, a laboratory for curricular innovation and experiential learning and a globally networked changemaker.

Small working groups of student leaders, faculty and trustees will collaborate this spring to identify objectives to forward the three goals. Provost Susan Baldridge will detail further instructions for how individuals can align their work with the strategic framework in the next few days. 

The following day, Patton announced a contest for creating new traditions at Middlebury.

Submissions will be judged on the basis of five criteria, including an understanding and appreciation of Middlebury’s 200 year history, capacity for community building and connections, recognition and celebration of our diverse and multifaceted campus, ingenuity and creativity that will inspire students and feasibility.  One submission will be announced the winner by the end of April and will be instituted and fully funded by Old Chapel. 

Patton ended the week’s communication with an email announcing the adoption of restorative practices on Friday, Feb. 16. Patton emphasized that the restorative practices will not replace disciplinary processes, but that they will “exist alongside those processes.”

The email announced the formation of a steering committee to implement restorative practices at the college. The committee will include one student who completed the restorative practices training in Dec. 2017, dean of students Baishakhi Taylor, dean of the faculty Andi Lloyd, chief diversity officer Miguel Fernández, general counsel Hannah Ross, vice president for human resources and risk Karen Miller, dean of spiritual and religious life Mark Orten and judicial officer Brian Lind.

The committee plans to organize several proactive circles this spring where members of the community will be invited to discuss the Committee on Speech and Inclusion’s Jan. 10 report.

Patton also mentioned that incoming residential life staff will be trained to facilitate restorative practices.