What is the Senior Leadership Group?

By HANNAH ROSS

ELLIE EBERLEE

The Senior Leadership Group (SLG) is made up of the college’s senior-most administrators, responsible for all the major areas of Middlebury. The members are the people who directly report to President Laurie L. Patton; the academic leaders who report to the provost; and the chief information officer, who reports to the executive vice president for finance and administration. 

The 17-member team is led by President Patton. The list of SLG members can be found on the college website.

What does the SLG do?

The SLG is responsible for helping to set, execute and implement Middlebury’s strategic vision. For example, the SLG is responsible for creating and then adhering to Middlebury’s annual budget of expenses across all of Middlebury’s operations: student life, academics, enrollment, employment, technology, marketing and philanthropy. As a team, the SLG works on institution-wide issues that are broader than the work individual members do as heads of academic programs or administrative offices and recommends high-level, applicable initiatives to the president and/or the board.

In their individual roles, SLG members have managerial responsibility for their academic or administrative units, and are responsible for effective, fair and transparent leadership of their areas of responsibility. Different members of SLG supervise units of different sizes. For example, as the executive vice president for finance and administration, David Provost has finance and information technology security, as well as facilities, dining services, and public safety reporting to him. David Gibson, as the vice president for communications and chief marketing officer, manages the Office of Communications, which includes print and mail services.

Each SLG member manages some employees directly, and supervises the managers who manage others. Different SLG members have different practices for communicating within their programs, unit, or department, but each SLG member is responsible for advancing Middlebury’s strategic priorities and communicating about the connections of day-to-day work to those institutional priorities.

How does the SLG do its work?

The Senior Leadership Group’s agenda is managed by the president’s chief of staff, and any member of SLG may suggest items for the agenda. The SLG meets in the Old Chapel Board Room once or twice every week, depending on the issues and tasks at hand. Sometimes, the group will meet more often to address emergent matters, or to discuss upcoming or trending topics. At least twice a year, the SLG schedules a “retreat” to focus on a particular issues, take a deep dive into strategic planning, or do professional development.

What is on the SLG agenda in the coming weeks?

The Senior Leadership Group recently met with SGA President, Varsha Vijayakumar ’20, to work on ways to bring more student perspective into the work of the administration, and to help improve communication between students and administrators. This year, the SLG has developed an annual agenda, which focuses on the top strategic priorities identified at the beginning of the academic year. Some topics include discussing ways to expand Middlebury’s  global network — for example, by enabling more undergraduates to take courses at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey — working with faculty to develop  strategies for curricular innovation, and ensuring continued financial sustainability. The SLG and the president have recently adopted a new Open Expression Policy — developed to protect the expression of every member of our community and prohibit substantial disruption of someone else’s expression on our campuses — and will be finalizing the Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, as well as discussing inclusive pedagogy in the next few weeks.

How can students communicate with SLG?

Many SLG members have a student advisory group or a liaison with an SGA representative. Students who serve as constituent members of the oversight bBoards for the college, the institute, and the schools will work with those boards’ senior administrative officer, who helps the oversight boards set their agendas and make recommendations to the full Board of Trustees for all of Middlebury. The SGA president also meets regularly with SLG to review what the SGA is working on, and to work with SLG on common goals. Finally, if college students would like to raise a particular issue that may be appropriate for the SLG, they should contact Vice President of Student Affairs Baishakhi Taylor, who will work with students to share their thoughts through the right channels.

Hannah Ross is the college’s general counsel and a member of the Senior Leadership Group.

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