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Marlboro College offers graduate programs in nearby Brattleboro, Vermont where many alumni have taken advantage of this local educational resource in order to advance their careers and interests. Beginning with the class of 2013, the college is guaranteeing admission to programs at its Center for Graduate and Professional Studies for Marlboro’s graduating seniors, and awarding these students a scholarship equivalent to 50 percent of the graduate tuition.
“Marlboro College embodies the best of Vermont,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, college president, in her announcement of the new guarantees. “Our educational programs uphold Vermont’s unique character in multiple dimensions—from a commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability to a deep-seated respect for the individual and human rights. This new program expresses our confidence in and commitment to graduates of Marlboro College.” The announcement is just the latest move to foster a sense of connection between the two campuses. Other recent programs include offering dual-degree programs that link the undergraduate and graduate trajectories and facilitating joint seminars that draw on the expertise of both faculties and student bodies.
One of the fundamental tenets of liberal arts education is to spur students on to deeper exploration and greater achievement. As members of the Center for Graduate and Professional Studies, students will gain the relevant knowledge and practical skills they need to focus their scholarship further in a particular career path, lead thoughtfully, and meet the opportunities of an ever-changing and interconnected world.
Marlboro’s new admission guarantee program applies to recent graduates, starting with the class of 2013. For more specific information about graduate and professional studies admission please contact Joe Heslin at 802.258.9209 or email@example.com.
Marlboro College is pleased to announce their 66th graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 19. with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin addressing the 61 graduates from the Class of 2013.
"Governor Shumlin is an ideal choice to address our thoughtful, motivated, and well-prepared graduates this year," said college president Ellen McCulloch-Lovell. "He is keenly aware of the talents our graduates possess and the importance of utilizing those precious skills in a democratic society."
Class of 2013 graduates will be regaled by Governor Shumlin, as well as Marlboro Board President Dean Nicyper '76, McCulloch-Lovell, Dean of Faculty Richard Glezjer, and senior speaker Evan Lamb ’13. The entire commencement, will stream live online beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Rice-Aron Library awarded Muslim Journeys collection
On May 6, the Rice-Aron library celebrated the Muslim Journeys collection recently awarded to the college, with a small tea party featuring anise-turmeric cakes. Marlboro College is one of 840 libraries across the country selected to receive the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys collection from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA). The collection is designed to familiarize readers with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world. The Muslim Journeys Bookshelf includes books and DVDs on themes ranging from the biographies of American Muslims to Muslim architecture and film. Marlboro’s celebration included comments from religion professor Amer Latif, who collaborated with library director Emily Alling in applying for the grant and who shared his thoughts on the importance of finding unity among all peoples.
Students in the course Cuba: 1898 to the Present recently spent nine days immersed in their subject. After eight weeks of intensive reading and individualized library research, they experienced what no amount of classroom or research time could give them. Nine students accompanied anthropology professor Carol Hendrickson and American studies professor Kate Ratcliff on a field research trip to Havana.
“The trip was an enormously important learning occasion: about Cuba, about field research, and about the lives of Cuban neighbors who live so close to the U.S. and yet whose daily lives are so unknown to us,” said Carol. The group stayed in four homes of families in the Vedado neighborhood, and joined together for walking tours of Old Havana, visits to the Museum of the Revolution and the Museum of Fine Arts, and evenings of music at popular venues. Students also fanned out for their own individual research, including interviews with journalists, artists, musicians, an architect and a neighborhood representative of the Committee of the Defense of the Revolution.
“We thank the Christian Johnson Endeavor Foundation for supporting this research endeavor,” added Carol. “The learning from this trip will resonate for all the participants for years to come.” That could also be said for recent student trips to Turkey and Costa Rica. Five students explored mosques, palaces and markets in Turkey with art history professor Felicity Ratte and ceramics professor Martina Lantin, part of their course called Art on the Walls: Ceramic Tiles in Seljuk and Ottoman Architecture, Meaning and Design. Twelve students went to Costa Rica as part of the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certificate class. Students gained their teaching practice required for certification, designing and implementing a program for learning about local ecology at Centro Espiral Mana, a small language institute in central Costa Rica.
This spring and early summer will see some significant changes to the open space between the dining hall and campus center, the focal point for many campus activities. The redesign of “The Meadows,” as the area has been called, was accomplished with the initiative and support of students, faculty and staff over the past year. The project is part of a larger landscaping effort funded by a generous donor and led by the Regenerative Design Group (RDG), a permaculture-inspired landscape design firm based in Greenfield, Massachusetts. In the fall semester, professionals from RDG taught a course on the principles of design to regenerate natural and human communities, focusing on the Meadows as class project.
“Ideas about what we wanted in the Meadows were gathered from the community, and initial designs were drawn up,” said William Edelglass, philosophy professor and member of the Standing Building Committee that oversees campus improvements. “These designs were then presented at Town Meeting and hung on a board in the dining hall to gather feedback and more ideas. The final design is now complete and will be implemented soon.”
Some of changes will be visible as early as April, when one of the Work Day projects is to expose the ledge between the dining hall and the OP building. During the week before commencement, a one-credit class will be learning about implementing the design and planting in three areas, including companion species for apple trees and native rocky outcrop plant communities on exposed ledge. Larger changes to the Meadows will take place shortly after graduation. These include a large level lawn for games and activities, a wildflower meadow, a stage for performances, an outdoor classroom, benches for smaller gatherings or study and a raised stone fireplace.
“The redesign of the Meadows area will create a more inviting, beautiful, useful and cohesive heart of the Marlboro campus,” added William.
Marlboro College is pleased to announce that Kathy Waters has joined the Marlboro community in the position of alumni director. Kathy comes to Marlboro with more than 30 years of experience in human services and advocacy work, often taking unconventional paths like those followed by Marlboro alumni.
“I feel an immediate and deep connection to this college,” said Kathy. “It is a community that resonates with who I am as a professional and as a human being.” Over the years she has worked in diverse programs with Girl Scouts, people with disabilities, people with drug and alcohol addictions and youth living in difficult circumstances, from the South Bronx to the Navajo Nation. Most recently Kathy worked with teenage mothers in New York City before relocating to Brattleboro about four years ago to work at Youth Services, a local nonprofit supporting young people and their families.
Kathy has already been impressed with the dedication and passion of alumni, reflecting what’s stated in Colleges that Change Lives 2013-2014 edition, “Despite the college’s emphasis on self-directed learning and individual passion, Marlboro has the heart of a true community.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with students past, present and future, people discerning enough to choose such a place as Marlboro College.” Kathy can be reached by email or at 802-451-7145,
Senior Madelyn Holm is doing her Plan of Concentration on the role of community service in education, and she has been a living example over her years at Marlboro. Now Maddie has been recognized for her commitment to community with an Engaged Student Award from Vermont Campus Compact. “Maddie lives and shares what it means to engage in one’s community,” said Jodi Clark, Marlboro’s director of housing and residential life. “Her passion and dedication to getting others to join her in caring for our community is truly inspiring.” Maddie began her senior year by designing and leading a Bridges orientation trip for incoming students that engaged them in service activities in the area, and in October she assisted with the local Empty Bowls fundraiser for the Brattleboro Area Drop-In Center. She has also worked with the local Montessori school, talking with students about different kinds of community engagement and making ceramic bowls with them for the Empty Bowls Dinner. Along with engaged students from other Vermont colleges, Maddie’s work and accomplishments will be honored at a VCC Engaged Campus Form in Burlington, Vermont, on April 12.
As part of an ongoing series of editorials in The New York Times, Marlboro President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell shares her perspective on the civic value of a liberal arts degree. In response to the prompt, "Which majors and careers have a reliable return on investment?" Ellen says, "You are asking the wrong question." She suggests that college students stand to gain a broad range of skills, like effective communication and problem-solving, that are not considered in the race to "return on investment." "We must enlarge and enrich our definition of 'value' beyond the purely monetary," she says. "Students must be prepared for a lifetime of engagement, not for specific jobs that may change or even disappear"
Amber Hunt, Marlboro’s notable reference and technology librarian, was acclaimed as a “change agent” in the current issue of Library Journal. The national publication named Amber as one of 50 librarians who are “movers and shakers” for 2013, citing her efforts to move and shake the college over to using open source systems. Amber led Marlboro to be among the first in the United States to adopt open source software called CUFTS, developed in Canada, to manage its e-journals. Not only did the move to CUFTS and two other open source systems set an example in innovation, it has saved the library costs that can be reallocated to acquiring more comprehensive e-journal content. “I work with a great team of people here,” said Amber. “We talk everything through. It’s pretty easy to be fearless when you are supported.”
An introductory class with politics professor Lynette Rummel provides valuable perspective for Ken Schneck, dean of students and frequent blogger on Huffington Post. After 15 minutes of learning about North Africa from Lynette, Ken said "Her passion for the region was palpable as she touched briefly on the beauty, volatility, intrigue and rich history of the region." He recommends taking classes as a way for faculty members to reflect on their own teaching, especially if they have as ideal a model as Lynette.
Nearly 50 skiers and snow-shoers showed up for this year's annual cross-country race, the Wendell-Judd Cup. Despite difficult conditions, the Outdoor Program crew groomed the trail to perfection and a good time was had by all. The coveted Cup went to student life coordinator Willson Gaul '10, who did the six-mile course in just over 30 minutes.
A recent study by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity listed Marlboro College among the “25 colleges with the best professors.” As reported in CBS Moneywatch, the ranking was compiled using the composite teaching scores found on RateMyProfessors, where 15 million students have rated college professors from schools across the country. Marlboro ranked 15th among 650 colleges and universities included in the study, and shared the list with several other liberal arts colleges that offer a focus on liberal arts and small classes.
“Are colleges and universities fulfilling their civic mission?” asks Ellen McCulloch-Lovell in an editorial in Inside Higher Ed titled “A New Measure of Value.” Responding to a recent meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, where congressional staff members questioned the “return on investment” for federal subsidies of higher education, Ellen proposes redefining what “return” means. She pulls examples from her own career and from practices at Marlboro College to illustrate a new “civic scale” for measuring the effectiveness of colleges. “We claim that we produce the inquiring, analytical, vocal, and engaged citizens required for a vital democratic system, but do we present the civic value of our missions forcefully enough to enter into and even change the public discourse?”
Marlboro College freshman Christian Lampart reported on the positive challenges of the Plan of Concentration in a feature recently published in the Deerfield Valley News, a local newspaper. Christian describes Marlboro as “steps ahead of modern institutions in its academic rigor and style of approach, allowing an intellectual space for students not only to rigorously learn and present information, skills and ideas, but to think and develop their own.” He refers to the Plan, the academic culminating project of all Marlboro students, as opportunity to understand and overcome an individual’s limitations. This article is the first of a series that Christian will be contributing to the Deerfield Valley News as an intern there.
Marlboro’s inimitable professor of French, Boukary “Abou” Sawadago, has authored a new book on films from Francophone West Africa titled Les Cinémas Francophones Ouest-Africains. Published in February by L’Harmattan, Abou’s book investigates the portrayal and experience of marginal figures in films made in Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and other West African nations between 1990 and 2005.
“The book is a study of films through the prism of marginality,” said Abou, who joined the faculty at Marlboro College in September. The marginal figures he focuses his study on includes women, homosexuals and madmen, responding to a void in academic studies of marginality in films from the region. “It showcases ongoing changes in Francophone West African cinematic productions, and analyzes the filmic treatment of marginality and its aesthetic and narrative implications.” Providing a critical analysis of the changes in West African film since 1990, Abou draws upon feminist, queer and film theories as well as key notions such as otherness and social and political engagement.
“To me, beauty is the place where nature and human elegance connect,” said Nya Cooks, a high school student from Upatoi, Georgia. “My creation exemplifies this.” Nya’s creation, an elegant gown fabricated from autumn leaves and sheer, flowing fabric, was the winner of Marlboro College’s first-ever Beautiful Minds Challenge. Contest judges received 75 individual and team submissions from teens in 23 U.S. states and two other countries. The top three entries are receiving cash prizes, and the top 20 individuals or teams will enjoy an all-expense-paid trip to a symposium at Marlboro College in February. “I am over the moon,” said Nya. “I can’t thank Marlboro College enough for this opportunity.”
“This is the best opportunity that has ever come my way,” said Eric Rivera, a student from Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernadino, California, and one of the runner ups who will come to the symposium. His team used video to document the evolution of a drawing by one team-member, Octavio Duarte, and demonstrate the self-reflection inherent in art. “I was literally shocked when I heard the great news that we were honored with this trip. I am really looking forward to the symposium in February.”
Other impressive submissions ranged from stop-motion animation to paintings to short stories, all in response to the prompt, “Make something beautiful. Say why it is.” View all of the winning submissions at: minds.marlboro.edu/competition-blog/
New Faculty in Sociology, French and Physics
This fall, Marlboro College welcomed three new faculty members, Katherine Rickenbacker (sociology), Boukary Sawadogo (French) and Sara Salimbeni (physics), who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to campus.
Katherine Rickenbacker received her doctorate in sociology from Northeastern University, with an emphasis in environmental sociology and the sociology of disaster and vulnerability. Her dissertation, “City Roots: Grassroots Efforts to Build Social and Environmental Capital in Urban Areas,” focuses on small-scale urban greening projects in Dorchester. Katherine says, “The main first draw to Marlboro for me was its focus on teaching. I wanted somewhere that really valued teaching and wasn’t just primarily a research school.”
French professor Boukary Sawadogo was born and raised in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, and receieved his doctorate in francophone studies from the University of Louisiana. His dissertation, “Altérité dérangeante et innovante dans le cinéma ouest-africain francophone de. 1990 à 2005,” examines the representation of marginal groups in francophone-African cinema. Boukary, who goes by “Abu,” enjoys the opportunity of teaching at such a small and intimate institution. “In terms of ideas and in terms of perspectives, Marlboro has nothing to envy of a larger university,” he says.
Sara Salimbeni, a native of Rome, Italy, did not always want to study physics. “When I was a child I wanted to be a painter,” she jokes. “It didn’t work out.” Salimbeni received her doctorate in astronomy from The University of Rome, Tor Vergata. Her dissertation, “Cosmological evolution of galaxies from deep multicolor surveys,” examines how different galaxies have changed over billions of years. “I very much enjoy that the classes at Marlboro are small,” says Sara. “I am able to work with each student in an individual way.”
Teens from across the U.S. are invited participate in the Marlboro Beautiful Minds Challenge by creating an original expression of beauty that pulls from multiple perspectives or takes an innovative approach. Submissions are due December 1, 2012, in response to the prompt, “Make something beautiful. Say why it is.”
“One of Marlboro’s greatest strengths is the opportunity for students and faculty to work across disciplines and engage with meaty questions that have real-world implications,” says Ariel Brooks, director of non-degree programs at Marlboro. “The idea for the competition was to create a question that many people on campus would be excited about and invite high school students to solve it in a Marlboro-like way.”
The top three entrants will receive cash prizes and 20 contestants will win a trip, expenses paid, to a student symposium on beauty at Marlboro College in February. Entries will be judged by a panel of Marlboro faculty, staff and students as well as experts from a variety of fields. For more information, go to the Beautiful Minds Challenge website.
In 1982, Marlboro President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, then the director of the Vermont Arts Council, helped initiate the first of the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV). This year Marlboro is recognizing the unique role governor’s schools like GIV play in education, and the commitment of participants to engaged learning, with a new college scholarship program.
“The goal of Marlboro College is to teach students to think clearly and to learn independently,” said Nicole Curvin, dean of admissions at Marlboro. “Graduates of the governor’s schools across the country are well-equipped for this kind of college experience.” Students who have completed a governor’s school program, and who apply and are accepted at Marlboro, are eligible for a $5,000 scholarship toward their tuition.
The first governor’s school was started in 1963, when the governor of North Carolina established a residential summer program for gifted students. Other states like Vermont have followed suit with a diversity of programs focusing on innovative, non-traditional approaches to learning. The programs provide young people with intensive, hands-on learning experiences in college settings, inspiring the kind of academic and creative passions that would be well-served by a self-designed course of study at Marlboro.
“Students from governor’s schools like GIV have demonstrated a high potential for contributing to the vibrancy of the Marlboro academic community,” Said Curvin.
“Environmental studies is by its nature interdisciplinary,” said Jaime Tanner, biology professor and one of the faculty members behind a resurgence of environmental studies at Marlboro College. “At Marlboro we have a leg up, in that all of the students and faculty are already accustomed to reaching across academic lines and integrating ideas from seemingly disparate fields. This means that faculty members are effectively able to work together in environmental studies courses and in sponsoring environmental studies Plans of Concentration.”
Marlboro has had an environmental studies program since the early 1970s, launched by early faculty like physicist John MacArthur, forester Halsey Hicks and others. But the recent arrival of new and engaged faculty members with related interests, as well as the growing urgency of global environmental issues like climate change and biodiversity conservation, prompted a revitalization of the program.
“The larger the institution, the more barriers exist to truly interdisciplinary work in environmental studies,” said Kyhl Lyndgaard, who teaches writing with a focus on environmental writing and literature. “Even in a liberal arts college of 1500 students, self-segregation based on departments occurs due to who we interact with on a daily basis, while student research can be blunted due to how core curriculum requirements are structured. At Marlboro, the freedom of students to pursue creative lines of inquiry with faculty from different disciplines is nearly absolute.”
The environmental studies curriculum starts with an introductory survey course co-taught by several faculty members. This innovative course presents students to a series of disciplinary perspectives, which they can then apply to specific issues of personal interest, from species extinction to renewable energy. The delicate balance between disciplinary and issues-oriented approaches exemplified in this course is at the core of the environmental studies program.
“Environmental issues are complex and interdisciplinary by their very nature,” said economics professor Jim Tober, who has been sponsoring environmental studies Plans of Concentration since the 1970s. “The Marlboro curriculum and the structure of the Plan support students in triangulating environmental issues by shifting back and forth between disciplinary and problem-centered perspectives. Each student must sort out the tension between these approaches.”
Each Marlboro professor brings a unique viewpoint to the curriculum. While Jim does teach an Environmental Economics course, his environmental studies go beyond applied economics to include Wildlife Law, Policy and Values, Land and Land-Use Control and Topics in Environmental History.
“I bring an economist’s perspective to my environmental studies work, even if the subject matter is out of the mainstream,” Jim said. “When I identify myself as an economist who also teaches environmental studies, I often get the reaction that this is an odd—even contradictory—pairing of interests. Nothing could be farther from the truth: the environment is the resource context within which economies function.”
“One of my goals is to chip away at that occasional (often subconscious) perception that writing and the humanities are not a natural fit for environmental studies program,” said Kyhl. “The ability to explain concepts and to make an argument across multiple fields is both essential and difficult; lively and clear writing is the way this communication happens.” Kyhl attests that good science alone is not enough to make environmental progress. “Sustainable changes rely on cultural shifts, and much work in understanding our environmental attitudes is best approached through a humanities perspective.
“The wonderful thing here at Marlboro is that there are great environmental studies classes being offered by professors in math, philosophy, politics, psychology, history, art, and more,” said Jaime who in addition to courses in ecology teaches Biology of Social Issues. Tutorials on related topics have included Green Politics, Green Architecture, Agroforestry, Landscape Design and Environmental Perspectives in Contemporary American Poetry. “Just about every professor here is part of the environmental studies program, so a student can really focus on their interests.”
Last August, the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene devastated the nearby town of Wilmington, Vermont. A class led by art history professor Felicity Ratté this spring semester brought students face to face with the realities of disaster recovery in this local community. The class, called Disaster, Recovery and Design, not only gave students the opportunity to study how a community recovers, but also to actively participate in important recovery work.
“My interest was to engage the college in the community,” Felicity said. “I had been interested in offering a community engagement class for a while, but I always thought ‘How does an art historian get involved in community engagement?’” Felicity received help in designing the class from a number of Marlboro College faculty as well as her sister, who is a planner in Massachusetts. She also got some insights from a seminar sponsored by the Vermont Campus Compact, a nonprofit coalition of colleges that promotes higher education with a civic mission. Along with their classroom work, students actively participated in a variety of recovery projects, most of which were organized under FEMA’s long-term community recover program.
“This is the first class I’ve taken with such immediate real-world implications,” said Marlboro junior David Amato, who worked with the Deerfield Valley News to cover stories relating to the recovery effort. “The articles I was writing were actually being read by subscribers and people walking through the grocery store, so there was a lot of pressure to get the facts straight. It was also different because there was very little theory involved. Most of the class was about talking to people and becoming aware of networks of people who live there.” Other students were working with youth to gather data on how the flood affected stream biology, helping the police and fire departments to develop a disaster response plan for Wilmington and assisting the historic village group on a circularization plan.
“There are a lot of cool people in Wilmington who are more than happy to talk to strangers like myself, and they were all so appreciative in the fact that Marlboro took an interest in them and their town,” said David. “My experience there has animated the concept of the ‘Vermonter’ as an impressively independent breed. This is a tiny town, and I’m amazed at how much it’s been able to pull together in a short amount of time."
“I think the students got an enormous amount out of being in the class, and going out to the community,” said Felicity. “The circularization committee plans to paint a mural on Church Street, and I’m planning to get Marlboro students involved with that. I’m hoping this is just a beginning, not just for me, but for my colleagues at the college.”
On Wednesday, May30, Marlboro President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell addressed the opening plenary session of the second annual Slow Living Summit, a three-day conference in Brattleboro focusing on sustainability and resilience. According to event organizers, “Slow Living” is shorthand for taking a more reflective approach to living and work, being mindful of impacts on the environment and on communities.
“Creating a just and sustainable world isn’t just about economics and energy, it’s also about how we live and how we treat each other,” said McCulloch-Lovell, who addressed the role of academics in a sustainable future. “We’re looking to solutions for our planet in which common good is just as important as private gain.” Marlboro College was one of the event’s co-sponsors along with Brattleboro-based World Learning–SIT.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Governor Peter Shumlin were also among the dozens of high-profile speakers taking part in the summit, which was aimed to attract entrepreneurs, investors, educators, students, and other leaders. The summit included more than 50 sessions on topics like food, agriculture, spirit, investing, energy, technology, entrepreneurship, communities and media.
Marlboro's 65 years recognized by Vermont legislators
In a Vermont House of Representatives resolution offered by members from Brattleboro, Vernon, Newfane, Wilmington, Wardsboro, Putney, Windham and Rockingham, the General Assembly voted to congratulate Marlboro College on its 65th anniversary. Referring to Marlboro as “one of America’s most creative and innovative institutions of higher education,” the resolution cites the college’s mission “to teach students to think clearly and to learn independently.” It also highlights Marlboro’s 95th percentile or better ranking, by the National Survey of Student Engagement, in terms of academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, supportive campus environment and collaborative learning. President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell is commended for “unique combination of cultural and political experience in a dynamic and successful campus leadership tenure.” Read the full resolution.
“This year, many thousands of people will die as a consequence of malaria moving to higher altitudes, a shift made possible by warmer temperatures. Do we bear any moral responsibility for their deaths?” writes philosophy professor William Edelglass in Facing Nature: Levinas and Environmental Thought. Edited by Edelglass, James Hatley & Christian Diehm, Facing Nature brings contemporary continental philosophy to bear on a range of environmental issues, from climate change to environmental justice.
In his chapter “Rethinking Responsibility in an Age of Anthropogenic Climate Catastrophe,” William draws on Emmanuel Levinas’ account of ethical subjectivity. He argues that as individuals we are morally responsible for the human and environmental costs of climate change. Like other authors in Facing Nature, William brings the best of continental philosophy to bear on major issues in environmental thought.
New for summer 2012, Marlboro’s pre-college programs offer young adults the opportunity to study directly with faculty members, in the classroom and out. The two programs this June are titled Eating Against the Machine, offered by politics professor Meg Mott, and Philosophies of the Wilderness, offered by philosophy professor William Edelglass. Each program will provide a glimpse of college academics at their best and an opportunity to connect with a group of of other students passionate about learning.
Marlboro Joins Vermont College Semester Exchange Program
If Marlboro students ever feel like they need a fresh outlook in their academic field, or a course not available on campus, there is a new opportunity available to them. In February, Marlboro College announced it will participate in a semester exchange program with other independent Vermont colleges. The program, launched this year through the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges, allows students to study for a semester at another private college in the state with no extra tuition costs.
“Marlboro is proud to participate in this innovative semester exchange program,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Marlboro president. “We look forward to joining with other Vermont institutions of higher education.” Marlboro students could spend a semester at one of 13 other independent Vermont colleges, such as Bennington, Middlebury or Sterling College, where they may explore new perspectives or learn new skills to incorporate into their Marlboro curriculum. Read more.
The New England regional conference of the American College Dance Festival Association, at Connecticut College, included dancers and faculty choreographers from top schools like The Boston Conservatory, University of Vermont and Middlebury College. The 44 dances presented were of the highest caliber, and 28 schools were represented. Marlboro senior Cookie Harrist’s work was one of 10 selected for the final gala concert on February 11. The solo piece Cookie choreographed, titled “Present Present Present,” was also among three acts chosen for a national conference gala performance in May, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
“It feels so wonderful to know that something I made spoke strongly to an audience and the conference adjudicators,” said Cookie. “It’s sort of shocking that I was able to do that.” Cookie will bring “Present Present Present” to the 2012 National College Dance Festival, held on May 25-27, a biennial event showcasing the outstanding quality of choreography and performance created on college and university campuses across the country. Read more.
In May 2011, 10 Marlboro students, staff and faculty left for Cambodia as part of a service-learning and teaching journey. The students raised $2,500 in aid for organizations in Cambodia. They also brought children's books, medications and medical equipment including nearly a 1,000 pairs of donated eye-glasses, as well as 30 laptop computers donated by Pfizer, inc.
In a new video presented at the Marlboro student film festival in December 2011, junior Kirsten Wiking combined recent interviews of students with Cambodia footage from Max Foldeak, director of health services. The video will be used by the non-profit agencies in Cambodia, the World Studies Program at Marlboro College, and the agencies in the U.S. that donated to this service-learning project.
Rosario de Swanson, professor of Spanish language and literature at Marlboro College, received the prestigious Victoria Urbano Award in drama, presented by the Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica (AILCFH). The award, for her play titled Metamorfosis ante el espejo de obsidiana (Metamorphosis before the Obsidian Mirror), was announced on October 21 at the annual meeting of the association at the University of Barcelona.
“The play is a monologue in two acts,” said Rosario, who specializes in Afro-Hispanic literature, particularly women writers, contemporary indigenous literature and feminist and post-colonial theory. “It centers on the female protagonist’s struggles to overcome self-inflicted repression and oppression, as she also comes to understand her part in the reproduction of other’s oppression ingrained in her by cultural norms.”
Although Metamorfosis is a contemporary approach to issues of female oppression, the play is deeply connected to Rosario’s Mexican roots and ancestry. “Being Mexican, I love music and I tend to draw from it a lot,” she said. “In this play I draw on Mexican popular and classical musical traditions, including the aria ‘Obisidian Butterfly’ by Mexican composer Daniel Catán, from his opera Rapaccini’s Daughter.”
In September, Rosario also presented a paper on “Dance as female affirmation in Ekomo, a novel from Equatorial Guinea,” at an international conference titled Africa and People of African Descent: Issues and Actions to Re-Envision the Future, at Howard University. The conference celebrated and reinforced the United Nations declaration of 2011 as the Year of Africa and People of African Descent.
Math professor and student collaborate on combinatorics
The current issue of Australasian Journal of Combinatorics (vol. 51: 243-257) includes a joint paper by Marlboro College math professor Matt Ollis and his former student Devin Willmott ’11. Titled “On twizzler, zigzag and graceful terraces,” the paper adds to our mathematical knowledge of balanced sequences known as “terraces.”
“There are three somewhat separate problems addressed in the paper, tied together through their use of terraces,” said Matt. “A terrace is a structured pattern that might or might not exist in each of infinitely many mathematical objects called groups. They were originally developed to help with the design of agricultural experiments but have since been found to have applications to other situations and mathematicians also study them in their own right.”
For example, “twizzler terraces”—named by previous authors for the turkey twizzlers found on the menu in some British schools—are terraces that appear to twist in on themselves. In their paper, Matt and Devin classify what types of twizzler terrace can possibly exist and exactly when they do.
“Terraces are combinatorial objects rooted in finite group theory,” said Devin, who collaborated with Matt on this paper as part of his Plan of Concentration at Marlboro on group theory. By leaving behind most of the mathematical rules we are familiar with, collections of elements, or “groups,” are found to interact with each other in new and significant ways. “The ideas behind group theory are fairly unlike any other discipline I have seen, and lead to surprising and unintuitive but elegant results,” Devin said.
“How much can I pay you to dye your hair blue?” “Pay me? I’d just donate it, so why don’t we make it $500 for charity.” This conversation between two Marlboro College students was the inspiration for this fall’s “Green for Blue” United Way Campaign. Anna Hughes, a senior at Marlboro, and Chuck Pillette, a junior with very white hair (pictured right), decided they wanted to raise money for the United Way to help those affected by the recent flooding as well as others in need. Jodi Clark, director of housing and residential life and a Marlboro alumna (also pictured right), was planning the traditional employee fundraising effort for the United Way when Anna asked for help getting her campaign going.
“It simply seemed like a great way to accomplish both the employee campaign and this student led idea by combining them to make it a whole campus community campaign,” said Jodi. Jodi and Anna started asking other prominent community members if they would be willing to either dye or temporarily spray their hair blue for at least a day if the community campaign reaches specific giving benchmarks. Currently, there are 17 community members who are going to go blue for the United Way, including Ellie Roark, head selectperson, writing professor John Sheehy (his goatee) and Ken Schneck, dean of students. Even Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, president of the college, has pledged to spray her hair blue for one day if the community raises $5,000 by October 13.
“The United Way of Windham County funds so many agencies and programs that aid families and communities all year round, whether there is a natural disaster to recover from or individual families facing hardships such as a fire, job loss or sudden illness,” said Jodi. “Other programs they support help strengthen our community, and all of the funding stays in Windham County.” For more information on Marlboro College’s Green for Blue United Way Campaign, contact Jodi Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an editorial published in The Commons, religion professor Amer Latif calls for love, compassion and peace on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. "As a Muslim-American, I find such inspiration in the life of the Prophet Muhammad, who, when asked how one could change the behavior of one’s children, replied, 'Start with yourself,'” writes Amer. He says that seeing the suffering of the victims of 9/11 as no different from the suffering of the thousands of Iraqis who have died since is difficult work, work that begins with finding compassion within oneself.
John Willis on Vermont Public Radio
Explore Plan topics from graduates over the past sixty years.
"What’s inspiring about the Rice-Aron Library is its openness: the open building, the belief in patrons honoring the privilege of the collection, the instruction sessions held out in the open for all to see and learn, and the leap to open source tools and finding out that they work just as well as commercial systems. While many libraries talk about transparency, this is one that is actually living it," Brian Mathews says about Marlboro College's library, which is featured in his May 2011 "Next Steps" column for American Library Magazine.
Perched on its knoll in the northwest corner of campus, the Rice-Aron Library serves the community in ways far beyond its collection of 75,000 books and 17,000 journals. There are classrooms and computer labs, a dedicated space for art exhibits, public reading and other interesting events. But it always come back to the collection. As the library's Facebook page pointed out recently, Marlboro students on average checked out 35 books during the 2010-11 academic year.
Spanish professor publishes article on Afro-Peruvian identity
Rosario de Swanson's article, Women's Words: Orality, Myth and History in the works of Afro-Peruvian writer Lucia Charun Illescas will be included in a volume published by the University of Perpignan in France as part of their Latin American, Africa and Europe research group.
The volume, entitled Postcolonial Discourses and Renegotiations of Black Identities: Africas, Americas, Caribes, Europas, is part of a joint effort by the Centro Interdisciplinario de Estudios Africanos y de la World Diaspora Africana (Americas, Caribes, Europa), Howard university (US) and Le Groupe de Recherche Sur Les Noir-E-S D'Amerique Latina, Universite de Perpignan (France). Click here for their website (in French).
Marlboro College hosts many events that are open to the public throughout the year, including lectures, concerts and art exhibits. To receive notification of future events, send an email to our development office.
- Lectures, Readings and Performances
- Music for a Sunday Afternoon concert series
- MBA in Managing for Sustainability featured speakers
Photos, Video and Audio taken by Marlboro College with permission of performer.