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In November, following more than a year of community process and design work, Marlboro College unveiled a new visual-identity system designed to celebrate and honor our legacy while recognizing an evolving institution for the future. Based on the college’s original design of a bare tree in winter, known affectionately as the “dead tree,” the addition of a new logo reflects the urgent need to integrate Marlboro’s graduate and professional studies programs in Brattleboro, Vermont, with our main campus in the town of Marlboro. It also resolves technical issues with the original design that made it less useful in print and online communications.
Along with the new logo, the college also introduced a refreshed seal, a more direct update of the original tree layout. The seal will be reserved for more formal institutional uses, such as diplomas, formal letters, or specialty merchandising, while the new logo will be a more versatile image for general print and electronic communications. In both cases, special attention was given to preserve the original tree, replicating branch for branch, while adding our founding date and state of origin – giving the whole image more strength and scalability.
“I am proud of the creative input our community generated in order to better unite our two campuses and more clearly project our identity to the outside world,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Marlboro College president. “The tree has had several different designs over the years dating back to the 1950s and has been less frequently used in recent years. Our effort looks to revive and honor the original student illustration as an official college seal for decades to come.”
As part of the college’s research for the project they reached out last spring to Bill Horridge ’51, who casually designed the historic tree with fellow students one evening. “It’s a fictional representation,” said Horridge. “We designed it to look like a bare maple in winter, with contrast so it stood out as a symbol—you know, Vermont and maple trees.”
The final logo and seal are the product of extensive community outreach and focus groups involving students, faculty, staff, and trustees over the last year, part of a broader communication enhancement effort. In the coming months ahead, the college will publish a visual-identity guidebook that explains how to use the logo and seal along with typography and color in a consistent manner across both campuses.
Marlboro College is pleased to announce a partnership with the Snelling Center for Government to introduce three new graduate level courses in leadership, public policy, and community engagement. The courses will be based on learning from the Snelling Center’s Vermont Leadership Institute, and will be incorporated into Marlboro’s Master of Science in Management–Mission Driven Organizations (MSM-MDO) program.
“I am excited about our new partnership with Marlboro College,” said Mark Snelling, president of the Snelling Center. “The new program brings together two wonderful Vermont institutions, and will enhance our graduates’ knowledge as they continue to work as leaders in their communities across Vermont.”
The Snelling Center created the Vermont Leadership Institute (VLI) in 1995 to stimulate citizen enthusiasm for and participation in public service. Under the terms of the agreement, Marlboro College will design three graduate courses built on the foundation of the VLI learning experience and augmented by related coursework. The three courses are titled Emotional Intelligence for Leaders, Public Policy and Systems Change in Vermont, and Collaboration and Change.
Marlboro College is please to announce that it was promised more than $1.3 million this fall, thanks to the generosity of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation and Marlboro College Trustee Ted Wendell. These funds will support a range of initiatives, from international programs to the Bridges orientation program for new students, which are integral to the academic success of students at this small and close-knit learning community.
The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation pledged Marlboro a grant of $825,000 over the next three years, to go toward international programs, career services, admissions and marketing, and planning for the future. Marlboro also received a gift of $500,000 from Ted and Mary Wendell, longtime friends of the college, to go toward the Bridges orientation program as well as other operational costs.
“I believe in Marlboro, in the mission to preserve the intense, one-on-one teaching that has been Marlboro’s practice over the years,” said Ted Wendell (pictured above with President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell), who has been a trustee of the college since 1979. The Bridges program, which offers fully funded, peer-guided activities such as backpacking, spelunking, dance, and writing to welcome new students, was launched in 2008 with the Wendells’ support.
Kingdom County Productions and Marlboro College have announced an ambitious line-up for their inaugural 2013-14 series of award-winning performers in venues around Windham County. The showcase series includes music, theater, dance, and circus events, ranging from folk singer Arlo Guthrie to Ballet Jazz of Montreal (pictured), staged in Brattleboro, Putney, Marlboro, and Bellows Falls.
“Performing arts are an integral part of the culture at Marlboro College, and we are thrilled with this opportunity to bring leading performers to the region,” said Ellen McCulloch, Marlboro president. Ellen has extensive experience in the arts, as former executive director of both the Vermont Council on the Arts and President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities under President Clinton, and welcomes the collaboration with Kingdom County Productions.
“I really enjoyed our collaboration with Marlboro College during our recent film production of Northern Borders, said Jay Craven, Kingdom County Productions artistic director and Marlboro College film studies professor. “Windham County is a place where fabulous activities and partnerships prosper. We hope that our series can make a contribution.”
The series includes:
- Ethan Lipton and His Orchestra performs “No Place to Go” • September 28, Marlboro College
- Gordon Clapp performs “Robert Frost: This Verse Business” • October 5, Marlboro College
- Stile Antico performs “Choral Treasures of the Renaissance” • October 9, Marlboro College
- Arlo Guthrie • November 8, Latchis Theater, Brattleboro
- Natalie MacMaster performs “Christmas in Cape Breton” • December 6, Latchis Theater, Brattleboro
- Clown Bob Berky • December 8, Next Stage Arts, Putney
- Ballet Jazz of Montreal • January 26, Bellows Falls Opera House
- Goat in the Road Theater performs “Instant Misunderstanding” • February 7, Marlboro College
- The Acting Company/Guthrie Theater performs “Hamlet” • February 20, Latchis Theater, Brattleboro
Tickets and more information available at Kingdom County Productions
Following on last year’s success, this year’s Beautiful Minds Challenge stands to inspire the creativity of inquiring high school students with the prompt: “Take a road less traveled. Make something that shares your journey.” Teens (15-19) from across the United States are invited to take a journey—physical, intellectual, or metaphorical—then document their “road less traveled” and what they learned in a creative, digitally up-loadable format. The top 25 contestants will win a trip, all expenses paid, to a student symposium at Marlboro College in April, and the top three entrants will also receive cash prizes.
“Marlboro’s self-designed curriculum ensures that every one of our students takes his or her own unique intellectual journey while at Marlboro,” says Ariel Brooks, director of non-degree programs at Marlboro. “This year’s challenge is inspired by Robert Frost, who was an early supporter of the college. We hope it gives high school students an opportunity to experience the same sort of transformative journey in a smaller way.”
Learn more about the prompt, the symposium, and how to enter, including an inspirational blog with the journeys of students, faculty, and staff, at the Beautiful Minds Challenge website.
“I want to make a case for that misunderstood term—the liberal arts,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Marlboro president, at a recent Gallup Education Conference, titled Aiming at Career and Life Wellbeing, held in Omaha, Nebraska. In a presentation titled “Liberating Arts Education,” Ellen highlighted the valuable skills and qualities supported by a liberal arts education and urged a redefinition of the concept of “return on investment” as used in higher education. She also participated in a panel discussion called “Linking Education Systems to Better Outcomes,” moderated by Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Education. “For many months I’ve been declaring, proposing, and insisting that we who care about our students’ lives and our institutions of learning must redefine their worth. If not, the terms of what is valued and what “performance” means will be defined for us.”
“Marlboro College’s empowerment of students to take on the responsibility of their own education is rare,” said Xenia Markowitt Pedone, Marlboro’s new dean of students as of July 29. “It makes for innovative student-centered education, in and out of the classroom, for which Student Life can be an engaged partner in learning.”
Selected from a competitive field of candidates, Xenia brings many experiences and talents to Marlboro College. She was most recently associate dean for campus life at New York University Abu Dhabi, a new campus of 450 international students, where she helped to found the Student Affairs division in the liberal arts tradition. She also served at Dartmouth College for 13 years, where she became director of the Center for Women and Gender in the Office of Pluralism and Leadership.
Marlboro is pleased to welcome Xenia to the campus community, and looks forward to benefiting from her experience in student affairs, faculty-student collaboration, diversity, crisis response, international learning, and leadership training.
Marlboro College is once again featured and receives high ratings in The Princeton Review’s new 2014 edition of its annual college guide, The Best 378 Colleges. Notably, the education services company ranks Marlboro #1 nationally for “Professors Get High Marks,” and gives the college an overall academic rating of 99, their highest rating.
“The ‘incredibly sharp-witted and compassionate’ faculty members at Marlboro ‘have strong personalities,’ and relationships with professors are ‘really intimate (in a good way),’” says the guide, quoting surveys filled out by Marlboro students. “‘By the end of a class—provided you participate—they know you well, and you know them well,’ says a student. There’s definitely ‘a relaxed, humorous atmosphere that manages to coexist with the intense academics, somehow.’”
“Of course we’ve always been proud of the excellent professors we bring to Marlboro, including their high standard of teaching and a very substantial role in the vision and day-to-day operations of this academic community,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Marlboro College president. “It is rewarding to see Marlboro recognized so positively among several diverse categories this year from academic to student life.”
Marlboro also received high rankings for “Students Study the Most” (#3), “Most Liberal Students” (#5), and, a testament to the general lack of focus on organized sports, “There’s a Game?” (#5). Marlboro was ranked 19th for being “LGBT-Friendly” and 20th for “Most Politically Active Students” out of all 378 colleges included. The college received a 99 for “Professors Interesting,” their highest rating, and a 94 for “Professors Accessible.”
Marlboro College was pleased to receive four dignitaries from Heilongjiang University, People’s Republic of China, for the official signing of a memorandum of agreement between the two institutions on July 24. Prof. Zhang Zhengwen, president, and three other administrators from the university met with faculty on both the undergraduate campus and the graduate campus in Brattleboro. The highlight was a meeting with Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Marlboro president, to sign the memorandum and exchange gifts, including bowls from alumna Anna Vogler Littman ’00.
The new agreement is based on negotiations that began last July with a visit to China by Chinese professor Grant Li and Dean of Faculty Richard Glejzer. The memorandum states that Marlboro College and Heilongjiang University will “commit to mutual and reciprocal cooperation toward the shared goal of the internationalization of higher education.” Specifically, the two institutions will encourage the exchange of students, as well as the exchange of faculty or research fellows and collaboration on research and conferences.
“Although they were only here a short time, our visitors from Heilongjiang left impressed with Marlboro and the kinds of teaching and learning that our self-directed, liberal arts model can provide,” said Richard. “The president said that he very much enjoyed getting to know Marlboro and looks forward to a long relationship between our institutions.”
Marlboro College is proud to announce that Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, president, was named chair of the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges (AVIC), effective June 17, for a two-year term. AVIC is a member-driven organization dedicated to expanding the capacity of Vermont’s independent educational network and attracting students who will contribute to the state’s future workforce as well as its economic, civic, and cultural life.
“Colleges and universities help prepare students to be the inquiring, analytical, vocal, and engaged citizens we need,” said Ellen, as quoted in a recent AVIC publication. “Our graduates seek to thrive throughout their lives.” As chair, she will oversee a Presidents' Assembly comprised of 19 college and university presidents, as well as the association president. The AVIC board sets the agenda for private colleges in Vermont and formulates policies and positions on public issues for independent higher education in the state.
“Vermont stories are worth telling,” says Jay Craven, Marlboro College professor of film and video, in in the July/August 2013 issue of Orion magazine. “There is a population here that never sees its own culture, its own history, its own characters, validated in the mainstream cinema. When a Hollywood film uses the region, it tends to caricature or stereotype the region. Why not have stories told from where we are about who we are?”
In an article titled “On Location,” Jay is held up as a prime example of someone doing vital regional cinema that embodies the character and genius of a place in all its mystery, magnificence, and pain. While most of the movie industry is concentrated and centralized in southern California, Jay is breaking the mold by shooting low-budget regional films, holding Vermont casting calls and using Vermonters in his crew. To shoot Northern Borders, his newest film inspired by a novel from Vermont author Howard Frank Moser, Jay assembled 34 students and recent graduates from 15 colleges for a film-intensive semester at Marlboro College. He is planning on another Movies from Marlboro intensive for the spring 2014 semester.
For those interested in learning more, Jay will be featured in a live discussion on regional filmmaking, hosted by Orion, on July 16.
Marlboro is pleased to announce the initiation of a new scholarship specifically aimed to help support students doing an international internship as part of the World Studies Program. The Roderick M. Gander Scholarship for World Studies will be awarded each year to World Studies students during the semester in which they are immersed in a foreign culture and engaged in a working internship. The scholarship is named for Rod Gander, former college president who founded the World Studies Program in 1987.
“The Gander Scholarship will provide a valuable incentive for students interested the World Studies Program, but who feel that the cost of tuition while on a semester-long internship is a barrier,” said Cathy Osman, visual arts professor and member of the Committee for World Studies. “We are delighted to make this signature program more accessible to a wider range of students, and to recognize the commitment and focus these student’s have for incorporating an international element in their academic studies.” Students in the World Studies Program receive a bachelor’s degree in international studies in partnership with the School for International Training, in Brattleboro. Recent WSP graduates have gained immeasurably from internships in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Guatemala.
The first group of Marlboro College students recently received their TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificates, featured as part of the undergraduate course offerings at the college for the first time this year. The certificate program is the result of collaboration between the college’s undergraduate campus and the graduate campus in Brattleboro, where they launched an MA in TESOL program last year.
“For years there has been interest on the undergraduate campus in the field of TESOL, in part because it offers a way to go abroad and earn money while you do it,” said Beverley Burkett, chair of the MA TESOL program and instructor for the certificate course. “Developing the TESOL certificate program seemed like a great way to match an interest, and need, at the undergraduate level with expertise at the graduate school.”
The certificate course is a minimum of 130 hours that includes six hours of observed individual teaching. Internships were arranged at the Centro Espiral Mana, a small language school in rural Costa Rica where Mary Scholl, a faculty member for Marlboro’s MA TESOL program, is director. Marlboro students were able to have an authentic teaching experience, using a project-based approach to English lesson planning and design, to help their students learn about the local environment.
Marlboro junior Ben Glatt said, “It was about seeing the classroom through the eyes of a student and making the first question not, ‘What can I teach them?’ but ‘How can I help them to learn?’”
Two years ago, Tropical Storm Irene devastated towns in southern Vermont, and they are still struggling to rebuild and heal from staggering losses. Marlboro College’s Center for Creative Solutions (CCS) is responding to that need in the neighboring town of Londonderry, through a partnership with Windham Regional Commission. The commission is one of 817 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an Art Works grant, supporting community engagement through the arts, from the National Endowment of the Arts. The $40,000 grant will support a creative and community-driven planning process in Londonderry, facilitated by CCS.
“We are grateful to the NEA for recognizing the role of the arts in planning design improvements to Vermont’s infrastructure and community spaces,” said Marlboro College President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell. “The creative ideas that emerge from the CCS workshop in Londonderry, as well as the process itself, may become a precedent for other flood-stricken towns in the region and beyond.”
Distinguished artists Liz Lerman and Michael Singer, joined by expert practitioners in multiple disciplines, will facilitate a six-day, studio-style workshop, titled After the Flood: Regenerative Design, Renewal, Resilience. Participants in the workshop will engage Londonderry residents to explore options for a community space that creatively conserves the floodplain and protects the historic village center from future flooding. The workshop will be held August 4-10; visit the Center for Creative Solutions for more information.
On May 19, family, friends, faculty, and staff joined together in Marlboro College’s Persons Auditorium to celebrate the achievements of the class of 2013. With Plans of Concentration ranging from the social and political roots of genocide to staged productions of Shakespeare, these Marlboro seniors demonstrated what creative and critical thinking can accomplish when supported by a close-knit community.
“I’m honored to be here with the 59 graduates, all of whom have accomplished amazing and creative things while here at Marlboro,” said commencement speaker Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. “You’re a group of students who have rejected traditional ways of knowing things—creative, entrepreneurial, motivated, curious—you’re critical thinkers who have said “yes” to a way of learning that only Marlboro offers. To be graduating from Marlboro, you’ve already demonstrated the attributes that will contribute and be so important for your future, and for ours.”
In addition to Governor Shumlin, the graduates were regaled by Marlboro College President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Chairman of the Board Dean Nicyper '76, Dean of Faculty Richard Glezjer, Dean of Students Ken Schneck and senior speaker Evan Lamb. Governor Shumlin and Julie Johnson Kidd, president of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, both received honorary degrees from Marlboro. See transcripts, photos, and video.
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 Graduate and Professional Studies programs for Marlboro’s graduating seniors, and awarding these students a scholarship equivalent to 50 percent of the graduate tuition.
This opportunity is also available for a limited period to all alumni who have earned a Marlboro College undergraduate degree—for 18 months, or through February of 2015. Subsequent graduating classes will have the same 18-month time frame from their graduation to receive this scholarship.
“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 Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies programs, 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.
For more specific information about graduate and professional studies admission please contact Joe Heslin at 802.258.9209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.”
What separates loyal Marlboro alumni from the thousands of prospective future students across the country? Very little, now that the college has launched a Marlboro Alumni Admissions Program (MAAP) to facilitate alumni involvement in student recruitment. Through MAAP, Marlboro will offer exciting opportunities to support admissions efforts, including interviews, high school visits and calls to accepted students.
“We strongly believe that graduates of Marlboro offer an essential perspective on the unique nature of a Marlboro education that is crucial to the search for future students,” said Nicole Curvin, dean of admissions. “Marlboro alumni live in many corners of the world, and can assist by increasing the visibility of Marlboro in their local areas and reaching out to prospective students there.”
If you are interested in becoming a MAAP volunteer, register online (marlboro.edu/communities/alumni/participate). Members of the admissions office will contact you to discuss opportunities that fin in with your schedule and interests.
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.
Marlboro College is pleased to announce that it is featured in the fourth edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 schools that will change the way you think about colleges, the perennially popular guide to profound learning experiences. Prospective college students and their parents have been relying on this indispensable guide since 1995, when author Loren Pope published the first edition.
The new edition states: "Marlboro is a transformative place that turns out the essential leaven of democracy: bold, clear thinkers; people of vision and character. Quite simply, the college fulfills the promise of liberal education."
Colleges That Change Lives profiles 40 colleges that, like Marlboro, outdo much larger colleges and universities, including the “Ivies,” in producing successful students. For the latest edition of this classic college guide, reviser Hilary Masell Oswald conducted all new school tours and in-depth interviews, building on Loren Pope’s original work to create a completely updated, more expansive work.
According to the guide, “Marlboro has figured out something most universities in this country have not: The essential work of teaching and learning doesn’t have to be fancy—in fact, it probably shouldn’t be—but it does take a lot of energy and focus on the part of students and professors.” Students describe themselves as “curious, engaged, unconventional and comfortable.”
“The Plan isn’t just an academic accomplishment,” said one quoted student, referring to the intensive Plan of Concentration that is the culminating project of all Marlboro seniors. “It’s an opportunity to explore something I care about. No matter what you’re doing, it’s driven by passion.”
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.”
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.