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What’s Next For Marlboro

Marlboro Faculty Visit Emerson Colleagues

Brenda Foley, December 10, 2019

A few weeks after the proposed merger with Emerson was announced, I still struggle to process the potential change and what it will mean to leave behind our beloved campus and colleagues. But I am heartened by the choice of Emerson College as a partner and the keenness of the Institute of Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies to collaborate on a new model of inquiry that will challenge and support us as we move ahead. I’ve always thought a hallmark of a Marlboro education is a willingness to leap before we are fully aware of where we will land. When I think of taking this next leap, I’m comforted by the Rumi quote: “Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.”

Several of the performing arts faculty met with our colleagues at Emerson last week, part of a week of scheduled meetings between Marlboro faculty and their Emerson counterparts. As we enthusiastically shared ideas and goals, I wished our community could see the good will and compassion with which we were greeted by students, staff, and faculty. In contrast to some negative social media rhetoric I’ve read lately, working with faculty peers at Emerson on our alliance convinced me that the coming together is far more than a pact “in name only” but promises an opportunity to carry with us intrinsic elements of a Marlboro education we hold dear, leave behind aspects that are no longer productive, engage with a more diverse cohort, and conceive of expansive and exciting new projects.

I have had conversations with Marlboro students who see the alliance as a way for them to have the best of both Marlboro and Emerson. One student who originally applied to Emerson before coming to Marlboro is already thinking of how to use the resources in Boston for their Plan performance. Another student was previously accepted by Emerson but couldn’t swing it financially and now, because of the alliance, can pursue an interdisciplinary course of study with technology and resources we aren’t able to provide. From communication to journalism, students are seeing opportunities to expand their original ideas for study.

Even as we are all sad to leave our campus on the hill, a number of us are ready to embrace the changes this alliance will bring. I feel fortunate to be making the journey with so many of my Marlboro faculty colleagues and students and look forward to the transformation to come.

Brenda Foley MFA, PhD
Professor of Theater and Gender Studies
Editor, Routledge Series in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Theatre and Performance


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