Founded in 1800, Middlebury College (2,500 undergraduate students) is unique as a classic liberal arts college that also offers graduate and specialized programs operating around the world. While located in Middlebury, VT (population 8,500), the college’s presence extends far beyond the Green Mountain State. Middlebury’s Language Schools, Schools Abroad, Bread Loaf School of English, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, School for the Environment, and the Institute for International Studies at Monterey (CA) provide top-quality educational opportunities that combine a critical global perspective with an essential priority on community connection.
Since 2005, Middlebury College has participated in what is now the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty to support students in summer internships with agencies that seek to work alongside vulnerable populations. With initial funding from Nancy ’53 and Tom Shepherd, Middlebury regularly sends 5-7 students a year to participate in the national internship program.
Shortly after joining SHECP, Middlebury started a corresponding internship program that focuses on its local community, partnering students with organizations in Addison County, Vermont. Then in 2011, the College created Privilege & Poverty, an innovative curricular initiative known as an “academic cluster,” that allows students to create a flexible adjunct course of study around an issue of interest to them, as a complement to any choice of major. The Privilege & Poverty Academic Cluster combines classroom learning, place-based learning, and other co-curricular opportunities for study and reflection, which results in a dynamic community of discourse involving students, faculty, staff, and community partners. Privilege & Poverty is Middlebury’s first academic cluster, and it has quickly become the model for similar initiatives at the College.
Between the College’s local program and its participation in SHECP, Middlebury’s Privilege & Poverty program has sent over 100 students to work with organizations and in communities addressing the various challenges associated with poverty.
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