Middlebury is one of the country’s top liberal arts colleges. It offers its students a broad curriculum embracing the arts, humanities, literature, foreign languages, social sciences, and natural sciences. Middlebury is an institution with a long-standing international focus, a place where education reflects a sense of looking outward, and a realization that the traditional insularity of the United States is something of the past.
Every summer, the main campus in Vermont is transformed into an institution single-mindedly devoted to the study of nine foreign languages and cultures, and the use of English is virtually banned for the participants, among whom are many Middlebury undergraduates.
The Environmental Studies major at Middlebury College was established in 1965, making it the first undergraduate ES major in the nation. The ES Program is an interdisciplinary, nondepartmental major that draws upon 52 faculty members from 26 departments. Bill McKibben is a scholar in residence in environmental studies.
The Program in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College seeks to provide students with an interdisciplinary, liberal arts education. It focuses on diverse facets of the relationship between humans and the environment through study in breadth and depth. The faculty of the program are committed to excellence in teaching and in scholarship. To achieve this mission, the program has established the following goals:
• To provide students with an educational foundation.
• To give all students a solid background in the sciences.
• To require students to achieve depth in a particular discipline.
• To expose students to the breadth of approaches to thinking about the environment.
• To offer a synthetic, interdisciplinary major for each student.
• To provide student opportunities in independent scholarship.
• To encourage students to study off-campus.
• To provide an effective system of student advising.
• To develop a community of alumni across generations.
• To be a resource for environmental education.
• To provide courses at all levels of the ENVS major that incorporate service-learning to enhance the learning experience, engage students in community issues, strengthen professional environmental skills, and promote civic responsibility.
• Middlebury’s ES Program was founded in 1965.
• Middlebury College was the first school of higher education to offer an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies.
• The ES Program has developed a curriculum that integrates the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
• The ES Program at Middlebury College has been highlighted in a number of high-profile publications, including the Boston Globe, Daily Grist, New York Times, and Newsweek.
• The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education awarded Middlebury College one of its annual Campus Sustainability Leadership Awards in 2007. The awards recognize institutions that have demonstrated an outstanding overall commitment to environmental sustainability.
• Approximately 1000 Middlebury College alumni are now working in environmentally related fields.
Hillcrest Environmental Center
In June 2007, the ES Program and the Environmental Affairs Office moved into the Hillcrest Environmental Center. Most of the building is a sustainably renovated 1875 farmhouse, with an addition featuring two new classrooms. Hillcrest will be LEED certified (the current level is pending). The building emphasizes the use of local materials and energy and water efficient features.