Sujata Moorti will become the college’s new dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs starting July 2019. In this position, Moorti, a professor in, and the director of, the Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies program, will join the administration as part of the Senior Leadership Group, but will report directly to the provost, the chief academic officer of Middlebury. In addition to working with faculty, Moorti will also work with other deans and directors overseeing different academic aspects of the college. In addition to her work within the administration, Moorti also hopes to be teaching at least one class. Moorti has been actively involved within life at Middlebury, serving as secretary for Faculty Council, a member of the Promotions Committee and a contributor to the Human Relations Committee Report, also known as the Diversity Report. She feels her involvement in these issues has given her experience that will allow her to be successful in her new position as she takes her work from “the micro level to the macro level.” Moorti is excited by the challenge this position will pose, especially during a time when higher education is undergoing a wide variety of changes, such as the introduction of technology into the classroom and changing student bodies. “I think part of what is exciting for me about the position is being able to think about the immediate future, but also setting the foundations for something five years or 10 years down the line,” Moorti said. “How do you set the foundations so that the college can be nimble and adaptable and flexible so that the curriculum keeps up with the times?” One specific issue Moorti would like to undertake is diversifying the college’s curriculum and faculty. “I mean diversity in the largest and most capacious sense, so that it is not just diversity in certain departments or programs,” Moorti said. Moorti is also interested in improving how the college incorporates the global, noting that while some majors and departments fit in well with this idea, there are others in which this idea could be better incorporated. In the past, Moorti has been vocal about issues she supports on campus — sometimes leading her to stand against the administration. Moorti does not believe this will affect her ability to work effectively with fellow administrators, or that her new position will prevent her from speaking out about future issues she supports. “My front hope is that I will never have to compromise what I think, our principled positions,” she said. “I would also like to think that I have never held back, and if the administration offered me the position, they knew who they were getting. I think the administration is also aware that I can be professional and fair, even though I have many strong views about certain things. I hope that nothing changes in how I engage with the world.” Moorti recognizes that as part of the administration, her stake in the issues might shift. However, Moorti believes that President Laurie L. Patton’s insistence that faculty within the administration continue to teach will be beneficial in reminding her how she can best serve the students at the college. Patton wrote in an email to The Campus that the search for the new dean was “a rigorous process with a number of highly qualified competitive candidates,” and that she views Moorti’s commitment to disagreement with the administration on certain issues as a valuable trait. “The fact that she has disagreed with some of the administration’s decisions during her time at Middlebury was a real positive for us,” Patton said. “Those open disagreements come from a vision and a hope for what the institution can be, and we want that kind of person working with us to build a better community. Sujata is truly someone who is unafraid to have arguments for the common good.”
Use the fields below to perform an advanced search of The Middlebury Campus's archives. This will return articles, images, and multimedia relevant to your query.
4 items found for your search. If no results were found please broaden your search.
Members of Feminist Action at Middlebury (FAM) have built a website in an effort to make sexual health resources more accessible, transparent and easier to navigate for students by directing them to available services at Parton Health Center, Porter Hospital and the Planned Parenthood in Middlebury. Information on abortions, sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing, contraceptives, pregnancy, pleasure, sexual assault, consent, menstruation and mental health are all featured on the site. Five FAM members lead the website project: Annie Blalock ’20.5, Matt Martignoni ’21.5, Olivia Pruett ’21.5, Michael Frank ’20.5 and Emma Bernstein ’21.5. Frank and Bernstein act as data managers. The project is supported by Planned Parenthood, which selected FAM to participate in their Campus Campaign Program. The program provides students at colleges nationwide with the funding and training necessary to develop a campaign focused on an issue regarding sexual or reproductive justice. FAM held a Planned Parenthood Action Forum last March, where they invited students, faculty and staff to discuss their experiences with sexual health issues at Middlebury. Pruett said the decision to focus FAM’s campaign on a sexual health website was inspired by experiences students shared at the forum. “A lot of our ideas came from people telling personal stories on campus trying to access birth control or had questions about it,” Pruett said. “Or people who needed an abortion or maybe they didn’t need one, or needed information for a friend and didn’t know where to turn. We are pretty educated and a lot of us had decent sex education, and so we know these resources should be available to us, but we had no idea who to ask.” Julia Sinton ’20.5, one of FAM’s co-presidents and another contributor to the project, left the forum with a similar impression. “A lot of the students who came were first years and some of them were talking about how coming to Middlebury can be such an overwhelming experience,” she said. “Having more access and more information on sexual health issues would be a turning point for a lot of them.” This summer, the group of five FAM members attended one of Planned Parenthood’s training programs in Detroit, where they planned and strategized for their campaign. Blalock, FAM’s other co-president, emphasized that the website campaign not only concentrates on Parton. It also focuses on off-campus services that students use at Porter Hospital and the Planned Parenthood in Middlebury. [pullquote speaker="Emma Bernstein '21.5" photo="" align="center" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]We wanted to make sure that our campaign is something that could help all people on campus, not just white, cisgender women.[/pullquote] Planned Parenthood and FAM want to ensure that the website is an intersectional resource. “We wanted to make sure that our campaign is something that could help all people on campus, not just white, cisgender women,” Bernstein said. To meet this goal, FAM will work with different student groups on campus and with the Student Government Association (SGA) Sexual Relationship and Respect Committee. According to Blalock, FAM hopes to collaborate with Parton so that both groups can work together to make this resource as useful and effective as possible. The online resource will be constantly changing. Blalock said that FAM welcomes input from the administration and professionals. “The college should be held responsible for keeping sexual and reproductive health resources accessible to us as students,” she said. While he hadn’t yet heard about FAM’s campaign, Parton’s Executive Director Gus Jordan said that the health center’s staff would gladly help. “Sounds great that FAM is doing this, but I’m not familiar with their efforts,” Jordan said. “We’d be happy to work with them.” Visit the website at: hartrymartignoni.wixsite.com/middsexualhealth Go links: go/ineedmorecondomns, go/sexysources, go/whatdoIdo and go/sexpleaseT
Amy Conaway ’20 founded Middlebury Students with Disabilities in early September in an effort to create a sense of community and increase awareness of disabilities on campus. As someone who has type one diabetes (T1D), Conaway was inspired to start the club after her first two years at Middlebury, which she described as a difficult transition. This change made her realize she was still coping with her disability, despite having been diagnosed with diabetes for nine years. “When I started bringing my service dog on campus, a few people approached me with questions about getting classroom accommodations or navigating different aspects of college life with a disability,” she said. “That’s when I realized there was definitely a group of people looking for the same thing and looking for support in this process, looking for advice and also just looking for comradery.” While Conaway and fellow club member Graham Rainsby ’21 have found certain aspects of the college, such as faculty and classroom accommodations, to be accommodating for people with disabilities, they believe there is room for improvement. “The campus can be accommodating but you have to advocate for yourself” Conaway said. “It would make more sense to have a campus that is broadly accommodating to everyone.” According to Conaway and Rainsby, the majority of Middlebury students with disabilities have “invisible disabilities” — meaning that the condition may not be apparent upon first glance. “The interesting thing about starting this group is having people come out of the woodwork saying, ‘I do identify as disabled’ and who have had similar experiences,” Conaway said. “You really can’t tell because we all fly under the radar for the most part.” Rainsby believes that when disabilities are not immediately apparent, other able-bodied students on campus often lack understanding, and Conaway has noticed a lack of both awareness and interest regarding disabilities. Combating ableism often seems to fall second to challenging other issues, such as sexism and racism on campus. Conaway hopes the new community of students with disabilities can help individuals build relationships and share support and advice through group meetings and activities such as dinners and movies. If you wish to join, visit the Middlebury Students with Disabilities Facebook page, or email Amy Conaway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meron Benti ’19 and Philitricia Baraza ’18 directed the first Amani for People with Albinism (APWA) summit last month, aimed to empower Kenyan youth with albinism. With help from a Projects for Peace grant of $10,000, and a further $2,000 raised by Benti and Baraza themselves, the pair were able to host 25 participants ages 19-27, for a week-long program from Aug. 17-24 in the small town of Meru, Kenya. The inspiration for this event came from a summit Benti attended as a high schooler called the Global Youth Peace Summit, which focused on personal development and confidence building by examining one’s own identity. Benti, who is originally from Ethiopia, worked with Baraza, from Kenya, to create a summit with similar goals to the Global Youth Peace Summit. During the first few days, participants examined albinism through a biological and social lens in an effort to understand albinism as a condition and its misconceptions. They examined the discrimination and derogatory language that people with albinism often face with an emphasis on forgiveness and letting go. Benti said they also talked about names and the idea of semantics. “It’s the fact that sometimes we have a name that is given to us, that does not reflect who we are,” she said. They then discussed how their albinism does not define their identity. “We talked about the fact that we shouldn’t define ourselves as albino, that we are people with albinism, we are not just albinos, so it goes beyond our condition,” Benti said. “We are humans and we just have a condition called albinism.” The focus on personal development concluded with a session led by a guest speaker who discussed the idea of stereotypes and how to break them. The rest of the week focused on professional development. Activities included practice in resume building, interviewing, business communication and entrepreneurship. Guest speakers with albinism spoke about their experiences in the professional world in order to show participants how successful people with albinism can be. Benti and Baraza hoped that the participants would find peace within themselves and become more confident. “Lack of melanin is not a lack of ability, knowledge or skills,” Benti said. “It’s the fact that yes we are people with albinism but [we] are not limited to anything.” While organizing the summit was challenging, Benti hopes to organize another next summer. Her friend Alyne Goncalves ’19, who also attended the summit to interview participants, is working on a documentary about the lives and perspectives of people with albinism, which they hope will be finished early next year.