Students share campus with graduate program

Last weekend, Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies programs joined the main campus in Marlboro, Vermont, after the much-anticipated move from their downtown Brattleboro campus. This was the first residency weekend where graduate students share the campus with the undergraduate program, marking the final confluence of the two programs. The weekend offered opportunities for undergraduate students to visit graduate classes, to share meals together, and to mark the new co-location with a Ceremony of New Beginnings including a dragon dance, gift giving, and tree planting (pictured).

From now on, Marlboro’s graduate classes in teaching and management will be taking place on weekend residencies each month and throughout the summer in the new Snyder Center for the Visual Arts, Rice-Aron Library, and other campus buildings used by the undergraduate program during the academic year. Meanwhile, a building known as On the Way, adjacent to the president’s house and just outside of the main campus, will be used for graduate program administration and faculty.

“The co-location of our programs in one beautiful place will have many benefits,” said Kevin Quigley, president of Marlboro College. “It builds on much of our recent work to better unite the two campuses, expands the recreational and academic opportunities for graduate students, diversifies our learning community, and, most importantly, enriches our educational offerings for both undergraduate and graduate students.”

Faculty members share in the president’s positive outlook on the move, including Beverley Burkett, MATESOL program chair, who runs the eight-week intensive for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) students during the summer. “The tranquility and rural setting of this campus, I think, may ease the intensity of the eight-week program,” she said. “This will be really conducive to the kind of learning that we want to take place. I think it’s going to be inspiring.”

“Our graduate students are excited to explore Marlboro, and to be an integral part of this learning community on a hill,” said Kate Jellema, associate dean for graduate and professional studies. Kate was chair of the Integration Committee tasked with finding new and creative ways for the undergraduate and graduate programs to collaborate as one campus.

“As someone who commutes to the grad school, the campus in Brattleboro felt more like a space that I would find at home in New York City,” said Sarah Pidgeon, a student in the MBA program with a concentration in managing mission-driven organizations. “I like how many opportunities to be outdoors there are here. I think especially for the people who are attracted to this program from places like Boston, or Connecticut, or New York, it is really attractive to be in the mountains, in Vermont.”

“I believe that the integration of the graduate and undergraduate communities can be like a powerful conversation, in which we each illuminate what the other can’t see alone,” said Marlboro senior Solomon Botwick-Reis, a member of the Integration Committee. “This co-location will be generative, leading to flourishing for individual community members, for different social groups, and for the curricular structure as a whole: there is the possibility for cross-fertilization and growth.”

In addition to now sharing classroom space, staff, and other campus resources, the combination of Marlboro’s graduate and undergraduate programs on one campus brings with it many other possible synergies and efficiencies. These include career-related programming for undergraduate students, short workshops taught by graduate students, and speaker events that benefit and engage both populations. It will also make it a more natural transition for undergraduate students in the Accelerated Master’s Track, a program offering an expedited master’s degree to Marlboro students.

“The greatest development may be the intangible benefits of sharing a space, chatting about books in the library, enjoying a white-water rafting trip together, and all the other impromptu social opportunities, from the dining hall to the computer lab,” said Quigley. “Both our undergraduate and graduate students are doing such remarkable, original projects, and I have no doubt they will serve as an inspiration and life-long network for each other.”