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20 posts categorized "Education" Feed

March 23, 2011

UVM President Dan Fogel to Resign in 2012

Fogel University of Vermont President Dan Fogel is stepping down from his post next year, exactly 10 years after he took office.

Fogel, the university's 25th president, plans to teach English at UVM in 2013. He will officially step down from his presidential post on July 1, 2012.

Prior to Fogel's arrival, UVM was churning through presidents almost as fast as undergrads — four of them in less than 15 years.

How does Fogel think he'll be remembered in years to come?

"I worry people will think about the bricks and mortar, but we have done so much more to attracting wonderful professors, creating the lecture series, the transdisciplinary research initiative — truly a focus on academics," Fogel told Seven Days. "I also think we have seen a rise in standing of the university in the hearts and minds of Vermonters."

Many Vermonters, and certainly most Burlingtonians, are indeed likely to remember Fogel's tenure for UVM's physical expansion. According to UVM, Fogel expanded the university's footprint by more than one million square feet — making it 25 percent larger than when he arrived. That includes the purchase of the Trinity College Campus, the construction of Jeffords Hall, University Heights Residence Halls, the "greening" of Aiken (to be completed this year), and the opening of the massive Dudley H. Davis Student Center.

To sustain its physical growth, the university has had to increase its enrollment. UVM, which used to receive about 9000 applications a year, now receives more than 22,000.

Fogel's tenure as president, like that of most of his predecessors of the past two decades, has not been without controversy. A growth in the number of administrators with six-figure pay packages has also increased under Fogel — much to the dismay of the faculty union, students and staff. He also came under fire for dismantling the university's baseball team. As a result, one lawmaker tried to hold back $900,000 in funding for Groovy UV.

In a letter to the campus community Fogel touted several academic initiatives that he and others at UVM worked on: the creation of the Honors College, of the Burack President's Distinguished Lecture Series and the Marsh Professors-at-Large program, the six-credit diversity requirement, and the UVM Transportation Research Center as well as new programs that are still evolving, such as the Transdisciplinary Research Initiative, General Education, and UVM's growing partnership with Vermont's electrical utility industry and the Sandia National Laboratory.

Some of those initiatives have been criticized by faculty, however, who believe investments in some of them have harmed undergraduate studies by increasing class sizes and downsizing non-research faculty.

Continue reading "UVM President Dan Fogel to Resign in 2012" »

February 28, 2011

Another Campus Death Raises Questions About the S-word Taboo

The vague, February 17 email that went out to the entire St. Michael's College community from President John Neuhauser was written in language that's become all too familiar:

"Saint Michael’s College has experienced a terrible tragedy.  A first-year student, Jordan Porco, age 18, of Andover, Connecticut, died unexpectedly in his room in Lyons Hall on the college campus Wednesday evening, February 16."

What followed were the administration's expressions of sympathy, condolences and prayer for the young man's family and friends, as well as the requisite offers to counsel or minister to any students, faculty or staff who may be having difficulty coping with the tragic loss.


And once again, another respected institution of higher learning in Vermont sidestepped an opportunity to speak frankly, publicly and without euphemism about a major public-health crisis plaguing this country: teen suicide.

On November 3, Seven Days ran this story about a similar reluctance on the part of the University of Vermont to label the October deaths of two of its students in as many weeks as suicides.

Like St. Mike's, UVM steeped its campus-wide communique in language it deemed less offensive to the student's next of kin, while offering reassurances that the death of UVM freshman Alexander Chernik was not the result of "bullying, bias or foul play."

The deliberate, self-inflicted death of another UVM student, Frank Christopher Evans, 24, in South Burlington, which occurred two weeks earlier, wasn't announced by the university at all, according to a UVM spokesperson, because Evans wasn't enrolled in school that semester.

But unlike UVM's Vermont Cynic, which merely parroted the administration's linguistic aversion for what was already a fairly well-known fact on campus, the student reporters at SMC's The Defender asked the administration and the Colchester Police hard questions about Porco's cause of death, both in the interest of dispelling campus rumors and to get to truth.

The Defender article (a collaborative effort by its entire staff) also reported that FOX 44 News in Burlington pulled its story on Porco's death because, according to the Defender, "it is company policy [at FOX] not to publish articles about suicide, unless it in regard to a public figure, or a death caused by bullying."

Continue reading "Another Campus Death Raises Questions About the S-word Taboo" »

February 07, 2011

Early Childhood Education Gaining Attention at Statehouse

AsheChildCtr A state senator Monday spent more than an hour Monday working at a childcare center in Colchester as part of an effort to raise awareness about low wages earned by childcare providers.

The legislature is scheduled to begin debate in the coming weeks on a bill allowing early educators to unionize. Supporters say the effort will allow them to negotiate better pay and benefits and, at the same time, have a greater say in establishing workforce standards and programs to boost professional development.

State Sen. Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden, in photo) spent the morning with Tammy Turchin and her staff at Adventures of Young Minds Enrichment Center in Colchester, learning what quality care for early learners looks like.

Continue reading "Early Childhood Education Gaining Attention at Statehouse" »

January 31, 2011

Middlebury College "Sloppagees" Exposed

Middlebury College Invents a Pushy Redhead to Ease Dishware Theft   Middlebury College Invents a Pushy Redhead to Ease Dishware Theft 1 Apparently, Middlebury College has a problem with theft. Not theft of TI-84 calculators, Longchamps bags or Range Rovers. No, this problem is much more serious than that.

Midd students are stealing spoons. And forks. And knives. And other assorted dishware. And the college's food service staff is none too pleased about it. 

To stem the tide of flatware pilfering, the college created a series of videos (see below) featuring a vaguely menacing fictional character named Aunt Des whose red bouffant is as shellacked as her fiery fingernails are acrylic. In the videos, over-the-top Aunt Des, played by college communications staffer Maria Theresa Stadtmueller, commiserates with the college's frustrated dining services director and plots ways to retrieve the nicked dishes. 

We learn from watching the videos that Midd kids are lifting dishes and leaving them all over campus — in their suites, buried in couch cushions, even under the pews of the chapel. For shame! Aunt Des, who appears to be modeled after some sort of husky Jersey matriarch, is appauled by this behavior. She calls the students "sloppagees" and vows to hunt down the offenders. 

"You can dish it out, but you can't take it," Aunt Des vamps. 

Continue reading "Middlebury College "Sloppagees" Exposed" »

January 25, 2011

Shumlin Unveils Budget Plan: 'Tough Choices, Big Opportunities'

Spaulding Gov. Peter Shumlin unveiled a sobering budget address to a rather subdued legislature Tuesday afternoon — laying out a fiscal spending plan that makes significant cuts in human services spending while at the same time setting aside new money for broadband expansion, job training and expanding pre-school education.

Some of the highlights of Shumlin's speech (pasted below in its entirety), include:

Dissolving Catamount Health and rolling those 12,500 Vermonters into state-run and -managed health care programs housed in the Department of Vermont Health Access ($5 million in savings) in order to create one state health care pool and inch the state closer to a singlepayer model. The move, however, will also mean that folks on Catamount will see their deductibles rise to $1200 (up from $500);

Moving the women prisoners from St. Albans to the regional jail in South Burlington, and the men from South Burlington up to St. Albans. The goal is to move more out-of-state prisoners back to Vermont as non-violent prisoners are released and bed space opens up at in-state prisons ($7.2 million in savings);

A $23 million ongoing reduction from the General Fund transfer to the Education Fund;

$12 million in government labor, private contract, health insurance, and retirement savings; and,

$4.6 million in reduced funding for our regional mental health agencies.

"My administration takes no pleasure in delivering this budget, and we will work in partnership with mental health, health care and the human service community to ensure that vulnerable Vermotners are protected," Shumlin said. "Critics will observe that some of the budget reductions that I put before you today are the same reductions that I worked with you to protect when proposed by the previous governor. They will rightfully ask, 'What has changed?'"

Continue reading "Shumlin Unveils Budget Plan: 'Tough Choices, Big Opportunities'" »

November 23, 2010

Vermont Recount Rundown

* updated below - today's recount challenge was decided by a Vermont judge*

Ballot_Box_XSmall The Monty Python-esque shout of "I'm not dead yet!" seems to be the rallying cry for the 2010 election.

Three weeks beyond the November 2 election, we still don't know for sure just how many Democrats, Progressives and Republicans will be in the House come January 5. That's because there were nine recount requests around Vermont.

So far, two recounts have been held.

The first recount, in Orange County, was held on November 19, but the results were challenged in court. The recount results upheld the election day win by four votes, with Progressive incumbent Susan Hatch-Davis over Republican Rodney Graham. A Vermont Superior Court judge certified the recount Monday, assuring the victory for Hatch-Davis.

Another recount — in a House district encompassing Royalton and Tunbridge — was held yesterday. On election day,  Democrat Sarah Buxton defeated Republican incumbent David Ainsworth by a single vote.

The recount ended up with an 880-880 tie, and one vote was being challenged. That single vote, according to sources, was lightly penciled in for Buxton, but Ainsworth wants a judge to throw it out. If he’s successful, a special election would be held to determine the winner.

A judge could rule as early as today on that race. * This afternoon, a judge ruled in favor of Buxton, giving her a one-vote victory.

Continue reading "Vermont Recount Rundown" »

November 16, 2010

Humanitarian Dr. Paul Farmer Speaks to Packed House at St. Michael’s

Farmer-st-mikes About 700 college students, faculty and local social-justice activists crammed into the McCarthy Arts Center at St. Michael’s College Monday night to hear humanitarian Dr. Paul Farmer discuss his work in Haiti.

Farmer was scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m., but the main auditorium was filled by 7. Several hundred more people crowded into an overflow room, where they watched a video feed of Farmer’s talk. Many more milled about in the building’s lobby, straining to hear him speak.

“As you can imagine,” Farmer told the crowd, “this has been a very difficult year for Haiti.”

Farmer is intimately familiar with the Caribbean island nation — the physician and medical anthropologist is best known for cofounding Partners in Health, a nonprofit that got its start in Haiti and provides health care services to the poor in several countries around the world. Farmer, a professor at the Harvard School of Medicine, is currently the UN Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti; former president Bill Clinton is his boss in that capacity.

Continue reading "Humanitarian Dr. Paul Farmer Speaks to Packed House at St. Michael’s" »

August 20, 2010

Fringe Friday: Dan Feliciano

For week three of "Fringe Friday," we feature independent candidate for governor Dan Feliciano, a corporate "change consultant" and workout buff who wants to run state government like a lean, mean business.

Fringe Friday is Seven Days' weekly web series about the independent and minor party candidates running for governor, U.S. House and U.S. Senate — many of whom are pitching more radical ideas for bettering the lives of average Vermonters.

While "fringe" might seem disparaging, we don't mean it that way. Vermont has a strong tradition of putting independent and third party candidates on the ballot, giving voters the option to choose from a wide menu of ideologies. Still, these candidates rarely garner more than 1 percent of the vote, perhaps due to their less-traditional ideas, or poor organization or even lack of media exposure. As such, they remain on the fringes of the state's political system.

Candidate: Dan Feliciano

Party: Independent

Office Sought: Governor

Age: 47

Hometown: Essex

Education: Virginia Commonwealth University (bachelor of arts in Production Operations Management, 1997) Feliciano dropped out of high school, joined the Navy and later got his GED.

Occupation: Strategy and Change Consultant for IBM Global Business Services

Family: Feliciano grew up in Monroe, N.Y., 40 miles north of the Big Apple, the eldest of three children in what he says was a traditional Puerto Rican family — "Father worked, mother was home, rice and beans twice a day." His wife, Carol, is an MBA and stay-at-home mother. They have three children: Daniel, 12; Jaime, 10; and Julie, 5.

Websites: Dan Feliciano for Governor Facebook page; Dan Feliciano Lean Sigma Six Rock Star; Dan Feliciano Blogspot

Platform: Feliciano subscribes to the Lean (developed by Toyota) and Six Sigma (developed by Motorola) business methods for making companies less wasteful and more efficient — and that's how he wants to run Vermont government. He's spent a career helping make businesses lean, a job that's often resulted in major jobs lost — a process he calls "brutal."

Continue reading "Fringe Friday: Dan Feliciano" »

August 13, 2010

Fringe Friday: Ben Mitchell

DSC06842 "Fringe Friday" is Seven Days' weekly web series about the independent and minor party candidates running for governor, U.S. House and U.S. Senate.  Each Friday we'll profile a different  candidate seeking higher office in the Green Mountain State, many of whom are pitching more radical ideas for bettering the lives of average Vermonters.

For our second installment, we interviewed Liberty Union gubernatorial candidate Ben Mitchell (pictured), an avowed socialist who's making his third appearance in a statewide election. While "fringe" might seem disparaging, we don't mean it that way. Vermont has a strong tradition of putting independent and third party candidates on the ballot, giving voters the option to choose from a wide menu of ideologies. Still, these candidates rarely garner more than 1 percent of the vote, perhaps due to their less-traditional ideas, or poor organization or even lack of media exposure. As such, they remain on the fringes of the state's political system.

Continue reading "Fringe Friday: Ben Mitchell" »

July 20, 2010

Wheeler Principal Removal Makes New York Times

“You can buy a lot of help for children with that money.”

That's what Joyce Irvine told a New York Times reporter after she was dismissed from her job as principal of the H.O. Wheeler Elementary School in Burlington's Old North End. The school, renamed the Integrated Arts Academy this year, has been deemed an "underperforming school" by the Obama administration.

Her ouster has raised hackles locally, but the national attention is giving new fuel to critics of federal education policies that punish schools even when they are showing improvement.

Wheeler students performed below federal standards on tests. The Burlington School District could qualify for $3 million in federal money to help its students -- provided it removed the principal of the underperforming school.

Continue reading "Wheeler Principal Removal Makes New York Times" »

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