“We wanted, first of all, to benefit our students, and offer a wider array of programs,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Marlboro president. “We also want to work hand-in-hand with economic development.” She was speaking at a February 3 meeting with representatives from five other colleges, who had assembled at the Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies Center to sign a memorandum of understanding launching the Windham Higher Education Cooperative (WHEC). “We have to understand our roles as some of the largest employers in the county.”
The Windham Higher Education Cooperative includes Marlboro College, Landmark College, Vermont Technical College, Union Institute, School for International Training, and the Community College of Vermont. The MOU between them, the first of its kind in Vermont, establishes a cross registration agreement that allows students to take courses at other institutions, as well as a shared internship program. The six representatives each spoke in support of the collaboration, and introduced themselves to the new fulltime internship coordinator, Jan Coplan.
Patricia Powden, executive director of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, stated that the goal is to link student internships with local businesses, thereby benefitting economic development in the region. She said students at all institutions can expect to see an increase in paid internship opportunities, thanks to a $60,000 grant from the Vermont Department of Labor, as well as more opportunities for receiving academic credit.
“We can build on each other and not duplicate each other’s efforts toward more robust programming,” said Ellen. “We’re all very cost conscious and we are trying to find ways to combine our resources, and not duplicate them.” The cooperative plans to meet in the future to bring even more innovation in higher education to the region.
Marlboro EdTech Chair Caleb Clark was recently interviewed on Brattleboro's WKVT. For you to enjoy, here is Caleb's full interview.
Until recently, when local non-profit organizations wanted training for their staff and board members, they had to hire a consultant or travel to find training programs. Thanks to a partnership between Greenfield Community College and Marlboro's Graduate and Professional Studies, such training is now available in Greenfield at GCC. Workshops in GCC Community Education’s Non-profit Management Series are taught by staff from Marlboro College's School for Graduate and Professional Studies and have drawn participants from a wide range of non-profits from throughout the area. One of those organizations is Greenfield-based Just Roots, an organization that seeks to increase access to healthy, local food.
Last fall, at a meeting of the Just Roots Board of Directors, board members discussed how they could continue the transition from a working to a governance board. Board member Ari Pliskin, who had taken courses in non-profit management at GCC and Marlboro College, suggested contracting with Marlboro College to work with the board. They considered that option and wanted to be as cost effective as possible. Another board member, Ted Watt, looking at a copy of GCC’s Lifelong Learning guide said, “GCC has a whole series about non-profit management taught by Marlboro College staff, including a workshop on Best Practices for Boards. Why don’t we all go?”
“We went,” said Just Roots Board President Wisty Rorabacher, “and the quality of our work went up a notch or two or three. The day after the workshop, I was in three meetings related to different aspects of Just Roots. At each meeting, my perspective was much more in line with being a responsible board member, seeing the big picture. What we learned isn’t just academically powerful, it is functionally powerful. I don’t want someone to tell me just theory about something. I need help right now, I’m in the trenches. That workshop provided the help I needed.”
Ariel Brooks, Director of Non-Degree Programs at Marlboro College said, “The fall 2013 series drew a diverse group of students who shared their experiences and learned a lot from each other. Both GCC and Marlboro College seek to provide their communities with what they want and need. This program supports non-profit organizations that serve our communities. While educational institutions often are protective of their programs, GCC and Marlboro College are cooperating to offer programs that meet our communities’ needs.”
Bob Barba, GCC’s Dean for Community Education agrees. Barba said, “The collaboration with Marlboro College is a great example of two kinds of colleges from two different states working together to offer quality, affordable education in a professional area for which we have lots of demand. The partnership helps foster the growth of a group like Just Roots, which is doing truly transformative work in the community. This is what we strive for—that great blend of personal enrichment, professional and workforce development, and community engagement that make up the three-part mission of Community Education.”
Ari Pliskin, member of the Just Roots Board of Directors and Development Director of Stone Soup Café, was so impressed with what he learned taking courses through the GCC/Marlboro partnership that he completed Marlboro’s Certificate in Non-profit Management. He said, “Overall, Marlboro helped me move from working hard jumping from one opportunity to the next and putting out daily fires towards strategically coordinating my actions and those of others towards building a sustainable organization for the Stone Soup Café. It helped me move forward by working smarter instead of just working harder. I have more confidence developing, critiquing, and reviewing budgets, a stronger sense of what the board role should be, a better sense of developing marketing and fundraising campaigns, and greater confidence supervising volunteers and staff.”
by Mary McClintock, GCC, ’82
Laura Batcha, a 2007 graduate of Marlboro College Graduate School, has been named executive director and chief executive officer of the Organic Trade Association.
Laura, who started with the association six years ago as marketing and public relations director, is the fourth executive director in the 29-year history of the Washington D.C.-based organization, whose membership includes farmers, ranchers, handlers, manufactures and retailers.
Most recently she has been executive vice president of the Organic Trade Association and is the chairwoman of the association’s political action committee. She served on two federal advisory committees in 2011, one on the coexistence of biotechnology and organic and identity-preserved agriculture and the other on international trade.
Before joining the Organic Trade Association, Laura worked for Tom’s of Maine, Kennebunk, Maine, for almost 10 years. Before that she owned Green Mountain Herbs for more than seven years.
Get on Board Selects New Fellows
Seventeen local residents have been recently selected to both serve the community and learn valuable leadership skills through the “Get on Board” program. The program is a collaborative initiative of Marlboro College’s Division of Graduate and Professional Studies in partnership with Youth Services, SeVEDs, United Way of Windham County, and Latchis Arts.
Windham County residents, age 22-44, are eligible to become “Get on Board” Fellows. After a competitive selection process, applicants are matched with boards, in a non-voting capacity, based on issue interest, existing skills / knowledge, and board needs.
“Get on Board” assists local nonprofits and their boards of directors’ members with their growth and development. Our nonprofit organizations can only be a strong as their volunteer boards. The program has the dual mission of providing skills development and networking opportunities for young professionals while supporting local nonprofits.
Every nonprofit must, legally, have a board of trustees. Boards help define the vision and direction of nonprofits, as well as provide financial oversight to ensure organizations remain strong. Windham County has numerous nonprofits and many of them are looking for new board members. By providing young professionals with the skills they need to be quality board members, while simultaneously providing training to existing board presidents, “Get On Board” will help boards and their nonprofits remain strong now and well into the future.
Fellows commit 5-10 hours of time per month from October 2013 through May 2014. This includes 3-6 hours of workshops, social/networking events and volunteer service, plus 2-4 hours of service on a participating board monthly.
Workshop topics will include Board Roles and Responsibilities, Finances and Fundraising, Strategic Thinking, and Conflict Resolution.
The new Fellows will be working with the following organizations this year: Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center: Josh Traeger and Sarah Bergh; Brattleboro Senior Meals: Chelsea Nunez and Julia Etter; Morningside Shelter: Anthony Summers; Parks Place: Emilie Kornheiser and John Stiteler; Rich Earth Institute: Lyndsey Runyan and Molly Dowd; Sandglass Theater: Cortney Donahue and Ian Hefele; The Gathering Place: Chelsea Ferrell and Elisha Wamsley; Windham Childcare Association: Laura Schairbaum; Winston Prouty Center: Autumn Kendall and Meredith Anton.
For more information about “Get on Board” Contact Kate Jellema at: firstname.lastname@example.org, (802) 451-751
16 Nonprofits Complete BBVT Performance Institute
16 nonprofit agencies state-wide have been honored by Benchmarks for a Better Vermont’s Performance Institute. BBVT recently held a Results-Based AccountabilityTM (RBA) Showcase to highlight the learning and achievements of the 16 Vermont nonprofit organizations that have just completed the BBVT Performance Institute.
Benchmarks for a Better Vermont is a two-year initiative run by a consortium of organizations committed to strengthening Vermont's nonprofit sector. The program was initially made possible by a $200,000 grant from the federal Corporation for National and Community Service with matching financial support from each of the consortium partners as well as the A.D. Henderson foundation.
Marlboro College Graduate School of Brattleboro serves as the lead agency. Other partners include the Vermont Community Foundation, Common Good Vermont, SerVermont, United Ways of Vermont, and the United Ways of Addison, Chittenden, Lamoille and Windham Counties.
The BBVT Performance Institute is strengthening the reach and sustainability of 16 small to medium Vermont nonprofits. Over 16 months of training and technical assistance, they took on the challenge of answering the basic question Mark Friedman poses in his classic book, Trying Hard is Not Good Enough: "What would we do differently if outcomes really mattered?" Along the way, they gained the organizational capability to gather data, determine which activities/programs are most effective, focus resources, and share their success with funders and the wider community.
Seventy guests attended the Showcase including key collaborators, state and private funders, legislators, thought leaders, data experts and the media.
The Showcase was an interactive “round robin.” Nonprofit teams prepared a poster depicting their own organization’s work on one step of the RBA framework, or a particular challenge or success in adopting and implementing RBA. The guests circulated among the presenters viewing the posters while learning of the challenges and rewards of integrating RBA into programs as well as of real-life examples of RBA in process.
After the Showcase, a celebratory luncheon was held, followed by the awarding of Certificates of Completion to those agencies graduating from the Performance Institute program. In presenting the certificates, Kate Jellema, director of Benchmarks for a Better Vermont and Chair of Marlboro Grad School’s MS in Managing Mission-Driven Organizations program, proudly summed up the accomplishments of the graduates: “Each of these organizations designed a set of mission-appropriate and inspirational measures to track their real success as change-agents in their communities.”
For further information about Benchmarks for a Better Vermont or its Results-Based Accountability Institute contact Kate Jellema at email@example.com.
Marlboro College is pleased to announce a partnership with the Snelling Center for Government to introduce three new graduate level courses in leadership, public policy, and community engagement. The courses will be based on learning from the Snelling Center’s Vermont Leadership Institute, and will be incorporated into Marlboro’s Master of Science in Management–Mission Driven Organizations (MSM-MDO) program.
“I am excited about our new partnership with Marlboro College,” said Mark Snelling, president of the Snelling Center. “The new program brings together two wonderful Vermont institutions, and will enhance our graduates’ knowledge as they continue to work as leaders in their communities across Vermont.”
The Snelling Center created the Vermont Leadership Institute (VLI) in 1995 to stimulate citizen enthusiasm for and participation in public service. Under the terms of the agreement, Marlboro College will design three graduate courses built on the foundation of the VLI learning experience and augmented by related coursework. The three courses are titled Emotional Intelligence for Leaders, Public Policy and Systems Change in Vermont, and Collaboration and Change.
An 11-workshop professional development series for nonprofit professionals will be offered this fall. Classes will meet for 11 Fridays, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.
The workshops will be held in Morrisville, Vermont, from September 13 to November 22, and in Bennington, Vermont, from September 20 to December 6.
Financial aid is available for this program, including need-based scholarships for individuals as well as capacity-building grants for organizations. Marlboro College will assist each applicant to assemble a workable funding plan.
The Certificate in Nonprofit Management is designed by and for nonprofit executives. The program provides in-depth, immediately applicable training in all the core competencies of nonprofit management. The curriculum empowers current and aspiring nonprofit executives to run more effective, efficient organizations.
Topics will include:
- donor fundraising
- grant seeking
- nonprofit marketing
- management accounting
- nonprofit budgets
- strategic planning
- conflict resolution
- volunteer and staff management
- building an effective nonprofit board
A recent graduate of the program has said:
“The NPM Certificate Program was a great, fast-track option for busy working nonprofit leaders. The information was practical, the connections helpful and the faculty very experienced. I have a much more complete skill set to bring back to my workplace, along with a renewed confidence for tackling tough issues in the nonprofit world.”
It’s easy to register using our online form.
For more information, contact program director Sebastian Ascanio at 802-451-7506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marlboro Grad School Student Tapped by Governor
Gov. Peter Shumlin announced recently that Philip Kolling will serve as Executive Director of SerVermont, which coordinates and promotes community service across the state and is housed within the Agency of Human Services. Kolling holds his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Marlboro College Graduate School is currently finishing the Grad School’s masters degree in Managing Mission-Driven Organizations as well.
He has been SerVermont's VISTA Project Supervisor, and is responsible for starting Vermont’s AmeriCorps VISTA program, which currently hosts 27 VISTA members within 20 different non-profit and government agencies statewide.
Kolling credits his Grad School experience with success he is finding in this new position. “Applying my studies as I go has been a critical piece of the Grad School experience for me. Beginning with the first week of my first trimester at Marlboro I have been able to apply what I learn at the Grad School to my work at SerVermont. From Project Management to Marketing and Appreciative Inquiry, everything I have learned has proven applicable and useful.”
Prior to joining SerVermont, he was Club Director of the Boys and Girls Club in Everett, Mass., Field Coordinator for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Berkshire Chapter, Assistant Program Director of the Vermont Youth Tomorrow VISTA and Vermont Youth Development Corps AmeriCorps state programs, and served terms as both an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Vermont Youth Tomorrow, and as an AmeriCorps state member and Field Team Leader for the Maine Conservation Corps.
“I am honored by the appointment,”Philip says. “National service members are a great asset to our communities, and I know that they make a difference in the lives of Vermonters every day. I am proud to be leading SerVermont and look forward to deepening the strong tradition of service in our state.”
At recent graduation exercises, 41 students in our Brattleboro and Barre cohorts received their Nonprofit Management Certificates from Marlboro College Graduate School.
To earn their certificates, students completed the 72-hour, 10-week series of all-day Friday workshops. The program helps nonprofit leaders gain and refine the essential skills needed to strengthen their organizations and achieve their missions. Topics covered in the course included: Leadership, Marketing, Budgeting, Grants and Earned Income, Donor Fundraising, Strategic Planning, and Personal Leadership Development.
The Brattleboro graduation ceremony was held at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. Donovan Arthen, Executive Director of PeaceJam New England, and Audrey McLaughlin, Senior Development Officer at Marlboro College, were elected by their peers in the course to speak at the ceremony.
The Barre cohort had their graduation ceremony at the Vermont History Center. This beautiful space was made available by cohort member Marc Hudson, Program Director at the Vermont History Center. Leah Hollenberger, VP of Marketing, Development & Community Relations at Copley Hospital, was elected by her peers to be their speaker.
For more information about Marlboro Grad School’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management contact Kate Jellema.
Undergrad TESOL Students Teach in Costa Rica
Promoting environmental awareness and conservation while teaching English in rural Costa Rica was the goal of an internship for Marlboro undergrad students in their Marlboro TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate course in partnership with MCGS. The trip took place recently during the students’ spring break. The internship was arranged to fulfill the practice teaching requirement of the Certificate.
As we do not have large numbers of ESOL learners in the Marlboro/Brattleboro area to provide such practice, a cost-effective option was to arrange an internship where an authentic cross-cultural teaching experience could be arranged. Centro Espiral Mana, in rural Costa Rica, provided such an environment.
The internship consists of practice teaching and intercultural training. Each student did lesson planning, six hours of observed teaching practice and participated in feedback sessions. In addition, they attended workshops on Compassionate Communication, lesson planning, giving feedback and how to make meaning clear.
The project-based approach not only made sense pedagogically but also enabled the group to work intensively with young Costa Ricans on environmental issues pertaining to the Chachagua river system. By the end of the 8 days of English classes, the local students were to be able to talk, in English, about nature and environmental issues when taking a hike on a trail that the local town government is developing to help promote environmental awareness and conservation.
The Marlboro students not only gained invaluable experience teaching English but also learned a lot about the local environment and developed new knowledge, skills and awarenesses about themselves as learners, as teachers and as individuals.
VPR comes to MCGS
What’s the latest addition to the first floor of your Grad School? A sound booth for Vermont Public Radio broadcasting.
The booth is a self-contained, remote studio and will be used to link speakers in this area with the main VPR studio or, perhaps, even with NPR. The soundproof booth contains headphones, a microphone, and a webcam so those in both studios can see each other during interviews and presentations. It is expected that the studio will be used several times a week.
And, if you were wondering, the answer is “yes,” as part of the broadcast it will be noted that it came from the studio at Marlboro College Graduate School. Cue applause for that.
Fodor's praised the Grad School's hometown:
"What it's Like: A rich cultural and political history mix with a vibrant contemporary scene to help keep this mountainside town decidedly independent.
Farmer's markets, gallery walks, arts festivals, indie stories, all surrounded by mountain views—this is the Vermont of your dreams. Home to 12,046 residents, Brattleboro retains the progressive cultural and political ties to its past (it was a counterculture hotspot in the '60's), while managing to feel more cool and hip than crunchy-granola."
Benchmarks for a Better Vermont evaluates nonprofits
The Marlboro College based Benchmarks for a Better Vermont Performance Institute recently announced the Rutland County Parent Center and the Rutland Housing Coalition as the latest participants in its program. Benchmarks, a grant-funded organization centered on evaluating nonprofits through “results-based accountability,” expects to work with five other organizations by October 2013. Its director, Kate Jellema, who also heads Marlboro College’s Program in Nonprofit Management, said that most nonprofits in the past have been driven anecdotally, but because of the growing competition for funding, the need for rigorous assessment is crucial. Funders want to know if their contributions are being used effectively, and the programs themselves want to know if their commitments and priority areas are being addressed.
We ask these organizations to ask themselves three questions, Jellema said. “How much did we do? How well did we do it? And is anybody better off?” The evaluation that follows is systematic and particular to the needs and structure of the organization. If necessary, the methods of the nonprofit are then redirected to ensure that it is making “significant, sustained improvements in healthy futures, education, and economic opportunities for all Vermonters.”
In addition to assessing the performance and services of specific nonprofits, Benchmarks looks to bring those organizations together to a place of greater cooperation. “The nonprofit sector is a critical component of the regional landscape,” Jellema said, “and it attracts some of the most innovative thinkers.” Helping these programs evaluate their own day-to-day operations and helping them work together will support their commitments "to make the most of limited resources to make a difference in the communities they serve."
Smithsonian touts the attractions of Marlboro's "downtown" neighbor
Sustainable practices are not exclusive to our MBA program. Teaching with Technology program director Caleb Clark plans to join the "tiny house" movement with the construction of a 320 square foot, superinsulated, passive-solar dwelling where his two-car garage currently resides. The Brattleboro Commons reports on Caleb's plans and the movement in housing toward more efficient use of space.