MARLBORO — A few days ago, we were present at “Dances in the Rough,” a performance of dance at the Serkin Center for performing arts at Marlboro College. These were works-in-progress presented every semester by the students.
Another similar presentation of visual art in progress, “Open Studios,” is on view at the Snyder Center for Visual Art and surrounding buildings.
During each semester, particularly at the end, these kinds of events are preceded and followed by readings from young poets and playwrights.
Presentations of the final work done as part of student's Plans of Concentration (Marlboro's version of a major) include music recitals, plays, science research, anthropological and sociological studies, histories, computer science projects, cultural/literary studies in foreign languages, essays, creative nonfiction writing, and many other less-easily-categorized accomplishments from students working with a talented faculty.
The culture of Marlboro College, built year by year, is one that elicits commitment, ambition, and confidence from its students. It encourages interdisciplinary approaches, non-traditional responses, and true critical thinking from those who in other circumstances might simply be acquiring information.
There are many ways to characterize the work of a complex educational environment.
We are writing this letter to honor the work we have seen and participated in for the last 22 years. We are also writing to warn of its imminent loss.
If the current plan to merge with Emerson College goes through, the educational culture of which we speak will dissolve. Emerson is a wonderful place focused on much-needed skills in media and journalism, but the notion that Marlboro's ethos will continue there is false. We urge the trustees, administration, and faculty to reconsider and find inventive partnerships in Vermont to continue the life of Marlboro College.
At this end-of-semester moment, we are as thrilled as ever to witness the work of our colleagues and our students. Their work is not always visible to the outside world, but it is tangible, extraordinary, and transformative.