An open letter from President Elaine Collins


Basement Medicine

To the students of NVU:

As the President of Northern Vermont University, I want to be crystal clear that the administration, faculty, and staff of NVU are dedicated and committed to you. I am uplifted and inspired every single day by the commitment I see all around me to serving our students and working relentlessly to see each and every one of you succeed. You are seen and you are being heard.

The unification of Johnson and Lyndon has created one innovative, thriving institution, which, by all traditional measures, has been an incredible success. Our out-of-state enrollment is growing, we are offering a number of cutting-edge and popular new undergraduate degree programs, and we are expanding our graduate programs.

There are a number of new opportunities available on both campuses because of unification. Travel trips have visited Cuba, Morocco, Russia, Japan and beyond. Meal plans are now usable at both campuses, there are shuttles to and from events on either campus and there is a significantly expanded schedule of performing arts at Johnson. The annual Student Leadership Conference, which was once a Lyndon-only event, is now being co-hosted by both NVU campuses. Many academic departments are offering sections that are available to students on both campuses, including business, psychology, exercise and health sciences, photography, physics, and math.

Faculty are traveling and teaching on both campuses and exposing students to greater faculty expertise. We have new telepresence rooms, which are available for all departments to use.

These rooms and the traveling professors give students the opportunity to participate in low-enrolled classes on both campuses. These are only a few examples of many.

As staff and faculty retire, move away, or take new jobs, NVU also has an opportunity to look at staffing across the campuses to determine where we can leverage the staffing we have. We have taken several approaches when this attrition occurs depending on the particular need in the affected department. Staff and faculty have been working diligently across both campuses to gain efficiencies and create improvements.

We have great expertise on both campuses, and this gives us an advantage in making improvements we might not have been able to make before unification. Unification gives us instant access to greater depth and breadth in expertise. This is allowing us to serve you – our students – in better and more efficient ways.

With all these recent changes, we are being provided the opportunity to publicize NVU as the vibrant, thriving campus that it is.

Students will soon see an NVU e-newsletter and a blog that will highlight the accomplishments of students and faculty and celebrate NVU accomplishments overall. We are prioritizing transparent communications both with our students and the communities we serve.

The unification is also a work in progress. While we recognize that not all of the goals have been realized yet, the unification is offering today’s students a number of additional opportunities.

Our priority has always been to offer our current students the best experience possible while simultaneously planning for future generations of learners. These two things are not mutually exclusive and in fact, depend on one another.

In order to ensure that you are having the best possible experience, we want to hear directly from you. With this in mind I have recently added open office hours to my schedule. These open office hours are emailed to all students, faculty, and staff.

There are also opportunities on Tuesdays and Thursdays when we schedule campus meetings during common hour (11:30-12:30) for you to share your thoughts and ask questions. We have deliberately not scheduled classes during this time to encourage participation. I would urge all of you who have ideas, concerns or questions about NVU to come and share them at both of these venues.

Additionally, SGA and the President’s Student Advisory Committee are vehicles for you to communicate with the NVU Administration. Contact Student Affairs to learn how to participate.

If you would like to communicate directly with me, please reach out to Darcie Miles, the executive assistant to the president.

While we are passionate about the future of NVU, we recognize that this University exists because of you. You are our priority.

Thank you for choosing NVU and for your commitment to our community.
Elaine C. Collins