Emerson official expects Marlboro endowment to pay incoming faculty

While most details surrounding Emerson College’s acquisition of Marlboro College remain unknown, an administration official said they expect part of the Vermont institution’s $30 million endowment to go toward paying and providing benefits for the faculty transitioning into the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies. 

“There’s a real cost that comes with an increase in faculty like that,” Dean of the Institute Amy Ansell said in an interview with The Beacon. “There’s been no discussion about how the money will be used but I just know it will be in part to support the faculty.”

The merger between the two colleges includes tentative plans for Marlboro College to donate its $30 million endowment to the Emerson College Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies program. Emerson will also acquire the Vermont campus, valued at $10 million. The two colleges plan to form working groups to hash out the specifics of the deal; however, they are still in the preliminary planning stages. 

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Ansell’s remarks on the deal come one day before President M. Lee Pelton’s visit to the Vermont campus with other senior administration officials for the first time since the merger was announced. 

Emerson offered positions to 24 tenure and tenure-track Marlboro faculty as part of the merger. Ansell said she thinks it’s unlikely all of those faculty will choose to take the positions and if they will permanently remain in the institute.

“It’s hard to imagine that literature faculty wouldn’t go into [the Writing, Literature and Publishing Department] or that visual arts professors wouldn’t go into [the Visual and Media Arts Department],” she said. “But, there will be a process to decide what the best fit is given the person’s scholarly and teaching expertise.” 

Ansell said administrative staff and faculty within the Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies seem excited about the merger. 

“I’m seeing real excitement about creating new seminars and curricula and really building a community of IDIP majors focused in the institute,” she said. “On the other hand, there’s a lot of anxiety just because so little is known. I’m hoping that anxiety will decrease in proportion to the excitement as we start taking away all those question marks.”

Pelton and Marlboro College President Kevin Quigley announced the deal at respective Nov. 7 town halls. Marlboro College faculty, staff, and students expressed concerns about the future of the campus, their jobs, and the transparency, or lack thereof, surrounding decision-making.

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