(Host) Recently Governor
Peter Shumlin broke with tradition and dedicated his second inaugural address
to the single topic of education in Vermont. Norwich University president Richard Schneider was delighted to hear the
governor focus on the importance and relevance of higher education.
(Schneider) As private
institutions, the 19 colleges and universities that make up the Association of
Vermont Independent Colleges (known as AVIC) are well-practiced at discerning
and meeting the demands of the marketplace. In Vermont we’re lucky to
boast the highest high school graduation rates in the country at 91 percent. Many of those students right
now are awaiting acceptance letters from colleges.
As students wade through the
choices they have, I’d like for them to consider this: Between the state
college system, the University of Vermont and the AVIC schools, our tiny state
has everything it needs to gain a top rate education and grow a prosperous
economy. It’s important that we
prepare our high school students to both attend college and be successful
The governor is proposing
initiatives at the state schools and he’s on the right track. AVIC is also working to get Vermont teenagers
ready for their college experience.
This fall, Rutland High
School students completed an innovative Science Technology Engineering and
Mathematics (or STEM) initiative program that engaged students in field
trips and processing collected data with the latest technology and newly
acquired critical thinking skills.
Three teachers involved with the project
received special training for STEM education
in a summer program at Norwich University. The hope is that this type of
program will help get high school students interested in science, technology,
engineering and mathematics and develop skills that will help them succeed in
students are interested and ready to attend college, we need to make it
affordable for them. AVIC colleges are also working to achieve this goal. Vermont’s
private colleges give students $145.8 million from their own resources to help
reduce the cost, with a majority on campus receiving aid.
The AVIC colleges offer a
wide range of studies, and teaching skills that will meet the demands of today
and tomorrow’s employers. Students can become
environmental experts at Sterling College and Green Mountain College and work
at one of the many green businesses in the state. They can study engineering at Norwich
University to meet Vermont’s infrastructure and technical needs. Students can be trained to
build their own businesses at Champlain College and Southern Vermont College,
or gain the skills necessary to work in the growing hospitality industry by
attending the New England Culinary institute. At Goddard College and
Marlboro College students can design individualized study plans in a variety of
fields depending on their interest and the needs of the state.
This is just a small sampling
of the many opportunities offered to students by the AVIC colleges. Together, Vermont’s private
and public colleges and universities must create more opportunities for our
We need to work towards
keeping our high school students in the state for their post-secondary
education and subsequent careers. That’s how we will achieve
the governor’s goal of growing Vermont’s prosperity.