Vermont Business Magazine The School for International Training is cutting nearly 30 employees at its Brattleboro campus, the Brattleboro Reformer reported Sunday. The Reformer quoted Trustee Jenny Backus as saying that SIT is committed to Brattleboro and is expanding its global educational opportunities. SIT (part of World Learning also based at the same Brattleboro campus) trains US college and graduate students for overseas studies, as well as bringing foreign students to the US. Backus is the daughter of former state Senator Jan Backus and granddaughter of SIT founder Jack Wallace.
SIT issued a statement January 4 saying the School for International Training is developing a new full-time, global master’s degree format using the institution’s centers worldwide as locations for existing degrees and new programs, and as part of that was reducing its workforce. This new format will complement SIT’s current online and low-residency master’s programs.
The new format will position SIT to become a leader in global graduate education, the statement said. It comes at a time when students are seeking shorter, more cost-effective programs that equip them with real-world skills for a globalized market. Although enrollment at US graduate schools remains steady, growth rates are starting to dip and students’ needs are changing. Market research shows students are balking at persistently increasing costs and looking for more nontraditional programs.
The Brattleboro campus will continue to serve as headquarters for SIT Graduate Institute and SIT Study Abroad, as well as for The Experiment in International Living, World Learning’s flagship program, and other World Learning administrative staff. It will also continue to house World Learning and other youth leadership programs.
“We are in a unique position to build on the success of our study abroad programming – which continues to grow each year – to offer new kinds of graduate-level master’s degree and certificate programs,” said SIT President Dr Sophia Howlett. “The graduate education system is continuously evolving. These changes mean that SIT can meet students where they are today.”
The expansion of SIT’s global footprint will mean a reduction in the number of positions based at SIT’s headquarters in Brattleboro, Vermont, and its center in Washington, DC, and an enhancement of positions in global centers, the statement said.
“As we transition our face-to-face programs from Brattleboro and Washington, DC, to global locations, we will reduce the physical size and number of staff members at our Brattleboro campus and Washington DC center,” said Dr. Howlett. “This was a very difficult decision. But SIT is and always has been student-centered. Our focus must be on the students and how we can best position them for success in a challenging and rapidly changing world. Our new model does that. Innovation is a hallmark of SIT, and expanding our global footprint will allow us to continue innovating for years to come.”
The new global master’s degree format leverages the availability and expertise of SIT’s study abroad faculty and program centers in more than 30 countries. Pending accreditation, the first of these programs, a one-year MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability, is expected to launch in fall 2018 with semesters taught consecutively in Iceland and Tanzania -- locations where climate change policy and innovation are prominent. During the third and final semester, students will conduct their practicums at any location in the world. Other master’s degrees in social justice fields are also in development.
“Since 2015, World Learning and the School for International Training have brought 1,250 short-term visitors from more than 25 countries to Vermont,” said Carol Jenkins, interim CEO of World Learning, Inc., the organization that oversees SIT. “These exchanges give Vermont’s business professionals, local government officials, and citizens an opportunity to build mutual understanding with people from around the globe, to learn best practices from others’ experiences, to develop constructive relations based on common interests, and to build lasting friendships.”
One in three current world leaders have participated in a U.S. exchange program and have experienced U.S., and often-times Vermont, values and culture firsthand, Jenkins said. “We fully anticipate continuing these critical exchanges on our Vermont campus.”
SIT continues to offer a low-residency format in Brattleboro for its international education and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) master’s degrees. With this option, students come to campus for approximately two to three weeks of classes, with the remaining coursework done online or in their practicums. SIT will also continue to host the CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding Program on the Brattleboro campus.
Source: BRATTLEBORO, Vermont – SIT 1.3.2018 Reformer.com 1.7.2018