After 21 years of service to Green Mountain College (GMC), Professor Philip Ackerman-Leist is getting ready to transition to the next stage of his career. Effective January 1, 2019 he will enter into the ranks of academic administration as Dean of the School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College. It is a leadership position that his time here at GMC has prepared him well for.
Professor Ackerman-Leist joined the GMC community in 1997 and in the same year established a ½ acre working farm on campus, Cerridwen Farm. Today, the farm encompasses 23 acres and is an integral part of GMC’s second largest major, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. The farm provides hands-on learning for students majoring in the program and valuable life skills for many GMC graduates. In 2010, he founded the Masters in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS) and served as its director from 2010-2015. The MSFS program continues to grow and is now ranked just behind the Masters in Environmental Science in total enrollment.
In 2005, Professor Ackerman-Leist established a semester-long program and internships at Brunnenburg International Study Center in the autonomous province of South Tirol in Italy. Students from GMC have benefited from his careful stewardship of this program for nearly 15 years.
In addition to his many contributions as a member of both the graduate and undergraduate faculty at GMC, Professor Ackerman-Leist is a successful author of numerous publications and several books. His most recent book, A Precautionary Tale; How One Small Town Banned pesticides, Preserved its Food heritage and Inspired a Movement was released recently by Chelsea Green Publishing.
Professor Ackerman-Leist will continue his teaching through the remainder of the semester and has offered to help the College identify a replacement for his undergraduate and graduate responsibilities. And while we will miss seeing him daily on campus, many will be gladdened to hear that he will be working as Dean remotely from his home at UpTunket Farm. I am delighted that the entire family will remain in the area and will continue as valuable members of the greater Poultney community.
Please join me in congratulating Professor Ackerman-Leist on this new chapter in his life. As he said, “even 55 year-olds seek new adventures and opportunities for growth.” This is excellent advice from a deeply valued and loved member of the GMC community.
– Jennifer Guinn Sellers, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty , Green Mountain College