Goddard College Names Noah Coburn, Ph.D., as New Provost

Goddard College is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Noah Coburn as the college’s new Provost. He will begin as Provost on January 9, 2023 following completion of a residency at Leuphana University of Lüneburg, where he is currently a Fulbright Fellow.

Noah comes to Goddard College from Bennington College, where he served for over ten years, most recently as the Associate Dean of Curriculum and Pedagogy. In this role he oversaw Bennington’s dynamic curriculum, and worked closely with students and faculty to co-create a curriculum that emerges from the expertise and passions of the faculty and students themselves.   

For the past five years, Noah also has been the director of the Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning (CIEL), a group of thirteen innovative and experimental colleges across North America.  In this role he has promoted student-centered educational structures and collaborated with institutions across the consortium to think boldly about the future of higher education.  He has also helped advise and guide the American University of Afghanistan as it has reimagined its curriculum in exile following the return of the Taliban.  

Noah’s research focuses on politics, violence and U.S. imperialism.  He has conducted field research in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Nepal, India, and Turkey.

His first book, Bazaar Politics: Power and Pottery in an Afghan Market Town (Stanford University Press, 2011), looked at how various lineages of potters and other craftspeople in town worked together to maintain peace even while the insurgency grew rapidly in neighboring districts. In short, it looks at how the production of pottery shapes politics in the town.

His most recent work has focused on the exploitation of international workers on U.S. government contracts in various war zones.  Much of this work can be found in his book Under Contract: The Invisible Workers of America’s Global Wars (Stanford University Press, 2018), and he has published numerous op-eds and more popular pieces on the subject.

Additionally, Noah has published numerous articles and reports for a variety of think tanks in the U.S., U.K. and Afghanistan, including the United States Institute of Peace, Chatham House, the Costs of War Project at Brown University, the Afghan Research and Evaluation Unit, and the Agha Khan Trust for Culture, as well as more public facing pieces in The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, Newsweek, Inside Higher Ed and elsewhere. 

Noah received his doctorate in anthropology from Boston University in 2010; MA in regional studies, Columbia University; BA, Williams College. He has taught at Bennington College, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, the American University of Afghanistan, Boston University, the University of Michigan, and Skidmore College. 

This national search, in partnership with Lisa J. Marks, Founder & CEO of LeadExec, engaged a broad set of stakeholders and a search committee of institution-wide faculty, staff, and students.

About Goddard College

The Goddard practice continues to view learning as a function of the whole person and the intellect, in the context of awareness of a responsibility to the personal and social consequences of behavior. Over the past 70-plus years in Plainfield, Goddard College’s program evolved and flourished, and experiments were undertaken, expanded, and then abandoned or segued into new experiments. Students studied for a year in countries around the world, in Africa, Europe, India, the Middle East, and Asia. Interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary studies that supported students’ individual interests and passions made for a dynamic campus life. 

Currently, Goddard offers undergraduate and graduate programs with faculty members and students from across the United States and around the globe who come to our Plainfield, VT campus or our sites in Port Townsend, WA and Seattle, WA for eight-day residencies. 

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