Richard Schramm is a retired faculty advisor from the MA in Sustainable Business & Communities (SBC) program. He retired from Goddard College in February of 2013.
I have spent much of the last sixty years in higher education, first as a student (1953-1966) and then as a faculty member and administrator (1966-2013) and I have loved (almost) every minute of it.
My teaching and research has focused largely on building the capacity of local governments, non-profit organizations, cooperative enterprises and small businesses to plan and create vital and sustainable communities. Towards this end I taught economics, finance and community development to graduate students in business, urban planning and public administration programs at Columbia, Cornell, Tufts, MIT, University of Vermont and Goddard (1991-1998, 2008-2013) and to community development professionals in training programs around the country. I complemented this teaching with research on such topics as analyzing local economies, evaluating community loan funds and community development programs, and financing locally-owned and cooperative businesses, nonprofit organizations and local governments.
Linking higher education institutions and the larger community has also been a continuing interest for me. I founded and directed the Tufts University Management and Community Development Institute (1983-90), and helped establish and direct the Goddard College Business Institute (1993-95) and the University of Vermont - Burlington Community Outreach Partnership Center (1999-2003), to support community and cooperative development organizations and socially and environmentally responsible businesses. I coupled these efforts with increasing use of experiential education (“service-learning”) to help students ground their classroom learning and discover a lot about themselves, organizations and communities in the process.
At home, I have served on nonprofit and cooperative business boards (Valley Food and Farms, Hanover Food Cooperative, Local First Alliance, Woodstock Economic Development Commission) and enjoyed life in Vermont since 1991. I have four children and seven grandchildren, love hiking and conversations, and am active in my local UU Church.
Farewell words from Ann Driscoll when Richard retired from Goddard:
Richard is a gifted educator who has shared an extraordinary wealth of talent, experience and insight with our Goddard community. In all, Richard devoted more than 50 years of his life to teaching, community development and service.
Richard initially taught at Goddard from 1991-1998, first as Associate Faculty in the off-campus program and then as a Core Faculty member in what were then known as the on-campus and off-campus (limited residency) programs. Richard was a faculty advisor for students with interests in economics, finance, organization, leadership, business development, local and cooperative business ownership and community economic development. Notably, during this time Richard was also instrumental in the conceptualization and implementation of the Goddard College Business Institute, which he directed from 1993-1995. The intention of this educational innovation was to provide training for leaders from community development focused organizations and socially and environmentally responsible businesses.
In addition to 12 years at Goddard, some of the highlights of Richard’s teaching career have included professorial posts for 12 years at Cornell University in the City & Regional Planning Department as well as the Graduate School of Business & Public Administration, 10 years at the University of Vermont in the Department of Community Development & Applied Economics, 5 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Urban Studies & Planning, 8 years at Tufts University in the Department of Urban & Environmental Policy (where he founded and directed the Tufts University Management and Community Development Institute), and 2 years at Columbia University in the Graduate School of Business.
Richard has also taught community economics, finance and development to community development professionals in training programs as varied as the Neighborhood Reinvestment Training Institute, MS Foundation for Women and Community Development Institute, and the New School for Democratic Management.
During the last 10 years, Richard’s focus turned toward sustainability. He designed and taught the Sustainable Community Development core course at UVM’s Department of Community Development & Applied Economics, developed and taught courses designed to strengthen the local food system and connect farms, food and schools with the merits of going local, and he currently serves on the Advisory Board of Valley Food and Farm, an organization that links local farmers and local consumers. His interest in the impact of climate change on the environment, combined with his substantial experience in community economic development, was a wonderful prelude to his return to Goddard. After a hiatus to pursue other interests, in the spring of 2008 Richard joined the SBC (then referred to as the MA in Socially Responsible Business and Sustainable Communities Program) as a member of the faculty.
Richard’s dedication to the creation of socially responsible and environmentally sustainable communities and organizations is very evident through his myriad efforts to be of service to others. Examples of this are his committee and board roles with organizations as diverse as the Valley Food & Farm-Vital Communities Initiative, Hanover (VT) Consumer Cooperative Society, Vermont Children’s Forum, Economic Advisory Committee for the National Wildlife Federation, National Congress for Community Economic Development (Washington, D.C.), Advisory Committee on Community Economic Development for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Commission on Employee Involvement & Ownership (Commonwealth of Massachusetts), Committee on Women’s Economic Development for the Irvine Foundation, the Federation for Economic Democracy (Washington, D.C.) and his local Unitarian Universalist community.
In addition to a lengthy publication record, from the mid-1970’s to the present Richard has generously shared his know-how about the arenas of community economics and development in an array of consultancies to public, private, government, community and higher education institutions.
Richard has been a beloved member of the SBC community. He arrived at a formative time when the philosophical underpinnings of the program were being shaped and the culture of the learning community was being created. Throughout his tenure with the SBC Richard has been a highly sought after faculty advisor. Both students and colleagues have expressed great gratitude not only for his tremendous well of theoretical knowledge and his familiarity with student centered and democratic education but for his kindness, generous spirit, wit (particularly his jokes at cabaret), wisdom, and for his robust enthusiasm for learning and life.
All of Richard’s contributions to and efforts on behalf of the SBC and the College are greatly appreciated. The lights of joy, delight and exemplary teaching that he brought to our community will be dearly missed. We wish Richard well as he embarks on this new chapter of his life.