Elizabeth Allen-Pennebaker
Elizabeth Allen-Pennebaker
Affiliated with Division - Core

I'm so lucky - I love what I do! Every day I appreciate being able to spend time with my students and colleagues in the Core, and I savor the intellectual challenge of interdisciplinary teaching.

I teach full-time in the Core now, but from 2011 until 2015 I taught part-time and shared with my husband the management of our family companies. At Vermont Design Works, our web and graphic design firm, I wrote content for our clients on subjects ranging from sports bras to New Urbanism to water buffalo yogurt. I still spend my summers doing renovation projects for our property management company. Working with my hands balances and recharges my mind so that I'm ready to go in September!

Before coming to Burlington, I sampled a lot of different jobs and places. Among other things, I taught Humanities at St. Paul's School; worked on political campaigns for Bernie Sanders and Progressive Party candidates; and spent most of my twenties overseas, reveling in the beauty and culture of Europe, especially Oxford and Vienna.

Fun facts: I live right next to a Champlain dorm in a "reverse Brady Bunch" blended family - my husband and I share our home with my father and his mother. We have a blind dog and too many cats. I run or bike or ski or do yoga every day. I've been a vegetarian for 25 years and never, ever cheated. I'm hopelessly addicted to Starbucks soy chai lattes. When I was in college, I was the lead singer in a band called "Bad Music Amplified". The name was extremely accurate.

An Object of Affection

My impact driver is a butt-kicking power tool that helps me keep up with the guys when I renovate apartments for our property management business. It was a birthday present from my dad, a retired physicist who has taught me everything I know about construction. By example, he's imparted an even more important lesson: If you work a lot with your head, then you need to work with your hands, too. It keeps you humble and grounded. My impact driver reminds me of the patience and love with which my dad teaches me. I try to do the same for my students! It also reminds me that when you give someone the right tools, all sorts of possibilities open up.

Volunteer Work

Board Member, Vermont Stage Company (2009-2013)


As an entrepreneur myself, I love Champlain's strong focus on life and career preparation. Our graduates head out into the world able to earn a living and start contributing to their fields right away. Core classes are a huge part of that. Reading carefully, thinking deeply, and writing clearly aren't just "academic" skills - they're the foundation for success in almost all 21st-century careers.

How do I know that Champlain grads are well-prepared to succeed? Several have worked at our companies, and they rock!