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BASE program hopes to continue success

April 14, 2017

Despite a high number of faculty eligible for sabbatical next year, the Bowdoin Advising Program to Support Academic Excellence (BASE) program will likely maintain its expanded size for at least two years, according to Professor of Anthropology and Faculty Liaison for Advising Sara Dickey.

Five more faculty advisors were added to the program this academic year, bringing the total to 15. The increase in faculty advisers allowed 45 students to participate in the program, compared to 30 the previous year. The program will continue with 45 students for the next two years and then will be evaluated.

BASE is an intensive advising program for first-year students who may experience difficulty adjusting to academic and social life at Bowdoin. The program specifically targets first-generation students and students coming to Bowdoin from under-resourced schools. Meetings between faculty and students who are part of the program focus on students becoming better acquainted with campus resources, study skills and class scheduling.

Dickey does not anticipate issues in recruiting BASE advisers, as a number of faculty have expressed interest in the program. She is currently recruiting faculty to be BASE advisers for next year.

Dickey and Interim Dean for First Year Students Melissa Quinby determine eligibility for the program by reviewing Common Apps and related documents for incoming students before inviting first years to apply.

Dickey says that despite the increase in size of the program, its goal remains the same.

“[We want] to make the transition to Bowdoin easier, but also to make students feel really at home at Bowdoin and to be able to make use of all the skills they have as well as everyone else here,” she said.

Currently, 61 faculty members have been trained as BASE advisors. Approximately one-third of pre-major advisors have received training for the BASE program. This year, half of the advisors were new to the program and half had done it before. BASE lasts one year, after which the students remain with their faculty pairs for standard pre-major advising as sophomores. Professors who take part in the program are provided with a research stipend in their first year. The stipend decreases by 50 percent for the second year and ceases for the third.

Professors who choose to become BASE advisors undergo intensive training and are expected to meet with their advisees at least once every two weeks. Dickey said that the response to the program has been very positive from both students and faculty, based on yearly surveys.

“Even though most students are positive about [advising], BASE students are noticeably more positive … [and] that has to do with the quality of the relationship with their advisor,” said Dickey. “Every year BASE faculty talk about how much they learned about advising, that they really liked having that kind of connected relationship with their advisee.”

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