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The Orient replies to Dean Dorn

October 20, 2017

This piece represents the opinion of the author.

We welcome Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Education Charles Dorn’s response to the October 13 article titled “Administrative hires exceed those of faculty as needs change.” Dorn was kind enough to meet for 30 minutes with the Orient a few weeks ago as a source for this story. We appreciate that he clarified his views and deeply regret the errors that he identified and that he feels we misrepresented.

As he made clear, Dorn took issue with a number of elements of our story. However, we would like to add the following context to his response:

1. We indeed failed to include clarifying context following his quote about administrative hiring at other institutions. Context has been added in a corrected version of the story online.

2. Dorn took issue with our broad use of the term “administrator,” but the term “Officer of Administration” is one used by the College in its handbook. In seeking to quantify how hiring has changed at the College over the decades, we think it makes sense to use “administrator,” a derivative of the College’s own classification. The term, like the College’s designation, is not limited to those who are typically thought of as “administrators” and we hoped to make this clear by stating that “administrators range from deans to software engineers,” and including a paragraph about newly-added administrative positions at Hawthorne Longfellow-Library.

3. Dorn is correct to point out that some employees are listed as both instructors and administrators. This error is regretful and has been corrected in the online version of the story. However, there are only nine cases of overlap: Professor McCormack, Professor Kaplan, Professor Holt, Professor Partridge, Lecturer Watkinson, Lecturer O’Connor, Lecturer Broda, Director McCarroll, Coach Pearson and Coach Ruddy. Moreover, the “Officers of Administration” classification provided by the College actually undercounts some administrative positions: Dorn himself is not counted as an administrator despite serving as an associate dean for academic affairs. Neither are his colleagues Professor Beane and Professor Higginbotham who are also associate deans for academic affairs.

4. While the Orient presented Dorn with data from the 2009-2010 catalogue, data reported in the article is taken from College catalogues from 1980–2010 with the exception of the 2017 data, for which we referenced the “People & Organizations” section of the online Academic Handbook. The college catalogues following the 2009-2010 academic year do not list other Officers of Administration.

We stand by the main conclusion of the article: that Bowdoin has prioritized administrative hiring over instructor hiring since 1980. The data clearly states that Bowdoin has added administrators (excluding support staff) at a faster rate than it has added employees inside the classroom and on the sports field during this time. Whether or not you use the term administrator to describe this group does not alter this fundamental point.

That being said, we apologize for the oversights of this piece and we will strive, as we always are, to do better. In the future, we hope to continue exploring these issues and we welcome critiques like Professor Dorn’s that keep us honest.

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