At its weekly meeting on Wednesday, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) discussed a series of proposals brought up by its Academic Affairs Committee.
The first proposal, which was voted upon and unanimously passed by the assembly, authorized BSG to spend $300 in order to fund snacks for a new student lecture series on Monday nights called “Food for Thought”.
According to the text of the proposal voted on by BSG, the series is intended to serve as both a study and snack break where student speakers will give talks ranging from “new knowledge, stand-up comedy, research, conspiracy theories, or whatever topics they desire.”
Vice President for Academic Affairs Leah Greenberg ’13 characterized the series as a more lighthearted companion to other campus events, saying, “The primary motivation for this was to have a study break, a change of pace. It’s a way to hear something interesting about students, or learn about student’s talents that you didn’t know about.”
She stated that there will be an application form on BSG’s website for students wishing to apply to speak in the future, and noted that the Academic Affairs Committee was looking for topics that were “interesting, enlightening in some way, entertaining, and appropriate.”
The first event will be held next Monday, February 18 when Daisy Alioto ’13 will give a talk called “Go away, I’m Having a Healing” about growing up as a Christian Scientist, and Carl Spielvogel ’13, who will be discussing the prevalence of diabetes in squirrels on campus.
BSG also discussed several proposals that the Academic Affairs Committee had presented to change the Registrar’s current Credit/D/Fail policy.
One concern voiced by the committee was that students didn’t have enough time—or haven’t received enough feedback from professors—to make a well-informed decision about whether or not to opt for Credit/D/Fail by the current deadline. One proposal was to extend the deadline, while another was to have a second deadline later in the year at which point students who selected Credit/D/Fail could switch back to a graded option.
At-Large Representative David Levine ’16 argued that the second-deadline proposal incentivizes students to work hard in classes, even if they’re not initially taking it for a grade.
“As opposed to somebody taking Credit/D/Fail and completely falling out of the class, they’d stay engaged because they did really well they could switch back to the grading option,” he said.
However, one of the most important changes considered was the decrease of the number of courses that students can opt for Credit/D/Fail from four down to two. Greenberg admitted that this might be “alarming to some people” but the goal—in conjunction with the options of either extending the deadline or the ability to change back to a graded option—would “make the two courses more effective.”
BSG members were divided on the issue, and the topic was put to rest until the assembly meets with Dean of Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd later this month. If the BSG reaches any consensus on the proposals by then, they will be sent to the curriculum and education policy committee for further faculty and administrative discussion.