College Registrar Jan Brackett will leave her position this January 2014, after 14 years at Bowdoin.
Her tenure at the College included a seven-year stint as Coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center in the ’90s before her return to Bowdoin in 2006 as the Associate Registrar, which led to her eventual promotion to Registrar.
In the Office of the Registrar, Brackett has guided Bowdoin through the transition to an online registration system. Without her, there would be no Polaris.
“She has been a key player throughout her time in setting up and establishing that online system,” said Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd.
Implementation of the Polaris online registration system involved extensive hard work behind the scenes.
“In some ways what you see as a current student is the tip of the iceberg...so much time was spent on taking the data we had and converting it to be accurate in the new system,” said Brackett.
“She’s always been prepared to go the extra mile. And she does it for the college but she does it especially for the students,” said Judd. “She really wants to make sure that things are working as they’re supposed to so that we get the very best outcome.”
Brackett said she has relished solving puzzles in her role as Registrar.
“I get a lot of reward out of putting in all the time it takes to set something up and...[seeing that] it actually works the way you expect it to work,” said Brackett.
She was quick to give credit those who helped set up the system.
“Everyone has been so dedicated and committed and hard working and conscientious that this has been a rewarding thing. The staff in my office has just worked incredibly hard on this,” she said.
After her time in the Women’s Resource Center, Brackett got involved in computing, working in Lewiston public schools as a technology coordinator.
“During that time was when Maine had the Maine Learning Technology Initiative and all middle school students got laptops and teachers didn’t know what to do with them,” she said. “It was very exciting to be teaching people how to make sense of this and use it in a good educational way with students.”
Now, after intensive work on Polaris, Brackett is ready for some time off.
“I’ve been working since I was 14, so this will be a nice break,” she said.
Brackett is giving herself just a few months to catch her breath.
“Then, I am going to ride my bicycle on the Underground Railroad route from the Gulf of Mexico to Niagara Falls—I’m going to be doing that in the spring. It’s a route that I fell in love with when they first developed it about five years ago,” she said.
“I always thought that I would have to do it in sections because I would never have enough time off in a row to do the whole thing, so this is a great opportunity to be able to go to it with a small group of people and...get all the history as well as the joy of doing a long bike tour,” said Brackett.
After that, she plans on completing a house that she started building three years ago.
“And after all that is done,” said Brackett, laughing, “then I’m going to look for another job.”
Leaving is bittersweet for Brackett.
“I feel like Bowdoin’s in my heart and it’s hard to leave. There are such good people here. But I’m also very excited about what I’m heading off to do, so that makes it easier to take a step away,” she said.
Brackett will certainly be missed by the Bowdoin community.
“Kudos to her,” said Judd, “It’s a huge legacy to get us to this point.”