In a September 1 email to faculty and staff, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster announced the hiring of three key additions to Bowdoin’s staff. 

Christopher Dennis was hired as assistant dean of student affairs. He replaces Jarrett Young ’05, who was at the College for four years.  Dennis will primarily support upperclassmen with last names A-L.

The College also hired Benje Douglas as the director of gender violence prevention and education—a new role created by the administration. Douglass will advise  on matters relating to the sexual misconduct policy on campus, working with both complainants and respondents who are going through the disciplinary process. Additionally, he will advise student groups on campus that make up the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP). 

The groups with representatives in ASAP include Peer Health, the Athletic Council, Safe Space, Bowdoin Queer-Straight Alliance, Bowdoin Student Government,  the African American Society,  the Women’s Resource Center and the Inter-House Council, among others.

Dr. Birgit Pols will take over the position of director of health services. She will be responsible for the operation and oversight of medical staff and services at the College’s Health Center (see page 6 for a full profile of Pols).  

Both Dennis and Douglas are looking forward to the connections with the campus community that their positions will bring. In the past, Dennis  has held jobs that required a large amount of travel. He has worked in admissions for Concordia University St. Paul (his alma mater) and as a recruiter at the University of California, Riverside. Most recently he was a program manager for A Better Chance, a program that helps academically talented students of color gain admission to prep schools across the country. 

“It was time for me to come off the road, and still be able to invest in a student population,” said Dennis. “Higher education is where my heart is.”

Dennis, a father of five, was drawn to Maine when his oldest son was admitted to Lincoln Academy, a Maine prep school. Dennis and his family made the decision to move in order to support his son and the position at Bowdoin ended up being a fortuitous opportunity. 

Douglas comes to Bowdoin with extensive experience in the area of sexual violence and domestic violence prevention and response. He has worked at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, where he provided training and technical assistance to colleges, law enforcement agencies, advocates, prosecutors, health care professionals and others. He also worked as a director of prevention at a domestic violence shelter and as a community educator in a crisis center. 

“Prevention  works best when it’s locational—when it’s local and when it has a really clear sense of the community moving forward,” said Douglas.

Douglass is also excited to work in a community that has a track record of success, and has some core concepts already in place. For instance, he believes most Bowdoin students have a good sense of what consent is.  

He is very interested in getting input from the many different perspectives on campus and collaborating with the many constituencies on prevention programing. 

“I want to make sure that students feel comfortable in the environment—period,” said Douglas. 

Dennis is also looking forward to collaborating and  has appreciated how much students are willing to work with the dean’s office. 

“Students really come to this office looking for solutions, and it’s been a pleasant surprise to see that most of the students have an answer in mind,” said Dennis. “Our job is really to guide them through the process of talking through their own solutions.”