The Office of Academic Affairs is currently considering two proposals—one to offer a finance class at the College and another to revitalize the Russian department—that would give Bowdoin students the opportunity to collaborate with other institutions. 

Both proposals are still in their preliminary stages and must pass through review by faculty curriculum committees and academic departments in order to be implemented. 

The first proposed program consists of a partnership between the economics department and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth to teach financial accounting at Bowdoin. 

Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd described the proposed class as a “blended course,”—students would be taught in the classroom by a Bowdoin professor, with some visits from a Dartmouth faculty member. Some of the course’s components would be taught online.
The proposed financial accounting course could be offered as soon as next semester, according to Judd.

Judd said that she did not see the proposed addition of an accounting class as a contradiction to the College’s liberal arts mission, pointing out that Bowdoin has taught accounting classes in the past and that most of its peer schools offer similar programs. Judd emphasized that the course would be taught “in a way that fits fully within the Bowdoin curriculum.”

“There are versions of accounting courses that can be very narrow and very vocational,” she said. “Part of the reason we’ve been in this conversation with somebody from Dartmouth is making sure that we’re understanding the course in the context of the liberal arts.”

Judd emphasized that the course would prepare students for careers in a wide variety of fields.
“It’s a course that in many ways is a foundational course for any study of finance,” she said.
Jiaqi Duan ’17, who plans to major in economics and eventually work in finance, expressed enthusiasm about the proposed course.

“Especially now that I’m starting to look at internships, I do feel sort of at a disadvantage for applying to finance internships because I don’t feel like I have a strong background in finance at all,” she said. “A lot of Bowdoin students have to really do the homework themselves to bridge the gap between them and students who are going to school for finance.”

Duan felt that a financial accounting class would provide a useful entryway into the subject and that it would not conflict with Bowdoin’s liberal arts mission.

“I don’t think it’s going to be steering away from our liberal arts focus,” she said. “I feel like giving students more options for learning is always a good thing.”

The second academic proposal—also still in its early stages—is designed to give new life to Bowdoin’s Russian department following the retirement of two professors in 2012.  The proposal involves the College partnering with a larger institution with a strong Slavic language program to offer Bowdoin students  the ability to study Russian and do Russian research. 

Judd said that such a program would “allow us to create greater capacity for what we offer with Russian at Bowdoin.” She declined to describe what the partnership with a larger organization would look like, since the proposal is still in its early stages.

Nick Tonckens ’16, a Russian major, said that he supported the idea of expanding the range of courses offered by the department, especially since the lack of classes often makes it difficult for students to complete the Russian major. However, he also expressed some reservations about partnering with a larger institution.

“What I might be concerned about is that they’re trying to use this as an excuse to outsource the Russian department,” he said.

Jenny Goetz ’15, a Russian minor, expressed a similar sentiment. Although she supported giving Bowdoin students more opportunities to study Russian, she also hoped that the proposed partnership would not replace the College’s own department.

“I don’t think that partnering with another institution is the same as having full-time professors here,” she said. “It’s definitely nice that they’re trying to make an effort, but the real solution would be to reinvigorate the faculty here.”