On Monday, the College faculty held their first in-person meeting after nearly two years of meeting virtually. Associate Professor of English Emma Maggie Solberg, who sits on the Committee on Governance and Faculty Affairs (GFA), led the meeting which had roughly 70 members in attendance.
The faculty first approved the minutes from the December 6 meeting, after which Josiah Little Professor of Natural Sciences and Director of Neuroscience Program Patsy Dickinson gave a heartfelt memorial to former Associate Professor of Psychology Guenther Hubert Rose.
“[Rose] was one of the most influential people,” Dickinson said. “He started teaching neuro[science] research in the visual system in 1976. [I appreciated] his insight into the importance of educating students in studying the brain, looking to develop a second biology major two years after his arrival.”
Following Dickinson’s words, the faculty introduced the new academic staff and faculty from various departments.
Typically, at this point in faculty meetings, President Clayton Rose presents the faculty with a report and speaks on a range of issues. However, due to a recent positive COVID-19 test, President Rose was unable to attend the in-person meeting. Instead, Senior Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs and John S. Osterweis Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Jennifer Scanlon read the report for him.
“Most importantly, thank you [faculty] for everything you’ve done, arguing for students and for one another, and to provide great both education and experience to our students while maintaining your stellar research or writing and performance,” President Rose wrote. “Notwithstanding my own contribution to the tally, our COVID-19 numbers are quite good. In light of these numbers, and having a fully vaccinated community, we can loosen restrictions and hope to continue to do so.”
Following her recitation of President Rose’s speech, Scanlon addressed the committee’s work on creating endowed chairs for race, racism and racial justice.
“[Associate Professor of Africana Studies Judith] Castleberry and I started working on this search for chairs] last year, and then Elizabeth Pritchard joined us … We’re starting to assemble the search committee,” Scanlon said. “You’ll hear more about that as we start inviting faculty to come and be engaged in conversations that have longer forward searches, preliminary work this spring and then really launching the searches for next fall.”
Scanlon highlighted that she was impressed with the faculty and the strong results of last semester’s Bowdoin Course Questionnaires (BCQ).
“I want to draw attention to a couple of things. On the measure of ‘instructor prepared for class,’ 95 percent of the responses by our students were in fours and fives, and that’s really saying something. It means they felt like you walked in that class really ready to engage with and encourage critical thinking.”
After discussing the BCQ results, faculty broke off into smaller groups to discuss ways to improve faculty meetings under the guidance of GFA Chair, Professor of Physics Mark Battle. Each group was given notecards to turn into GFA at the end of the meeting.