Last week, the Office of the Dean of Students piloted a new drop-in hours program that allows students to engage in discussion with their dean without appointment. The open hours are located in the Smith Union conference room from 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays for the remainder of the semester.
Assistant Class Dean Roosevelt Boone spearheaded this initiative in the hopes of making the Office of the Dean of Students more accessible and approachable to the student body, specifically as students’ needs change throughout the year. Following a career playing football at the University of Maine Orono and Rutgers University in New Jersey, Boone decided to jump back into student affairs in Maine. Today, he works with the Class of 2023 as one of many deans at the College.
“It’s the mission of the Office of the Dean of Students to take a holistic and collaborative approach to the education and empowerment of our students here at Bowdoin,” Boone said. “We support our diverse student body as they navigate transitions. We guide and advise students by promoting an inclusive community, individual growth, personal accountability and meaningful citizenship at Bowdoin and beyond.”
Boone explained that this approach is something that he has implemented at previous institutions. By introducing this program at Bowdoin, he hopes that he will be able to widen the scope of students that interact with the Dean’s Office and its personnel.
Boone explained that a recent increase in the number of personnel in the Dean’s Office is finally making this program possible, which explains why it has not been implemented in the past.
“The Office of the Dean of Students now has the capacity to take on more initiatives,” he said.
Associate Dean of Students and Director of Community Standards Michael Pulju agreed that the deans are now situated to deal with the demands of the growing student body.
“In our new class model, there are four deans, [one] for each class, so it’s more even and they only deal with 500 students across the board. We’ve also hired a new dean that deals with case management. We now have more humans on the job that can help with students and program outreach,” Pulju said.
When asked about how students have responded to drop-in hours, both Pulju and Boone shared that they have met many new students thus far. Boone explained that he has met about 60 to 70 students during the initial sessions of their new program. Pulju noted that after their session last week, 25 students wanted to follow up and have deeper conversations.
Ultimately, Boone asserted that he wants to make the Office of the Dean of Students more accessible by emphasizing their care for students and their individual endeavors at the College.
“Even if it’s a personal issue that may arise outside of Bowdoin, we are here to support you and your experiences,” Boone said.