The workings of the Office of the Dean of Students at Bowdoin can be both difficult to keep track of and challenging to navigate, but Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) is hoping to change this. To that end, BSG met with Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann and Dean of Students Kristina Odejimi on Wednesday to demystify the office’s roles of supporting and advocating for students.
The Office of the Dean of Students consists of fifteen divisions, including Counseling and Wellness Services, Health Services, and the Center for Multicultural Life. All of the sections ultimately report to Lohmann, though Odejimi oversees a handful of the divisions. Both deans acknowledged that the expansive and interwoven system can be difficult for students to grasp.
“I want to recognize that there’s also confusion because the two of us have a lot of the same words in our titles,” Lohmann said. “It is not unusual for people to say to me, ‘you’re the Dean of Students,’ and I say ‘No, no—I have a Dean of Students.”
After hearing about this confusion among students, the office has been aiming to transform its presence on campus. Through more casual interactions with students, like the weekly drop-in hours, the deans hope that more students will come to see the office as a positive resource.
“I think people have really been enjoying [drop-in hours] and being able to see we’re actually human beings,” Lohmann said.
Lohmann and Odejimi also noted that the office is working toward larger structural changes outside of these more cultural changes. In July, the office rolled out a new case management system that it has found to be more proactive than its previous model. The deans are actively working on ways to gather student feedback outside of surveys that fill student inboxes.
BSG will convene with President Clayton Rose on Sunday.