Katie MiklusNumber of articles: 39
First article: September 12, 2012
Latest article: April 1, 2016
Acceptance rate reaches new low at 14.3%
687 accepted Regular Decision
Admissions decisions for the Class of 2020 were released on March 18, with the College’s admit rate hitting a record low. The Admissions Office sent out 687 acceptance letters, admitting 14.3 percent of total applicants—down 0.2 percentage points from the previous record low for the Class of 2017 and down 0.6 percentage points from last year’s rate.
According to Dean of Admissions Scott Meiklejohn, slightly more than half the places in the Class of 2020 were filled via early decision acceptances, QuestBridge (a program for low-income students) and students returning from gap years. Eighteen students in the Class of 2020 deferred for a year, a much larger number than normal.
Although competition for spots in the class was especially intense, the College did not see a record high number of applicants. The Admissions Office relies on its admissions yield model to deliver a class of around 500 students each year, and anticipates slightly lower yield than usual this year.
“We predict [yield] within a decent range, but I just feel like it’s going to be off a tick,” said Meiklejohn. “We’ve been expecting each year for the last couple of years to use the waitlist and maybe this will be the year.”
Meiklejohn says that he does not believe the “tequila” party and subsequent media coverage had a significant effect on applications and does not anticipate it strongly impacting yield this year.
“Some of the students who were here in the fall for the Explore Bowdoin programs have been in touch with us about what they saw... and some of those people have written really good and positive messages about their decision to apply, having been on campus when those events have happened. So I don’t have too much to report yet,” he said.
Additionally, in February, admissions launched a new online tour feature on its homepage. Meiklejohn hopes the improved digital tour will allow applicants who are unable to visit in person to better explore the campus.
“We made a pretty significant investment in replacing what was a really weak online tour,” he said. “We have a much more dynamic online tour now with still photography, 360s, videos, narration.”
Talk of the Quad: The light room is lit
At Bowdoin, we tend to sort ourselves into camps, groups we identify with or activities we feel passionately about. We’re an athlete or a NARP, a humanities or a STEM major and—perhaps most significantly—a Thorne person or a Moulton person. As two die-hard fans of the Moulton Light Room (MLR), we’re of the belief that this last, seemingly simple preference is nothing if not deeply meaningful.
One of the most distinct and beloved qualities of the light room is the people—the regulars, the staff and even those who only rarely step out of the Tower. It’s hard to put why we love the Moulton Light Room into words, so as we began brainstorming this article (in the MLR, obviously), we asked some of the other Light Room regulars for their one-sentence takes.
When asked, Allyson Gross ’16 couldn’t limit herself to one sentence. “If I have a brand, the Moulton Light Room is part of it,” she professed. The room’s comforting familiarity enables her to remain a “creature of habit,” right down to the tables she chooses to sit at—her personal favorite is along the window wall near the outlet (obviously the best).
A second devotee, Julia Mead ’16, resorted to simile: “The Moulton light room reminds me of a womb, and every time I leave it, I feel like I’m a baby being born prematurely. The outside world is harsh.” The stark contrast between Moulton and the cold, snowy Quad only serves as encouragement to give Irene your OneCard and opt to stay for lunch.
One of Katie’s favorite #JustMLRThings is that the very friendly man who works in the dishroom somehow got the idea that her name is Emily and cheerfully calls her that every time he sees her. It’s been three years now, and the period in which it would have been acceptable to correct him is long over. She appreciates all the effort he’s gone to to remember her name, even if it doesn’t happen to be correct per se.
So what does all this add up to? What makes this humble space so important to us? There are a lot of surface-level reasons, obviously, like the MLR’s clear superiority to both Thorne and the Dark Room. Thorne, in the words of Martin Krzywy ’16, is “simultaneously overwhelming and isolating”—too large, too many people and lacking the space to make meaningful connections. (Plus, the salad bar never has feta.) And the Dark Room is even worse—dimly lit, cold and closed off from the rest of the dining hall’s ambience.
The Light Room, on the other hand, is bright and airy. It’s the best place on campus to linger over your breakfast, feel the sun’s rays graze your face and restock from the seemingly endless supply of Nicaraguan Fair Trade organic coffee. It’s the perfect place to do the New York Times crossword, watch crowds of friends come and go and generally hide from responsibility.
“The Light Room is somewhat of an oxymoron because it is a subterraneous room, dug into the ground, but many people characterize the room with light atmosphere—a light room in an underground space,” mused Henry Austin ’16.
But in the end, of course, it’s not just the space itself that matters to us but the significance we attach to it. The Light Room is more than a place to eat three meals every day—it’s a safe, comforting space that we’ve been able to personalize and make our own. Jenny loves feeling comfortable enough to walk in the Light Room alone for a meal, only to be greeted by a reliable group of her friends. When Katie was abroad last year, this sense of reliability was just what she missed the most in a foreign city. She found herself frequenting a coffee shop called Black Medicine, where she and her friends would meet up to order espresso-based beverages and squat all day, hoping to fill the MLR void in her heart.
The Moulton Light Room is one of our favorite things about Bowdoin, but it’s comforting to think that this feeling of an individualized, reliable space is something we can continue to create even when we’re no longer here. As Jenny makes abroad plans and Katie prepares for graduation, we’ll try to remember the importance of creating these spaces for ourselves wherever we end up. Though MLR might just be a room, the quirks that make it so pleasant will always be a constant.
Jenny Ibsen is a member of the Class of 2018 and Katie Miklus is a member of the 2016.
Off-campus housing steadily increasing
Tensions rise as students and community members communicate through BPD
Although off-campus housing is not a new phenomenon at Bowdoin, the number of students renting homes off-campus has been steadily increasing over the past few years—a phenomenon that presents new challenges for the College. Since the Office of Safety and Security has no control over privately-owned property, students in these homes must deal directly with the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) and with other community members, a process that can lead to some tension.
According to Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood, there are currently 165 students living off-campus this fall semester. This is the highest the number has been in the past six years and an increase from the 144 who lived off-campus in Fall 2014.Neighbors
Some members of the Brunswick community feel the College does not do enough to regulate Bowdoin students living off campus. Professor of Cinema Studies Tricia Welsch, who lives on Cleaveland Street, criticized the lack of policies surrounding the issue.
“They need to seek to restrict more, guide more the students who live in the houses. And that’s not to say that individual people of good will like Randy haven’t done what they can do, but once students move off campus the College has essentially no jurisdiction, and so they really don’t get involved,” she said.
Since Bowdoin Security does not get involved at off-campus houses, Welsch and other community members cannot call upon them to regulate the students living there. Instead, they must rely on communications with residents—or on BPD—when there is an issue.
“I really, really hate that that’s all we can do. I don’t think of having an adversarial relationship with students. I don’t think of calling the police on neighbors. None of that seems any kind of normal to me,” said Welsch.
If residents don’t wish to invoke the police, Welsch said, the responsibility is on them to “provide guidance to the students about what it means to live in a quiet neighborhood as quiet neighbors.”
“There’s all kinds of things you need to teach the people who live there every year,” she said. Students ask neighbors to call them instead of the police when there is a problem, said Welsch, “but, you know, that’s also not really our job.”
Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies Jill Pearlman lives on Longfellow Avenue and is thankful that she does not have to deal with students, as she is not immediate neighbors with any of them.
Pearlman says that having her children grow up near the College was a rewarding experience and that there have been winters where students would help shovel her driveway, but she would not like to have them live next door.
“Students can be incredibly nice, but I just don’t want to live next to them,” she said. She added that it is unfortunate that Bowdoin is buying a lot of property on Longfellow Avenue, a street close to campus. Currently there is one off-campus student home on Longfellow Avenue.
According to Perlman, professors are “very unhappy” that they are not able to live on Longfellow because houses have been bought by the College.Students
Traditionally, certain houses cycle through groups of Bowdoin student renters every year. Some are unofficially affiliated with sports teams, while others are just passed between friends. Students choose to live off-campus for a variety of reasons—to get some distance from the Bowdoin scene, to have a space to throw parties and spend time with friends, to have more autonomy. However, with this autonomy also come certain challenges.
Jared Feldman ’16 lives in a house with 10 other Bowdoin students on Cleaveland Street. He described his and his housemates’ interactions with the Brunswick community as “fairly limited,” but added that “we definitely try to maintain as positive as possible neighbor relations.”
“We absolutely send emails to the neighbors if there’s going to be any large gathering, any noise. They have our numbers. The idea is to contact us if there’s a problem before the police,” he said.
Peter Yanson ’16 lives with five other students on Bowker Street, in a house that was rented to students for the first time this year. He expressed similar sentiments about community relationships.
“Most of our interactions with our neighbors have been at the beginning of the year. When we first moved in, we went around and introduced ourselves and gave them our phone numbers in case we threw any parties that got too rowdy or anything,” he said. “They were all a little apprehensive at first because there had been a family that lived there before and this was the first time that six college boys were going to live in a house together, so they were a little nervous about that, but on the whole it’s been super positive.”
Yanson said that he lived off campus on McClellan Street last spring semester and found that interactions with neighbors were more tense there, with neighbors that often called BPD with complaints of excessive noise. However, Yanson did not see these run-ins as too different from dealing with Bowdoin Security.
“What would Security do—they would come, they would tell us to calm down. And then the police just did the same thing last year. They would tell us to turn down the music, whoever was outside was 21 and showed their ID, it never amounted to anything else. So I never thought of it as a larger deal to deal with the police, just a different deal,” he said.
Feldman expressed more reservations about interactions with the police.
“It hasn’t been a large challenge for us yet, but I think it’s something that we’re all aware of,” he said. “Throwing [parties] off campus is certainly a larger responsibility and I think everyone in the house has felt that when there are people over. We don’t have Security as a buffer.”
Matt Rubinoff ’16 lives on Garrison Street with six other Bowdoin students in a house that has historically been traded between members of the hockey and football teams. Since the house has traditionally been a residence that hosts many parties, Rubinoff said he and his housemates met with both Randy Nichols and BPD before the year started.
“When something’s going on with students, [BPD] will contact Bowdoin Security, and they keep a good connection between those two. But first response in an emergency would be from the police,” he said.
Juliet Eyraud ’16 lives at 11 Potter Street with four roommates. It is Eyraud’s second year living off-campus. She lived on McClellan Street last year, and loves the experience.
“I liked the idea of having cheaper housing and having neighbors, having a kitchen and being more connected to the community than I have been,” she said.
11 Potter is next to the home of Senator Angus King.
“He actually hit my roommate’s car and left a really nice note that was like, ‘I think I might have damaged your bumper please get in touch with my insurance agency. Signed Angus King,’” said Eyraud.
Eyraud has not had any interactions with the police, but since one of the assaults that occurred earlier this semester was on Potter Street, Eyraud says Security has been very responsive and has communicated well since the incident.
“Randy came to our house and gave us updates without us even asking,” said Eyraud.
Eyraud lived in the house for a week in the summer before her roommates and says there was a prowler in her yard, but when she contacted Security they told her it wasn’t in their domain. This changed as the semester went on.
“I think because it kept happening they were like, ‘We should make this our domain,’ which is nice,” she said. “I haven’t felt incredibly unsafe.”
Amina Ben Ismail ’17 lives at 84 Spring Street and the recent security concerns have not changed her outlook on off-campus housing either.
“I’m scared now but it hasn’t changed my experience. I already knew that these things happened. It was scary that it was this close but I do feel safe driving—I never walked—and taking the shuttle,” she said.
One critique Ben Ismail has of living off-campus is her house’s relationship with Security. Security has not visited Spring Street since she moved in, and Ben Ismail wishes that they would be more involved with the off-campus houses.
“I wish Bowdoin Security would visit off-campus houses and see how much lighting there is and if it’s safe. They have students living off campus, they should make sure that everything is good,” she said.Security
If they are not called by students, residents or BPD, Security often does not visit or communicate with students living in off-campus houses.
“If the police ask us to respond and assist them, we will often do that,” said Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.
This semester, Nichols has had to speak to students living in off-campus houses on Garrison Street and Harpswell Road because neighbors were upset that students were cutting through their lawns.
Nichols advises students to get to know their neighbors and communicate with them if there are any problems.
“When I meet with off-campus students I encourage them to get to know their neighbors and even exchange phone numbers, so if things get a little loud some night or there is some sort of a disturbance the neighbor can call. And that keeps things on an even keel and lays the groundwork for a relationship with the neighborhood,” he said.
New distribution system complicates release of Bowdoin-Colby hockey tickets
This year student tickets for the 93rd Bowdoin-Colby men’s hockey game were distributed differently than in the past—they were released 100 at a time, in six separate increments on Monday and Tuesday.
As a result, some students waited in David Saul Smith Union for as long as an hour to get their tickets, and some of those who waited in line were turned away—the Athletics Department ultimately only released 525 tickets, 75 fewer than initially announced.
“I don’t think it’s a good system,” said Director of Student Activities Nate Hintze.
He said that he thinks the major problem is the limit on available student tickets.
“I personally wish we had enough tickets that every student was able to go. I don’t like having to limit who gets to go,” he said.
The Athletics Department does not release enough tickets for the entire student body. According to Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan, a certain number of tickets are set aside every year for alumni, staff, community members and Colby students. In addition, the Athletics Department recalled 75 of the student tickets that were set to be given out on Tuesday at 4 p.m., leaving only 25 for distribution during the final block.
Ryan said that the athletics department recalled the tickets to accommodate members of the Bowdoin community who are traveling to attend the game.
“Under the theory that students are here on campus already, it seemed like it might be an easier process for students to be the ones who went to the will-call table for tickets that might be released, rather than people who might be traveling to campus for the game,” he said. “Time will tell if that was a good idea or not.”
Hintze also attributes the rush for tickets this year to the fact that they were distributed in a more central location—the Student Activities Desk. In previous years, they were distributed from the Athletics Department office on the second floor of the Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness.
“People didn’t know where second floor Buck was,” said Hintze.
“They would post it in the [Student] Digest that tickets were available at Buck, and I don’t think a lot of students read the Student Digest,” he added.
Last year, the Student Activities Office offered to distribute the tickets in the Union during one time slot. According to Hintze, this solved the location problem but led to other inconveniences.
“There was a complete run on the tickets, so if you had class at nine in the morning, you didn’t get a ticket,” he said.
As a result, the Student Activities Office created this year’s system, in which 100 tickets were distributed during each one-hour block.
Some students expressed annoyance about the limited number of tickets available to them.
“We have a large enough stadium to hold everyone on campus, so it would be more logical to have everyone have a ticket,” said Ben Wolf ’18. “It’s definitely a lot more trouble than students should have to go to to see the game.”
However, others praised the more convenient pickup location for the tickets.
“I liked the blocks and doing it there [in the Union], first of all because I didn’t have to walk the stairs, and second of all because whenever they had it before, I wasn’t awake or I had class at that time. So I think this is a little bit better,” said Westly Garcia ’17.
Both Hintze and Ryan agree that there are kinks in the system that will need to be worked out in future years.
“I think what we’ll do is sit down after the game has been played and think about how we distribute tickets and see if there’s a better way for us to do it next year,” said Ryan.
Add/Drop deadline for courses extended
A new policy that gives students the ability to drop a class after the third week of the semester has taken effect on a trial basis beginning this semester.
The Recording Committee, which now has the authority to approve requests to drop classes after the three-week deadline, proposed the change in hopes that it would give more necessary leeway to students who are considering whether to drop a course.
According to Interim Dean for Academic Affairs Jennifer Scanlon, the Recording Committee had previously only been able to approve a student’s request to drop a course if something had happened outside of the student’s control.
“There were a number of reasons that the Recording Committee felt were legitimate reasons on a student’s part [to drop a course], but it was prohibited from making approval of those because its mandate was so limited,” said Scanlon.
In response to its lack of mandate, the Committee spent about a year discussing and designing a new policy that would give students enough time to get all the necessary information before deciding to drop a class. This past April, the Committee recommended the new policy to faculty. After further discussion, the motion was voted into policy on a trial basis on May 14. After a three-year trial basis, faculty will decide whether to make the new policy permanent.
One important factor of the new policy is that students can only choose to drop a course after the third week twice in their Bowdoin career (excluding the first semester of their first year). According to Professor of Chemistry Danielle Dube, a member of the Recording Committee, this provision that limits the number of times a student can drop a class after the deadline was added on the day of the faculty vote in response to concerns that the extended deadline could lead to too much course shopping.
“A student would have to have a pretty compelling reason to use one of their two possible drops,” Dube said.
According to Dube, students must also receive approval from their academic advisor before dropping a course.
“It’s really important to have a conversation about what the potential benefits and downsides are of dropping a course,” Dube said.
Scanlon believes students will appreciate the new options that the policy gives them.
“[The policy] still necessitates a conversation between a student and their academic advisor, and that’s a good thing, but it does give students greater autonomy in making decisions that are right for them,” Scanlon said.
Many students agree that the new policy provides many benefits.
“I think, especially as a senior, that it is a positive and a good thing,” said Abby Roy ’16. “You could be thinking that you want to add a class, but then your other classes may have more work or you’re doing an honors or an independent study, and it might not be a class that you really need.”
“It seems to only add utility,” said Patrick Blackstone ’17. “It doesn’t seem to restrict students any more. It’s just giving them this extra option.”
Talk of the Quad: Looking at both sides of a catholic education
Like most juniors in college, I don’t think much about high school anymore. The days of waking up at 6 a.m. and sitting through seven-plus hours of class every day are over, at least until I enter the real world of nine-to-five employment. I am ostensibly much cooler, smarter and more put-together than I was as a teenager—or at least that’s what I’d like to think. However, every now and then something will remind me of the uniqueness (or if we’re being totally honest here, the weirdness) of my middle and high school experience.
From seventh through 12th grade, I attended a tiny, all-girls Catholic school. When I say tiny, I mean tiny. There were about 180 students in the entire school and I graduated with a class of 23. And when I say Catholic, I mean really Catholic. We prayed before every class, attended daily mass, and took theology courses where we were taught strict Church teaching on issues ranging from premarital sex to abortion to homosexuality.
Needless to say, college was something of a culture shock for scared freshman me. After spending six years in a boy-free environment, there were suddenly boys living next door. No one was warning me about the evils of birth control anymore. Proctors on every floor were handing out free condoms.
As I adjusted to this new and foreign world, I was pretty quick to repudiate my high school experience. I met new people, acclimated to my surroundings, and didn’t define myself by the environment I’d left behind. High school had been one part of my life, I thought, and college was another, totally different one.
But after I’d gotten some distance from all the bad things about my high school—the needlessly strict rules about everything from uniforms to eating in the hallways, the constant focus on Catholic social doctrines I disagreed with, the fact that I knew every single student at my school by name—I started to remember the good ones. Most importantly, I started to realize what I had learned from my six years in an all-female environment.
I realize that most people stereotype the “Catholic school girl” as a lesbian, prude and/or slut. But my experience at an all girls school was much more nuanced and empowering than you might assume.
First, it taught me not to obsess too much about outward appearances. Spending all my time with a group of girls I’d known since age 12 meant I didn’t have anyone to impress, and wearing a uniform meant I put minimal effort into my daily appearance. Makeup was optional, and girls would take pride in going weeks or months without shaving their legs. Nobody dieted or obsessed about counting calories, and nobody was ashamed of having a healthy appetite or loving junk food. We were free from the male gaze, and we relished that freedom.
More concretely, the all-female experience also taught me to be assertive and value my own opinion. Our head of school would often stress that she was not teaching her students to be “nice girls”—she was teaching them to be smart, confident women. My school wasn’t alone in this; a 2009 UCLA study found that alumnae of all-female high schools had higher levels of academic achievement and more confidence in their abilities than students from co-ed schools. Meg Milne Moulton, executive director of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, has suggested that all-girls schools promote an environment in which “it’s cool to be smart,” creating “a culture of achievement in which a girl’s academic progress is of central importance.
This description might sound cheesy, but after two years of college I’ve come to realize just how important that experience was. I’ve noticed in many of my classes (especially those in traditionally male-dominated departments) that boys will confidently speak up and defend their opinions, even after pushback from a classmate or the professor. Meanwhile, girls will often speak more tentatively, qualifying their comments with statements like “I could be wrong” or “This is just my opinion.” I too am definitely guilty of this at times, but I also try to remind myself that my ideas are valid and I should express them regardless of the genders of the other people in the room.
I’m definitely happy to have moved from an all-female to a co-ed environment, and I like having the opportunity to engage in discussions about controversial issues that were often taboo at my high school. At the same time, though, I’m grateful for the opportunities my time at an all-girls school afforded me. My 14 year-old self may not have seen the value in an all-female education, but time (and distance) have made me more appreciative of what it taught me.
BSG begins month of campus programming to fight bias
This week Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) kicked off the second annual No Hate November, a month of programming dedicated to eliminating bias and increasing mindfulness on campus. This year’s No Hate November focuses on the problem of microaggressions—smaller instances of bias that students may not recognize as harmful.
BSG President Chris Breen ’15 said that BSG was looking to move the conversation away from larger bias incidents to focus on more everyday occurrences.
“After talking with Associate Dean of Multicultural Student Programs Leana Amaez, it seems that the conversations always tend toward microaggressions or smaller actions that build up over time,” he said.
Breen gave the example of a student of a particular race being singled out in a class discussion and asked to speak for his racial group as a whole—an incident that was not necessarily malicious, but was stil inappropriate.
Breen noted that BSG also chose to focus on microaggressions due to a lack of larger, more overt bias incidents on campus this semester. Last year, No Hate November was initiated after malevolent racial symbols and language were found on whiteboards in Brunswick Apartments and a homophobic remark led to violence against a student outside of Joshua’s Restaurant and Tavern.
The programming for this month began on Monday, when a representative from the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Jennifer Stollman, came to campus to lead a discussion titled “Ending Discrimination Based on Difference.”
Also on Monday, Esther Nunoo ’17 and Michelle Kruk ’16 gave Food for Thought talks on their own experiences with bias and microaggressions on campus.
Nunoo performed a slam poetry piece about her experience with “the things we don’t talk enough about at Bowdoin,” from race to class to religion to the backgrounds from which students come.
Nunoo said she hoped her performance would inspire students to think more about these complicated, often-ignored issues.
“I just wanted to get people thinking about discomfort and why we keep silent,” she said.
BSG has been collaborating with the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, the Multicultural Student Program and various student groups to organize No Hate November.
Other events for the month include a shoe memorial to honor victims of police brutality, which took place yesterday in Smith Union and a slam poetry performance in partnership with the Bowdoin Music Collective on November 20. Instead of the photo exhibit that hung in the Union last November, this year a poster display in the Union will allow students to write in things that “we do not tolerate” at Bowdoin, such as hate or ignorance.
College weighs proposals for accounting, Russian courses
The economics department considers a financial accounting class affiliated with the Tuck School of Business; Russian department thinks about partnering with universities with strong slavic programs
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.”
Year in Review: Year in review: highlights of 2013-2014
Several Bowdoin students had run-ins with the Brunswick Police Department (BPD), which intervened at College Houses on September 6 and 7 due to issues of disorderly conduct and underage drinking. Two students were also arrested for DUIs in a period of 24 hours on September 22, which Director of Security Randall Nichols called “very unusual.”
The College also introduced a new, revamped hazing policy prompted by several incidents during the 2012-2013 school year. The new policy was designed to help students fully understand what constitutes hazing, giving specific examples and case studies in order to increase awareness.
Bowdoin announced its plans to build the largest solar power complex in Maine, which would offset approximately 8 percent of the College’s annual energy usage. The proposed energy farm would be built on land purchased from the former naval base, and would be used to power most of the College’s athletic facilities.
Three separate bias incidents were reported in one week, including one in which a Brunswick resident called a student a homophobic slur and punched him in the face. The rash of incidents prompted a campus-wide response that included a photo exhibition by Daniel Eloy ’15.
On November 25, the College demolished a vacant former fraternity house that had belonged to Alpha Kappa Sigma. There are currently no plans for the vacant lot, but Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley said the College hoped to develop one within the next few years.
Registrar Jan Brackett announced plans to leave her position in January 2014 after 14 years at Bowdoin. Brackett was instrumental in implementing Polaris, the online course registration system; Dean of Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd called her a “key player” in the creation of Polaris.
Several sprinkler heads burst in Memorial Hall, causing $20,000 worth of damage on January 4 and 5. The sprinkler heads burst due to the extremely cold weather over winter break. Associate Director of Facilities Operation and Management Jeff Tuttle said that they are “looking into options [to] prevent that in the future.”
Rick Ganong ’86 was hired as the new senior vice president for development and alumni relations on January 6, effective immediately. According to President Barry Mills and Ganong, the responsibilities of the job largely concern fundraising and maintaining stable financial aid for students.
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Jarrett Young ’05 announced that he would be leaving at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Young will be taking a position as Upper School Grade Dean at the the Blake School in Minneapolis, Minn.
Mary Pat McMahon, associate dean of student affairs and director of Residential Life, announced that she would be leaving her position over Spring Break to become the dean of student affairs at Tufts.
Bowdoin Christian Fellowship advisors Rob and Sim Gregory failed to sign the College’s Volunteer Agreement and will no longer be permitted to volunteer at the College. In particular, the Gregorys objected to the Freedom from Discrimination and Harassment policy, stating that signing the agreement would violate their faith’s views regarding sexuality.
An intruder broke into a first-floor residence at Brunswick Apartments at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday March 23. Upon realizing that a female student was asleep in bed in the apartment, the intruder fled across the hall into an adjacent residence, which he soon exited.
After an investigation into possible reforms for the Health Center, the College decided to maintain the current structure of the Health Center and hire a new director of health services to replace Sandra Hayes.
Twelve students were cited before Spring Break for misusing Adderall. Of these twelve, two were cited for trafficking the prescription drug, and were given the option of appearing before the Judicial Board or “resigning” from the College.
President Barry Mills announced that he would be resigning from his position at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. His departure comes a year earlier than expected, as Mills told the Orient in 2011 that he planned on remaining in his position for at least five more years. Mills has served as president of the College since 2001.
Life off the tenure-track: the role of temporary professors at the College
This is the second in a two-part series looking at the hiring processes and academic expectations that shape faculty experiences at Bowdoin
Last week’s installment looked at the road to tenure.Visiting professors and post-doctoral fellows
In January, the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce released “The Just-In-Time Professor,” a report describing the swelling population of nontenure-track instructors in academia. In 1970, adjunct professors made up 20 percent of higher education faculty, but today, they represent half of professors nationwide, according to the report. At Bowdoin, approximately 20 visiting professors, 11 adjunct lecturers and 15 post-doctoral fellows have joined full-time faculty for the 2014-2015 year.
These temporary instructors reap many of the same benefits as those on a tenure track, though they are hired for no more than a few years at a time.
“In my experience, the College treats visiting professors perfectly well,” said Susan Faludi, a visiting Tallman Scholar for Gender and Women’s Studies. “If there’s something I’m not getting that tenure-track professors are, I’m not aware of and I don’t miss it,” she said.
The College works to provide resources for temporary professors transitioning to life in Brunswick.
Faludi is living in a pre-furnished house that all the other Tallman Scholars have also lived in, along with her husband Russ Rymer, who is currently a visiting professor in the English Department.
“If you’re visiting, you don’t want to have to bring all your furniture and things with you,” she said.
Several professors who spoke with the Orient pointed out the challenges of teaching as a visiting faculty member.
Additionally, Departments sometimes struggle to integrate temporary professors into their faculty. Physics professor Mark Battle mentioned that departments often “don’t get really exceptional candidates” for temporary positions, since these professors are generally hired for tenure-track jobs.
According to Associate Professor of Music Vineet Shende, visiting faculty sometimes feel that their position is “just a waystation” on the path to a tenure-track job at another college, as professors hired under the designation of “visiting professor” generally do not move up to tenure track at the College. But Battle mentioned the problem of being labeled a “permanent visiting person” after taking more than one or two visiting positions, which makes it much harder to get hired as a full professor.
There are many benefits to bringing visiting faculty to a department. A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Music Mary Hunter said that the temporary appointments allowed departments to “try out a certain area” and offer classes in a specialty that isn’t normally taught. This semester, for example, Rymer is teaching “The Art of Science Writing,” a non-fiction creative writing course that caters to a class filled largely with science majors.
Associate Dean for Faculty Jennifer Scanlon is in charge of working specifically with postdoctoral fellows, or post-docs, who come to Bowdoin through grant-funded programs such as the Mellon Foundation. Bowdoin currently has 15 post-docs in a variety of subjects, who Scanlon works to prepare for their future outside the College through programs such as workshops on finding a job after Bowdoin.
According to Scanlon, working as a post-doc can act as an “introduction to an environment like Bowdoin and opportunity to figure out if this is the kind of place you want.” In a September 2012 Orient article, Judd said that post-doc fellows also allowed the College to create connections to graduate programs that many current students contemplate attending.
Along with 38 other liberal arts colleges, Bowdoin hires post-docs through the national Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD), which is designated for ethnic minorities. After filling out a general application, prospective post-docs can be hired by any school in the consortium.Melissa Rosario, a CFD post-doc in anthropology, characterized the CFD experience as “an individual one.” In addition to the requirement of teaching one class per semester, CFD post-docs can also get further involved through service to the College or through mentoring students individually.
Just like visiting professors, post-docs must also balance their courses with the stress of applying to tenure-track positions at other institutions. Rosario characterized this job search as “an intense, consuming process” in the competitive waters of academia.
A final component of the post-doc experience is giving fellows teaching skills and experience, ideally through mentoring from more seasoned professors. Scalon said that the College stresses mentoring both from departments and from the Office of Academic Affairs as “a way of helping them go from here to there.”
Rosario said she wished Bowdoin had “a formal structure for mentorship.” She said that the workshops run by the Office of Academic Affairs were helpful in terms of professional development: “an important component, but it doesn’t necessarily help you to be a better instructor.” Instead, she said that “direct mentorship with a faculty member” was more beneficial in helping post-docs succeed.Balance between teaching, research and service
An important aspect of being a faculty member at small liberal arts colleges like Bowdoin is juggling commitments to teaching, research and service.
The balance between these three responsibilities is constantly shifting throughout a faculty member’s time at the College and depends on the stage of the tenure process that they are currently going through.
After getting tenure and moving up to the level of associate professor, there are fewer expectations about one’s level of teaching.
“In a sense, teaching has already been evaluated,” said Page Herrlinger, chair of the history department. She went on to say that though there is still an expectation for high quality of teaching, the focus tends to shift to a commitment to distinguished research.
Once faculty members go up to the tenure board once more and receive the title of full professor, there are no longer any expectations or requirements regarding teaching or research.
“In terms of specific advancements as a professor, that’s it,” said Dallas Denery, an associate history professor. “That said, at that point, you’ve done two books and a bunch of articles, so chances are this is your job. Teaching is a lot of fun and researching and thinking is also a lot of fun, so you just keep doing it. Allen Wells in our department is a perfect example of what you should be like when you’re a full professor: you just keep working and you’re helpful to your subordinates.”
Professors noted that working at a liberal arts college like Bowdoin allows for different opportunities than other, larger research institutions.
“One of the things I like best about teaching here is I find it fairly possible to link those things [teaching and research],” said David Hecht, assistant professor of history. “I love bringing something I’m researching to the classroom.”
Professors are also expected to complete service to the College community, such as serving on committees. Although this aspect of a career is not generally as highly valued as a faculty member’s teaching and research, commitment to community service is still important.
“If you avoid community service, that will hurt you,” said Battle. He compared the relationship between teaching, research and service to “a three-legged stool with one leg shorter than the other.”
Tracking the long, rigorous road to a tenured professorship
This is the first in a two-part series looking at the hiring processes and academic expectations that shape faculty experiences at the College
Except for snippets of conversation from those occasional end-of-semester dinner parties at professors’ houses, the details of what it means to be a professor outside of the classroom are generally hidden from students. The faculty are expected to meet high standards not only in teaching, but also in engagement and participation in their fields and in service to the College.Hiring process for tenure-track faculty
When Associate Professor of History Page Herrlinger first visited campus as a prospective hire, she almost underestimated the Maine weather.
“I remember being really nervous the night before my visit and getting a phone call from a professor who told me to make sure to wear boots on my visit,” said Herrlinger. “I remember feeling a little uncomfortable about wearing boots but when I got to campus and Maine winter was well underway I just felt like someone here was looking out for me, which made the visit a lot easier.”
Her journey ended when she joined the Bowdoin faculty in 1998, completing a rigorous tenure-track faculty hiring process which lasts, on average, around 18 months.“The tenure-track process is a place where as we hire someone, we’re saying, ‘Bowdoin has these really high standards and we want you to meet those standards,’” said Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd.
According to Judd, the hiring process begins when a department or program makes a request to the Committee on Curriculum and Educational Policy.“As part of that, the program has already looked to understand where the discipline is going, to understand the kind of search that might be involved and how to create as large a pool of candidates as possible,” said Judd.
At this point, hiring committees begin to form to address the positions in question. The corresponding department or program has the most responsibility in hiring for positions, but the committees also include faculty from different academic fields.
Once a list of candidates has been assembled, the process continues through various stages. At first, the committee compiles a “long list” of around 20 potential candidates to interview via phone or Skype.
From this list, the pool is narrowed down to 3 to 4 candidates who are invited to campus to give a talk on their research and meet with students, faculty, the hiring committee and the dean for academic affairs, as well as the president of the College.
“Can they be successful in the kind of research they want to do here and can they be successful in our classrooms—these are the questions we’re asking,” said Judd.
Part of attracting candidates that will do well at a liberal arts institution is incentivizing the opportunity to work at Bowdoin in various ways. One of these incentives is Bowdoin’s Partner Accommodation Policy, which makes it easier for professors with partners and/or families to come work at the College.
Bowdoin is not in a major urban center, and there are fewer institutions of higher learning close by for partners of existing faculty members to turn to while looking for a job.
The Partner Accommodation Policy was instituted in 2007 to create opportunities for couples in which both partners are employed in academia.
Partners of existing faculty can apply for a position through the Partner Accommodation Policy and if they are accepted, the partners share one-and-a-half teaching appointments.
This means that in an academic year, the two partners will teach a combined six classes as opposed to the typical eight. If both are in the same department, each will teach three classes over the course of the academic year. However, if the partners are in different departments, the original faculty member will teach the standard four classes while the partner hired under the policy will teach two.
“It’s a creative way to deal with a problem that a lot of institutions have,” said David Hecht, assistant professor of history. Hecht is married to Associate Professor of English Aviva Briefel, and was hired under the policy in 2009 after being at Bowdoin as a visiting faculty member for several years. Hecht and Briefel live with their two young children in Brunswick.
The policy also enables the College to retain faculty members who might otherwise consider leaving because of family commitments.
“If I’m working here, then Aviva is more likely to stay,” said Hecht.Getting Tenure
After a professor’s first year at Bowdoin, she is reviewed by her department chair and another member of her department, the first standardized step in the tenure-seeking process. The next, more comprehensive stage of review is reappointment, during a professor’s third year. Professors must turn in a self-evaluative statement as well as course materials to their departmental review committees. The committee will then offer a recommendation to the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs, which makes the final decision on whether the professor is reappointed.
“They’re evaluated primarily on their teaching when they go up for renewal after three years,” said Associate Professor of History Dallas Denery.
Physics professor Mark Battle agreed that reappointment is an opportunity for a department to ensure that “things are on track” in a professor’s career. The process also ensures that faculty members are ready to take the typical fourth year sabbatical, during which they are expected to make significant strides in their research or professional work.
During a faculty member’s fifth year at Bowdoin, she begins the multi-stage tenure process, which involves many more levels of review. A professor’s department, the Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure (CAPT), and reviewers outside the College are all involved in evaluating the candidate and making a recommendation. The dean for academic affairs and the President of the College use this information to make recommendations of their own, and the Board of Trustees then makes the final decision on tenure.
According to Judd, these reviews aim to explain and contextualize the “significance of a person’s work within their discipline.”
A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Music Mary Hunter—currently serving on CAPT—agreed that “the department has to make it clear to the College committee what the field competition is like.” Research expectations for getting tenure vary across departments, and can be anything from a book to a series of scholarly publications. Allen Wells, a history professor, noted that “a book is the coin of the realm” in his department. Although it’s possible to get tenure without a published book, he emphasized that it is the standard toward which most history professors work.
Outside reviewers are especially important in departments such as music or art, in which professors may be producing work other than traditional scholarly publications.
For example, Associate Professor of Music Vineet Shende is a composer, and thus part of his tenure evaluation was based on pieces he composed. However, he emphasized that having a piece performed by the national symphony, for example, was analogous to having a book published by Oxford University Press—in other words, that recognition by prestigious institutions can be understood across all departments.
The role of CAPT, on the other hand, is to act as a more objective body. Battle, who has been a member of CAPT, emphasized that he “works hard to abide by the language of the College’s contract” when evaluating candidates up for tenure.
The number of professors who are accepted for tenure each year is generally high. Battle attributed this in part to the “self-selection effect”—professors are generally made aware of whether or not they are likely candidates for tenure before they come up to receive it.
After achieving tenure and being promoted from assistant to associate professor, it would be theoretically possible for professors to slow their efforts at teaching and research. One safeguard against this is the yearly Professional Activities statements that tenured professors submit to Academic Affairs, describing their activities within and beyond the College as part of the basis on which salary increases are awarded. In addition, associate professors generally continue to work to be promoted to full professor, a title which also brings a salary increase.
More generally, Judd pointed out that working toward tenure sets the stage for continued hard work after promotion.
Shende agreed, noting that tenure “solidifies your relationship with the institution.”
Next week: A look at the lives of visiting professors and post-docs, and expectations for faculty balancing teaching, research and service at the College.
After Washington Post op-ed from Santangelo ’12, Marine Corps changes its policy
Sage Santangelo ’12, currently a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, published an op-ed in the Washington Post on March 28, headlined “Fourteen Women Have Tried, and Failed, the Marine’s Infantry Officer Course. Here’s Why.” In it, she expressed frustration with different standards for men and women taking the Infantry Officer Course (IOC). Following its publication, the Marine Corps announced that it was changing one of the policies Santangelo criticized, saying it would allow women to retake the course in the future.
The IOC is a physically demanding 10-week course which is required for admission into the Marine infantry.
In her article, Santangelo argues that training for men and women in Officer Candidates School (OCS)—the original training that Marines must undergo to receive a commission—should be less sex-segregated in order to give women a chance to “establish the same mental toughness as men.” In addition, she advocates for more infantry-based training earlier in OCS and for an opportunity for women to retake the IOC.
According to Santangelo’s article, female lieutenants are prevented from retaking the course so as not to delay the rest of their training. However, Santangelo writes, “The uncertainty makes the test overall much more difficult than any of its individual parts… The male lieutenants who have taken it before have an advantage in that they know generally what to expect.”
In a phone interview with the Orient, she downplayed her own role in the recent policy change.“I never intended for this to be about me and I don’t think it really should,” she said. “I just wanted to start a discussion and provide thoughts on how we could better set female and other Marines up for success in the future.”
Santangelo emphasized that she wrote the article for the purpose of contributing her voice to a larger conversation.
“I think the Marine Corps is very much trying to do this the right way and I just wanted to prompt this discussion and add my perspective as a female that took part in this effort,” she said.Katie Petronio ’07 provided an alternative perspective on women in the Marine infantry. Petronio, a Marine captain and combat engineer, has completed deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2012, she wrote a piece for the Marine Corps Gazette titled “Get Over It! We’re Not All Created Equal,” in which she argued that the Marine infantry should not be open to women due to its physically demanding nature.
“Women are genetically built differently from men,” she said in a phone interview. “If the goal is to ensure that females have enduring long careers and that we retain females, infantry is going to be the worst way to do it.”
Instead, Petronio argued that the Marines should focus on integrating fields that women “know we can do for 20 to 30 years if we want to” without the extreme physical strain of the infantry. Petronio cited statistics on females who have taken the IOC course—out of 14, all but one failed during the first 24 hours of the 10-week program.
“Even if you are fully capable and competent and physically ready for it, your body will break faster than a male’s,” she said.
Petronio also provided a different perspective on retaking the IOC, saying it was “not to prevent women from getting another shot,” but rather to prevent Marines, both male and female, from spending too long waiting to retake the test.
“The controls are in there so it doesn’t hurt your progression in your career,” she said.
However, Petronio also emphasized that she understood Santangelo’s perspective on these issues, saying that she would have felt the same way as a second lieutenant.
“Because I’ve been in for much longer, I’ve been a part of planning things and I’ve learned over the years why we do certain things in the Marine Corps,” she said.
DeAlva Stanwood Alexander Professor of Government Christain Potholm called the differing viewpoints expressed by both women “a tremendous credit to Bowdoin.”
“We have two strong-willed, successful, tough women who have come to different conclusions, and they are presenting their case not just to us but to a national audience,” he said.
After the publication of her article, Santangelo was offered a chance to go to Afghanistan while she awaits a place in flight training, which she plans to accept.
“I’m very lucky and humbled to have that opportunity and really looking forward to taking advantage of it,” she said.
Class at Maine Correctional Center brings students and inmates together
This semester, a group of Bowdoin students have had the opportunity to take a class in an entirely new environment: the Maine Correctional Center (MCC), a medium/minimum security prison facility in Windham, Maine. Twelve students from Bowdoin and 12 inmates, or “inside students,” meet weekly at the prison to take Citizenship and Religion in America with Elizabeth Pritchard, a religion professor.
The class is the first of its kind offered at Bowdoin. It was initially proposed by Eliza Novick-Smith ’14 and Chelsea Shaffer ’14, who were inspired by the Bard Prison Initiative, a program offering college degrees to inmates in New York prisons. Last year, Novick-Smith and Shaffer pursued a collaborative independent study to learn more about the correctional system in the United States and to design a plan for the course.
“As much as we’re a little bubble here, Bowdoin wants to expand that bubble, and it seemed like this was the kind of thing that already worked with what Bowdoin is about,” Novick-Smith said.Ultimately the proposal for the course found its way to Pritchard, who had previous experience working in prisons as an undergraduate. Pritchard had tried in the past to start a similar course at the Women’s Center of the MCC, but had been unable to do so.
After hearing the proposal for the course, “we decided we would do what we could to make it happen,” she said.
Pritchard said that, as a College that works towards the common good, Bowdoin should encourage students to be engaged, and that this course helped to facilitate that.
The model for the course was a prison exchange program at Temple University. With funding from the College, Pritchard was able to travel to Temple University last summer and complete training to teach the course, which Bowdoin then approved as a one-time-only class.
Pritchard chose the topic of citizenship for the class since both Bowdoin and inside students have experienced citizenship in some way.
However, she also said that both groups have “very different experiences and a very different sense of the exclusions and entitlements of citizenship.”
Bowdoin students who wished to take the class had to receive approval from Pritchard. In addition, she worked with the prison administration to select the inside students. The administration selected numerous candidates, who Pritchard then met with as a group. Twelve inside students were ultimately chosen, although three had to leave over the course of the semester for personal reasons.
The class, which meets on Friday afternoons, is organized as a seminar, and is heavily discussion-based. All students complete weekly writing assignments, although there are also two longer essays that only Bowdoin students must write.
Pritchard and the Bowdoin students reported initial awkwardness between the groups of students, but said that they quickly became comfortable with one another.
“After the first week, it was pretty relaxed,” said David Steury ’15, adding that the classroom environment is “collegial.”
Pritchard and the students praised the open classroom atmosphere and the candor that both groups of students bring to the discussion.
“Discussion certainly turns much more on people’s personal opinions and experiences than it does in a normal class,” said Novick-Smith.
“I think both inside students and outside students come to the class very much excited to engage in lively discussion,” said Sam King ’14, another student in the class.
“There’s generally a corrections officer in the room, and on a certain level I think we wish there weren’t,” said Steury. “I think the inmates would speak more freely.”
Overall, Bowdoin students said they have appreciated the educational opportunities the class affords them.
“It’s been one of the most unique and, I think, will be one of the most important learning experiences I’ll have at Bowdoin,” said Shaffer.
“We can get a perspective that we don’t normally get here and really expand who we’re talking to,” said Steury.
Inside students also expressed their appreciation for the class.
“I hope that whoever reads this will understand the importance of the opportunity this program provides,” one student wrote in a letter to Novick-Smith about his experience, adding that the it had given him “the skills that [he was] going to need in overcoming the hurdles caused by my incarceration and felon status.”
Pritchard said that she was “committed to doing this again,” possibly at the Women’s Center of the MCC, although the future of the Inside-Out program at Bowdoin is still unclear. Novick-Smith and Shaffer have noted student interest and are working to find professors who would teach a similar class in the future.
“I think things went better than I thought they would,” said Shaffer. “I thought it might be scarier, or I wouldn’t be able to connect with the visitors, or there would be a very obvious difference between us all, and I haven’t found that.”
Novick-Smith met with Associate Dean for Faculty Jennifer Scanlon last week, but does not yet have comment from the dean’s office on the future of the program.
Editor’s note: Eliza Novick-Smith ’14 is an associate editor of the Orient, but was not involved in the production or editing of this article.
Interactive: 14.8% acceptance rate for Class of 2018; up 0.3 percentage points
Regular decision acceptance letters for the Class of 2018 were sent out via email last Friday. Of the 6,048 Regular Decision applicants, 756 were admitted, for an acceptance rate of 12.4 percent. Overall, 1,032 students were admitted for a total acceptance rate of 14.8 percent (including Early Decision applicants.) Last year, the Orient reported a 14.5 percent acceptance rate.
Applications for the Class of 2018 went down 1.6 percent from last year, when there were 7,052 total applicants to the Class of 2017. This year, 6,935 total students applied.
According to Dean of Admissions and Student Aid Scott Meiklejohn, despite the slight decrease in applicants, the Class of 2018 was drawn from “exactly the same pool” as in previous years.
“Numerically, it was a hundred fewer, but it didn’t make much difference in admitting the class,” he said.
Applications from the South and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States as well as foreign countries increased, while those from New England and the West decreased. Those from the Southwest and Midwest remained roughly the same.
Applications from multicultural students also increased 10 percent, and there was a six percent increase in the number of high schools sending Bowdoin at least one applicant.
Meiklejohn expressed enthusiasm for the increased number of high schools, saying it demonstrated Bowdoin’s “increasing geographic reach.”
There were 524 women and 508 men admitted, a figure consistent with Bowdoin’s current gender ratio. According to Meiklejohn, the ratio of public to private schools also remained consistent. Currently, 58 percent of Bowdoin students attended public high school; 42 percent went to private school.
The target size for the Class of 2018 is 495 students, the same as for the Class of 2017, and admitted students must submit their decisions by May 1.
Former head of NAACP Benjamin Jealous to speak on ‘That One Big Thing’ today
As part of an ongoing annual initiative to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy, the College is bringing former head of the NAACP Benjamin Jealous to campus to deliver the Common Hour lecture today. Jealous will give a talk entitled “That One Big Thing,” in which he will discuss the activist tradition and how Bowdoin students can get involved.
Jealous was the youngest head of the NAACP in the organization’s history. According to an email sent to the student body by President Barry Mills, he “has been a leader of successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality, and free multiple wrongfully incarcerated people.”
A committee of faculty, staff and students made the decision to bring Jealous to campus. The same committee invited spoken-word group climbing PoeTree to perform on campus last month, on MLK day.
Faculty committee proposes credit for online courses
At the most recent faculty meeting, the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEP) proposed a change to the College’s current policy that would make it possible for students to take online courses for credit. Currently, Bowdoin does not accept transfer credits from online courses of any kind, and the new policy would leave it up to departments to decide whether or not to grant credit for a course.
Professor Andrew Rudalevige of the government department, a member of CEP, stressed that the policy sets a high bar, and that departments will review courses to ensure that they are “accomplishing something that we at Bowdoin think is relevant and worthwhile.”
Professor Bruce Kohorn of the Biology department, also a CEP member, emphasized that “the critical thing is that the department has the choice, just like with any transfer credit.”
Professors, students praise VAC renovations
Though renovations to Rooms 303 and 304 in the Visual Arts Center (VAC) have only recently concluded, professors and students have already praised the rooms as superior learning spaces to many of the College’s aging classrooms. Classes in departments as varied as environmental studies, English, sociology and Latin will be taught in the new classrooms, which are designed to accommodate 36 and 40 students, respectively.
Once studio spaces, the classrooms were freed up after the opening of the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance.
Professors teaching classes in the refurbished rooms praised the renovations, noting the easily moveable desks with which both rooms are equipped. Professor Tess Chakkalakal of the English and Africana studies departments said that the layout of Room 304 was especially well-suited to the needs of the class she co-teaches with Professor of English Peter Coviello, The Afterlives of Uncle Tom.
Applications drop 2.2% for the Class of 2018
The Early Decision I acceptance rate was 33.4%, up from last year’s rate of 31.2%.
After an all-time record 7,052 students applied to Bowdoin last year for the Class of 2017, a total of 6,902 have applied this year for the Class of 2018. Although the College received 150 fewer applications—2.2 percent fewer than last year—this total application pool is still the second largest in College history.
A total of 843 applications were received during the two Early Decision (ED) rounds—down from 865 from a year ago—while 6,059 prospective students applied Regular Decision. This year, 200 of the 598 ED I applicants were accepted to Bowdoin—33.4 percent of the group. The admissions decisions for the 245 ED II applicants will come out next month, and decisions for the 6,059 Regular Decision applicants will be released in late March.
This ED I acceptance rate is lower than that of a number of NESCAC peers, including Bates (45.2 percent), Williams (42.8 percent) and Middlebury (41.8 percent), but is slightly higher than Bowdoin’s ED I rate from last year, 31.2 percent.
Extension of Credit/D/Fail deadline up for debate
Bowdoin’s Credit/D/Fail (Cr/D/F) policy, which has not been amended since 2009, is once again up for debate. Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) carries a proposal to push back the Cr/D/F deadline from the sixth to the ninth week of classes, and the Recording Committee is open to consideration of the matter.
The Office of the Registrar did not give the Orient exact data on how many students take advantage of the policy, but Bowdoin currently allows students to take four classes Cr/D/F throughout their Bowdoin career. Students have until the end of the sixth week of classes to decide whether or not to take the class for credit.
The policy was amended in 2004, when the grading of courses was changed from Credit/Fail to Credit/D/Fail, and again in 2009, when it was decided that students could not fulfill their distribution requirements with classes graded C/D/F.
Peer Health to meet with each first year
A new program instituted by Peer Health this academic year aims to meet with every member of the Class of 2017. Trained members of Peer Health will conduct the interviews, which last about half an hour and are designed to help students reflect on their first six weeks of college.
According to Associate Director of Health Promotion Whitney Hogan, the majority of the Class of 2017 is scheduled to meet with Peer Health by the end of November.
The interviews are not mandatory, but are highly encouraged, and students can sign up on calendars that have been posted in every first-year brick.
Behind the curtain of the office of the dean for academic affairs
As students trickle into Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd’s Introduction to Music Theory class, she plays them a piece of music—Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll.” She then asks the roughly 20 student class to compare the piece to one they heard last class, and plays them two more seemingly dissimilar pieces—“Smoke on the Water” and the “Mission: Impossible” theme song. Using the piano and the whiteboard as teaching aids, she explains a variety of terms that might hopelessly confuse a non-musician, explaining those technical aspects of music that most of us never even consider.
For Judd, teaching Introduction to Music Theory is just one of many priorities. As dean for academic affairs, she oversees the College’s entire academic program, and is responsible for a wide range of topics from faculty and curriculum to the art museum and the Coastal Studies Center.
However, she emphasized the importance of remaining connected to the classroom.
“I don’t think any dean at a place like Bowdoin should stop being active in their research and their classroom,” said Judd. “That’s what the heart and soul of the place is about.”
Judd has been passionate about music from an early age, and attended Rice University to study musical performance as an oboist. However, she soon transitioned to the study of music theory, attending King’s College in London for graduate school, and teaching at a variety of institutions including the University of Pennsylvania.
During her time at UPenn, Judd became more deeply involved with undergraduate students and became interested in “working with some of the bigger questions” of education. Accepting the position of Dean for Academic Affairs at Bowdoin in 2006 gave her the opportunity to pursue both of those areas further.
“One of the things that I really valued about my own education [at Rice] was the intimacy of the experience with undergraduates,” said Judd. “Being in an environment where one could focus on that was something I was excited about doing.”
As dean for academic affairs, Judd manages a wide variety of programs at the College. Most students know that the Department of Academic Affairs is in charge of hiring, supporting and granting tenure to faculty as well as organizing curricula. However, the office also oversees many areas unknown to most: Bowdoin’s libraries, museums and research centers; its academic support programs such as Off-Campus Study; and its academic spaces and new building projects, to name a few.
Judd described her own role in the department as one of oversight and communication, and emphasized the importance of working with faculty members, “because ultimately the curriculum depends on what kind of faculty we have.”
The daily routine of the Department of Academic Affairs encompasses a wide range of activities, from helping departments searching for a new faculty member to meeting with the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEPC) to attending faculty symposium. Jennifer Scanlon, associate dean for faculty, emphasized that frequent daily communication is keeps the office running.
The two most visible roles of the Department of Academic Affairs on campus are the hiring of new faculty and the granting of tenure to existing faculty; Judd plays a significant role in both. The search for new faculty members begins with the CEPC, which crafts a search plan. Judd must then interview all tenure-track finalists, and once the department has made its recommendation, she has the authority to choose a candidate.
The process of granting tenure is even more involved and requires approval by several more groups. Tenured faculty members in a professor’s department make a recommendation to the Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure.
The committee makes a recommendation to Judd, who then makes a separate, independent recommendation. Both then go on to President Barry Mills, whose final recommendation goes before the Board of Trustees.
“Our ideal would be that if we hire well, mentor well, and do our evaluations well, that everybody who stood for tenure would get tenure,” said Judd. “It’s incredibly important—because of what tenure confers—that the College maintains its standards of the excellence of teaching and research.”
Judd sees the Department of Academic Affairs as having three broad priorities beyond its specific responsibilities on campus. First, it must support faculty, which both Scanlon and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Barry Logan agrees is one of its most important goals.
Second, the Office works to create a vibrant intellectual community on campus, which entails a broad range of areas, from curricula to resources such as the library. According to Logan, one of the department’s main priorities is to “represent and support the academic core and to organize the curriculum for students.”
According to Judd, a third, less obvious priority of the department is to make connections in the academic program that are “right at this moment.” For example, the College’s new Digital and Computational Studies initiative gives students the opportunity to learn about the intersections between fields like computer science and the humanities.
“We were looking to create opportunities for our faculty and our students to begin to move outside boundaries,” said Judd.
Judd emphasized that she feels lucky to have come to Bowdoin at a time when such exciting initiatives were taking place. She pointed to the creation of Studzinski Recital Hall and the establishment of comprehensive distribution requirements as important reforms that she was happy to have been a part of.
For Judd, one of the most difficult aspects of her job is reaching out to such a diverse community of scholars and students.
“The greatest thrill and privilege of my job is getting to represent such a distinguished faculty, but that’s also the challenge,” said Judd, who must figure out “how to help support [them] and take advantage of all the knowledge they have for the best use of the institution.”
Although the job can be challenging, Judd emphasizes its rewarding aspects.
“I have the opportunity to work at an amazing institution with a really strong sense of who it is, to support an incredibly talented faculty…and to work with an incredibly diverse student body,” said Judd. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Editor's note: The print version of this article mistakenly noted that Judd arrived in 2007, not 2006. The web version has since been corrected. An earlier version of this article misquoted Judd. She refered to the Bowdoin faculty as "distinguished" not "distinct."
BSG Update: Newly-elected class council members begin their terms
On Sunday, the Classes of 2014 and 2017 elected their class councils for the coming year. Simon Brooks ’14 was voted senior class president with 155 votes and Justin Pearson ’17 was voted first-year president with 191 votes. There was record turnout for both elections, with 74 percent of the Class of 2014 and 82 percent of the Class of 2017 casting votes.
Both presidents stressed class unification as one of their main goals for the coming year. One of Brooks’ first actions as president was to acquire a class list in order to learn the names and faces of all senior class members.
“One of my biggest goals this year is to attempt to unify this class to the best of my abilities, and I think knowing everybody’s name is the first step,” said Brooks.
Summer construction brings new life to campus
This past summer, the College completed construction of the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance, a facility built to house all visual arts and dance classes. Additional, smaller scale improvements around campus include the new terrace outside Moulton Union and construction on South Campus Drive and College Street.
The Edwards Art Center was formerly Longfellow Elementary School, which the College bought from the town of Brunswick and renovated. The project cost $6.5 million and remained on budget.
According to Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Katy Longley, the most significant aspect of the building’s renovation was the creation of a second floor dance studio in space previously used as a gymnasium.
UPenn's Marjorie Hassen appointed as new college librarian
A search committee has selected Marjorie Hassen of the University of Pennsylvania as Bowdoin’s new library director. Hassen, currently the director of teaching, research and library services at Penn, will assume her position on July 29. Educated at Brooklyn College, the University of Chicago and Rutgers University, Hassen also brings experience working in the library of Princeton University.
Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd said that she believes the extensive search process for a new librarian was ultimately successful in achieving its goals.
“It said to all of the finalists for the position that Bowdoin is deeply committed to its library and what its library did, and that was a good message to candidates,” said Judd.
Newly-elected BSG Executive Board plans for next year
In the wake of several close races, the results of the elections for the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) executive team were announced Sunday night. The newly elected executives include President Sarah Nelson ’14, Vice President for the Treasury Megan Massa ’14, Vice President for Student Organizations Danny Mejia-Cruz ’16, Vice President of Facilities and Sustainability David Levine ’16, Vice President for Academic Affairs Jordan Goldberg ’14, Vice President for Student Affairs Robo Tavel ’16, and Vice President for Student Government Affairs Allen Wong Yu ’14.
Newly elected members expressed enthusiasm about their fellow executive board teammates.“We’re in this really cool place where the team has some young blood and parts of the team will be made up of people who will be seniors like myself,” said Nelson.
Massa agreed, saying, “I think we’ll work well together. There are a lot of go-getters.”
Ahead of vote, BSG candidates debate
Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) hopefuls met for a debate in Jack McGee’s Pub on Tuesday night.
The debate was moderated by BSG Assembly member Madison Whitley ’13 and Orient Editor-in-Chief Linda Kinstler ’13. Each candidate was given two minutes for an introduction, and then candidates running in contested races were given two minutes to respond to questions from the moderators, followed by one-minute closing arguments.
The first debate was between Ryan Davis ’15 and Megan Massa ’14, vying for the title of Vice President for the treasury.
Admitted Students' Weekend changes its format
The Office of Admissions will debut a new program for admitted students next month, merging Bowdoin Experience with open houses for admitted students. Beginning Thursday, April 18, prospective students will have the opportunity to stay overnight with a host and attend a variety of programs offered by student organizations.
Associate Dean of Admissions John Thurston said that admitted students previously had the option of attending one of three Open Houses. The Bowdoin Experience, which offered more opportunities for interaction with current students, was only open to multicultural students.Many on the Admissions staff wanted the Bowdoin Experience to serve as a blueprint for all admitted student programming
“I think there were a lot of experiences people were having in that program that we wanted to make sure others had the chance to do,” said Claudia Marroquin, associate dean of admissions and coordinator of multicultural recruitment.
Winter storm Nemo blows through campus
Bowdoin students bundled up for the biggest snowstorm of the school year last weekend, as Winter Storm Nemo dumped more than two feet of snow on Maine and much of the Northeast. Portland recorded a total snowfall of 31.9 inches, an all-time record. The heavy snowfall and gusting winds prompted many departments on campus to take additional precautions. Director of Facilities Operations and Maintenance Ted Stam said that keeping roads and paths clear was the biggest challenge facing his department.
BSG decides to hold off on official divestment position
On Wednesday, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) representatives discussed and ultimately declined to take an official stance on divesting the endowment of fossil fuels. BSG intends to hear from a representative of the administration before issuing a statement. Peter Nauffts ’15 and Ben Richmond ’13, of Bowdoin’s Climate Action Group, attended the meeting to request that BSG make an official statement calling for the College to investigate divestment. However, after discussion, BSG decided to refrain from making a proposal until it had more information on the issue.
Brunswick begins issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples
As a result of Maine’s vote to legalize same-sex marriage in November, the Brunswick Town Clerk’s office has begun the process of issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The office first opened its doors to same-sex couples on December 29, and has so far issued nine intentions of marriage. Six of these have come back notarized as marriage licenses, according to Town Clerk Fran Smith.
E-Board, Student Activities update Ivies rain plan
After inclement weather nearly forced the College to move Ivies indoors last year, the Office of Student Activities and the Entertainment Board (E-Board) redrafted their Ivies rain plan in order to ensure that they are fully prepared for this year’s concert. Like in past years, the plan, which was finalized earlier this fall, dictates that Ivies will be held inside Farley Field House in the event of rain on the day of the annual Saturday concert. Because of space limitations, guests and alcohol would not be allowed inside, which is a new policy.
CBB Alliance seeks to foster inter-college community
Although Bowdoin students may be accustomed to viewing their contemporaries at Colby and Bates as rivals than as potential friends, a new student-run group on all three campuses, the Colby Bowdoin Bates Alliance (CBBA), is looking to make friends out of athletic foes. Fhiwa Ndou ’13 and Drew Zembruski ’13 head up the Bowdoin branch, and are working with student leaders from Bates and Colby, to bring students from all three colleges together.
Faculty, students at odds over potential Orientation changes
At the most recent faculty meeting on November 5, professors rejected a proposal known as “Option Seven,” which would lengthen Orientation by two days and start classes two days earlier, effectively cutting summer short by four days. Despite widespread student support and an endorsement from Bowdoin Student Government (BSG), many faculty members voiced concerns about the repercussions of an earlier start to the semester. One common argument from faculty was that a shortened summer would cut into valuable research time for professors. Chair of the Classics Department Barbara Boyd said that summer research was an important factor in faculty opposition to the changes.
Nearly 50 percent of juniors participate in study abroad
With the end of first semester four weeks away, members of the junior class are preparing to venture away from Brunswick and begin their study-abroad experiences. This year has shown a marked increase in Bowdoin students studying off-campus, with 237 total participants, up from 208 last year and 217 in the 2010-11 academic year. Although this increase can be partially attributed to the larger size of the junior class, the percentage of students choosing to study abroad has also increased. A projected 47.8 percent of the junior class plans to study off campus this year, compared with 45.6 percent in 2011-12 and 46.8 percent in 2010-11.
Students hard at work: On-campus jobs occupy majority
For just about three quarters of students, campus employment is an essential part of college life.
College abandons redesigned homepage, old format back
Bowdoin’s website almost entirely reverted to its old design last week after a short-lived switch to a new homepage design. Associate Vice President of Interactive Marketing Robert Kerr sent an email to all students and faculty on October 5, detailing the rationale behind the latest switch.
Melody Hahm ’13 and Robo Tavel ’16 elected President in Class Council elections
Senior Melody Hahm has been elected President of the Class of 2013 Class Council, and first year Robo Tavel has been elected President of the Class of 2016 Class Council. The results were released to the Orient in an email to the Orient earlier this evening. The senior class positions were lightly contested, with two uncontested races and only two candidates not elected. In contrast, but in keeping with historical precedent, the first-year election was highly contested. Tavel was elected with less than 27% of the vote in the six-way race for President. Fewer seniors than first years voted, too; 26% more votes were cast in the first-year election.
Tenure candidates submit finalized applications to department of academic affairs
With the semester in full swing, students are hard at work—and so too are the group of professors currently up for tenure. On Monday, the candidates, whose names have not yet been released by the College, submitted the final piece of their written applications to their departments for review. This past Monday marked the latest step in what Judd called "a very elaborate and lengthy and proscribed process." The tenure-review process, which lasts 11 months, began last March. In July, candidates submitted materials, which were sent to their outside reviewers at other liberal arts colleges and research universities, said Cristle Collins Judd, dean for academic affairs.
Men’s soccer rebounds, defeats Southern Maine 8-0
After a 2-0 loss to Wesleyan in Saturday's season opener, the men's soccer team rebounded on Monday with an 8-0 win against the University of Southern Maine.
Bowdoin will face the University of Maine–Farmington in a home match at noon this Saturday.