In 1996 Bowdoin College effectively used the reaccreditation self-study process to focus specially on the organization of residential life on campus. That self-study and the Commission on Residential Life that followed prompted a complete reorganization of residential life and enormous progress and change. In 2006, we do not have a similar pressing issue to attend to but rather see the value of stepping back after a decade of change to reflect on the College under the Commission's eleven standards. As a result, during the 2004-05 academic year, senior staff elected not to identify "areas of emphasis." This decision was reviewed and endorsed in a meeting with faculty department chairs in December 2004.
The College formally initiated its self-study in April 2005 with a notice to the campus community from the President and reports to faculty and Trustee meetings in May. A preliminary story on re-accreditation appeared in the Bowdoin Orient in April 2005. On May 17, 2005, Bob Froh of NEASC visited the campus and met with President Mills and then Dean for Academic Affairs Craig McEwen to discuss the self-study process. The Self-Study Steering Committee was named in July 2005 and received materials including the Standards, 1996 Self-Study, and 1996 team report. Dean McEwen was asked to chair the self-study group and met in June and July with the lead authors of the preliminary drafts to talk about expectations and schedule. The committee met for the first of its eleven meetings in August. In October 2005 the Committee launched its Web page on the reaccreditation and asked for comments and ideas from the Bowdoin community. Trustees participated in a role-playing exercise about the NEASC standards as a way of introducing Board members to and involving them in the reaccreditation process.
During the course of the year, lead drafters of each section consulted with colleagues, collected data from Institutional Research and their own archives, and prepared preliminary drafts for each standard. Standing committees of the faculty heard reports of the self-study, contributed ideas and responded in several instances to drafts. These committees were Admissions and Financial Aid, Financial Priorities, Curriculum and Educational Policy, Faculty Affairs, Governance, and Student Affairs. During the year, the faculty heard monthly reports from the Dean on the progress of the self-study. In February 2006, committees of the Trustees reviewed the relevant standards and drafts of sections of the self-study or bullet points of major accomplishments and issues in their particular areas (Academic Affairs, Admissions and Financial Aid, Development and College Relations, Facilities and Properties, Financial Planning, Student Affairs, Committee on Trustees, and the Information Technology Advisory Committee).
In mid-April 2006, the Steering Committee posted drafts of each Standard of the self-study on the Web and sought comment from faculty, students, and staff. The Bowdoin Orient printed a story on the self-study on April 21, 2006. Over fifty comments were submitted. During the spring and summer, senior officers reviewed major sections of the document and talked about appraisal and projection, particularly. President Mills participated in senior staff discussions of the document and provided his own comments and suggestions throughout the process.
Beginning in November, 2005, the Self-Study Steering Committee began to read and comment in detail on early drafts of each Standard and provided guidance to drafters about the general approach to be taken in each Standard. These reviews continued in the spring and concluded with a series of intensive meetings in May to comment on each of the posted drafts in relation to the accumulated public comment. In late May and early June, drafters revised and shortened the document considerably in light of the comments made. Craig McEwen provided general editorial direction along with Scott Meiklejohn. A draft of the document was mailed to NEASC at the end of June and subsequent revisions and editing were overseen by Professor Ann Kibbie (English) and senior officers.
The preparation of the Self-Study has been a collaborative effort. In developing the drafts of each standard, there has been considerable give and take. Faculty committees and the Self-Study Steering Committee have shaped each draft significantly, and the open comment process has added importantly to the document. Craig McEwen, Scott Meiklejohn, Ann Kibbie, and Lucie Teegarden have overseen production of the final document.
Jeanne Bamforth, Assistant to the Dean
Thomas Baumgarte, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy
Marijane Benner Browne, Class of '83, Trustee
Megan Brunmier, Class of '08
Craig McEwen, Dean for Academic Affairs
DeRay Mckesson, Class of '07
Marilyn Reizbaum, Professor of English
Bridget Spaeth, Film Studies Coordinator and Language Media Center Assistant
Chris Taylor, Assistant Director for Copy and Mail Operations, Campus Services