The character and quality of the educational experiences of Bowdoin students depend on the excellence and engagement of the faculty. These qualities in turn rest on the College’s capacity to recruit, hire, evaluate, and retain excellent faculty and on the extent to which it supports their work as outstanding teachers, committed scholars, and contributing College citizens throughout their careers. Current capital campaign goals reflect institutional commitment to these aspirations, and development of resources, procedures, and program since the 1996 Self-Study have advanced these goals considerably. This new capital campaign, like the last, also supports significant growth in the size of the faculty in order to expand the academic program.
During the last decade, the College has significantly expanded the size of the faculty; established standard procedures across departments and programs for reappointment, tenure and promotion; increased significantly its support for faculty research through small grants, start-up and matching grants, and sabbatical supplements; reshaped its implementation of salary policy so that it achieves the College’s target annually; and strengthened support for faculty development. The College’s standard 2-2 teaching load, varied supports for research and artistic work, and competitive salaries help Bowdoin attract its first-choice faculty candidates to the campus. The major challenges in the years ahead include continuing to support faculty in meeting and sustaining the College’s high expectations for teaching, research, and College service and in striking the appropriate balance among these throughout their careers; furthering faculty diversity; and managing the modest strains of a growing and changing faculty.
Since 1996, Bowdoin has expanded the size of the faculty to expand the curriculum and decrease the student/faculty ratio from above 11/1 to about 10/1. Twenty-five and one-half new tenure-line positions have been added in the last decade, an increase of over 20% (TR5.1). These new positions, retirements, and resignations have meant significant hiring in that same period —76 of the College’s current tenured or tenure-track faculty have been hired in this time, more than 50% of the tenure-line faculty. Although there has also been an increase in teaching FTE positions for non-tenure-track faculty from 8.75 to 14.5 (60%), the College remains committed to a model in which full-time tenure-track appointments predominate. Tenure-line faculty constitutes 90% of the authorized teaching FTE of 168. This growth in tenure-track and in FTE faculty has reflected both a modest expansion in the student body and the commitment of a greater proportion of College resources in support of the academic program.
In 2005–06, 64% of the tenure-line faculty was tenured (compared to 74% in 1996). Ninety-nine percent of the tenured and tenure-track faculty have completed terminal degrees in their fields, and 77% of other faculty have completed such degrees.
Both the number and the proportion of women faculty members have grown steadily since the last reaccreditation review. In 2005–06, 44% of the tenure-line faculty is female, up from 35% ten years earlier. Women now make up 39% of the tenured faculty and 53% of the tenure-track faculty.
The number of faculty of color at the College has doubled since 1996 but still constitutes just under 10% of the faculty (9% of tenure-track faculty). In 2005–06, 10% of the faculty is international (without U.S. citizenship). In the context of these modest overall increases in diversity, the College has had serious challenges in attracting and retaining African American faculty. The College is committed to meeting these challenges and to further increases in faculty diversity as one important means of bringing varied perspectives and experiences to the campus with the goal of enriching education.
To broaden approaches to faculty hiring, Bowdoin has undertaken several new initiatives, expanding the places in which we advertise, involving alumni of color in identifying possible candidates, and establishing connections with graduate student organizations at institutions with higher percentages of graduate students of color. Most importantly, the Dean’s Office encourages departments and programs to become more active in widening applicant pools (for example, by reviewing lists of recipients of national fellowships such as those granted by the Ford Foundation and contacting graduate schools to identify and encourage potential candidates). Deans now organize debriefings of each search. The Dean for Academic Advancement has played a significant role in helping to develop these strategies. In addition, in 2006 the College will be evaluating how to implement a proposal to add to faculty diversity through a program of visiting senior faculty, post- and pre-doctoral fellows, and artists-in-residence.
Growth and change are not without costs–largely in terms of the enormous energy that faculty members and deans put into the search, hiring, reappointment, and tenure processes. These costs are exacerbated by Bowdoin’s practice of replacing faculty on full-year leave, and occasionally on one-semester leave. Over the last five years, the College has undertaken an average of 30 to 40 searches annually (including eight to twelve tenure-track searches). The growth in the size of the faculty—and an increasingly common pattern in which faculty on leave remain on campus—also places significant pressures on facilities for the academic program—offices, laboratories, and classrooms.
Qualifications and preparation for the different categories of faculty are outlined in the Faculty Handbook Sections IV B, E, F, H, and I. Bowdoin permits spouses/partners to share tenure-track positions and does have half-time tenure-track positions. Visiting faculty members are usually full-time faculty appointed for a specified, short-term period as replacements for tenure-line faculty on leave. Visitors are expected to take on some departmental work in addition to their classroom teaching, such as independent studies and some advising, but are not generally expected to serve on committees. They teach the same loads as tenure-line faculty and are eligible for most of the same support for professional work as are continuing faculty (professional travel, faculty research fund). Visiting faculty each year constitute roughly 20% of the active, full-time teaching faculty.
Adjunct faculty members are typically hired to teach on a per-course basis, normally one course a year on a regular or one-time-only basis. They are hired to meet unexpected demand for specific courses, to fill gaps in curriculum created by partial faculty leaves, and to provide teaching opportunities for spouses and partners of new faculty members.
An increasing number of tenure-track positions have been structured as shared, or joint, appointments between two departments or a department and an academic program. As part of the effort to standardize policies for such appointments, Bowdoin established Handbook procedures for joint interdepartmental review committees from the faculty member’s programs. Although recognizing that interdepartmental appointments create the possibility of conflicts in standards or expectations, we have found that joint reviews work quite successfully in providing consistent feedback to tenure-track faculty. Although the College finds these appointments beneficial, it remains true that jointly appointed faculty must manage incremental demands for meetings and advising; and departments—especially those with larger numbers of jointly appointed faculty—have to deal with some dilution of attention to departmental activities and service.
The Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee reviews and reallocates vacant faculty positions and allocates new positions (Standards 3 and 4). The President also has the discretion to create new faculty lines to meet programmatic needs and achieve wider College goals. When an existing faculty member’s retirement or resignation creates an opening, departments or programs must request reauthorization of the position. During the academic year, the CEP reviews proposals for recommendation to the Dean and President; the Dean and President decide on proposals received in the summer.
The hiring of faculty involves active collaboration between departments or programs and the Dean’s Office, but the responsibilities for recruiting and screening candidates fall most heavily on faculty. Search committees typically consist of all tenure-line faculty within a department or program, although some comprise faculty from multiple departments (e.g., searches in Africana Studies). Search committees draft job ads, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs reviews and approves the ads, as well as a plan for posting them. Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby place a common ad for tenure-track openings in the three colleges, in part as a way to attract academic couples. All ads carry standard affirmative action language. As noted earlier, the Dean’s Office encourages departments to reach out beyond advertising in order to draw in wider pools of applicants. The Dean for Academic Affairs and the President ultimately have the responsibility for hiring new faculty and have the authority to close searches if they see reason to do so. A set of hiring guidelines outlines the process and standards for recruiting departments (TR5.2). At the conclusion of a search the Dean’s Office prepares an appointment letter that outlines duties, salary, benefits, and the period of the appointment. Candidates must sign a copy of this letter and return it to the Dean to conclude the contract.
“Trailing” spouses or partners constitute one of the significant hiring challenges at Bowdoin, a problem exacerbated by Bowdoin’s location outside of a major urban center. In the last two years, seven of twenty tenure-track candidates to whom we have offered jobs have asked us to explore employment possibilities for partners or spouses. For the present, the College has committed to hiring qualified academic partners or spouses to teach two courses as adjuncts over three years, and to engage a job placement advisor for partners/spouses seeking employment. The Dean’s Office will continue to explore with the faculty ways to deal with this challenge.
In 1996 Bowdoin was on the verge of making the transition from a reappointment and tenure process that varied significantly across departments to one that reflected a single set of standards and procedures. Faculty procedures were amended in 1997 and 1998 to provide for College-wide reappointment and tenure review practices. The transition to these procedures has long been complete. Having a single system in place has permitted the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs to ensure that departments and programs understand and comply with procedures.
In 2004, the College reviewed procedures and communications regarding appointment, reappointment, and tenure with a consultant from the College’s insurer, United Educators. This review led to minor suggestions for refinement but an excellent report card. The documentation required and criteria used to evaluate faculty at the time of reappointment, tenure, and promotion are outlined in the Faculty Handbook Section I.
Reappointment procedures: The reappointment review emphasizes teaching but also highlights the College’s high expectations for scholarship. Non-reappointments are infrequent but do occur occasionally. In 2000, the faculty voted to move the timing of reappointment from the end of the second year to the first semester of the third year. The change was adopted to allow a longer record of teaching to develop. The one drawback to the change is that departments now are pressed to review reappointment materials between November 15 and January 15, much of which is during winter break.
For the last five years, the College has required that in the first semester of teaching, new tenure-track faculty members meet with their department chair and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. These meetings focus on a common understanding of the reappointment process and provide an opportunity for a new faculty member to talk to senior colleagues about such things as experiences in teaching, the transition to being a faculty member, and adjustment to Bowdoin. In addition, the Dean and Associate Deans meet annually with first year faculty members as a group to talk about their experiences at and perceptions of Bowdoin and ways that the College could improve.
Reviews of visiting, adjunct, and specially appointed faculty: In the last five years, the College has implemented formal review processes for visiting, adjunct, and special faculty appointments. By faculty vote, Bowdoin both formalized the process for review of lecturers and established a career track at this rank, which can include promotion to senior lecturer and opportunity for a sabbatical.
Tenure: The tenure review process is a rigorous and relatively transparent process. It is also one in which the vast majority of tenure decisions are positive – reflecting both attrition prior to tenure review (some through counseling by the dean) and the high quality of tenure candidates. The College expects that successful candidates will have demonstrated teaching excellence and high-quality scholarly or artistic accomplishment that establishes individuals in their fields.
Procedures for the review generally appear to be well understood and clear. However, recent experience has called attention to some ambiguities in the Faculty Handbook that will be examined by the Faculty Affairs Committee in 2006-07. In addition, the Dean for Academic Affairs plans to institute meetings with reviewing departments early in the fall to ensure that they understand fully their responsibilities for careful review of candidates’ files and thorough letters of evaluation.
The role of the President in the tenure review has evolved so that he meets early in the process with the Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (CAPT) after having reviewed the files of candidates and indicates any concerns or questions that he has about each candidacy. That meeting provides a reference point for the Committee and Dean, whose recommendations go to the President after completion of their reviews. Other elements of the procedure appear in the Faculty Handbook.
The Dean for Academic Affairs provides to the Trustee Academic Affairs Committee a detailed report about each successful tenure candidate and about the process leading to each positive tenure recommendation. That Committee also reviews CV’s and letters from CAPT and the Dean recommending tenure. The Committee helps to provide an important check on both the process and the standards being applied but understands the importance of substantive decisions being made by faculty, Dean, and President.
Promotion: The promotion process follows the model of the tenure review. The standards at this level are fundamentally the same as for tenure but must also reflect a greater attention to contributions to the College community, as well as the expectation for candidates’ sustained excellence as teachers and continuing success as scholars and artists. Because promotion is not routine, associate professors may postpone promotion review. The Dean’s Office reviews the faculty members who have been at the associate rank longer than seven years, examines potential structural barriers to promotion at the College, and meets with individual faculty as appropriate to talk about career development.
Retention of faculty: Retention of faculty at Bowdoin is generally not a significant problem, although faculty members have been attracted to larger institutions and have resigned because of spouse or partner issues. Over the past five years, four tenured faculty and seven tenure-track faculty have left Bowdoin for other positions or careers.
Parental leave: The College established a parental leave policy for all employees in the 1990s but discovered that faculty members did not use it. Over the last six years the Dean’s Office and Human Resources have refined the application of the policy to the special calendars, work schedules, and demands of faculty and have made information widely available about the varied ways in which such leaves might be undertaken. The Dean’s Office continues to work on this process to insure that leaves are accessible and equitable in the context of the varied timing and conditions of births (and adoptions).
Merit salary review: The Dean allocates faculty salaries and reviews those determinations with the President. Salary increases reflect assessments of merit. However, because the 4,5,6 policy (see below under “Faculty Compensation”) leads to different rates of salary pool increase across ranks, increases reflect not only merit determinations, but also adjustments for equity and overlap across ranks. Information for the Dean comes from annual faculty reports of Professional Activities and cumulative data from student course opinion forms. As noted in the 1996 Self-Study, this system places responsibility with the Dean. The possibility of involving department chairs in salary reviews has been examined both in the Faculty Affairs Committee and in meetings of Department Chairs; neither group recommends changing the present system. Faculty have expressed concern that the system does not communicate explicitly the extent of merit determinations and the recognition of individual efforts and contributions. Informal reviews of tenured faculty: In 2003, the Dean for Academic Affairs, after discussion with the Faculty Affairs Committee, established a process for informal tenured faculty reviews of teaching, scholarship, and contributions to the College community and profession (see Handbook, IV. J.). These reviews are tied to eligibility for sabbatical leaves. In preparation for the meeting, the Dean examines the faculty member’s CV, professional activities reports, course syllabi, and student course opinion forms.
Supporting faculty retirement and career transition: In 1995 the Trustees established a Tenured Faculty Option Program (TFOP) to support tenured faculty in making a transition either to retirement or to another career (TR5.3). The program has twice been reviewed and renewed by the Trustees (in 2000 and 2005) with very modest changes. Over the life of the program, twenty-five faculty members have entered it in order to retire and three to make career changes. This program recognizes the importance and challenges of these transitions and the fact that many faculty members wish to sustain their professional lives after leaving teaching. The College continues to offer office space to faculty during the two-year retirement transition and is trying to make space available to those who use it actively for some years beyond.
The formal assessment of teaching takes place at reviews for reappointment, tenure, and promotion and happens informally in the reviews of tenured faculty. We hope that this assessment recognizes and encourages varied teaching styles and values particularly evidence of teaching that challenges students and helps them to grow intellectually and personally. Such evidence comes particularly from course syllabi and materials and from retrospective student letters gathered at reappointment, tenure, and promotion. Self-evaluations of teaching help gauge the thoughtfulness of candidates about the practice of teaching and of the importance of continuing reflection, innovation, and improvement.
College-wide student course opinion forms (TR5.4) are distributed and tabulated by the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs. (Although data from these forms enter into reviews of faculty, other sources of information, as noted above, play an important part in College decisions.) We also hope that faculty members are using the forms for self-examination and improvement, but this reflection is left to individual faculty. Department chairs as well as the Dean’s Office have access to the forms and where there appear to be teaching issues will initiate meetings with the faculty member. In support of formative assessment of courses at the mid-term, the Consultants for Teaching (see below) have offered their assistance in providing ongoing learning evaluations.
Faculty members continue to debate the role of classroom observation in assessing teaching and periodically return to the question last voted by the faculty in 1997. That decision was not to include such observations among the formal means for teaching evaluation at reappointment, tenure, and promotion.
The intellectual life and scholarly engagement of the faculty are central to the continued excellence of Bowdoin, and the College has continued and enhanced its commitment to support of faculty scholarship, research, and artistic work. That commitment is apparent in the College’s nominal 2-2 teaching load, expanded support for faculty research and artistic activity through internal grants, plans for a strengthened sabbatical program, opportunities for interdisciplinary discussion, and enhanced support for external grant seeking. At the same time, the College has increased support for faculty members to continue to refine and develop their skills as teachers.
Faculty compensation: Bowdoin has placed a priority on achieving, at the aggregate, competitive levels of faculty compensation that permit the College to succeed in hiring and retaining faculty in a national market and that recognize faculty excellence. Until 2005, the implementation of a 25-year-old 4-5-6 policy of the Trustees focused on comparing average salaries at each rank with the goal of increasing faculty compensation pools so that average Bowdoin salaries at each professional rank were comparable to those of the fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-ranking institutions in a list of 18 similar colleges (TR5.5). After consultation with the faculty, the implementation of 4-5-6 changed in 2005 to eliminate problems of comparing averages, to provide more timely information for budgeting, and to ensure that Bowdoin would meet its commitments under the policy (TR5.6).
The new approach to 4-5-6 has been in effect for two years and the College continues to meet its objective. The challenges of the new implementation are twofold. First is the fiscal challenge that results from growth in faculty salaries at a rate substantially in excess of inflation. Second is the real challenge to morale in a small college community that results from higher increases for faculty than for administrative and hourly staff.
Sabbatical leave: Bowdoin expects much of its faculty, who devote considerable time to teaching, students, and crucial institutional tasks such as hiring and reviews, curriculum development, and administrative work. As a consequence, time is the scarcest item for faculty–especially sustained time to do research, writing, and creative work. Sabbatical leaves create intervals that provide large blocks of time that faculty can commit to scholarly engagement and excellence. The current sabbatical program provides one semester of leave at full pay after twelve semesters of teaching. Tenure-track faculty are eligible for their first sabbatical pre-tenure, in their fourth year at the College. The College also makes available ten to twelve competitive sabbatical supplements (two-thirds of a semester’s pay) per year. Their limited scope and availability encourage faculty to seek outside funding as well.
After a review of sabbatical policies at other colleges, the Faculty Affairs Committee proposed a flexible sabbatical program that would provide the equivalent of one semester at full pay after ten semesters of teaching. Although some other colleges offer “richer” sabbatical programs, our judgment is that the proposed program provides an appropriate balance between our strong commitments to teaching and to scholarship. The current capital campaign includes endowment funding for this sabbatical program and for increased numbers of sabbatical supplements.
The College expects faculty to be actively and productively engaged in their disciplines and recognizes that time, financial support, library and laboratory resources, and collegial contacts are crucial to that engagement. In addition to sabbatical leaves (described earlier), a variety of mechanisms encourage faculty scholarly and artistic work.
Start-up funding for new faculty: Over the past decade, the College has established significant start-up research funding for new faculty. This funding helps to make the College competitive at the time of hiring and has been especially important in bringing new scientists to the campus with sufficient equipment to begin their research programs at Bowdoin. For artists, humanists, and social scientists such funding provides support for travel, equipment, and other needs.
Support for grant and fellowship seeking: In 1997, the College shifted the work of its Corporate and Foundation Relations Office to focus more heavily on supporting faculty research grants in addition to preparing institutional grants. The CFR office began a well-attended “Grants for Lunch” series to bring faculty together to discuss aspects of grant preparation and to learn about grant opportunities in a wide range of fields. A second staff member joined the office in 1999 to focus almost exclusively on supporting faculty grants. A CFR newsletter regularly publicizes grant sources and deadlines. The results of CFR efforts in collaboration with faculty have been striking—as indicated, for example, by an increase in indirect cost grant payments from $76,000 in 2000 to $256,000 in 2005. From the late 1990s until 2006, the level of faculty grant-seeking increased significantly. In FY 2005, the College submitted 77 proposals, 37 of which were faculty proposals. Of the total proposals, 45 were funded, for a 58% award rate. Faculty grants totaled $2.8 million in FY 2005.
Competitive internal grants for faculty research: Through the generosity of an alumnus, the Fletcher Family Fund was established in 2001 to expand resources available to fund faculty research and travel projects, page costs and subventions for publications, and other research needs through small, competitive grants. The growing endowment for this fund outpaced demand in its early years and enabled the College to increase the maximum size of grants to $4,000 from $1,000 ten years ago.
Support for professional activities and travel: Funding for professional travel has expanded since 1996 from $800 to $1,200 annually per individual faculty applicant.
Public recognition of scholarship and artistic work: In 2003, the College established a position in the Office of Communications (closely coordinated with Academic Affairs) for a writer to describe and celebrate the varied work of faculty scholars and artists. This position has enabled the College to post a series of highly readable and accessible stories about faculty work that have become a centerpiece in the College’s presentation of itself to the world through the Web and other media.
Faculty intellectual life and community: In a series of focus groups held by the President in the spring of 2002 in preparation for the capital campaign, faculty members expressed interest in building a greater sense of connection with their colleagues. These discussions generally focused on structures for informal chances to meet—often expressed as the desire for a faculty club—and College resources for faculty to be intellectually engaged across disciplines. In response to these concerns, new venues have been created for informal faculty gatherings, and the capital campaign includes several components that will support faculty in engaging one another across disciplines.
In the absence of a faculty club, the President established in 2004 a regular, subsidized faculty lunch that would give colleagues a chance to gather on their own. In Fall 2005, he also initiated a Friday afternoon social gathering in the newly opened Thomas F. Shannon Room of Hubbard Hall.
The capital campaign goals include endowment of an interdisciplinary institute that would provide substantial funding to allow groups of faculty from across disciplines to put together every other year a thematic program of courses, visiting scholars, faculty reading groups, symposia, and events. Planning to develop a framework for such an institute has not yet begun. The campaign also includes significant funding for an Institute for Coastal Studies that would connect faculty across the disciplines (TR5.7).
For the College to achieve its mission, faculty members must excel as teachers and continue to be engaged with and reflective about pedagogy. Most faculty at Bowdoin are eager to talk seriously with colleagues about teaching. The challenge to the College is to support high-quality and useful opportunities for faculty to engage in discussions of pedagogy and advising and to develop their own courses and approaches to teaching.
After review and recommendation by the Committee on Teaching, the College created the position of Associate Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Development in 2004. This position built on the previous work of a Mellon-supported Dean for the Sciences who had worked on curricular and research issues in the natural sciences. The new position has responsibility for the implementation of changes in the curriculum and supports faculty in the development of their careers as teachers and scholars/artists. The Associate Dean has organized the Consultants for Teaching as a response to interest of new faculty; assessed and collected online teaching resources in a Web site; and organized monthly meetings for untenured faculty to discuss issues of teaching, advising, and scholarship.
Consultants for Teaching: The consultants are drawn from among the faculty and are available to any interested faculty member for occasional confidential consultation about teaching. Consultants are trained to act as non-directive facilitators for helping interested faculty members develop their own best teaching practices. Consultation takes many forms, including classroom observation; in class, mid-course reviews with students in a course; help in interpreting student course opinion forms; and analysis and review of course syllabi, assignments, and other materials. Consultation is confidential and is not part of any process of evaluation of faculty for reappointment, tenure, or promotion.
Committee on Teaching (COT): This faculty committee continues to explore ways to generate conversations about teaching among the faculty. Throughout the academic year, the COT sponsors a variety of topical discussion groups for faculty and staff. As an ex officio member of the committee, the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Development supports the work of the COT, as does the Director of the Baldwin Center. The activities of the Committee on Teaching reflect an effort to expand its role to pick up the legacy of the Hewlett Working Group on Pluralism and Unity (Standard 11).
Untenured faculty group: The Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs organizes informal monthly gatherings for untenured faculty to discuss issues of teaching, advising, and scholarship. Although each meeting is focused around a particular topic (e.g., leading whole class discussions, giving feedback on written assignments), much of the time is devoted to unstructured talk about issues raised by the participants.
Curriculum Development Fund: The Faculty Resources Committee awards grants that support projects leading to new course development and the enrichment of existing courses. The fund also supports experimentation in courses—for example, a half-credit course taught over spring break on rural and urban schooling and a collaborative first-year seminar cluster focused on the topic of modernity.
Course enrichment funds: Since 2000, Academic Affairs has provided extra funding to support special activities in courses through this fund. Supported activities have included trips to New York City art galleries, student attendance at a women’s studies conference, and a master class by a professional actor.
Summer working groups: The Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs funds a variety of summer working groups of faculty to address College-wide issues such as advising, or general education, as well as pedagogical topics (service learning, the use of GIS in teaching), cross-disciplinary subjects (consumerism, militarism and gender in China), and departmental or programmatic curricula (restructuring Asian Studies curriculum, a retreat for Environmental Studies faculty to reform core courses). Individual faculty and departments submit proposals to the Dean’s Office each spring for such working groups and on occasion the Dean or College committees may sponsor a group.
Educational research and development: Information Technology’s Educational Research and Consulting (ERC) team works with faculty and students to test new pedagogical methods, develop on-line tools, and write grants, while providing support for technology-related faculty research and instructional activities. ERC also helps to sponsor workshops on the uses of technology in teaching. For a more complete description of the work ERC does with faculty, see TR5.8, www.bowdoin.edu/it/erd/about.shtml; and, for examples of projects, see www.bowdoin.edu/it/erd/.
In addition to devoting themselves to teaching and scholarship, Bowdoin faculty members carry on the important business of their departments and programs and of the College, participate actively in the cultural and intellectual life of the institution, and engage with students outside class in many venues. Faculty also seek more opportunities to engage with their colleagues in discussions of shared issues and of pedagogy. It is not surprising that Bowdoin faculty voice concerns about the multiplicity of these demands, time pressures, and a perceived lack of recognition or reward for engaging in them.
Workload: The 1996 Self-Study identified similar faculty concerns about defining faculty workload and perceived workload inequities, and studies of this issue were underway in the Faculty Affairs Committee at the time of the Reaccreditation Team visit in Fall 1996. Those studies led ultimately to a chair compensation policy that has been in effect since 1997; a policy on canceling courses of five or fewer students; and a proposal to the faculty to adopt a refined metric for measuring and reviewing faculty workload that was substantially modified by the faculty and voted in 1997. Further revision of this policy in 2001 (by faculty vote) requires a focus on teaching load patterns and their periodic review, primarily to protect untenured faculty members from unfairly burdensome teaching patterns.
The standard course load remains four courses per year, and variation remains across departments, with the normal load in most of the science disciplines at three courses plus laboratory responsibilities and five in some of the languages. In addition, faculty teach independent studies and supervise honors projects. Course releases are uncommon, and the chair compensation policy assumes that chairs and program directors teach a full load. There remains considerable individual variation in the amount of time spent teaching and in the number of students taught among faculty.
Chair recognition and compensation: In 1998, the faculty voted support for a general policy for compensating chairs by a choice among salary supplement, supplementary leave compensation, or accelerated sabbatical. The policy also excused department chairs from service on the College committees with heaviest workload—Appointments, Promotion and Tenure; Curriculum and Educational Policy; and Governance. This policy took effect in 1998 and continues in place with only modest change (TR.5.9).
Chairs in some of the largest and most complex departments, and in those with the heaviest traffic of personnel decisions, have increasingly expressed concerns over the demands of the chair role and the personal and professional costs of accepting chair responsibilities. The challenge of making this important responsibility manageable for busy teachers and scholars and of deciding whether or not to differentiate recognition of the demands of chairing departments or programs of varying size and complexity awaits the Faculty Affairs Committee as a major agenda item in the next several years.
Faculty governance: In the spring of 2006, the Committee on Governance launched a review of faculty governance that will continue into 2006–07 (Standard 3).
In 2004, the faculty launched an effort to teach entering students about academic honesty as a result of concerns about plagiarism and an acknowledgement that faculty members have a responsibility to communicate expectations and to make it unlikely that violations will result from uncertainty or ignorance. Faculty asked that first-year seminars address issues of academic honesty and plagiarism. For two years faculty and librarians led workshops for first-year students on academic honesty. As an outgrowth of these and through collaboration with Colby and Bates led by librarians, a “Web course” was developed to introduce students to these issues. The College now requires that entering students complete the Web course (http://academic.bowdoin.edu/academics/plagiarism/).
A talented and dedicated staff of laboratory instructors plays a crucial role in the teaching of laboratory sciences. Beginning about 1998 staff of the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs began to meet annually with laboratory instructors to learn about any concerns or issues they might have. In 2004–05 as part of the review of position definitions by Mercer Human Resource Consulting (Standard 11), appointments were lengthened to 41.5 weeks in order to reflect more accurately the preparation and take-down times required to carry out the responsibilities of these positions and the responsibilities for development of protocols for new experiments.
Department coordinators are similarly talented and dedicated and play a crucial role in the smooth running of academic departments and programs. In 2005–06, twenty-three coordinators (17.34 FTE) supported thirty-one departments and programs. These jobs vary considerably across departments and with changes in the occupancy of the role of department chair. The Dean’s Office organizes regular meetings of this group and other academic support staff for information sharing and professional development. Establishing a career ladder for coordinators has been a major focus over the last two years.
During the last decade Bowdoin has expanded the faculty and changed its composition significantly while maintaining fundamental values that highlight the dual importance of excellent teaching and active scholarship and artistic work. The processes of appointment, tenure, and promotion have long been standardized and have smoothed the ability of the College to incorporate large numbers of new faculty members. The heavy pace of recruitment and assessment of faculty has absorbed considerable faculty energy, especially because these processes are taken seriously. Definition of governance issues and examination of current and differential chair responsibilities are on the agendas of the Governance and Faculty Affairs committees. Crucial roles of department chairs in these and other processes have been recognized through a chair compensation policy. And Bowdoin has revised its faculty compensation policy to ensure that we can implement it each year and sustain highly competitive salaries and benefits.
The College has attended to strengthening support for the scholarly work of faculty members through expanded resources and support for start-up funding, matching funds, internal research grants, equipment funding, sabbatical supplement grants, and expanded support for outside grant-seeking. The new capital campaign includes substantial endowment goals to strengthen the sabbatical program, to expand sabbatical supplements, and to fund activities in support of faculty intellectual engagement across disciplines. The establishment of the position of Associate Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Development was intended to support faculty in both scholarship and teaching.
Bowdoin has focused more resources and leadership on faculty development of teaching and curriculum. Major innovations include the availability of summer funding for faculty working groups on varied topics (from departments, programs, and groups of faculty), the development of the Consultants on Teaching, refocusing of the work of the Committee on Teaching, and new opportunities for beginning faculty to engage with one another about teaching and the College.
Among the many challenges that Bowdoin faces ahead, and among the major responsibilities of the Dean for Academic Affairs, the most significant is to continue to support faculty members in meeting and sustaining the College’s high expectations for teaching, research, and College service; in striking the appropriate balance among these; and in helping faculty to manage multiple demands of these roles. Successful completion of the capital campaign and implementation of an improved sabbatical plan are vitally important to supporting faculty engagement as scholars and teachers.
In addition, the College is committed to furthering faculty diversity with the leadership of Academic Affairs and the active participation of academic departments. Success requires recruiting departments to embrace diversity goals, to discuss assumptions and process, and to work actively to broaden applicant pools. Support for these efforts comes from Academic Affairs and the Dean for Academic Advancement.