Bowdoin College’s Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) houses a group of programs designed to support learning and teaching throughout the curriculum. The programs offer writing assistance, peer tutoring, academic mentoring, and study groups. The three programs and the English for Multilingual Students consultant are housed in Kanbar Hall, Room 102, and work cooperatively to enhance Bowdoin’s curricular resources and to strengthen students’ academic experience. The programs are described below.
The Baldwin Program for Academic Development
The Baldwin Program for Academic Development opened in 1999–2000 with the mission of creating a space in which students, faculty, and staff members can address issues related to learning at Bowdoin College. Established through a gift to the College by Linda G. Baldwin ’73, the program offers resources to help students attain their academic goals and faculty to enhance student learning.
Based on an individualized and holistic approach to learning, the program offers activities and services such as study skills workshops and individual consultation with peer academic mentors. Mentors help fellow students assess their academic strengths and weaknesses and develop individually tailored time management, organizational, and study strategies. Mentors may be particularly useful to students encountering difficulty balancing the academic and social demands of college life; struggling to find more effective approaches to understanding, learning, and remembering new material; experiencing problems with procrastination; or simply achieving the self-structuring demanded by an independent course or honors project.
Quantitative Reasoning Program
The Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Program was established in 1996 to assist with the integration of quantitative reasoning throughout the curriculum and to encourage students to develop competence and confidence in using quantitative information. The program was established in recognition of the increasing demand to understand and use quantitative information in college-level work, in employment situations, and for effective citizenship.
The QR Program assists students in a variety of ways. Entering students are tested to assess their proficiency with quantitative material. Utilizing the test results and other indicators, the director of Quantitative Reasoning and faculty advisors counsel students regarding appropriate courses to fulfill their Mathematical, Computational, or Statistical Reasoning distribution requirement, including placement in the Mathematics 50: Quantitative Reasoning course. In addition, students are encouraged to take courses across the curriculum that enhance their quantitative skills. The QR Program supplements many of the quantitative courses by providing small study groups led by trained peer tutors. Upon the request of instructors, workshops on special topics are also provided by the QR Program. One-on-one tutoring is available on a limited basis.
The Writing Project
The Writing Project is based on the premise that students are uniquely qualified to serve as intelligent, empathetic, and helpful readers of one another’s writing. As collaborators rather than authorities, peer writing assistants facilitate the writing process for fellow students by providing helpful feedback while encouraging writers to retain an active and authoritative role in writing and revising their work. Each semester, the Writing Project assigns specially selected and trained writing assistants to a variety of courses by request of the instructor. The assistants read and comment on early drafts of papers and meet with the writers individually to help them expand and refine their ideas, clarify connections, and improve sentence structure. After revisions have been completed, each student submits a final paper to the instructor along with the draft and the assistant’s comments. Students in any course on campus may also reserve conferences with a writing assistant in the Writing Workshop open each week from Sunday through Thursday.
Students interested in becoming writing assistants apply before spring break. Those accepted enroll in a fall semester course on the theory and practice of teaching writing, offered through the Department of Education. Successful completion of the course qualifies students to serve as tutors in later semesters, when they receive a stipend for their work. A list of courses participating in the Project will be available during the first week of each semester. For further information, contact Kathleen O’Connor, director of the Writing Project, or visit the Writing Project website, bowdoin.edu/writing-project/.
English for Multilingual Students
Students who are multilingual or who have non-native English speaking parents may work individually with the English for Multilingual Students consultant. Students may seek help with understanding assignments and readings and attend to grammar, outlining, revising, and scholarly writing conventions. Specific attention to pronunciation and oral presentation skills is also offered. Any student wishing to make an appointment with the English for Multilingual Students consultant is welcome.