Location: Bowdoin / Government and Legal Studies / Curriculum and Requirements / Government Department Advising

Government and Legal Studies

Government Department Advising

The Department assigns all majors to a primary advisor for purposes of course registration.  Every attempt is made to assign majors with advisors that reflect the preferences of both students and faculty.   The Department does seek an equitable distribution of majors across advising faculty, meaning majors’ first-choice preferences may not always be possible.

While major advisors should be the primary contact person for course registration (and the adding and dropping of classes), the Department also encourages students to seek out any faculty in Government for course recommendations, feedback on progress through the major, approval for study away credit, and general advice.  In rare circumstances, because of an advisor’s absence, a back-up faculty member can be designated to approve a major’s courses prior to the course registration deadline.

The Department has also implemented the following regarding the assignment of a major advisor in Government:

Initial Assignment when Declaring a Major in Government

At the initial declaration of a Government major, students will be asked to submit their top preferences for a faculty advisor.  The chair of the Department, in consultation with the teaching faculty, will make final decisions about the assignment of new majors to advisors.

Re-assignment of Advisor during Faculty Sabbaticals

The College will only allow teaching faculty to serve as major advisors.  Faculty members on sabbatical, as well as visiting faculty and tenure-track faculty in their first year, are not responsible for approving a major’s courses through the Polaris system.  When a major’s advisor goes on sabbatical, the chair of the Department will ask that faculty member’s advisees for their preferences concerning another advisor.  Those students will be reassigned to a new major advisor and will not automatically be reassigned to their initial advisor when that faculty member returns.  It is important to reiterate, though, that any faculty in the Department can provide advice on course selection or for any other component of a major’s academic progress. 

Changing Advisors

A major can request a change in advisor at any point.  These requests should be directed to the chair of the Department.  The petitioning student should submit in writing a formal request for a change in advisor.  This request should include a reason for the proposed change.  Each decision on a requested change will be handled on a case-by-case basis.