April 25, 2005

To the Campus Community:

Once every ten years, the College will go through a reaccreditation review by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). This occasion provides the College an opportunity for self-reflection as well as a chance to recognize both our accomplishments and our challenges. Our opportunity will come as we prepare for a visit by a team of our peers October 15-18, 2006. As we anticipate the self-study and planning for reaccreditation, I write to share some important information about the process over the next 18 months.

Our major task during that time is to prepare a comprehensive self-study to submit in the summer of 2006. This self-study will address the eleven newly revised Standards for Accreditation that include, for example, Mission and Purpose, Planning and Evaluation, Faculty, Information Resources and Technology, and Financial Resources. Our self-study will examine each dimension of Bowdoin's institutional quality through description of the College today and the changes it has experienced since 1996, assessment of our strengths and weaknesses, and projection of plans and aspirations for the future.

The self-study will be a significant undertaking but is very important for the College. A successful reaccreditation process must engage the entire campus community in a dialogue and self-reflection. As a first step toward that end, I will in the weeks ahead appoint a Steering Committee comprised of faculty, staff, administrators, trustees and students. That group will help coordinate small groups of faculty and administrative staff in beginning to assemble materials and draft sections for each of the eleven Standards during the course of this summer. These rough drafts can then serve as a basis for broad discussion in the entire Bowdoin community during the fall and winter of 2005-06 as we sharpen our description, assessment and projection. I envision enlisting both existing committees and groups in discussion of this draft while also making room for contributions by all members of the community.

One of our many strengths as a college is the regular level of self-study that takes place, and those efforts — including, for example, the ongoing work of Institutional Research, regular reviews of academic programs, the current Library Review, the recently-announced reviews of writing across campus and academic support programs, and the goal-setting connected to the capital campaign — give us much upon which to draw in the reaccreditation process. Christine Cote and her staff will help identify available data resources for each area of review and Jeanne Bamforth in the Dean's office will assist in assembling documentation related to each section of the self-study report. Further reference points for our self-examination are the 1995-96 self-study and the 2001 Interim Report to NEASC.

As we begin to get this process underway, you may wish to visit www.neasc.org for information on the revised Standards. Copies of our earlier self-study and the Interim Report will be available from the Dean's Office.

Thank you in advance for your participation in this important process. Please contact me or Craig McEwen with any questions.

Barry Mills