Comment Cards are an effective tool to support Bowdoin students’ academic success. Comment Cards are sent by course instructors to provide feedback directly to students. They are copied to a student’s advisor, dean, and athletic coach (if applicable), who can help connect the student with appropriate support and campus resources. An advisor typically will reach out to students after they receive Comment Cards. Student deans also use Comment Cards to assess broader concerns about students’ experiences inside and outside the classroom.
Purpose, Use, and Suggestions
Comment Cards may be positive, complimenting students on their performance, or used when students miss class repeatedly, struggle with course material, or do not meet expectations. When noting concern, you are encouraged to use the Comment Card as a follow-up to a previous discussion or communication with a student. Comment Cards should not be used to convey mental health concerns nor to suggest that a student seek medical resources or request accommodation.
The Comment Card system is available through “My Class Lists” on the faculty page of Polaris. Click on the yellow-notecard icon beside the student’s name, and the correctly addressed comment-card interface will appear ready to type/copy text into. You should receive an e-mail copy of your comment card after you hit submit. A 1-minute video explaining how to use the system is available here.
Comment Cards are intended to support a student’s academic success; they are not meant to be punitive. The assigned dean for each student finds them to be extremely helpful in assessing broader concerns about the student’s experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, and in helping connect the student to appropriate support and resources.
If you are not sure about whether you should write a comment card, call the student’s dean and ask. They are more than happy to talk it through with you.
Considerations for writing Comment Cards
- Address your note to the student.
- Be specific. For example, if you start a sentence with “I want to support your progress in…,” “I’ve noticed that…” or “I am concerned about… [your understanding of this concept, your continued requests for extensions for assignments, your inconsistent attendance, etc.],” this gives the student and their advisor or dean more concrete pieces to address.
- Refer to previous conversations if relevant. Often, a Comment Card is a reinforcement (and record) of a discussion that has already happened between instructor and student. You may wish to start with “As we spoke about today…” and continue with something like “I want to loop in your advisor and dean so they can offer support and additional resources.”
We note that increased Comment Card usage has corresponded to a decrease in the number of students whose grades put them up for action (probation, suspension, or dismissal.) We appreciate you thinking about how you can use this system to share information regarding students in your classes.
If you have any questions about comment cards, please contact Rachel Beane, Associate Dean of Faculty Recruitment and Pre-major Advising at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (207) 725-3160.
If you have any difficulty sending a comment card, please contact the IT help line at email@example.com or (207) 725-3030.
See detailed instructions here.
See the Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook section on Satisfactory Academic Progress.