Bowdoin has worked to include students of varied backgrounds and identities in many ways throughout the history of the College. From the enrollment of John Russwurm to coeducation to efforts to provide comprehensive student aid, the concepts of diversity and inclusion have long been a part of the fabric of the institution. The Office of Inclusion and Diversity will build upon that legacy by doing thoughtful community training and education, supporting the diversity and inclusion work being done across the college, and serving as an incubator for ideas focused on creating a sense of belonging for each student, staff, and faculty member on campus.
Since 2015 there has been an acceleration of diversity and inclusion work through rigorous study, purposeful hiring, and deep community engagement. What you will see in the timeline below are some of the noteworthy steps taken by different parts of our community to make Bowdoin a more diverse, a more equitable, and a more inclusive space.
December 2015: President Rose commissions the Report on Inclusion.
President Rose commissions Professor Camille Charles, the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor in the Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology, Africana Studies & Education and the Director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Professor Rory Kramer, an assistant professor of sociology and criminology at Villanova University and a visiting scholar at the Center for Africana Studies at Penn to examine Bowdoin’s processes and practices to reveal what we do that exacerbates the differing experience of how those of color in our community experience Bowdoin from those who are white, identify the existing practices to address those differences that have not gained traction, and determine where we lack practices that could help to mitigate the differing experience.
May 2016: The Report on Diversity and Inclusion is Shared with the Community
Professor Camille Charles and Professor Rory Kramer deliver The Report on Diversity and Inclusion to President Rose and he shares it with the Bowdoin community.
September 2016: Ad Hoc Committee on Inclusion is formed
President Rose forms the Ad Hoc Committee on Inclusion to make recommendations about which aspects of the Report on Inclusion and Diversity should be adopted, what additional steps should be considered to make Bowdoin an even more inclusive campus for our students, and recommend what might be done with respect to our programs, resources, and approaches to address the challenges of inclusion in ways that further enhance and encourage a central aspect of our mission—that of deep engagement and discourse by our students on the most difficult and uncomfortable ideas and issues.
August 2017: The Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Inclusion is Delivered
The Ad Hoc Committee on Inclusion delivers its report and recommendations to President Rose and the report and recommendations are shared with the Bowdoin community.
September 2017: THRIVE is founded
A generous gift of five million dollars from alumnus Reed Hastings ’83 allows the College to develop THRIVE, a program designed to substantially transform the experience of low-income, first-generation, and historically excluded Bowdoin students.
January 2018: Senior Vice President for Inclusion and Diversity Position is Created
Michael Reed joins Bowdoin as the first senior vice president for inclusion and diversity, a position created based on the strong recommendation by the faculty, students, staff, and trustees on the Ad Hoc Committee on Inclusion.
January 2019: Lived Name Initiative Launches
The Lived Name Initiative launches allowing students, faculty, and staff to specify a lived name, the name they choose to go by that may differ from their legal name.
September 2020: Bowdoin Faculty Approves Change the Exploring Social Differences (ESD) Distribution Requirement to Difference, Power, and Inequity (DPI)
Bowdoin faculty members vote to rename the Exploring Social Differences (ESD) distribution requirement to Difference, Power, and Inequity (DPI) to better help students examine structures of privilege and inequality and how these structures affect their own experiences.
October 2020: President Rose Announces The History Project
President Rose announces the launch of The History Project, an initiative to help Bowdoin understand its history with regard to race and to learn from it, and provides an update to the Bowdoin community on the work being done at the College in response to the renewed calls in society for racial justice and a sustained commitment to end racism.
December 2020: Divisional DEI Commitments Are Shared with the Community
President Rose and Michael Reed, senior officer for inclusion and diversity, share the specific opportunities for change each division of the College has identified and committed to in order to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Bowdoin.
February 2021: DiversityEdu Course Launches
DiversityEdu is rolled out to all students, faculty, and staff to build a baseline understanding of the issues around equity and inclusion that the Bowdoin community will be addressing.
April 2021: Racial Equity Institute Workshops Offered
Students, faculty, and staff are offered the opportunity to participate in the three-hour workshop, A Groundwater Approach to Racial Equity.
May 2021: First Director of Multicultural Alumni Engagement Named
Joycelyn Blizzard joins Bowdoin as its first director of multicultural alumni engagement, a position created to strategically co-create and implement programming and experiences to increase engagement in the life of the College among alumni who identify as multicultural.
March 2021: Bowdoin Faculty Prioritize Inclusive Excellence for Tenure and Promotion
Bowdoin faculty votes to approve changing the teaching criterion for tenure and promotion at the College from “excelled in teaching” to “demonstrate inclusive excellence in teaching.”
March 2022: President Rose announces three new positions
President Rose announces three new positions to support and bolster the College’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts: director of institutional inclusion and diversity training, director of institutional equity and compliance, and an ombudsperson. Additionally, President Rose provides updates to the community on training and education directed at allowing Bowdoin students, faculty, staff, and trustees to better understand the history, context, and lived experiences of those who are of color in our community, The History Project, and work to identify and create or eliminate policies, practices, and behavior to ensure equity of opportunity is taking place across the College.