Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—Continuity in Teaching and Learning Group (April 21, 2020)

To Bowdoin faculty, staff, and students,

It would be something of an understatement to say that we all look forward to the return of a normal campus life—having faculty and students all together in classrooms and our other teaching spaces, taking meals in Thorne and Moulton, seeing events and performances in Kresge and Pickard, watching games in Morrell, Watson, and on the playing fields, walking the Quad, and simply being with friends and colleagues to share a laugh or a tear. We will return to this education and way of life when it is safe, and I very much hope that it is sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, there remains great uncertainty about COVID-19. We know today that it will be present and still a risk for at least a year, perhaps longer, until a vaccine is developed. In the meantime, greater availability of testing for both infection and immunity, more effective therapeutics, and enhanced surveillance tools to track contacts with those who have been exposed will help us to better manage the risks, but by how much remains unclear. We learn more with each passing week.

As we work to develop options for this fall—and as I said in my message to you on April 2—we will need to be prepared to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning through a remote model, in case face-to-face options are not viable, or because of an outbreak or government action that requires us to again move students off campus.

To be better prepared, I have asked a group of faculty, staff, and students to take the next few months to develop a remote learning and teaching model that will approach the challenge from a fresh perspective while building on the lessons from our current situation. They will survey students and faculty about their experiences this spring, consult with experienced practitioners, and develop a set of tools, and resources for faculty and students to draw upon to teach and learn remotely. They will also examine institutional structures that might be adjusted to better facilitate remote learning and teaching—for example, different teaching time blocks and modular approaches to the semester. Along the way, the group will provide interim reports to me and the dean for academic affairs. They will complete their work by June 30, 2020.

Professor of Chemistry Rick Broene will be chairing the Continuity in Teaching and Learning Group. He will be joined by:

Katie Byrnes, director of the Baldwin Center for Learning and Teaching
Tess Chakkalakal, Peter M. Small Associate Professor of Africana Studies and English
Dallas Denery, professor of history
Manolo Diaz-Rios, professor of neuroscience and biology
Crystal Hall, associate professor of digital humanities, digital and computational studies
Juli Haugen, digital content and accessibility specialist, communications and public affairs
Stephen Houser, senior director of academic technology and consulting
Lesley Levy, director of student accessibility
Joshua Lin ’22
Uriel Lopez-Serrano ’20
Tracy McMullen, associate professor of music
Caroline Poole ’22
Elizabeth Pritchard, associate professor of religion and associate dean for academic affairs
Arielle Saiber, professor of Romance languages and literatures 
Carrie Scanga, associate professor of art
Gavin Schilling ’21
Jennifer Snow, educational research consultant, academic technology and consulting
Dan Stone, associate professor of economics
Karen Topp, senior lecturer in physics and faculty liaison for advising
Erin Valentino, associate librarian for research, instruction, and outreach
Mary Lou Zeeman, R. Wells Johnson Professor of Mathematics

I am very grateful to each of these members of our community for the time, energy, and wisdom they will apply to this work. I am also grateful to the members of GFA for their thoughts and advice.

If you have thoughts or suggestions on how we can create the very best Bowdoin remote learning model possible over the next few months, please submit them here, or contact Rick directly at

Stay safe. 

All the best,


Message edited on April 29, 2020, to add Gavin Schilling ’21 as a student representative.