September 21, 2021 | Office of the President

Michael Reed Retirement (September 21, 2021)

To the campus community, 

I am writing to let you know that Michael Reed, our senior vice president for inclusion and diversity, will be retiring from the College on September 30, in order to focus on his health. 

It is hard to overstate the impact Michael has had on Bowdoin since arriving here in March 2018. He joined the College after a long and accomplished career in the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), including many years at Williams College (his alma mater) and later at Dickinson College, but his influence and impact has extended beyond any single institution. He was one of the founders of the Liberal Arts College Diversity Officers organization (LADO), and for many years he has been a trusted source of counsel for diversity professionals at a number of colleges and universities.  

Michael has played a pivotal role in creating the next chapter in our work at Bowdoin on racial justice, including the three pillars of sustained programming and education, changes in practices and structures, and efforts to better understand our institutional history with regard to race. He has also been instrumental in enhancing the recruitment and interviewing process for new faculty and staff through training and direct engagement with the hiring process. A member of the Working Group on Self-Identified Faculty of Color and International Faculty Equity, Development, and Inclusion (SIFoCIF), Michael has coordinated the sharing of information across all divisions of the College and has been a trusted confidential advisor and sounding board to students, faculty, and staff. He has also worked directly with our trustees, especially with the board’s Committee on Inclusion, and has been a steady and valued advisor to me and our senior staff.  

I am very pleased that Michael has agreed to be available to me for the rest of this academic year to provide his advice and guidance. We will properly celebrate all that he has done for Bowdoin in the spring. 

With Michael’s retirement, we are very fortunate to have two individuals who will partner this year to continue leading our DEI work. Benje Douglas, associate vice president for inclusion and diversity and director of Title IX, and Professor Dharni Vasudevan, the Stanley F. Druckenmiller Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Studies and associate dean for faculty development and inclusion, will be responsible for continuing to drive our DEI work across the College for the balance of this academic year. They did this work together last spring when Michael was on medical leave, and their partnership was very effective. Dharni and Benje will continue to report formally to Senior Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs Jennifer Scanlon and Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann, respectively. And I will continue to devote a significant amount of my time to our DEI work, working closely with Dharni and Benje. The five of us will meet regularly, and Dharni and Benje will also be the staff liaisons to the board’s Committee on Inclusion. At the end of the academic year, we will evaluate how the structure is working. 

For the remainder of this academic year, Benje will continue his Title IX oversight responsibilities, and we will be adding staff to this office to continue providing our campus community with appropriate and strong support for sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention, and to investigate and help resolve all allegations. 

I will miss working with Michael, and I know you join me in thanking him for the tremendous impact that he has had here—he has made Bowdoin better. 

All the best,