The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Michaela Brady Page 1 of 4

Get whisked away in The Wiz

Before the Robinson Player’s beloved Short Term tradition of “Stages for All Ages” hit Schaeffer Stage in mid-May, I got to sit down with director, Liza Danello ‘14, a Theater and English double major, to get some inside information on what to expect from this outrageous soulful musical, The Wiz.

The Bates Student: How does the performance for Batesies differ from the one put on for young children?

Liza Danello: The performance for Bates is sort of an opportunity to open the pandora’s box of “adult themes” that are latent in the script and throughout the rehearsal. We keep the structure and all of the main aspects of the show the same but then everything else is subject to change. The actual performance ends up being a lot of improvisation and the actors are given some free license to add or change what they want about their parts. The whole evening is raucous fun for actors and audience alike and its different every year. We never know quite what to expect but it’s sure to be memorable!

TBS: Are there lots of themes or issues you’ll be addressing in “The Wiz” that “The Wizard of Oz” never touched on?

LD: A lot of The Wiz is just a modernization of The Wizard of Oz. It certainly recognizes the classic that it reinterprets and a lot of time the dialogue will poke fun of the sometimes-ridiculous moments that crop up. All the familiar characters are back from The Wizard of Oz – Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Lion, the Witches, the Flying Monkeys – but most of them have a fresh quirk that differentiates them from the original Wizard of Oz. For example, Addaperle, the good witch from Munchkinland, is a bit of a washed-up showgirl who’s lost some of her knack for magic. I think that many of the characters share this shade of imperfection that we see in Addaperle. All of the characters have moments of insecurity or inadequacy.

TBS: What’s the allure of staging something “Wizard”-esque in the 21st century?

LD: The Wizard of Oz or The Wiz are great shows because they incorporate so many diverse characters and situations into an imaginative world onstage. These magical worlds lend themselves to theater specifically because we are able to do so many extraordinary things onstage. There is something about the theater space that makes even the simplest moments really special. I think that the world of The Wiz is one that keeps the audience engaged because it keeps transforming.

TBS: Where and how is the play set in relation to the original “Wizard of Oz”?

LD: Like The Wizard of Oz, the play has a shift from the flat world of Kansas into the strange, vibrant world of Oz. But the places we see in Oz in The Wiz are a lot funkier than those from The Wizard of Oz. We are going to play up the dynamism of this world with flashy colors and big structural set pieces to make Oz seem like a land far, far away.

TBS: If you could choose the one biggest difference between “The Wiz” and “The Wizard of Oz”, what would it be?

LD: The biggest difference is probably the style of music that they use. The Wizard of Oz has all the sweet classics like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” but The Wiz is a much more lively show. The singing and dancing makes you want to get up and groove along with the performers. The music is jivy and gives the show a 70s funk feel. The sound is very bright and fun to listen to and I think that this upbeat blend of music will be very appealing for the young audience.

TBS: Will there be unexpected turns those familiar with “The Wizard of Oz” won’t see coming?

LD: Well I don’t want to give too much away! There will definitely be several moments that may surprise an audience, whether or not they are familiar with The Wizard of Oz. Our Technical Director, Dan Paseltiner, has some thrilling ideas for our set that will have a forceful visual impact. The tornado is one moment that will be very different from The Wizard of Oz. Its actually a dance, the “Tornado Ballet,” and will feature some of the dancers that we have working on the project as well as some dramatic set movement and lighting. Just because we can’t build a tornado like Hollywood may doesn’t mean that we can’t build something amazing.

TBS: What would you call the biggest selling point of “The Wiz”?

LD: The biggest selling point of our Wiz is the incredible cast and crew that we have collaborating on this project. The Short Term musical is an exciting project because we have Batesies involved who wouldn’t normally have the free time during the school year. Our cast and crew is a consolidation of many of the exceptionally talented people at Bates who bring their energy, enthusiasm, and passion to the show. It’s wonderful to see all these faces of Bates come together on a project of this scale and build something astonishing in only about three weeks.

So mark your calendars and be sure to see The Wiz within the coming weeks. Please check out the Short Term Arts Schedule for more information. This is a production you do not want to miss!

Diverse group proposes reforms to Student Conduct Code

The Bates College Code of Student Conduct has been under revision by a diverse group composed of faculty, staff, and students since September 2013. The fourteen members of the group meet weekly with the objective of strengthening the Dean’s Review and Student Conduct Committee as well as adding new forms of resolution and adjudication as part of the student conduct procedure.

The primary purpose of the changes are to enhance student involvement and responsibility while allowing for more varied conflict resolution options in all facets of student conduct. In addition to larger scale amendments, the group made other minor modifications in language to ensure the revised Code accurately reflected community values. In creating these revisions, the group was careful to consider emerging trends in student conduct among other higher education institutions while maintaining the unique strengths and mission of the Bates community. Carl Steidel, the Assistant Dean of Students and one of the spearheads of the Code review group states, “It has been a pleasure and a learning experience working since September with such a dedicated and diverse group of students, faculty and staff on this project. Our proposed changes are much stronger and in line with our institutional values because of the input of all who were part of this process.”

code of conduct committee - ameliaThe group began revisions with an eye toward enhancing what the Code already does well, and then updating the aspects that are not being utilized or are not as effective. Accordingly, the group decided to entirely delete the current mediation option as the language surrounding this section was unduly prescriptive and impractical. Replacing mediation, the group inserted broader opportunities centered on conflict resolution with more flexible language accompanying it.

The goal was to allow for more expansive possibilities for resolution through mediation, restorative justice, facilitated dialogues and conflict coaching, depending on the specific needs of a given situation. Underpinning these techniques was the objective of healing the community and individuals involved in an infraction as opposed to isolating students through one-sided punishments. If the proposed legislation were approved, professional staff and students would be trained in these conflict resolution methods. Trained students would work through low to mid-level situations while staff would handle more serious cases.

Another change proposed by the group is the creation of a Student Judicial Board, which would replace the current Dorm/House Councils, while maintaining the concept of a student-run body to adjudicate low to mid-level violations. The Student Judicial Board would be comprised of members from both the Student Conduct Committee and the Student Conduct Appeals Committee and would give students claim over smaller scale infractions, particularly those affecting the residential community.

Under the current system, the Student Conduct Committee and the Student Conduct Appeals Committee are made up of faculty and students in two separate groups. The revision group suggests that these be combined into a larger pool where members could be chosen at random for cases; the group also proposes that staff members of the college be included on both committees as they are an integral part of the campus community. “By increasing the involvement of students throughout the process and by involving staff members formally for the first time, we broaden the ownership of the conduct system and the overall student experience at Bates” said Steidel. In addition to heightened community inclusion, the creation of a combined pool would allow for the formation of specified panels which could more aptly assist the needs of individual cases.

In the majority of proceedings presented to the Student Conduct Committee, the respondent is not disputing the violation in question, but rather what the most fitting consequence for such actions should be. In this draft, the revision group proposes a new possibility for resolution within the Student Conduct Committee called a Sanctioning Conference. This would give students the opportunity to meet with just the committee co-chairs as opposed to a full hearing. The student and the co-chairs would have a dialogue from which the co-chairs would determine the appropriate sanction and the student would still retain the option to appeal the sanction if necessary.

Ultimately, these revisions work to change the language of the Code of Student Conduct and implement strategies for dealing with conflicts in a manner that is more reflective of the diversity and core values at Bates. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the proposed changes do not involve altering the types of sanctions or level of punishments established in the current Code of Student Conduct. Instead, these revisions offer more options within the process of resolving cases and further community, particularly student, involvement as part of those options.

The first reading to the faculty of the revised legislation will be on April 7th and the final vote will take place the first Monday of May. The revision group welcomes feedback from all members of the community on any aspect of the proposal. That said, a lunch was held Friday, March 14th in New Commons, an opportunity for students to share their thoughts and opinions. There was a small student turnout, however. In the future, students will hopefully take advantage of an opportunity to contribute to the legislation that will directly impact the student body.

Letters from abroad: Sam Thomas in Kraków, Poland

Living in Poland is everything and nothing like I thought it would be. Although I had been to Europe once a few years ago, this is my first time traveling alone and living in a big city. Kraków itself is a city with 250, 000 students. It’s an unusual feeling to be a small fish in a big pond because at Bates I can acknowledge almost everyone I pass while walking to class. On the other hand it just makes you realize how many people you are meeting from all over the world, and that what you have in common is that you are just in the same class or speak the same language. The only way people understand where I live back in the States is if I say “near Canada” because for some reason they know where that is…

Coming to Poland has been more than a chance to travel and see Europe. I chose it for my abroad destination because it’s different. I didn’t want to spend my time abroad in a huge European city that has it’s own American-made, study abroad culture. There are only nine of us on my program so it has really allowed us to get to know each other and be able to explore our new home together. I’m able to take classes that aren’t offered at Bates: a class about the Cold War taught by a man who grew up in Poland during the Soviet occupation under Communism, and a Holocaust class taught by a woman whose family escaped Poland during the 1930’s in order to evade Hitler’s wrath. Opportunities to learn about how Kraków and Jerusalem connect through philosophy and religion don’t come around every day.

Hiking in PolandAlthough in America we are taught how to stand out from our peers, blending into a new home is more about learning the local customs and embracing them as your own than becoming invisible. Cultural immersion revolves around food, dress, and lifestyle in Poland. Eating obwarzanki (Kraków’s street food which is like a bagel-pretzel combination), ice cream (lody) when the weather is nice, and spending an afternoon sipping coffee (kawa) at an outdoor café in the square is one way you’ll be able to fit right in. Poland is a conservative country and it is not uncommon for old women walking on the street to scoff, yell, and point at you if they think you are dressed inappropriately. And like many other European countries the lifestyle of Kraków is relaxed. The only time I’ve seen people hurry to get anywhere is when they are trying to make the tram. Professors tend to show up to class 5-10 minutes late and comment on their long cup of coffee as their acceptable excuse for their tardiness.

Poland is also an extremely homogenous country. Many people know English but most people don’t use it or refuse to. Everything is in Polish and trust me, it’s not an easy language to learn. The little things matter when trying to adapt to your new home – using every word of Polish you know when greeting people, or having a conversation will ease the tension and build trust with others.

First Day of School in PolandMore recently in Poland we have felt the impact of neighboring countries. With the violence and changes occurring in the Ukraine and Russia we see its effects on the people in Kraków. In the past weeks we walk through the city square or other areas in the city after class and there are protests being held in support of the Ukraine. Waving flags, setting off flairs, chanting and singing of national anthems, and finally the presence of dozens of police cars around large groups of these protestors are the situations that make the problems of the world real to us. Every once in a while it is easy to get overwhelmed with the immensity and diversity of the world we live in but events like these bring us back down to Earth and show us how small our world really is.

This is a place where no one else at Bates has studied in the last five years, and this statistic will allow me to bring learnings from my unique living experience back to campus. Kraków is an underrated city to travel to – it’s the cultural center of Poland with the largest medieval town square in Europe and has an intact history and charm even with the city’s tumultuous history. It may not be the most popular place to visit or live, but I’ve learned to embrace it and to make the experience my own.

Bates Democrats host prospective state representatives

This week the Bates Democrats hosted three special guests to their Monday night meeting:  Jared Golden, Nate Libby and Heidi Brooks. These three are all candidates for Maine representative seats in the 2014 elections.

Jared Golden, Bates class of 2011 is running for the Maine House of Representatives. He currently works in Augusta at the democratic legislative office where among other things he handles issues of veteran’s affairs. As a Marine, Golden completed tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan before attending Bates on the GI bill. The most prominent issues on which he plans to campaign are education reform and veterans affairs.

Nate Libby, class of 2007, is currently a member of the Maine House of Representatives and is now seeking to gain a seat on the Maine State Senate. Libby entered politics when he volunteered under Mike Brennan the current mayor of Portland and started his career in public policy and advocacy. Libby’s current work has been integral to the Lewiston community and he plans to be “a fierce advocate for the people of my district and for Lewiston.” He will face off against republican candidate, Patricia Gagne in November.

Heidi Brooks is not a Bates graduate but is very much a local person with deep roots in this area. She is a physician who entered politics in the secretary of state committee. Her biggest priority in her pursuit of a seat on the Maine House of Representatives is healthcare reform. From personal experience Brooks knows how devastating it can be to have one’s benefits cut.

At this moment in the electoral process the only concrete way to help these candidates is to sign the petitions that have been passed around by the Bates democrats. Although the  Democratic primaries are in June, the highest season or local campaigners begins during the summer and carries through to the elections in the Fall.

So what can Bates students do to help influence the outcome of the local 2014 elections? When asked about how specifically students may help in the coming months, President of the Bates Democrats, Teddy Rube, said “our primary mode of participation during the height of local campaigns is door-to-door canvassing—knocking on residents’ doors and speaking to them about the candidates—throughout the residential neighborhoods of Lewiston. In many cases, a whole troop of Bates students can provide great grassroots manpower, helping candidates reach a large amount of voters. Additionally, we do campaign phone calls for candidates, and informational tabling in commons.”

Teddy went on to say that the most important thing for students, not just Democrats, is to stay involved and learn about the issues in the coming election. Working to stay involved with local processes may be difficult, but Teddy insists that staying updated on all political events is crucial to the Bates community’s influence in and around Lewiston. That way, when it does come time to vote in the Fall, people can do so with the most relevant information at hand and with a serious understanding of the candidates platforms.

During the Meeting on Monday, all three of the visit candidates seemed professional, purposeful and quite interested in garnering the support of Bates students. They fielded questions regarding their platforms and prior experience with expertise and expressed their hope of more support to come from inside the College.

Regardless of area of registration or party affiliation, it was very interesting to see Bates graduates taking an active role in making the state of Maine a better place. Both Jared and Nate expressed an eagerness in sharing both their experience and expertise with any Bates student interested in working in politics after graduation.

Successful first weekend of competition for Bates Tennis

On Friday, Men’s tennis faced off against Babson in a non conference match. The Bobcat’s pounded the visiting Beavers 7-2. Bates held a 2-1 lead after doubles with one doubles team Timmy Berg ‘14 and Pierre Planche ‘15 and third doubles Eric Ruta and Chris Ellis getting victories. Second doubles Peter Yanofsky ’14 and Ben Bogard ‘14 losing a close match 6-8.

Bates went 5 and 1 in singles to seal the deal. Junior Pierre Planche, who won his first doubles match and his second singles match thought the team competed well. “We fought hard across the board, and picked up on a few things that we can work on moving forward.” The Bobcats looked to make these improvements in time for their second match of the weekend versus Hamilton.


On Sunday, both the men’s and women’s teams bested Hamilton in the first NESCAC match of the season.  The women’s team won 6-3. Senior captain Lucy Brennan said, “The attitude of this team has proven to be incredibly special. Today everyone showed a fighting spirit that put is in positions for success. We believe in each other and are proud of what we can accomplish as a team.”

First (Ellie Mandzhukova and Elizabeth Erbafina) and third doubles (Lucy Brennan and Emma Blakeley) won their matches while second doubles team Ali Hakusui and Kristen Doerer lost a hard fought match. The Bobcats went 5 and 2 in singles with first singles Mandzhuhova, third singles Doerer, fourth singles Kate Rosenthal, and sixth singles Emma Smith getting wins. Elizabeth Erbafina and Eleanor Hough lost two close matches at second and fifth singles, respectively. The team faces Colby college next Tuesday.

The men’s team swept Hamilton 9-0. The closest Hamilton came to getting a match was against senior captain Timmy Berg at first singles. (6-3, 3-6, 6-2).

Eric Ruta, another senior captain commented, “We played with high intensity the whole match. We’ve got a lot of confidence and momentum going into our match next weekend against MIT.” The team’s incredible work ethic is paying off; they train at least six days a week. First year Pat Ordway states, “We put the work in, and the success follows. It’s a simple formula that pays off.” The team will have to use all that hard work against MIT next weekend.

Nordic Skiing finishes strong at Nationals

Midway Utah, the location of this years NCAA Nordic and Alpine skiing championships sits at a staggering 5,584 feet above sea level compared to that of our own Lewiston Maine, at a mere 217 feet. However, this drastic change in elevation did not inhibit our determined Nordic Skiers Jordan Buetow ‘14 and Hallie Grossman ‘15 as they battled the elements and the competition this past week in their races.

The skiers were able to leave campus early and allowing their bodies to become better acclimated to the elevation of the Wasatch mountains in Utah, which paid off for Buetow and Grossman, who stood strong against the best college skiers from around the country. Last Thursday the classic style races took place, where Grossman competed in the women’s 5-kilometer race and Buetow raced in the men’s 10-Kilometer. Grossman posted the best NCAA Championship finish of her career, finishing the 5K race in 30th place, with a 15:02.5 mark. Buetow finished in 40th for the men’s 10K race, breaking 30 minutes with a time of 29:39.7.

The Bobcat racers had a day off while the men’s and women’s downhill slalom events took place on Friday, but were back on the skis for the final collegiate Nordic races of the season Saturday. Grossman shined in the women’s freestyle 15-Kilometer race, finishing in 25th place, another career best at nationals, with a time of 43:20.8. In the men’s 20-Kilometer race, Buetow finished in 37th with a time of 48:11.8.

The impressive racing season by Grossman caught the eye of the EISA (Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association) who recently placed her on the women’s All-East 2nd team for Nordic skiers. The conclusion of the skiing season marks the end of a stellar career for Buetow who is graduating from Bates this spring and has gone on to represent this fine institution at the NCAA skiing championships each of the last three years. Grossman likewise has been to nationals the past three years, and will begin her offseason routine to gear up for her final racing season next winter.

For now, the Nordic ski team will slip away from the media spotlight and enter into their offseason, where they will continue the perpetual process of working hard and challenging each other as they build up to next season.

Men’s Lacrosse drop to 0-2, but remain hopeful

After dropping the season opener last weekend at Amherst 17-8, the ‘Cats travelled to Middletown, CT. looking to get their first win against No. 9 Wesleyan. Last year, the No. 17 ranked Cardinals traveled to Lewiston and lost to an unranked but talented Bates squad 7-5. With determination to get the first win under their belts, and a confidence from last season’s victory, Bates entered Saturday’s contest ready for gritty battle with a familiar foe.

The home team jumped out to a 3-0 lead just 5 minutes into the game, and a 6-1 lead with 9 left in the half, but the ‘Cats weren’t quite ready to call it quits. Sophomore phenom and shifty attack-man Jack Allard was able to net two before the half closing the gap to 6-3 at the break. Chuck Hildebrand kept the train rolling, as the sophomore attackman opened up the second stage with a stinging one past the goalie to pull the Bates within two at 6-4. Wesleyan deposited two more before Senior Captain and face off specialist Paul Donovan got his second of the game to bring the score to 8-5 entering the fourth.

A Hard-nosed defense led by senior goalie Charlie Kazarian (12 saves) kept the ‘Cats in the game allowing the Cards just two goals in the fourth, but the effort fell short as Bates failed to keep up with a talented Wesleyan team. The 10-6 loss put Bates at 0-2 in NESCAC play and left to gear for a win against Skidmore on Tuesday to avoid dropping to an overall record of 0-3. The Cardinals move to 2-0 in NESCAC and 3-0 overall.

Despite an inauspicious start, sophomore lockdown defender David Cappelini drew on some of the positives from the loss, “(We) competed for a full 60 minutes. After going down early, our team continued to battle back.” He was complimentary of the leadership of senior captains Donovan, Gilkeson and Kazarian that should help carry the team forward. Cappelini, an integral part of the ‘Cats tenacious D, was proud of the unit and remained confident, “(We) settled in nicely throughout the second half, and we look poised to further improve as a cohesive unit in our coming games.”

Sophomore Jack Allard, who scored two goals Saturday and was one the team’s leading scorers last year, recognized the difficulty the offense had putting the ball in the net, “We just needed to score a few more goals on offense.” Nonetheless Allard hasn’t lost a bit of belief in their ability, “We have the talent to be one of the best teams in the NESCAC, we just need put everything together.” To turn this season around and compete in the NESCAC like the ‘Cats did last year, that’s exactly what they’ll have to do. The Bobcats host Trinity College this Saturday at 1pm.

Koru: Workplace learning initiative through Bates years

It was announced almost two weeks ago that the Seattle based firm Koru will add Bates to its already impressive list of affiliates. As noted in the Bates News article from February 20th, Koru is a program specifically designed to connect high-powered corporate professionals with college students interested in working in the corporate sphere. Koru was founded in 2013 by Josh Jarrett and by Kristen Hamilton and is operated by an invigorated and enthusiastic staff.

The program not only places students in a real workplace environment but also links these students with professionals dedicated to what they do. With a significant commitment to learning by doing, Koru both provides a hands-on experience and gives the ever-relevant “actionable feedback” which they believe is crucial to growth as a worker. Bates will have a number of scholarships for junior year applicants this summer. For the summer of 2014, Bates will only offer placement in the Seattle program but there are plans in place to expand to San Francisco and other cities. There are two opportunities for Bates students, in June and July, each with 6 to 8 placement spots.

KORUpicAmong the other colleges affiliated with Koru are Brown, Georgetown, University of Southern California and Occidental College. During the company’s brief tenure, it has accrued myriad testimonies of its practicality and applicability in today’s job market. Johnathan Veitch, the president of Occidental College, in a comment from the official Koru website, says that Koru “is part of our effort to ensure that our graduates are able to market their skills in the modern workplace”.

With the current state of the job market, any advantage that can be gained in the realm of corporate skill is crucial. According to a 2013 study done by Accenture on college employment only 16% of students in the study will graduate with a job already secured. Low as this number is, the relationships that Koru can help create a significant advantage for those approaching the staggering depths of life after Bates.

Not only does Koru help develop relationships and give experience working with fast-growing and innovative companies, it also has a commitment to teaching students applicable and practical skills needed to be a successful applicant in today’s market. These include, but are not limited to financial analysis, design thinking, navigating Excel and prototyping. Koru also teaches the essential techniques that help facilitate the practical application of the skills learned throughout the college experience. Things such as interpersonal effectiveness, business communications and high-impact presentations are often taught in the collegiate classroom and are essential to success in the corporate workplace. The tools given to students at college institutions are often a far cry away from the procedures and expectations of the modern workplace.

Future plans for the Bates partnership with Koru include a four-year course of co-curricular programming in which many other initiatives could be developed. A short term course may also be on the horizon with practitioner-taught intimacy within the classroom environment. All of these are part of President Spencer’s aim toward bridging the gap between college and work-life. Anything that leaves the graduate with confidence and skill when facing the corporate market can significantly increase both their confidence and likelihood of gaining a job.

Among the partners that Koru works with are Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) and Zulily, an online web site for clothing and apparel. These high earning and fast growing companies create an atmosphere of intensity and innovation that is conducive to learning in the corporate environment.

Koru is very excited to add Bates to an already impressive contingent of colleges, as Bates is excited for an opportunity to strengthen their students’ skills and better prepare them for a meaningful life after Bates.

The hunt for a new dean is on

Once again, the Bates Bobcats are on the hunt, and this time it’s not for their next meal in Commons. This October, it was announced that the beloved Dean of Students Tedd Goundie is stepping down at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year. Replacing Goundie as the Dean of Students will be no simple task. He has had a profound impact on the ever-changing Bates Campus since his arrival in 2004, working on projects ranging from the development of the 280 College Street dorms to the revision of the Student Code of Conduct.

Goundie, credit BATES COLLEGETo spearhead the search efforts, students, faculty, and administration members formed a Dean of Students Search Committee, which is representative of the multitude of interests of Bates College community members. In addition to the DOS Search Committee, Bates is working with outside executive search firm Isaacson, Miller.

Isaacson, Miller and the Search Committee encouraged students to come to lunch in the Commons Fishbowl to share their thoughts on student life at Bates and the qualities they would like to see in a new Dean of Students this past Friday.

“People describe us as matchmakers,” said IM Associate Ponneh Varho. “We are here now learning about Bates and the existing leadership in the institution, looking at what has been historically strong and what career patterns leaders currently possess.” Isaacson, Miller specializes in non-for-profit institutions, particularly residential liberal arts colleges similar to Bates. Normally based out of Washington, DC, Ponneh Varho and fellow associate Natalie Leonhard wanted to visit the Bates campus, hoping to learn what it is to be a Bobcat and what the students want to see in a new Dean. Why did students choose Bates in the first place, and what would they like to see in a new Dean? Batesies were not shy about sharing their thoughts.

Sophomore international student Phillip Dube articulated a popular concern at the meeting. “I would like to see someone versed in matters related to minority students. The Class of 2017 is the most diverse class thus far, and if we want to continue our commitment to diversity, we have to be mindful of the issues surrounding it.” Bates emphasizes its commitment to diversity and incorporation of all cultures into the student body; the new Dean of Students needs to continue to take on that responsibility.

The Dean of Students Search Committee and the IM Associates listened to the different relationships students have with the current Dean of Students Office and Tedd Goundie. Student members of the Search Committee noticed a gap in the members of the student body who used the Dean of Students and developed a close relationship. Many students are unaware of the role of the Dean of Students, showing a need for increased Dean visibility.
Senior Jourdan Fanning and junior Teddy Poneman described this gap. “The Dean of Students looked after me when I was sick, coming to my room to see why I was missing class,” said Fanning, representing the strong bond some students have with the Dean of Students. Poneman, on the other end of the spectrum, explained his desire to develop a relationship in the future, hoping that increased visibility will cause other students to interact with the Dean of Students. Part of achieving this goal is to insure that the student body knows the purpose of the Dean of Students. “It can’t be a resource if we do not feel the connection between the students and the Dean of Students office,” said Poneman.

Bobcats can be sure that student opinion is highly valued in this search process. Isaacson, Miller will continue to vet candidates in order to find the best match for the college, examining their past career experiences and how they will mesh with the “positive student culture and climate of Bates.”

Ailes ’14 investigates value of the W2

At a liberal arts institution, Batesies are fortunate enough to have a bit of freedom when constructing their academic plan, but they are not immune to core educational requisites for graduation, including the W1, W2, and W3 writing requirement. Katie Ailes is a senior English and Dance double major, minoring in Educational Studies, and has been exploring the student experience of the W2 writing-intensive course, as a capstone project in completion of her minor.

While many Educational Studies minors chose to investigate projects outside of Bates, Ailes decided to take a more internal approach, saying, “I chose to study higher education, because as a senior I’m now able to reflect on my college experience at Bates, notice which aspects supported and challenged me, and look more critically at those which I feel could be improved.”

Ailes also works as a Peer Writing Assistant and feels that she has received a great deal of writing training over her four years at Bates. Ailes was promoted to consider if seniors felt prepared to write their theses across disciplines, specifically asking questions about “where and how Batesies are receiving their writing instruction, and how the W2 develops their writing abilities.” For the capstone project, Ailes wanted to examine both the student opinion of such courses as well as the pedagogical goals and strategies professors used in structuring their W2 courses.

In order to learn about the student perspective of W2 courses, Ailes sent out announce emails and held focus groups open to all students to discuss and express their opinions on the writing experience at Bates. I attended one of these focus groups where several students, predominantly seniors, came together and eagerly shared thoughts and personal experiences on the ways their writing has progressed at Bates, specifically discussing their W2 courses. Ailes articulately guided the conversation asking questions such as “can you always tell you are in a W2 class, what do you feel the goals of your W2 courses are/were, and how did professors balance teaching content and teaching writing?”

From this conversation, it seemed one of the tensions surrounding the W2 was that often these courses tended to be discipline specific, particularly in the sciences. While Bates students have the option to take their W2 course outside of their major, many students prefer to stay within their area of study as these classes often hinge on some prior exposure or understanding of the material.

One of the goals of completing the writing program at Bates is that every student graduates with the skill-set to be a good writer; however, some of the concern arising in this focus group was that since students often opt not to take their W2 outside their major they only become versed in the type of writing specific to their discipline. Another trend that Ailes has noted from these focus groups is that students are sometimes frustrated by the variation between W2 courses and the type of writing instruction and assignments given. Some students also stated that they cannot tell the difference between courses that are specifically designated as a W2 and other writing-intensive classes. According to Ailes, several seniors also said they wanted more explicit instruction regarding their thesis, and wished that this had stemmed from their W2s.

In addition to holding focus groups, Ailes has reached out to all professors teaching a W2 this semester and asked for a brief description of their approach to teaching their W2 courses as well as interviewed a professor for a case study of her W2 teaching techniques. Ailes has also researched literature on writing-intensive higher education courses, and compared our W1, W2, and W3 system with the writing programs at other small liberal arts colleges. Ailes will present a report of her findings at the Educational Symposium on April 1st along with her classmates in the Educational Studies capstone. If you have any comments on your experience with the W2 system and would like to share them, email Katie Ailes with your feedback.

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