Easing the Transition
The swing deans at Bates play a key role in easing the transition to college for students from groups underrepresented in higher education. Here’s how the program works: Two deans from the Bates Office of Admission trade places annually. As one works in Admission to recruit new students, the other moves to the Dean of Students office to support the multicultural and first-generation-to-college students that she or he helped recruit in the previous year. The extra measure of guidance, familiarity and reassurance that comes from this extended relationship can be decisive in student retention.
The swing dean program is distinctive to Bates and has proven integral to both the success of multicultural students at the college and Bates’ increasing attractiveness to those students. In fall 2011, so-called ALANA students — African American, Latino/a, Asian American and Native American — constituted more than 19 percent of the entering class, an increase of more than two-thirds since the swing dean program was inaugurated at Bates in 2007. Read more about Bates’ swing dean program in the Chronicle of Higher Education.