Major Achievements During President Hansen’s Tenure
Strengthening Student Diversity
Hansen’s emphasis has been first on revitalizing a campus-wide conversation about the college’s commitment to diversity and its educational benefits for all students, building on the historic legacy of Bates — founded by abolitionists, open to men and women of all races and religions since 1855 — with more strategic thinking about changing demographics and markets for the institution’s mission.
In response to this renewed focus, in the last five years the College has increased the number of students from underrepresented backgrounds in the entering class from 9.1 percent in the class of 2008 to more than 19 percent in the class of 2013. Because college-wide understanding of the critical educational benefits of this change is even more important than the numbers, Hansen also initiated the Campus Climate Project in 2005 and in the spring of 2006 completed a comprehensive long-range plan for diversity and inclusion, with coordinated programs and goals for student, faculty, and staff recruitment; climate and retention; curriculum and pedagogy; and alumni connections. To ensure implementation of this priority in full collaboration with the academic program, she created a new position for a faculty member to rotate into her office as Special Assistant for Diversity and developed another position informally known as the “Swing Dean,” in which a member of the Admission Office one year shifts into the Dean of Students Office the next in order to support high achievement during the transition to college for students from less privileged backgrounds. (See recent new coverage of the “Swing Deans” program.)
Expanded and Improved Facilities and Human Resources
In academic year 2003-2004, Hansen led the College through a comprehensive facilities master planning process. Phase I of the Plan has been completed in 2011 and included the planning and construction of the following key campus facilities:
• New Commons, the central dining and meeting facility for the campus, opened in 2008.
• Roger Williams Hall, formerly a residence hall, is being renovated and is scheduled to reopen in summer 2011 as home to all of the College’s foreign language departments and the study-abroad offices.
• Hedge Hall, also formerly a residence hall, is likewise being renovated to become the home to the philosophy, religion and environmental studies departments, also with a scheduled reopening in summer 2011.
• 280 College Street, a 150-person new residence hall with LEED-equivalency as a green facility, opened in 2007.
• Garcelon Field, the College’s historic football field, was upgraded in 2010 to serve as a multipurpose athletic facility for football, men’s and women’s lacrosse and intramural recreation.
• Alumni Walk, the old Andrews Road thoroughfare, was transformed into a pedestrian walkway for all campus constituencies and visitors to campus in 2007.
Under Hansen’s administration, the College has also designed and implemented regular written performance evaluations for all employees and a routine external review process for administrative departments. She has also brought in creative new leaders at the VP/Dean and director levels and has developed innovative administrative structures in areas where doing so improves performance, consistency and collaboration across departments while also encouraging more institutional thinking and appropriate delegation of responsibility.
Largest Fundraising Campaign in Bates History
“The Campaign for Bates: Endowing Our Values” raised approximately $120.9 million from alumni, parents and other supporters between 2000 and 2006 — more than twice the total raised by the largest previous campaign and nearly $1 million beyond the goal. Hansen led this key philanthropic effort, which was in planning stages when she arrived in 2002, for four years. Notably, the total number of donors — 18,813 — was also unprecedented in Bates’ history.
The Campaign for Bates raised funds for the College’s most pressing needs: scholarships; faculty support and academic quality; unrestricted endowment; the Bates Fund; and campus revitalization and new facilities.
Campaign donors established 33 additional endowed scholarships, and added $23.5 million to endowment funds earmarked for scholarships.
During the campaign, total expenditures for faculty salaries rose by 36.6 percent and campaign revenues expanded support for faculty research and sabbaticals. By 2006, new funding had doubled the number of sabbatical opportunities for faculty from 11 in 1999 to 20. Named professorships were endowed in music, the classics, economics and biology.
Students benefited directly from campaign support as well. Student research funds increased by 30 percent, and in 2006, 156 students received College grants for research. A breakthrough gift from trustee David S. Barlow ’79 greatly expanded study-abroad opportunities for Bates students. An early campaign milestone was the $1.7 million endowment of the Donald W. and Ann M. Harward Center for Community Partnerships, which oversees service-learning and other programs that bring students into the community. The Harward Center honors Hansen’s predecessor, Don Harward, who led Bates’ active commitment to service learning and other programs that bridge the College’s partnership with the Lewiston-Auburn community.
Campaign gifts enabled Bates to begin work on three new facilities projects: a new dining Commons, the Bates Alumni Walk, and a residential village adjacent to Rand Hall. Donors made possible the renovations or repurposing of the Dunn Guest House on Mountain Avenue; the Marcy Plavin Dance Studios and Bert Andrews Room in Merrill Gymnasium; and the Little Room for student activities in Chase Hall.
“Choices for Bates”: A New Strategic Planning Process for the College
President Hansen also initiated and led a two-year strategic planning process involving faculty, staff and students that produced “Choices for Bates,” a plan issued in the fall of 2009 that focuses on achieving a range of key strategic initiatives by 2015. The plan calls for efforts to:
• Form an Arts Collaborative that will work across disciplines and campus/community borders to enhance and coordinate the vitality and visibility of the arts.
• Accelerate the faculty’s design of an integrated four-semester science and mathematics sequence for both science majors and non-science majors at Bates. With support from a Mellon Foundation grant, Bates faculty in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics are already working together on the redesign and integration of the science and math curricula.
• Create a “Learning Commons” to promote excellence, innovation, diversity and collaboration between in-class and out-of-class life.
• Extend within the student residential life program intellectual exchange beyond the classroom and strengthen students’ interpersonal skills.
• Offer specific activities to support teaching and learning about difference and diversity issues to help the community cultivate an ever- more inclusive climate.
In April 2010, Hansen announced that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation had awarded Bates a $150,000 grant to support development of three of these projects: the Bates Arts Collaborative, the natural sciences and mathematics initiative and strategies to advance learning in a residential liberal arts setting, including a Learning Commons, and the Diversity in Excellence project.
At the time The Mellon Foundation grant was announced, Hansen said, “Choices for Bates is not your typical strategic plan that advances goals, objectives and mechanisms for every area of the institution. Rather, through our planning process, we identified three specific initiatives, among many choices, in which we will invest right now. A college cannot sensibly grow by doing everything all the time. You grow and improve by making smart choices. Our faculty, trustees and community have found agreement in these three strategic initiatives.”
Categories: Elaine Tuttle Hansen.
Tags: Bates president.