Update from the Office of Intercultural Education

Dear OIE Community,

As we return to campus to begin the winter semester, I write with important updates from the Office of Intercultural Education (OIE).

First, Dr. Rachel Roberson, Assistant Dean of Educational Support Services and Director of the Bobcat First! program, has decided to leave her role at Bates, as she will be prioritizing time with her family during such a difficult period in the country. It is with a heavy, yet appreciative heart that I thank Rachel for coming to Bates during a pandemic, sight unseen. Rachel has moved us forward in immeasurable ways. From her work with Bobcat First! to her steadfast leadership in the OIE, Rachel has made many meaningful contributions to our community, improving the Bates experience for many students this past fall. While we are all sad to say farewell, I hope you will join me in wishing Rachel the best of luck in the next chapter of her career.

With Rachel’s departure, we have taken a comprehensive look at OIE staffing, hours, and services to ensure that we have a full team in place in the OIE for the winter semester. I am very grateful to my colleagues in Student Affairs for their help in identifying a group of current Bates staff who have a deep understanding of equity and inclusion work and expertise in student programming, advising, and support. Beginning Monday, Feb. 15, the following staff will join the team and be available for students in the OIE. Their specific roles are described below, and all will provide drop-in hours at the OIE, either in person or virtually.

Dr. Hoi Ning Ngai, Interim Associate Dean of Intercultural Education and Associate Director of the Center for Purposeful Work. Hoi Ning will be responsible for designing and implementing educational and community-building programs for BIPOC and first generation students in collaboration with Christina Davis. 

Christina Davis, Interim Associate Dean for Bobcat First and Intercultural Education. Christina will return to Bates and the OIE to manage all aspects of the Bobcat First! program, serve as a student support advisor, and work with the OIE staff team on program design and implementation. 

Curtis Johnson, Interim Program Coordinator and Associate Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Track & Field. Curtis will supervise the student employee team in the OIE and work with OIE colleagues to design and implement signature OIE programs. Curtis will also serve as an advisor and mentor to students, helping to facilitate connections to college resources.

Nick Dressler, Interim Assistant Dean of Intercultural Education and Assistant Dean of Students for Campus Life. Nick will be responsible for LGBTQIA+ programs and community-building, collaborating with Topher Castaneda, AmeriCorps VISTA, who will continue to provide LGBTQIA+ programming as he did this past fall, advising SPARQ mentors, and working with students in designing and implementing programming. Nick will also oversee OIE communications, including a weekly digest of OIE programs and services and maintaining the OIE website.

For more information about the OIE team, including bios and how to reach them, please visit the OIE Staff page.

Student Employees

We will continue to rely on our terrific student employees, including those who work at the front desk and library in the OIE, those involved with Bobcat First!, and SPARQ mentors. Our student employees are integral to the operation and success of the OIE.

Additionally, I will continue to hold office hours on a regular basis in the OIE and be available, as well, to students in my office in Lane Hall. 

I am grateful to my colleagues across the college who have come together over the break to make sure that the OIE is fully staffed for the winter semester, and I am especially grateful to the individuals in Student Affairs who will constitute the OIE team. I look forward to seeing everyone soon, as we work together to ensure a successful winter semester and a strong finish to the academic year.