September 2, 2021 | New Family Orientation Webinar

The following panelists participated in the Academics at Bates new family orientation webinar on Sept. 2, 2021:

  • Steve Engel, Professor of Politics and Special Assistant to the Dean of Faculty
  • Malcolm Hill, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty
  • Lisa Hardej, Associate Dean of Students for Accessible Education and Student Support
  • Grace Coulombe, Director of the Math Stats Workshop and Acting Director of the Academic Resource Commons
  • Bridget Fullerton, Acting Director of Writing at Bates
  • Pat Schoknecht, Vice President for Information and Library Services
  • Mary Meserve, Registrar

A summary of written responses to questions submitted by participants is below.

Many resources mentioned in the webinar are available to students all year via Lyceum. Please keep pointing your student to this detailed resource.



Are the [First-Year Experience] workshops required and organized through the FYS or are they just available as a resource?

The FYE workshops are connected to the FYS, so the FYS instructor is a guide to help students complete all six. But, they are fully accessible to all first-year students to watch, re-watch, and engage with. It is recommended that students complete all six by late November, and FYS faculty integrate them into their FYS with that timeline in mind.

I saw that Calculus 1 was recommended for first-years who have not yet had Calculus. Would Logic be a good substitute for Calc 1 for a student who is not planning on a STEM major?

There are a variety of QF or Quantitative and Formal Reasoning courses that are available in the curriculum that are not necessarily Math courses or Calculus 1. For example, Logic in the Philosophy department or a variety of Economics courses or statistic courses in Psychology, Sociology, or Politics are all tagged as QF. I encourage your student to work with their FYS instructor/pre-major advisor to identify a QF that works for them. Also, it is recommended that students complete their 5 Mode of Inquiry courses prior to their junior year, but there is no rush to get them all done in the first year.

If your child is interested in taking a math class but not sure where to start, you can send them to the Math & Stat Workshop to talk to Grace and/or Andee about possible courses to consider to satisfy the Quantitative and Formal Reasoning.

Can you explain about modes of inquiry requirements? My student was unable to get into a course for his major and was counseled to try instead to satisfy a mode of inquiry?

This resource might help supplement Steve’s live comments on the modes of inquiry:

My student got 2 classes and FYS. Do they need a 3rd class, and could you talk about drop/add?

Yes, students do need to take 3 courses to be a full-time student. Their advisor or SSA can assist.

What is the last date a student can drop a class? What is the last date that a student can make their grade Pass/Fail?

The last day to drop is Oct 22. The last day to make a course pass/fail is Sept 14. They can change a pass/fail grade back to letter grade through Oct 22.

My student’s Chem 107A class is pretty big for a liberal arts college; do you subdivide it into smaller recitation sections to give students more support?

There are no recitation sections for Chem 107. Rather, they are subdivided into smaller groups for their weekly lab sections. Chem 107 is one of the courses for which we embed Course-Attached Tutors (CAT). The CAT attends class to support the active learning in the Chem classroom. Additionally, the CAT provides a weekly help session outside of class. Currently, CATs have polled the students regarding their availability and are identifying times for the evening help sessions. Information will be provided to students in class and via email regarding when the scheduled help sessions will take place. Lastly, we do have drop-in tutors available in ARC to help students who stop by without an appointment.

Please explain in summary how the pre-med program works?

In addition to Malcolm’s remarks, you may find this helpful:

What is offered in terms of a pre-law track?

Here are the Purposeful Work resources Steve noted:

Academic Resource Commons (ARC)

How difficult is it to schedule appointments [for ARC resources]?

ARC opens for support starting on Monday [Sept. 6, 2021]. We strongly encourage students to drop by in-person to have someone at our front desk help them to navigate the appointment system. Alternatively, students can make appointments online using this link:

What hours are ARC resources open?

You can find the hours for ARC and the Writing & Language Center at

Similarly, the Math Workshop hours are found at

Student Support Advisors

Have the students met their SSA [Student Support Advisor] yet?

Students should have received an introduction email from their SSA with information about how best to connect with them.

How are students referred to Student Support if an apparent need arises or is observed by faculty?

We use a communication system called BatesReach. Faculty will raise a flag if they are concerned about a student, and the Student Support Advisor will follow up directly with the student to offer the necessary support.

Accessible Education

If students had an educational support plan in high school (ie for dyslexia, extended time on testing, etc) is any of this transferable at Bates?

We will look at the 504 or IEP as a guide point for understanding what have been helpful accommodations for a student in high school but will adapt the student’s accommodations for the college setting. We take each student’s situation individually and engage in an iterative and ongoing process with the student around which accommodations may be appropriate given barriers they are encountering due to their disability.