Bates Community Letter: Fall 2022
Dear Members of the Bates Community,
Now that the fall semester is underway, I write to share a few thoughts about the year ahead.
It has been such a joy to see — actually see — your smiling faces as we have plunged into the new academic year. From the arrival of the Class of 2026 with their loved ones and their “stuff,” to the faculty settling into their new spaces in the rejuvenated Dana Hall, to encounters with colleagues in virtually every corner of our campus, these past few weeks have brought a palpable energy back to Bates.
I sincerely hope that we can maintain the pleasure of being in community throughout the year. While COVID is still with us, we enter the year without having it as our shaping concern, as it has been for too long. I look forward to the luxury of being able to concentrate our energies on what we are here to do — provide our students with the opportunity for a life-transforming education.
While there are lots of reasons for excitement as we begin the academic year, below are some updates and areas where we will focus our attention.
Class of 2026. We formally welcomed the 520 members of the Class of 2026 at a rainy Opening Convocation on Sept. 6, but the day’s gloomy weather did little to dampen the spirits of these eager, enthusiastic, and deeply talented new students. The Class of 2026 is one of the college’s most diverse ever, with 67 percent coming to Bates from outside New England; 29 percent identifying as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC); 12 percent who are first generation to college; and 10 percent who are international students. Forty-four percent of students in the class are receiving institutional need-based financial aid, and 13 percent are Pell grant recipients.
- Maria Mendoza-Bautista, Associate Dean and Director of the OIE
- Ray Grant, Assistant Dean for First Generation and Bobcat First Programs
- Dri Huber, Assistant Dean for LGBTQ+ Programs
- Mana Abdi, Program Coordinator
- Shaula Edwards, Program Coordinator
The OIE team has already welcomed this year’s Bobcat First cohort and hosted the campus community at an open house in their temporary home at 96 Campus Avenue, which is serving as swing space during the renovation of Chase Hall this year. Please take time to drop by if you haven’t already.
New members of the senior team. We begin the year with two dynamic new leaders on the senior staff — and the search for a third underway. Tracey Reeves joined us earlier this month as our new vice president for communications and marketing, bringing a wealth of talent and experience in communications as both a journalist and a leader in higher education. Eric Foushee, who has been a leader in the Office of College Advancement since 2014, has succeeded Sarah Pearson ’75 as vice president for college advancement. I am thrilled to welcome both Tracey and Eric to Bates’ senior leadership team.
This fall, we have re-launched the search for Bates’ next vice president for equity and inclusion (VPEI) with a reconstituted search committee, as the search last spring did not result in a successful hire. Most members of the original search committee have returned, some former members did not return because of leaves or other commitments, and we are pleased to be joined by four new members. I want to thank Marcelle Medford and Julisa De Los Santos for their excellent leadership as co-chairs of the search committee in the spring. Senior Associate Dean of Purposeful Work Allen Delong is serving as chair of the current committee, and we held our first meeting on Sept. 7. We continue to work with the search firm WittKieffer to identify interested and qualified candidates for the VPEI role. Our goal is to bring finalists to campus in November, where there will be opportunities to meet with campus colleagues in various settings. If you have questions regarding the search or input you would like to share, please write to email@example.com.
Center for Inclusive Teaching and Learning. As Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Malcolm Hill announced earlier this month, Bates’ Center for Inclusive Teaching and Learning is now open for business at its home in the newly renovated Dana Hall. If you haven’t already stopped by, I encourage you to attend one of the remaining open houses on Sept. 22 (8 a.m.) or Oct. 4 (12 p.m.) to meet CITL Inaugural Director Lindsey Hamilton ’05. The mission of the CITL is to “promote student success by supporting faculty and staff educators through ongoing professional development, including work in creating reflective, innovative, and inclusive pedagogies.”
Campaign celebration. In June, Bates completed its largest-ever fundraising campaign, exceeding the $300 million goal and raising $346 million to support four priorities: driving academic excellence, investing in opportunity, catalyzing student success, and building financial sustainability. We will celebrate this accomplishment — the result of generous support from more than 19,000 members of the Bates community — with a gathering in Boston on Sept. 28 and a reception on campus later this fall. Faculty and staff are invited to join us in Boston and we are providing transportation from Lewiston to the event and back. More details about the campus celebration will be coming soon.
Campus revitalization. We continue to make meaningful progress in the work of transforming the facilities that support our mission. We enter the academic year with the excitement of having the Bonney Science Center well established and functioning brilliantly. Meanwhile, the second piece of our investment in STEM facilities — the transformation of Dana — is complete, with a ribbon cutting on Aug. 29.
Dana is essentially a new building on the inside that meets multiple goals. For our science curriculum, the new Dana Hall includes renovated general chemistry teaching labs and two new biology teaching labs, all of which reinforce a hands-on, research-intensive approach to science teaching. The new Dana also includes two 48-seat classrooms and one 36-seat classroom, changing the building from a chemistry-focused building to an all-campus asset, and improving our classroom inventory dramatically. Dana now also serves as the location of the Center for Inclusive Teaching and Learning, an electronics lab that will be useful for many departments and programs, and the Office for Environmental Health and Safety.
Meanwhile, it is hard to miss the significant project underway at Chase Hall. Renovations began in June 2022 and will be completed by August 2023, building on the renovation of the Den in 2012 and the Office of Intercultural Education in 2014, and the addition of Student Affairs office space and meeting rooms in 2019. The new renovations, comprising approximately 30,000 square feet, will create a hub of student-facing activity, bringing under one roof the Office of Intercultural Education, Center for Purposeful Work, Office of Campus Life, and Office of Residence Life & Health Education, plus a number of other Student Affairs staff who work with a broad range of students, clubs, and activities.
Finally, we continue to work on upgrades in facilities across campus. Notable this year are important improvements in the Olin Arts Center and at two athletic facilities, the Russell Street Track and Campus Avenue field. You can follow the progress on Chase (and other projects) by reading Campus Construction Updates.
Presidential search. I shared with you in June that this academic year would be my last as president of Bates, and the process of putting together a presidential search began immediately thereafter. For obvious reasons, I am not part of that process, but I encourage all of you to take advantage of the opportunities the search will provide to participate in shaping a vision for the next chapter at Bates. I understand that a search website will be available soon. In the meantime, should you have questions or thoughts to share about the search, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing, I want to thank all of you who have shared a kind word, in person or over email, since I announced that I would be leaving Bates next summer. Your love for this college — in all that it is and all that it has the potential to be — gives me confidence that the year ahead is going to be a time of joy and progress on many fronts.