Team and History

In May 2013, President Clayton Spencer convened a working group of Bates faculty, staff and students to “develop a conceptual case for ‘purposeful work’ as a core concern of the liberal arts and to create a plan for a specific set of steps we will take as a college to translate that commitment into action.”

The Purposeful Work Working Group met bi-monthly through May 2014, culminating in the release of their Purposeful Work Final Report.

Download Final Report (PDF)

Over the next two years, the Bates College Purposeful Work Design Team focused on program design, evaluation and implementation of the working group’s recommendations. The Design Team is supported by a Purposeful Work Advisory Board, a group of faculty, staff and students who meet on a monthly basis.


Purposeful Work Design Team Members

Rebecca Fraser-Thill, Director of Program Design, Purposeful Work

Rebecca Fraser-Thill headshotRebecca Fraser-Thill has been a faculty member in the psychology department since 2003 where she focuses on identity development and meaning in life. She was an original member of the Purposeful Work working group before becoming the inaugural Director of Program Design for Purposeful Work. Rebecca’s thinking about meaningful work, job crafting and career decision making has been shared widely, including in The Huffington Post, HuffPostLive, The Maine Policy Review and The Georgetown Review. She holds a Master’s degree in developmental psychology from Cornell University and is a Pivot method certified career coach.


Marianne Nolan Cowan ’92, Associate Director of Program Design, Purposeful Work

Marianne Cowan headshotMarianne has been building bridges between Bates people since she came back to campus in 2000 to work as a young alumna. After 14 years fostering Bates alumni and parent relationships through volunteer programs, events and fundraising, she is thrilled to be connecting many of the same loyal Batesies to new opportunities to enhance the curriculum and co-curriculum through the Purposeful Work initiative’s Practitioner-Taught Short Term courses, Infusion Project, speaker events, and more. A French major at Bates, Marianne also holds a Master’s degree in French language and literature from The University at Buffalo.


Purposeful Work Working Group Members (convened May 2013-May 2014)

Co-Chairs:  Darby Ray, Michael Sargent

Lead Staff:  Christina Estabrook

Faculty:  Rebecca Corrie, Rebecca Fraser-Thill, Rebecca Herzig (Spring, Summer 2013), Emily Kane, Nathan Lundblad (Summer, Fall 2013), Robert Strong, Paula Jean Schlax, Mara Tieken, Thomas Tracy, Crystal Williams

Staff:  Ellen Alcorn, Jeremy Cluchey, Marianne Cowan, Colleen Coxe, Kent Fischer, David McDonough, Kevin McHugh, Christina Patrick, Carl Steidel, Megan Taft

Students:  Tenzin Namdol ’15, Caroline Richards ’14


Purposeful Work Advisory Board Members (convened September 2014-present)

Faculty: Ryan Bavis, Rebecca Fraser-Thill, Margaret Imber, Emily Kane, Michael Murray, Darby Ray, Tom Tracy

Staff:  Ellen Alcorn, Marianne Cowan, Julisa De Los Santos, David McDonough, Josh McIntosh, Christina Patrick, Kelsy Ross

Students:  Maya Cates-Carney ’16, Kate Moody ’17