Orientation, first days, who you’ll meet, and what you’ll see back at Bates

_JHU1990_a copy copyWe listened to you and learned a lot from last year, and we are making changes in how we communicate with you.

These changes are meant to ensure that student input, participation, and collaboration are at the core of shaping all aspects of student life.

With that in mind, I hope this information is helpful.


This year, all first-year students will arrive on the same day: Monday, Aug. 31. They will engage in Orientation activities on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading off on AESOP trips on Thursday.

The plan to have the class arrive on the same day — rather than in three waves, of AESOP, varsity athletes, and the balance of the class — was proposed last year by students, faculty, and staff on the Orientation planning group.

I want to thank this year’s AESOP directors, Jordan Cargill ’16, Sasha Lennon ’16, and Natalie Silver ’16, for expanding the already wide-ranging AESOP program so that we can include more students than ever before in this valuable experience.

Student Affairs Staff

Three new deans have joined the Student Affairs team this summer: Associate Dean for Campus Life Kim Trauceniek, Assistant Dean for First-Year Programs Carrie Murphey ’06, and Assistant Dean for Accessible Education and Student Support Abigail Nelson.

As you return to campus, please help welcome Kim, Carrie, and Abigail to our community. If you want to put names to all the faces in Student Affairs, check out the Student Affairs staff page, which has updated bios, photos, and contact information.

Convocation and Opening Days

Our Declaration.inddThe Common Reading for the Class of 2019 is Danielle Allen‘s Our Declaration, a new look at how the Declaration of Independence was created and how it continues as a living document, inviting each new generation to grapple with what equality and liberty mean to Americans.

We are honored that Allen will come to campus on Sept. 8 to deliver the Convocation Address.

While the Common Reading is aimed at first-year students, I hope that you will consider joining the campus-wide conversation about the book, and we encourage you to attend Convocation to hear Allen speak. (You can purchase a copy through this well-known Maine vendor.)

Campus Culture and Student Life

During my first year as dean of students, I learned how strongly you feel about the campus community and your opportunities for a range of experiences over your four years here, and I know that you want to be front and center in shaping those experiences.

With that in mind, students served on the search committees for each new position in Student Affairs and in the Orientation planning group. Students had a big role in last year’s major improvement in student communications: the creation of Bates Today, the successor to Announce.

This year, students will continue to participate on a wide range of standing committees that are part of shared governance at the college. In addition, two active efforts that began last year will continue their work in the fall — the Campus Culture Working Group and the Institutional Planning teams.

In both cases, students are represented on each committee and team. This fall, these groups will regularly solicit ideas and feedback from students and the entire Bates community as recommendations are developed.

Please stay tuned. You will have many opportunities this fall to think about what matters to you most about your Bates experience and what dimensions of student life and culture we need to strengthen.

What You’ll See

After a challenging winter, the construction crews have made great progress this summer on the two new residence halls, at 55 Campus Ave. and 65 Campus Ave., which are set to open in fall 2016.

A recent “topping off ceremony” gave us a chance to celebrate that progress and, specifically, the conclusion of steelwork on the project.

With the buildings looking more “real” every day, it’s fun now to look ahead to what students will experience in the new spaces. Students have served on planning groups and participated in focus groups for the new residences, and during 2015-16 students will be invited to offer input about certain finishing touches inside the buildings.


Students forge strong, positive relationships with Bates adults both inside and outside Student Affairs. Still, as students and faculty have said, there’s room for improvement in the area of student advising.

As we know, students receive their primary academic advising from First-Year Seminar instructors and academic major advisors.

Beginning this year, you will have additional and complementary advising support. Specifically, each student will have a Student Support Advisor — a go-to Student Affairs staff member who will be available to you to provide personal support and supplemental academic advising.

Carl Steidel, associate dean for student support and community standards, is working on this program, and he will provide more details in the coming weeks.

See You Soon

Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the summer, and we all look forward to welcoming you back to campus for the new academic year.

All my best,
Josh McIntosh