Bowdoin’s first-year students are busy getting oriented to their new home in coastal Maine – but what about new faculty members? They’ve got their own orienting to do: this year’s New Faculty Orientation, hosted by the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs on August 27-29, welcomes 35 faculty members (including tenure–track professors, visiting faculty, and postdoctoral fellows) representing disciplines from across the College’s curriculum.
“We’re so excited to finally see all of you in one room,” said Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd at the opening of the orientation in Cram Alumni House. “You’re a distinguished group of people, and you’re joining a distinguished group of people.” Among the impressive crop of newcomers are scholars such as Assistant Professor of Psychology Hannah Reese, who comes to Bowdoin from Massachusetts General Hospital with a doctorate in clinical psychology from Harvard, and Assistant Professor of Philosophy Kristi Olson, most recently on the faculty at Stanford, who will be teaching a course titled “Logic” to Bowdoin students this fall.
The lineup also includes several distinguished visiting faculty members. As this year’s Coastal Studies Scholar, filmmaker David Conover will teach a fall course titled “Seashore Digital Diaries,” exploring digital multimedia as a tool of inquiry on the coast. The renowned Latin Americanist Joseph Tulchin will be teaching a fall course on Latin American-U.S. relations. Historian Frances Gouda, who comes to Bowdoin from the University of Amsterdam by way of Harvard, is serving as director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program during her two-year appointment at Bowdoin; her course offerings this fall will include a first-year seminar on race and gender in colonial Asia.
Noting that “the standard for faculty at Bowdoin is excellence,” Dean Judd explained that the orientation introduces newcomers to the information and resources that will support them as they pursue that excellence in their teaching. The first day’s activities offered an overview of the College’s academic program and teaching environment, including a panel discussion with veteran Bowdoin professors Manuel Reyes (Mathematics), Collin Roesler (Earth and Oceanographic Science), and Peggy Wang (Art History and Asian Studies); a presentation by Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster on what it’s like to work with Bowdoin students; and a lunch with President Barry Mills.
Next on the docket was an academic and college resources fair in Daggett Lounge, during which new faculty members had the chance to speak with representatives from Information Technology, the Registrar’s Office, Human Resources, the Library, the college bookstore, the Museum of Art, the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, the Center for Learning and Teaching, the McKeen Center for the Common Good, and the Digital and Computational Studies Initiative. “This has been great,” said Sarah Mak, visiting assistant professor of government and Asian studies. “It’s really helpful to see all of the things that Bowdoin has to offer.”
And there’s still more to absorb before classes start: Day 2 of orientation will be a chance for the newly appointed faculty members to get involved in an in-depth discussion with their colleagues about teaching at Bowdoin, and Day 3 will provide additional training for those faculty who are teaching first-year seminars this fall. As they put the finishing touches on their syllabi over the next several days, Bowdoin’s newest professors will continue to have opportunities to get to know their colleagues through breakfasts, an afternoon potluck, and – of course – the College’s annual Convocation on September 3. “What you’ll discover at Bowdoin is that you’re really becoming part of a community,” Dean Judd said.