President's Report 1998


Music Lab


Highlights of 1998-99 Major Goals

The Vision for Bates -- 15 Priorities for 2005

A Tour of Bates in 2005

Statistical Review of Bates College

Board of Trustees

  A Tour of Bates College in 2005

Using the Vision for Bates and the 15 priorities as a starting point, the Goals 2005 Steering Committee has developed the following glimpse of what the future could include for Bates in the year 2005.

The tour is meant to suggest possibilities and to provoke imaginative and creative responses. While it gives the direction in which we are heading, it is not a firm blueprint for already mandated changes. Some goals may be achieved by 2005; others will remain unrealized. Still other goals, not mentioned here, will emerge and replace some of what is now proposed.

To some readers, the details may appear pollyannaish; to others, they may look as though the College has not been bold enough. Our hope is that the tour will make you think about the future of Bates through the possibilities of particular examples. We hope it will stimulate discussion and your own imagination about Bates in 2005.

--The Goals 2005 Steering Committee

  • The Time: 2005, the College's Sesquicentennial.

  • The Occasion: Reunion Weekend.

  • The Tour: You are led by a Bates person steeped in College history and traditions -- an amalgam of sorts -- a 21st-century Jonathan Stanton or Harry Rowe.

  • People Heard Along the Way: Students, faculty, and staff.

Thanks for coming back to visit the campus. You'll find surprising changes, as well as the familiar, enduring Bates traditions. Some of the changes have come about because the overall educational world has altered. For students, choosing a college is far different now than it was when you were deciding to come to Bates. For one thing, the population of people who apply to colleges is gradually changing. Also, the educational choices are changing, such as the emergence of for-profit universities sponsored by large technology companies and other entrepreneurs. These schools have developed amazing capabilities for the convenient delivery of information, successfully employing multimedia technology and the Internet.

The Feel of the College

Heard along the Way:
I came to Bates three years ago because I wanted an environment that would foster gradually more intense and illuminating conversation and connection. I wanted mental flexibility and depth. I felt that this "liberation and connection" would give me better ways to deal with a challenging future. And I chose Bates because I felt that its open and egalitarian tradition would enhance this learning.
A student from Maine
beginning her senior year

So much remains unchanged about Bates. Especially recognizable is the character of the College. It is demanding and it asks much of its students and faculty. Bates remains a place where we care deeply about ideas and principles; we encourage their exchange and examination. Bates is friendly, unpretentious, and civil. We support scholarship and extol the qualities of our teachers and learners.

The unique culture of the College remains palpable and readily apparent, even to prospective students. Yet the Bates culture is elusive in that it defies easy, pat description. We continue to work at building a sense of community, while at the same time we are critical of our pace and our success. The Bates culture demands that we attend to individuals and their contributions to our community of learners. We know that this climate requires extra effort from us all, and we are willing to make that contribution to the "feel" of Bates.

Some things have changed, however. The College is more diverse than it was in the 1990s and before - in faculty, staff, students, and programs. Bates sees diversity as essential to its excellence. Bates displays this diversity in its leadership in international experiences and study, in the pools of talent from which our community is drawn, and in how we respect difference in access to financial aid and work opportunities. We support many expressions of how we value individuals and their contributions. The College wants to be a national leader showing how diversity can be connected to learning and academic excellence.

The College has also worked hard to increase the retention rate for students, faculty, and employees who bring that greater diversity. We provide programs and personnel needed not only to attract a diverse community to our campus, but to support that community. In addition to richer relationships among diverse individuals on campus, collaborative projects connect our students, staff and faculty to unfamiliar experiences. The collaborative programs with Morehouse and Spelman colleges, begun in the 1990s, have been supplemented with programs involving nearby public colleges and elementary and secondary schools.

You'll see quite a few more alumni around campus throughout the year, not just during special weekends like Reunion or Back to Bates. Students interact more often with alumni off campus, as well. We offer Alumni Colleges several times a year, both on and off campus. Alumni are a resource for academic courses, and they help out with internships, admissions work, and student job searches. The campus electronic network includes alumni, expanding communication and providing an ongoing relationship between alumni and the College.

If you look around the Lewiston/Auburn area, you'll find more evidence of the College's impact. We are into the first phase of our joint community redevelopment project with the two cities, concentrating on educational aspirations, economic and community development, and cultural alliances. Planners and city offices draw on the diverse expertise found among Bates faculty, students, and staff.

Besides the volunteer service efforts that now involve half the College, faculty and students are doing more service-learning in the area. Classes in environmental studies have jointly studied the potential effects of new plans for the Androscoggin River, learning not just the science but the issues involved in real-life implementation of environmental initiatives. The College has started an off-campus Center for Service-Learning in the recently renovated Bates Mill complex. We have expanded our presence in the downtown public theater. And you'll be glad to see that Campus Cutters is no longer the only commercial venture adjacent to campus. Students have been pleased by the codeveloped business district near campus that is beginning to offer student- and community-oriented stores and services.


Facilities and Resources for Learning

Heard along the Way:
I often go back to Pettengill Hall in the evenings to work on my psychology thesis. But when you go through the doors, you're not just entering some sort of forbidding classroom building. There's a lot going on. I'm just as likely to see and talk to a professor or a friend in the lounge as I am to pore over my research in the lab.
A senior psychology major
The appearance of the campus hasn't changed all that much, though many new trees have been planted, and the landscaping of the campus continues to be done with care and foresight. Lake Andrews was restored in the late 1990s, and the large outdoor Keigwin Amphitheater in front of Olin has been getting more use for theatrical and musical events.

Residential social life is no longer so divided from intellectual life. Students now have more places and more varied opportunities to socialize. Settings such as the Ronj, the Pub, and the Benjamin Mays Center function very well as small student centers. We are discussing on campus whether we need a new centralized campus center that could enhance campus life in specific ways. A campus center would take a huge commitment of resources, so the debate is over what kind of student center would be best, in combination with facilities that already exist on campus.

Completed in 1999, the new academic building for the social sciences and interdisciplinary programs transformed the campus. The larger features of the building (the Perry Atrium with its striking views) and the nice, smaller touches (the ever-favorite coffee cart) have made the building yet another popular gathering place on campus, a crossroads that encourages student-faculty interaction both in and out of the classroom. The kaleidoscope classroom is a popular venue for large classes and for smaller ones that want to take advantage of its space for multiple small groups and its sophisticated technical facilities. Thanks to the building's open design (the atrium, balconies, departmental lounges, and other spaces are all suitable for informal meetings) we have also seen a remarkable growth in interaction among the disciplines.

The buildings that became available when the new academic building was completed have found new uses following a thorough process of campus discussion and consideration of needs. Student activities such as WRBC and The Bates Student now occupy the wood-frame houses where department offices used to be. Libbey Forum, elegantly renovated and no longer a campus advertisement for bad classroom and working space, now holds the cocurricular learning center and offices supporting internships, student research, service-learning, and study abroad. Coram Library has been restored as an attractive public space for the College library and as a special venue for students working on their thesis projects.

Off campus, the Shortridge research facility adjacent to the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area on the coast accommodates 24 students for research and groups of 30 to 40 for retreat functions. The facility has opened up many new ways of incorporating fieldwork into classes and research. We are also beginning to use it for some of our Alumni College functions.

Other changes, just as important, aren't apparent from the outside. We have renovated Schaeffer Theatre and enlarged the storage and gallery space at the Bates College Museum of Art. Lane Hall, too, has been renovated to improve services in Development, Alumni Relations, and the Dean of Students offices.

There are far fewer parking spaces in the center of the campus, and these former parking areas have been reclaimed as green space. A cross-campus walkway extends from College Street, past Lane Hall and the new academic building, to the athletic facilities. We'll be moving the football field soon to a new location off Russell Street, and the old football field will become a Quad area. We've built a new track and field facility and renovated the tennis courts. We have made handicap accessibility improvements, as well.


Opportunities for Learning

Heard along the Way:
A senior thesis is the intellectual equivalent of an Outward Bound course. With a faculty member as your coach and guide, you push yourself to the intellectual limit. You test and hone your critical abilities, and you sometimes have to retreat and regroup, before advancing again. When you emerge from this experience, you are not only confident of your intellectual abilities, but you have advanced them to a superior level.
A senior just finishing
her thesis defense

After an intense but inconclusive debate on General Education requirements in the late 1990s, the faculty instituted changes in the weekly schedule and the academic calendar that encouraged experimentation in teaching methods and class structures. The changes support new approaches to first-year seminars, and student advising and senior projects have become central to the student experience. All students conclude their time at Bates with a thesis or senior project, where they define an issue, assess possible means of resolution, and carry the project through.

We've achieved greater integration of off-campus experiences, internships, service-learning, and independent projects. The distinction between curricular and cocurricular is becoming more blurred. The number of explicitly interdisciplinary courses has grown, and there is more team-teaching than there used to be. We've seen a modest increase in the number of interdisciplinary programs and secondary concentrations, though the major curricular emphasis has been on strengthening existing majors and programs while encouraging interdisciplinary approaches.

Faculty and students give more attention to the implications and practical relevance of what they teach and learn. Science faculty members structure their laboratories as much as they can to involve student discovery, even at the introductory levels. We are also seeing a growing involvement of students in research in the social sciences and the humanities.

As the curriculum has become more varied, advising has become more important and effective. The College has developed new programs to train advisors, and advising overall is a more integral part of a faculty member's responsibilities and a much more interesting form of teaching.

We've long known that learning occurs in many ways in and out of the traditional classroom. Many of these learning experiences - service-learning, research, off-campus study, internships - emphasize the connections among many fields of knowledge. Recognizing this fact, advising at Bates is now a serious and sustained personal and intellectual interaction between faculty and students. Particularly for students who have declared a major, advising has moved from just paperwork, technical degree requirements, and obligatory signatures. At its best, advising takes on the character of a tutorial, an opportunity for students to think through their expectations of undergraduate education.

The faculty's decisions to create new configurations of the campus calendar now permit some courses to be longer than a semester, some shorter. This versatility allows experimentation and effectively makes use of faculty time and expertise.

The three study-abroad centers, collaboratively operated by Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby, begun in the late 1990s, enroll nearly 100 students from each campus. The centers are located in Ecuador, South Africa, and England. A fourth program in China is being established. Besides semester- and year-long study-abroad opportunities, the centers also provide bases of operation for shorter visits. Faculty take groups of students to the centers for brief intensive stays during Short Term and semester breaks to examine specific issues in the field, such as environmental concerns in China, or literature and drama in Great Britain, or archaeology or political changes in Latin America.

On campus, many students view their out-of-class activities not so much as extracurricular, but as a part of education that can transform their lives.


Supporting Those Who Teach and Learn

Heard along the Way:
Few things are more educational in our global environment than interacting with different cultures while traveling. I've been encouraging everyone to take part in education that allows the student (we are all students!) to get to know the intimacies of a place and people. These experiences are essentials as we move forward into a time where people across the world are connected by information.
A junior student returning
from a study-abroad semester.

Thanks to some generous grants from foundations, we have been able to increase support for faculty research even above the substantial amounts that were added in the late 1990s.

Faculty have found interesting new ways to connect research to their teaching, but they have also embarked on exciting research projects not so immediately connected to class work. Bates research often leads to databases and research reports available on the Web, so Bates is becoming a familiar destination for academic Internet travelers. Now in place is an enhanced competitive leave program for faculty scholars, allowing them to spend up to an entire year pursuing research and participating in scholarly communities necessary for excelling in their work.

A Mellon grant in the late 1990s permitted Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby to develop technology links for language study, library service and video conferencing. The three colleges are beginning to share some of their teaching resources, as well as using the system to connect to resources around the world.

Four years ago we developed a strategic plan for technology on campus. This helped us target our spending on technology and support efforts. The campus computer network has become increasingly important for communication and learning. Faculty and students have invented some very successful ways of using the Web, e-mail, and other computer communications to increase interaction.

One effect of increased flexibility is the growing recognition that the traditional definition of student workload as four courses a semester was too rigid. The single course was turning into many different kinds of learning experiences, not all of which fitted the old frames. Advisors and students now work very closely together in crafting an individual student's academic program.

New styles of work have also inspired new discussions of the definition of faculty workload. Time pressures on the faculty have risen because of increased thesis advising and more in-depth student advising. In addition, the demands of administrative work (departmental and college-wide) and ongoing professional service have also increased. Adding a faculty member's intense desire to maintain research at a high level, and it became clear that we needed to change the definition of faculty workload, just as the traditional definition of student workload was revised two years ago.

You might wonder how we've been supporting these changes. So, now we'll do the numbers. The College has achieved and maintained a 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. We have increased endowed professorships to a total of 25 (from 17 in 1998), including the Johnson Foundation Professorship and the Phillips Professorships.

To avoid growth in the administration, we have maintained the 1998-99 level of administrative support and program support personnel. Financial full-time equivalence growth from 1995-96 to 2004 5 totals no more than 4 percent. The primary growth areas included technology support, faculty and teaching support, and financial-services support.

Our planning has improved since we adopted a five-year operating budget and a system for regular and early review of all capital budget projects and projections.

By steady efforts, we have increased the Annual Funds by 7 percent per year. We have achieved 55 percent alumni participation, as well as dollar targets. We have set an objective of achieving a $350 million endowment by the conclusion of the 2005-06 fiscal year. We will have achieved that level of growth through significant fund-raising achievements and by having 10-12 percent average growth of the endowment per year.

Through endowment growth, cost management, and increased annual giving, we are close to reaching a fee dependency level of between 65 and 67 percent. Fee increases have tracked anticipated consumer price index increases; the long-term objective has been to average no more than 1.5 percent above annual CPI. We have controlled the overall growth of financial aid, while achieving a support level sufficient to meet the financial aid needs of our anticipated mix of students.

With great fanfare and recognition of all our achievements, we recently entered a multiyear comprehensive campaign, coordinated with the Sesquicentennial celebration of the College's founding, to raise $150 million.


Bates: The Residential College

Heard along the Way:
Schools fitting the traditional image of a small, residential, liberal arts college make up less than 5 percent of today's higher-education institutions. Bates stands proudly in this minority, for we recognize that our core values can only be fully realized in an environment where living and learning are not forced into separate compartments.
A Bates admissions counselor
The heart of a college -- and of Bates -- is its students and their lives together. Their experience gives a college its personality, its charisma, its internal fire.

In a national educational environment where the majority of students are now over age 26, Bates still works primarily with traditional 18- to 22-year-old students, students who are often in a difficult and bewildering transition between youth and adult life. Learning and interactions that go on outside the classroom and after hours are at least as important as those within the classroom walls. Much that is central to Bates -- the community spirit, tolerance and openness to new ideas, and the process of personal growth and exploration - takes place informally in the dorms, in the atrium, in the Ronj, on the athletic fields, and in campus organizations.

Although students may come and go from various off-campus programs, Bates remains first and foremost a residential college, with more than 90 percent of its students living on campus. Students are seeing themselves as part of a community of learning, a perspective reinforced by the curriculum and varied approaches to teaching, including the expectation of collaborative or group efforts. Sharing common values, students and faculty have, after long debate, agreed to institute an academic and social honor code. In the debate about the code, we decided that having a code fitted in with features of the College that had attracted us here.

More than 60 percent of the students continue to be engaged in competitive athletic programs, equally provided for men and women. Coaching is more and more seen as education that affects a student's whole life. In every program, those who coach and those who participate expect to compete and grow. Their achievements are celebrated on campus and beyond, and recognized as a central part of learning.

Many alumni would argue that much of the personal growth and development they experienced at Bates took place not because of any tangible formal programs offered by the College, but because Bates provided them with excellent facilities and a unique environment in which they could discover and explore their own potential and limits. As a residential community, Bates seeks to do much more than to impart knowledge or to grant formal certificates of learned skills. It works to develop and to learn with students who are full participants in and who accept responsibility for learning in all of its many aspects.


The imaginary tour has concluded; now, you can provide the next steps.

Please join us in this exercise, because you, too, are part of the future of the College.

Be reminded, there is no fixed grand scheme. While the College must respond to changes and must take advantage of what it does well -- strategic planning allows us to create a general and shared view of our future, in which we find ways to translate the "forward imagining" of the campus community into actual projects, achievements, and remarkable excellence.

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