Bowdoin College

The Bowdoin Advising program in Support of academic Excellence (BASE) is a targeted advising program for students who may be less prepared for the challenges of rigorous college-level academic work at a highly selective and academically challenging liberal arts college. 

Format

  • Audience: 30 first-year students, selected based on possible challenges in transition to college, including factors such as:  lower socio-economic status, first-generation college students, coming from under-resourced high schools and racial/ethnic minority groups.
  • When: Yearly commitment for selected first-year students
  • Frequency: Faculty advisors participate in a two day summer workshop to learn how to work with students in the BASE cohort; they also meet 3x/semester to support to one another in the area of advising.  Students meet with advisors on a regular basis (weekly or bi-monthly), attend workshops and journal on reflective prompts that are used by advisors for discussion purposes.
  • Approximate Number of Participants: 30 students
  • Focus of Program: This program attempts to support student transition to college and enhance pre-major academic advising by working with 10 faculty each year (a new cohort is selected each year) to offer training and support on creating strong and intentional advising relationships.

Funding and Operations

The approximate cost of the program is $15,000.

  • Operations: The $15,000 operations includes primarily additional compensation faculty receive for participating in this program ($1400). This program is run through the joint efforts of the Dean of First-Year Student (located in Student Affairs) and the Faculty Liaison for Advising (located in Academic Affairs). A student liaison is a key connector for students and how they begin to think about their sense of belonging at Bowdoin. 

Description

The Bowdoin Advising program in Support of academic Excellence (BASE) is a targeted advising program for students who may be less prepared for the challenges of rigorous college-level academic work at a highly selective and academically challenging liberal arts college.  This program works to create a coherent, consistent and rigorous program of first-year academic advising, while simultaneously providing content and structure (college skills, workshops on navigating the college and its expectations) and developing resilient students who learn how to interact with and seek personalized advice from faculty.  Self-reflection and goal-setting are continuous themes throughout the year-long program for first-year students. Another goal of the program is to increase faculty knowledge, skills, interest, and motivation in providing strong support to students whose transition to college may be a challenge. 

History

The Bowdoin Advising program in Support of academic Excellence (BASE) came about from a proposal that was put forth by the Working Group on Academic Preparedness (2008-2009) and further developed by the Working Group on Advising (2009-2010).  Both committees agreed that in many ways Bowdoin lagged behind a number of other similar institutions in providing focused programming to enhance the academic experience for students who attend under-resourced high schools.   Previous research also recommended that colleges and universities seeking to improve success rates for underprepared students craft a developmental education program.  The BASE program was piloted with the Class of 2014 and has occurred every year since that time, now running in its 5th year. 

Recommended Resources

Please refer to downloadable materials on top right of the page.

Administration/Operations

The approximate cost of the program is $15,000, most of this going to additional compensation faculty receive for participating in this program ($1400). This program is run through the joint efforts of the Dean of First-Year Student (located in Student Affairs) and the Faculty Liaison for Advising (located in Academic Affairs). A student liaison is a key connector for students and how they begin to think about their sense of belonging at Bowdoin. 

Assessment

In the five years that the program has been in place, we have tracked students in two ways.  First, we consider how students are performing academically and whether these students are likely to be up to academic action (probation or suspension).  Since BASE’s start, students who participate in this program are less likely, than a comparison group, to be up to academic action.  In addition, we have begun to look at how this group of students begins to consider leadership across campus.  This is a group that historically has been less likely to engage in leadership opportunities.  We are beginning to see track the likelihood on whether this group is likely to begin to participate in residential life, leadership in student activities (such as student government, volunteer groups, or political groups), judicial board membership, peer health or other student led activities that occur on campus.  The longer the program continues the more likely we are to think about evaluation and success as more a factor of belonging and engagement at the College, over the more objective criteria of grade point average.