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Bowdoin College

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
255 Maine St
Brunswick, Maine 04011
(207) 725-3000
Email address
School Information
"Bowdoin College is historic. And selective. And rigorous. But most importantly, we were founded and endowed with the belief that there is something bigger than ourselves. What does it mean for a college to do the right thing? It means building a curriculum that stretches what’s expected of the liberal arts. A Bowdoin education brings context, history, integrity, and empathy to the world around us." (Source: h
General Information
In addition to providing Black Lives Matter "wellness" resources to its students, Bowdoin College has also expanded the scope of its "Common Good" program, allowing students to submit projects related to equity and anti-racism. Additionally, the College implemented a new academic requirement, the "Difference, Power, and Equity" requirement. The college also rolled out a DiversityEdu course "to establish a common diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) understanding..." for the "...entire Bowdoin community—students, faculty, staff, and trustees." Based on publicly available information, this training appears to be strongly encouraged, but it is not explicitly clear whether it is mandatory. See developments below:

Actions Taken

Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • The college rolled out a "baseline diversity course" supported by "DiversityEdu" which will work to "establish a common diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) understanding across our community" for all students, staff, faculty, and trustees.
  • The school said, "...the entire community of Bowdoin staff, faculty, and students has been engaging in a campus-wide, multipart curriculum to examine issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI. This semester, the College is specifically focusing on the persistence of anti-Black racism in US systems." The workshop offered at the beginning of 2021 "looked at the ways bias appears in our lives and workplaces, and covered a range of issues including racism, homophobia, religious discrimination, ableism, and ageism." The school is now partnering with the Racial Equity Institute "to offer multiple sessions of a three-hour workshop called 'The Groundwater Approach to Racial Equity.' The many sessions offered throughout the semester, and on different days of the week and times, ensure people can fit one into their schedules...The Groundwater Approach uses a slew of data and academic studies to draw an unassailable picture of structural racism in the US. It looks at the presence of racism in five broad areas: child welfare, health, juvenile justice, education (both achievement and special education), and economic development."
  • The McKeen Center will, "Adapt the Antiracism Volunteering Workshop to be used in trainings for student leaders and program participants."
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • The College renamed the "Explore Social Differences" requirement as the "Difference, Power and Inequity" requirement.
Disciplinary Measures
  • The McKeen Center, "Developed a protocol for reporting racist experiences in McKeen Center spaces and in the community."
Faculty/Staff Requirements
  • According to Campus Reform, the college made "diversity, equity, and inclusion training mandatory for coaches." The college also hired the "Institute for Sport and Social Justice to train its athletics department as part of a mandatory DEI training."
  • According to the McKeen Center, "Members of the Staff Committee have attended virtual conferences and participated in discussion groups and conversations both on- and off-campus around the topics of racism and antiracism, both broadly and in the context of higher education and community engagement."
  • The McKeen Center also, "Developed ongoing professional development initiatives for all McKeen Center staff including monthly all-staff meetings focusing on different elements of antiracism work as well as triannual staff retreats focused on action-oriented antiracism goals."
  • The McKeen Center will, "Edit job descriptions for professional and student staff to include antiracism and examine what existing work may need change to make room for antiracism work."
Program and Research Funding
  • “Common Good” grant program will accept applications for projects that relate to justice, equity, and anti-racism, among other subjects.
  • College fundraised to hire new Director of Multicultural Alumni Engagement.
  • The Office of Inclusion and Diversity is spearheading an "eight-session Social Justice Leadership Institute." The program is made to "educate student leaders in promoting social justice and equity...the College envisions this program as a holistic examination of systemic issues and communities while bringing together topics from prior workshops," according to the Bowdoin Orient.
  • The Times Record reports, "Bowdoin College’s Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good is opening its 2021–22 Common Good Grant application process. This year, community organizations may apply for a grant of up to $2,500 or for a $5,000 grant that may increase their impact on their constituents...This year’s Common Good Grant student committee commits to funding at least one qualified grant in each of the five following areas: justice, equity and anti-racism; arts, history, and culture; health and basic needs; adult and youth education and development; environment, agriculture and sustainability."
  • The McKeen Center will also be "hiring an Antiracism McKeen Fellow to assist staff in this work." By May 2021, "The McKeen Center hired three Antiracism Fellows who supported staff with projects related to antiracism as well as provided feedback on the department’s initiatives and evolving practices related to antiracism." The Center also "Created a paid Social Justice Fellowship for the summer of 2021."
  • The college will be offering, as part of its health and wellness program, Black Lives Matter and anti-racism programs/events.
  • The college’s museum of art hosted a webinar on “Protest Art and Black Lives Matter”.
  • The college will be administering its "first comprehensive race survey." The school said, "The survey will give participants a chance to report on how current diversity and inclusion programs at Bowdoin are working, and provide inspiration and ideas for future programs."
  • The college's McKeen Center for the Common Good will be revising its "learning goals to include antiracism," "identifying and building relationships with organizations doing antiracism work in local communities," "forming a staff committee who meet frequently to touch base on our goals and move them forward," and "auditing all of our programs to examine where racist policies or practices may currently exist."
  • The McKeen Center "Partnered with SWAG and the Student Center for Multicultural Life for the 'Race and the Criminal Justice System' series, which included two events in the fall: 'Race, Crime, and COVID-19' and 'On the Ground: A Panel on Criminal Justice Reform with Young Alumni.'" The Center also, "Hosted the first Antiracism Volunteering Workshop."
Last updated August 28th, 2022
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