Distributive policy

Why Bowdoin’s new transfer credit policy is important

Burton-Little House, Bowdoin’s admissions building.

The incoming group, which comes from across the country, “adds to the diversity of the incoming class – which is already the most diverse in the College’s history,” said Dean of Admissions and Student Aid Claudia Marroquin. .

Students can attend Bowdoin with established credits due to new policies passed by an overwhelming majority of faculty (76-2) last spring. All students can now transfer credits from associated universities, whereas it was an exception before.

One of the reasons this happened is that we decided to look at all of our policies through the lens of DEI – diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Dean of Academic Affairs Jen Scanlon. “When you do that, you discover things you may have overlooked in the past.”

The previous policy, which only formally allowed credits from four-year institutions, was rooted in the idea that earning a Bachelor of Arts from Bowdoin requires a high level of academic rigor. But this had the effect of placing students at a disadvantage and closing Bowdoin to a diverse pool of gifted students whose academic endeavors were marked by significant rigor.

In addition to the change affecting transfer students, the faculty voted to give current Bowdoin students the option, if they are on leave, to take community college classes off-campus. The faculty also adjusted the College’s credit equivalency rules so that one semester course credit elsewhere is equivalent to one semester course credit here.

“While the ramifications of the policy change allow us in admissions to admit students from a wider pool,” Marroquin said, “it also means that current students, if they take sick leave for example , can enroll in a community college”. For some, these institutions are not just a more affordable option, they are sometimes the only option if they live in a rural area, she added.

The decision to accept credit from associate degree programs has become more common in four-year colleges and universities. Scanlon said the change at Bowdoin is exciting and should make the community proud. “We may not always be the leader in DEI work, but if we are committed to reviewing policies and fostering best practices, we will make the College a better place,” she said.