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Bowdoin College Self-Study reports

 Record Group
Identifier: A01.29

  • Staff Only
  • Please use the Collection Organization section below to place requests.

Scope and Content

The collection contains self-study reports from 1956, 1976, 1986, 1996, and 2006. Also included are extensive committee and subcommittee records which were the basis of the 1956 self-study report, two folders of supplementary material for the 1996 report, and background material for the 2006 report.


  • Creation: 1953 - 2006

Access Restrictions

Some material restricted. Consult series description for specific information.

Use of Digital Collections

Digital materials may be used for research, educational, and non-commercial purposes without our written permission. For information about publication, visit our policies page or contact

Biographical/Historical Note

In 1955, the College published its first comprehensive self-evaluation report which was accepted by the faculty and governing boards with minor changes in 1956. Thereafter, with the exception of 1966, the College has conducted a self study every ten years in conjunction with the reaccreditation process. These reports are prepared for the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education: New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.

The first report, entitled "The Conservative Tradition in Education at Bowdoin College," was issued by the Committee on Self Study, a special faculty committee composed of a core group of faculty members. The purpose of this study was to validate Bowdoin's adherence to a conservative tradition in education. This report followed eighteen months of study in which almost all faculty members participated by serving on one of the many subcommittees. Several alumni and undergraduates also assisted the committee. While many factors initiated this inquiry, a significant one was the shift in administrations from the Hyde/Sills era. This comprehensive report focused on the following areas: the curriculum (i.e., requirements for the degree, rules concerning the major, etc.), admissions, the size of the college, student life and faculty affairs. Many of the recommendations were adopted.

In 1976, a second report was prepared. This report detailed the then current College organization and control, a curriculum review, faculty policies and practices, student enrollment and performance, financial reports and other statements and attachments. The 1986 report iterated new policies and procedures or reiterated old assumptions. For example, the by-laws of the College were revised in 1986; the report contains the new text. Also, program summaries, curriculum reviews, extra- and co-curricular activities, and detailed financial statements are included in the report. In 1996, a similarly comprehensive "state of the College" report was issued, detailing long and short term recommendations, with focus on the organization of residential life on campus. The 2006 self-study does not identify "areas of emphasis," but reflects on the College under the Commission's eleven standards. These standards are: Mission and Purpose, Planning and Evaluation, Organization and Governance, The Academic Program, Faculty, Students, Library and Other Information Services, Physical and Technological Resources, Financial Resources, Public Disclosure, and Integrity.


3.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Guide to the Bowdoin College Self-Study Reports
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288