approach has often fallen short in helping us to establish long-term goals and
objectives. Various techniques (such as five-year plans, strategic planning, and
college-wide evaluation and planning exercises) have been employed to fill this
gap. Discussions of these techniques and their results can be found in the Self-
Study Reports of 1975, 1979, and 1984. (Copies of these reports are available
in the Team Workroom- -hereafter TW.)
In October of 1984 the then Board Chairman, Dr. Thomas Hall, and the
President, Dr. Louis Rabineau, recognized that the Self -Study Report of 1984
lacked a unifying statement that would set out long-range goals for the College.
Two factors had contributed to a lack of a ijnifying statement:
(1) The fire of Jxily, 1983, had diverted the attention and energies of the
College community from long-term plans to the more immediate issues that needed
to be addressed in order to restore programs, facilities, and services disrupted
by the fire.
(2) The unexpected death of a much-admired faculty member and changes in
administrative leadership that resulted in a new President, a new Board Chairman,
and a new Director of Admissions, made long-range planning difficult to
accomplish during the transition period of 1983-84.
The plan drafted by the Chairman and the President, "College of the Atlantic
Addresses its Problems: The College Three to Five Years from Now," was preceded
by intensive study and consultation with faculty and key administrators. It
addressed the measures that the College needed to take to ensure its survival as
an institution. This plan included steps calculated to increase enrollment,
achieve a balanced budget, and stimulate curriculum development over the 1984-88
period (TW) .
Since the development of that plan, the President has led the community in
working to achieve its stated goals and to address the problems noted in the 1984
focused Institutional Self- Study and the final report of the Visiting Team. This
document is a report on those efforts. The steady increase in enrollment, the
stability and continuity of executive leadership, the tightened fiscal controls,
and a long-term projection for curriculum growth are all suggestive of the strong
progress we have made.
Late in 1986 there was a sense that the community needed to develop a
process to continue work on the measures outlined in the 1984 plan and to extend
campus -wide planning to areas not covered by the governance committees. As a
result, the President asked the Library Director to coordinate long-range
planning at the College. Shortly thereafter, discussions between the new Board
Chairman and the President led to Board approval to use the Institutional Self-
Study of 1987 as a vehicle for long-range planning.
In October of 1986 the U.S. Department of Education awarded COA a Title III
grant of $591,000 over a three-year period to enable the College to strengthen
its academic and administrative capacities. A good portion of that money was
dedicated to upgrading administrative and academic computer resources and to the
development of an Office of Institutional Research. (A copy of the Title III
grant proposal is available in the Team Workroom.)
Since the Title III grant was awarded, initial steps have been taken to
establish the Institutional Research Office and new computer hardware and
software have been provided to the administrative offices . These new
capabilities have contributed significantly to the planning efforts that have
taken place as part of the self -study process.
Monies from this grant have also allowed the College to make extensive use
of outside evaluators and consultants. Among the consultants who visited the
campus in 1986-87 were: Dr. Thomas A. Emmet, Higher Education Executive
Associates, Inc. (personnel policy and governance stucture) ; Dean Roger Campbell,
University of Denver (admissions and marketing); Dr. Vernon Howard, Har'/ard
School of Education (environmental education program); Mr. Sydney Tickton,
Academy for Educational Development (long-range planning); and Dr. R.obert FLamsey,
formerly with the Texas College and University System (institutional research).
While the process followed during this last year has resulted in a host of
accomplishments, many of which were long overdue, it can only be undertaken on
such a grand scale every five to ten years in connection with a major
institutional evaluation. The College is ciorrently examining the possibility of
using an existing group to take over the coordination of the planning work now
being done by campus committees and administrative units. This group, the
Administrators and Chairs , meets regularly and includes representation from
campus committees and the student body (who are represented by the All College
Moderator and the editors of Off The Wall , a weekly student newspaper). Such a
broadly based group, working in concert with the President, can synthesize the
efforts of the College's various constituencies and, we hope, coordinate
strategic planning with the implementation of plans and community review. In
the fall term of 1987 , the Administrators and Chairs group is expected to
recommend some action on this matter to the President.
The largest and perhaps the most important task ahead in the further
development of long-range planning is to complete establishment of the
Institutional Research Office. A secretary has been hired for this office and
has begun to gather data. With the assistance and guidance of Robert Ramsey (see
above) , she has entered on our computer system couple te records of all courses
taught at COA since 1973, as well as records on student enrollment, faculty
biographical information, and the results of a student -re tent ion study. Plans
are currently under way to hire a Director of Institutional Research, who will
complete the task of identifying the additional information needed to form a
complete institutional database. We hope that once an institutional database is
established, the Director will then be in a position to alert the College to the
implications of enrollment and financial trends and to provide important
information to the Board and the governance committees.
ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNANCE
Board of Trustees
At GOA there is a clear awareness of the legal power of the Board of
Trustees, a power granted by law to assign personal and fiduciary responsibility
for the corporate entity and its actions and their consequences . Such authority
and responsibility give the Trustees an obvioias concern with the conduct of
affairs at the College. Yet the Trustees recognize that their role is not to
oversee the day-to-day management of the College. Consequently, as stated in the
Board's May, 1984, policy statement on governance, the Trustees have vested
primary responsibility and authority in the President for administering the
College in accordance with the policies and directives of the Board. (See the
By-Laws of the Board of Trustees in the Appendix.)
The Board of Trustees discharges its major responsibilities at four meetings
a year. This quarterly meeting schedule was established in 1984-85. The annual
meeting of the Corporation and Board is held in the summer.
Between meetings of the full Board its powers are legally delegated to an
Executive Committee in the manner described in the By-laws. The President is an
ex officio member of both the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee . In
practice the Executive Committee acts on all appointments ; approves the granting
of degrees; reviews, with the Finance Committee, annual budgets for submission to
the fxill Board; and generally serves as a consultative body to the President on
any aspect of College affairs that concerns the Board.
As specified in the By-laws, the Board of Trustees makes final decisions
with respect to the acquisition, improvement, and sale of real property; the
annual budget; all contracts and financial obligations incurred by the
Corporation; all professional appointments to the faculty and staff; and the
awarding of degrees. The Board also oversees fundraising activities and various
aspects of long-range planning and development. Beyond these functions the Board
has a decisive role in policy making and in the general development of the
College. By ctastom and conviction the Board encourages the development of
decisions through a process of wide democratic participation, balancing this goal
with the requirements of effective college administration.
Further integration of the Trustees with the community is achieved by many
close and friendly contacts with staff and students - especially among Trustees
who spend part or all of the year in the Mount Desert Island area. Several
members of the Board serve on College standing committees , including the Building
Committee and Library Committee, ad hoc committees, task forces, and self -study
groups. They also attend and participate in the bi-weekly All College Meeting
(ACM) . Members of the Board have also taught courses in their respective fields ,
and from time to time visit classes given by the regular faculty members.
These formal and informal relationships between many Board members and the
College community greatly facilitate the Board's understanding of the progress
and problems of the College. It has also allowed the major constituencies of the
College (Trustees, administrators, alumni, staff, faculty, and students) to
develop a uniquely open and collaborative system of governance. This
intermingling among the College's constituencies is viewed as a major benefit.
It makes the wide variety of interests and professional expertise of the Trxistees
available to the College and at the same time provides the Trustees with a clear
and informed basis for their decisions.
The Administration '" . ' '
The administrative work of the College may be divided into three types:
(1) that which supports, on a daily basis, the operation of the College;
(2) that which is required on an infrequent or periodic basis; and
(3) that which is aimed at changes in policy, programs, or the mission of
The daily operation of the College is generally the charge of individual,
full-time administrators who report to the President. Through these
administrators, the College provides services that are required by law and/or are
essential to operations.
Administration required on a periodic or infrequent basis may also include
services that are desirable but not of sufficient priority to have the attention
of a full-time administrator, or which benefit from a sharing of perspective and
workload, such as the review of admissions applications and admissions decisions.
These tasks are generally carried out by committees . All committees carry out
some routine administrative work at their regularly scheduled meetings; the
nature of the work is indicated in the descriptions of the functions of each
committee provided below. Frequently committee responsibilities are advisory or
stqjportive to those of an administrator, providing support in the accomplishment
of routine work, as is the case with the Admissions Committee. At other times,
connnittees help to ensure a dialogue between individual administrators and the
College community when new directions are being considered.
In developing new policies, programs, and institutional directions, we
encourage menibers of the COA community to contribute their opinions prior to the
adoption of such changes. The committees, ha\dng broad representation (as
indicated below) , generally coordinate "public" participation in the first
stages. Moreover, committees are suited to an open-hearing approach. The fact
that the committees do not operate on a daily basis means that more time is
usually required for the accomplishment of tasks than would be necessary for an
individual administrator with independent powers.
The preceding two paragraphs describe the relationship of the committees to
individual administrators . Such a committee system provides for democratic
participation and at the same time allows services to be provided in a context of
limited resources. A distinction is made between administration and governance.
Administrators and committees have full responsibility and authority to carry out
their tasks under existing policies when they are "administering." Policy
changes, on the other hand, are a governance matter in which the entire College
community participates. Even so, proposals for policy changes are usually
developed by the pertinent committee or administrator.
The responsibilities of the principal administrative officers are outlined
in job descriptions that may be found in the personnel files; they are further
outlined in the Personnel Manual . Personnel policies for administrators (with
the exception of the President and the Vice President, who serve at the pleasure
of the Board of Trustees) parallel those of the faculty, except with regard to
length of contracts. Faculty contracts may be granted for five-year periods
after two initial contract periods of two and three years each. After 1985, all
administrative contracts, with the exception of the Library Director, are for
The Personnel Committee conducts all contract reviews. These reviews are
aimed at improving performance and noting strengths and weaknesses. Every
attempt is made to provide a supportive and positive review procedure without
eliminating the possibility of termination, should it prove necessary.
Administrators are recruited utilizing AA/EEO search procedures as outlined in
the Personnel Manual (TW) .
The President has general responsibility for overseeing the effectiveness of
the administration of the College and for providing leadership. In particular,
the President takes responsibility for fundraising, budgeting, the appointment of
chairs of the committees, recommending staff and faculty to the Executive
Committee, and developing the College's institutional advancement functions. In
general, the President is the main link between the Board and the rest of the
Authority over the functioning of the College is therefore in the hands of
the President. As the College's chief administrative officer, the President
represents the Board of Trustees and implements its policies and directives . The
President has the responsibility to take necessary administrative actions for the
good and welfare of the COA community. As noted above, the policy of the Board
is to have decisions reached through a process of wide democratic participation,
balancing this goal with the requirements of effective college administration.
The President is expected, under a wide variety of circumstances, to delegate
authority to the All College Meeting (ACM) or to committees; however, certain
functions in particular must stay within the President's purview.
Most important, the President, by the power vested in him by the Board of
Trustees, has direct responsibility and authority for budgetary management;
institutional advancement (development, public relations, recruitment); long-
range planning and evaluation; and administrative organization. In dealing with
these subjects, committees and the ACM serve in an advisory capacity to the
President. Decisions on hiring, promotions, dismissals, and employment policies
other than those affecting the President are made in consultation with the
In exercising the functions of administration and leadership, the President
also has the responsibility to represent the College and its mission to the
general public; to recruit a supportive body of Trustees, friends, and visiting
scholars; and to maintain a collegial and collaborative atmosphere in the College
community. The President's primary objective is the promotion of high academic
standards in the teaching and study of human ecology.
The President is formally advised by the principal administrative staff and
the committee chairs at regularly scheduled meetings, by the All College Meeting,
and by freqiient informal consultations with the comraunity at large through an
For ease of description, most of the College's administrators can be divided
into three categories:
those primarily concerned with internal academic matters,
those concerned with internal, non- academic matters, and
those concerned with external matters.
Administrators for Academic Matters
The Provost is the chief academic officer of the college. As such, he works
closely with the President to coordinate academic and administrative activities
of tiie College. The Provost often serves as the President's designee on
committees or for other internal or external functions.
The Director of the Library supervises the library staff in acquisitions
processing, interlibrary loans and circulation, prepares and administers the
library budget, evaluates collections, and provides instruction to stxidents and
faculty in research and reference methods .
The Registrar maintains all academic records and transcripts , manages
registration and academic scheduling, and reports enrollment data. She
participates in any academic probation hearings and related conferences.
The Internship and Career Services Officer administers the internship
program, and provides career services for students and alumni.
The Dean of the Faculty acts as spokesperson for the faculty, is responsible
for issues concerning facility morale and development, schedules, chairs, and
prepares minutes of faculty meetings and retreats, and serves on the Academic
Administrators for Non- academic Matters
The Director of Housing. Special Programs, and Governmental Relations is a
new position, effective in the fall of 1987, when the former duties of financial
aid, student loans, and work-study are transferred to the Director of Admissions
and the duties of governmental relations are assvtmed. In addition to supervising
student housing, the sumner programs, special conferences and meetings, this
administrator will oversee grant proposals and other institutional matters in
which government agencies are involved.
The Director of Food Service manages the preparation of daily meals and
snacks during academic terms, prepares food budgets, orders food for daily meals
and special occasions, and supervises the kitchen staff.
The Advising Coordinator prepares and administers the advising budget, and
coordinates the advising pool and permanent advising teams.
The Director of Buildings and Grounds collects, researches, prioritizes, and
allocates all buildings and grounds work; serves as campus safety officer; and
handles buildings and grounds budgeting and purchasing.
Administrators for External Matters â€¢
The Vice President of Development and Public Affairs supervises the
College's fundraising program and all public relations activities. He has direct
operational responsibility for annual giving, the capital campaign, alumni
relations, publications other than those for admissions, and efforts to obtain
grants from corporate, foundation, and governmental sources. In all of these
efforts he is assisted almost daily by the President, and calls on other members
of the board, faculty, and administrative staff as needed. The Vice President is
assisted by the Assistant Director for Public Affairs who plans and in^lements
public relations activities according to priorities established by the Vice
President. The Vice President is also aided by the Assistant Director of
Development who helps plan and implement all aspects of fundraising, and by the
Director of Special Projects and Governmental Relations who supervises the summer
programs, special conferences and meetings, and oversees all grant proposals and
other institutional matters in which governmental agencies are involved. The
Vice President also works closely with the Alumni Coordinator who coordinates the
writing, design, and distribution of the COAA News , serves as liaison between the
College and the alumni board, and organizes alumni volunteers to assist with
marketing the College.
The Director of Admissions is responsible for that portion of the College's
marketing effort that is directed toward the recruitment of new students. He is
responsible for the College catalogue and other admissions -related publications,
for contacts with prospective students and their parents and guidance counselors,
and for the management of the entire admissions process - from inquiries and
applications throvigh visits and interviews to arrival and orientation. He is
assisted in the review of applications by the Admissions Comnittee. Effective
in the fall of 1987, the Director of Admissions will also become responsible for
financial aid, student loans, and work-study. The Director is assisted by the
following: the Assistant Director of Admissions (Fall 1987) who travels to
publicize the College to potential students, has major responsibility for review
of admission folders, manages the office's off- campus reception program, and
administers the College financial aid program, and by the Admissions Counsellor
who travels to publicize the College to potential students, reviews applications,
and serves as liaison between prospective students and College offices. The
Director also works closely with the Alumni Coordinator described above.
The Business Manager collaborates with the President and the Treasurer to
manage the financial affairs of the College. She works with the President in the
budgeting process , supervises the accoianting and purchasing systems , and manages
the short-term investment program. She is assisted by the Assistant Business
Manager who performs all non-computer accounting functions (student aid and
loans, grants, reconciling statements, handling accounts receivable, scheduling
bill payments) and handles office supplies.
Finally, during the suimier of 1987, a Director of Institutional Research
will be hired with funding provided by the Title III grant. Working closely with
the President and Provost, this individual will carry out research fundamental to
the effective operation of each of the above administrative areas . The
relationship of the above administrators to the President and a graphic
presentation of their duties appears on the Administration chart in the front of
this document .
Participation in the College's governance system is viewed as an important
part of COA's total educational experience.
Membership on the Committees
Membership on COA committees changes with some regularity. It has been
College policy to include individuals from each constituent group, with no stated
policy regarding the appropriate number of individuals from each group.
Committees determine their own membership needs based on a knowledge of the tasks
before them, and recrviit members from each community constituency by announcement
at ACM, posters on bulletin boards, and notices in Off the Wall . This recruiting
effort is aimed largely at potential student members. Faculty/staff membership
is usually determined directly by the committee chair and the President.
Students generally volunteer for committees and do not campaign or seek
election. We seek to involve all students in the governance system, and we
believe that all st\idents should have the opportunity to make a meaningful
contribution to committee work.
Faculty and staff membership on committees has been determined largely by a
willingness to serve and an interest in the matters with which the committee
deals. It is expected that all facial ty and staff will serve on committees, and
experience has shown that most 'do. Most committees are chaired by a faculty or
staff member, although committees have occasionally been chaired by students.
The ACM moderator is a student.
As stated earlier, membership on committees changes with some regularity.
The transience of students is an obvious factor. Further, the work is often
time-consuming and may compete for students' study time. Since we expect
students to perform "community service" to fulfill one of the degree
requirements, it is desirable that individual students not spend too many terms
on a committee, in order that others may also serve. Faculty and staff members
also rotate on and off conmittees , both to avoid becoming entrenched and to
familiarize themselves with other aspects of College policy and operation. To
chair a committee is viewed as carrying some power, so it is desirable to rotate