these positions among those willing and able to asstjme them. Chairing a major
committee is considered a significant demand on a faculty member's time, for
which some reduction in course load is made. The suggestion has also been made
that these posts receive additional compensation.
For students, staff, and faculty, committee work is part of the educational
process; individuals bring their skills and energies to the College's work,
teaching and learning with each other as the work of governing our conmunity is
The number or existence of committees is not sacrosanct at CQA. We do speak
of "standing conmittees," but these "stand" largely because their functions have
been recognized as essential for a long time. Conmittees come into being as
needs arise that cannot be dealt with by any existing committee. The President,
the Trustees, or the ACM have all suggested the formation of various conmittees
in the past, and will probably continue to do so in the future. It is both
customary and politic to include members from all campus constituencies when a
new committee is formed. Following is a listing of the committees and their
areas of concern: (Further details may be found in the College Handbook . )
Personnel . advisory to the President, designs and conducts searches for new
faculty and staff according to College policy and affirmative action/equal
employment opportunity guidelines; reconmends appointments to the President, who
submits them to the Executive Committee with his recommendation; reviews
performances of all faculty and staff members and recommends contract renewals
where appropriate; develops policy on conditions of employment, which are
published in the Personnel Manual : helps to determine personnel priorities in
consultation with other appropriate bodies; and is also concerned with employee
Academic Affairs oversees the curriculum to determine strengths or weakness
in the development of new curricula; and recommends short-term course additions
to provide additional breadth to the curriculum.
Review and Appeals Board , a subcommittee of Academic Affairs, considers
student proposals for independent stucfy and final projects, petitions for
exceptions to requirements, and vtnusual requests for credit (retroactive, etc.).
This subcommittee also receives and reviews appeals for reconsideration of any
other decisions regarding a student's academic work.
Library advises the Director of the Library on policies and procedures,
program planning, and the identification of issues relating to library operation.
This committee reports to the Academic Affairs Committee.
Internship . a sijbcommittee of Academic Affairs, reviews and approves
internship proposals and evaluations for credit and considers questions of
internship policy. This conmittee also reports to the Academic Affairs
Campus Planning and Building , advisory to the Director of Buildings and
Grovtnds, coordinates campus planning and development; considers all physical
changes to grovinds and buildings; allocates space and construction priorities;
and establishes policies for the regulation of grounds use, housekeeping
maintenance, traffic and parking, energy use, and storage.
A new subcommittee, the Grounds Committee , was established in the spring of
1985 to plan for long-range development of the College's spaces outside the
Student Affairs Coinniittee formulates and reviews policies affecting student
life other than academic concerns, including student use of facilities and
equipment, orientation, advising, dining services, housing, and student
employment; contributes to general student morale; and oversees publication of
Off the Wall . The active arm of the Student Affairs Conmittee is the Student
Activities Committee , which coordinates student-run extracurricular events
(concerts, workshops, dances, parties, etc.) and allocates the student activity
fee. The Student Affairs Committee seeks to identify factors affecting the
qtiality of student life and then recommends policies and services to meet student
Admissions . advisory to the Director of Admissions, establishes criteria for
admissions; reviews the qxoalifications of individual applicants; and makes
decisions on vhether or not to admit. This committee, because of the necessary
confidentiality of admissions material, does not conduct open meetings; however,
menibers do include students .
The All College Meeting (ACM) operates on a set of rules that has been
laboriously worked out to clarify its fijtnctions . In the fall of 1983 the rules
underwent a substantial revision so that the ACM would not be reviewing decisions
made under existing policies. Consequently committee minutes are not voted upon
at ACM; instead, they are simply presented for informational purposes. This
helps the committees to respond to College program and development needs in a
timely fashion and to avoid unnecessarily reploughing old ground. Issues that
have received substantial community discussion and have been resolved cannot be
reopened except as noted below.
Suggested policy changes (as stated in the Handbook ) are normally proposed
and developed by the appropriate conmittee or individual. However, they are
presented at ACM to allow for public conment and participation in any revisions.
If further discussion seems warranted, a public dialogue is scheduled. Dialogues
are scheduled on alternating Wednesdays, when ACM does not meet. Their function
is to provide an open forum for the discussion of issues related to the proposal
before the ACM. Two weeks after initial presentation, and following a dialogue,
proposals are presented for final vote. The voting rules have recently been
changed to read, "Abstentions are not considered negative votes, so a minority
cannot pass a proposal. Major and minor policy changes must be approved by 2/3
and 1/2, respectively, of those voting; people may vote only Aye or Nay; and at
least 50 members of the community must be voting." Proposals may be defeated, in
which case they may be taken back for revision, but they cannot be reopened for
discussion at that time. An approved proposal may not be reopened except by
petition of at least 15 community members, and then not until a later meeting.
Steering coordinates the All College Meeting. As such, it sets agendas;
maintains minutes; chooses and trains moderators; sees to the availability of
adequate background information; evaluates the ACM on a regular basis; and ser^/es
as an educational forxm for community members with special interests in
democratic decision making.
Administration of Instructional Programs and Educational Policies
College of the Atlantic's interdisciplinary philosophy precludes academic
disciplinary departments. Indeed, ovir focused cvirriculum and small size also
obviate the need for departments. The faculty and administrative staff work
together to avoid the division between teaching and non- teaching staff members
that is troublesome at many institutions.
Changes in educational programs and educational policies , once formulated by
the appropriate committee, are considered by the entire College community in an
ACM. This mechanism appears to generate a very high level of support for the
programs and policies with which COA is working, as shown by the great continuity
in these matters since the beginning of the College.
Considerable effort has been expended in the past few years on the
refinement of core requirements for the degree. The core cimriculum was adopted
this year by the ACM and is described fully in the chapter on Academic Program
and Instruction. These efforts reflect our conviction that there is a common
body of knowledge and key concepts that should be shared by everyone with a B.A.
in Human Ecology.
The development and coordination of new ideas frequently takes place in
general faculty meetings, as well as in separate meetings of the faculties of the
three resource areas. Further descriptions of these and related issues of
curriculum planning, policy, and evaluation appear in the Academic Program
Appraisal and Projection
The outline of responsibilities and authority in COA governance is generally
clear and reflects an understanding and acceptance of the governance system as
outlined in the Personnel Manual and in the governance statement of the Board of
Trustees of May 16, 1984 (TVO . The Steering Committee for the All College
Meeting conducts an orientation to the governance system for new sUidents at the
beginning of each new term.
In order to understand the success with which the system seems to be
working, and to respond to concerns raised by the visiting team in the 1984
focused self-study, the persons responsible for preparing this section of the
institutional self- study interviewed faculty and students during the current
academic year. The purpose of these interviews was to assess perceived
institutional needs, the level of satisfaction with the system's functioning, and
general morale. (The notes from the interviews are available in the Team
Faculty, staff, and students continue to express a high level of support for
the objectives of the governance system as an educational tool and a mechanism to
ensure democratic participation in the administration of the College. Put
another way, the on-campus constituents feel that their need to be involved in
decisions affecting their daily lives is well served by the present governance
system, especially in personnel matters, academic planning, and, to a certain
extent, in other conmittees.
The desire of the faculty and students to be involved in the governance
system appears to stem not from a distrust of the administration but rather from
a belief that it is essential to take an active political role in the governing
of one's own life. For this reason, faculty and students express their very
strong support for the committees as a component of governance and
adminis tr at ion .
The committees charged with major tasks and chaired by members of the
faculty (Personnel and Academic Planning) require substantial amounts of time and
effort, and it is to these positions that attention has been directed to evaluate
work loads, compensation, and alternative methods of performing the tasks. In
the 1984 focused self -study, concern was expressed that there was a relationship
between committee responsibilities, a feeling of being overworked, low morale,
and suspicions of administrators. The report read as follows:
"General siispicion of tÂ±ie administration, extensive administrative duties by
faculty, either individually or in committees with staff and students.
Frequently this has been done without compensation or reduction in course load
and has potentially a number of undesirable consequences.
"1. Faculty are spread too thin, and the danger of burnout and
deterioration of morale is very real.
"2. False notions of what is involved in successful administration, and
conveyed and presumptive misgivings of professional administrators such as
presidents, are encouraged."
In the recent survey, faculty and stiodents were asked to consider these
statements and to comment on morale generally, as it relates to governance and
administration. The interviews were open-ended and no attempt was made to
perform statistical operations on the responses. Rather, the general impressions
conveyed are reported here and represent a very broad consensus .
Faculty expressed widespread support for the President and the
administration, and cited many specific changes which have contributed to
improved morale since the previous self-study. These included:
(1) The President's efforts to enhance the reputation of the faculty, the
curriculum, and the College mission in the eyes of the Trustees and the
larger community of educators;
(2) The construction of a new classroom, laboratory, and office building;
(3) Marked enrollment growth;
(4) The formation of a salary subcommittee of the Board of Trustees to plan
salary increases; and
(5) The continued development of a staff who have the confidence and
friendship of the faculty.
Virtually all faculty repeated three concerns mentioned in the 1984 self-
(1) A need for salary increases;
(2) A need for greater support for their work in terms of office space and
secretarial assistance; and
(3) Additional recognition or compensation for chairing a major committee.
Many suggestions were made and discussed among faculty and the
administration during the 1986-87 academic year for dealing with faculty
concerns. Marty- of the suggestions and concerns have already been met, as noted
students interviewed also expressed the general opinion that student morale,
vis-a-vis the goverriance system, was high. The feeling was expressed by several
students that there were no issues of real substance dealt with in the ACM during
the 1986-87 academic year. This is likely due to the fact that the committees
The apparent satisfaction with the governance system should not, however, be
seen as student complacency. There is a strong feeling among students that more
opportunities need to be created by the College to provide outlets for sUidents'
activist interests regarding the environment.
In terms of the concerns about governance and morale as expressed in the
previous self -study, there is a generally good feeling about the system and its
provision of an educational experience, a reasonable opportunity for democratic
participation, and a reasonably efficient administrative mechanism. The few
faculty who chair major committees and who have felt overworked by their
responsibilities know that their concerns are shared by others in the
administration and that methods for alleviating the problems are being
ACADEMIC PROGRAMS AND INSTRUCTION
Throughout the many changes the College has experienced in the last several
years, its mission has remained unchanged: to offer a multidisciplinary, liberal
education rooted in an ecological view of the human condition. This focus on
Human' Ecology has guided the development of a unique degree program s-ince the
College's inception. COA's academic program is designed to educate "human
ecologists," and to prepare them to make significant contributions to an
increasingly complex and changing global community.
Since tiie devastating fire of July, 1983, and the accompanying enrollment
decline and loss of physical resources, the College has been blessed with a
series of successes: a restored library collection,, a thriving presidency,
increasing student enrollment, a professionally productive faculty, the awarding
of significant FIPSE and Title III grants , construction of new science and design
facilities, and State approval of our Teacher Certification Program. Each of
these has enhanced the effectiveness of our academic programs . The regrowth of
the College has allowed expansion of the faculty and of certain academic
programs, as well as the opportunity for long-term planning in the context of
growing enrollment projections and restored campus facilities.
I. DEGREE REQUIREMENTS '
The degree requirements for a Bachelor of Arts in Human Ecology incorporate
studies from the three resource areas of the College: Human Studies,
En\7'ironmental Science, and Arts and Design. Existing degree requirements have
evolved through community -wide discussion and represent a strong consensus
regarding the shape of an education in human ecology. The degree requirements
I. A minimum of 36 credits, 18 of which must be from College of the
Atlantic. Credit -bearing work must include the following:
A. Human Ecology Core program (7 credits)
1. Successful completion of the team- taught Human Ecology Core
2. At least two courses in each of the three resource areas.
Each course used to satisfy this distribution requirement in
a given resource area must be from a different faculty
B. Participation in a student -designed Group Study (1 credit).
C. An internship of at least one terra in a job relating to one's field
of interest or occupational goals (3 credits).
D. A three -credit final project.
II. No-credit Requirements
A. Participation in some aspect of College or community service, such
as committee work or advising.
B. Completion of a Human Ecology Essay that
demonstrates competence in writing and relates
one's development as a human ecologist.
In the process of satisfying these degree requirements, students are
expected to gain competence in the following eleven areas that are viewed as
important components of an education in Human Ecology (these areas are discussed
in more detail in the Handbook ) :
1. Foundational Mathematics
2. Nonverbal Expression
3. Manual Competence
4. Systems Comprehension
5. Physical Systems
6. Living System
7. Cultural systems
8. Values and Consciousness
9. Perceptual Acuity
10. Health and Nutrition
11. Oral Communication Skills
Students are not required to demonstrate formally acquisition of these
competencies; instead they serve as guidelines for competence as a human
II. CURRICULUM OFFERINGS
The faculty is grouped into three main resource areas: Human Studies,
Environmental Science, and Arts and Design. Course offerings are suggested by
faculty to the appropriate resource area, with academic planning coordinated by
the Academic Affairs Committee. Faculty members have strong interdisciplinary
interests and many course offerings span disciplines within and between resource
areas; in addition, team teaching enhances the multidisciplinary character of
many courses. The decision not to organize the faculty into more traditional,
disciplinary departments has been a conscious one; the lack of departments
encourages an integration among disciplines that we see as fundamental to the
human ecological perspective.
The Human Studies resource area covers the greatest number of disciplines in
the curriculum; its ten faculty members offer courses in Education, Philosophy,
Public Policy, Economics, Government, Psychology, Women's Studies, Anthropology,
and Writing and Literature. Human Studies represents a pivotal point in our
curriculum in Human Ecology, emphasizing the importance of an understanding of
human nature as the core of a liberal education. The newly approved Teacher
Education Program is also part of this resource area.
Environmental Science integrates the physical and biological sciences in an
exploration of the earth's systems. This resource area has six faculty members,
whose areas of expertise include zoology, botany, marine biology, oceanography,
chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Programs in this resource area emphasize
living systems and their relationships to the environment.
Arts and Design currently has five faculty members offering courses in fine
arts, art history, structural design, architecture, landscape design, and urban
planning. Arts and Design emphasizes hands-on problem solving in the built
environment and the need to integrate theoretical and technical understanding
with studio experience.
The Human Ecology Core Program
In the fall of 1983 the College's degree requirements were strengthened to
include: (1) participation by all students in a Human Ecology Core Course, and
(2) an expanded resource area requirement.
The Human Ecology Core Course is a one -term, team- taught course introducing
students to a multidisciplinary approach to hxjman ecological problem solving.
Taught by a rotating group of faculty from the three resource areas, the course
examines issues central to understanding the human condition and its relationship
to the natural and human- modified environment. In past years, the class has met
once a week as a large group for a lecture presentation, and a second time each
week in smaller discussion groups to review readings and lecture material
revolving around a central issue. In 1987-88 the faculty is experimenting with
alternative formats for the Core Course following a review of the Core Program in
The resource area distribution requirement is designed to help students
become familiar with the methodology and perspective of each of the three areas
and to incorporate this perspective into their own work. By taking a minimum of
two courses from different faculty in each resource area, students are introduced
to the faculty and to the contributions that different academic disciplines make
to a fuller understanding of human ecology. Students work with their advisors to
choose the most appropriate courses to satisfy the resource area distribution
Program Areas â– -.â– ..' ' â– *^
With the help of faculty, staff, and student advisors, each student develops
a multidisciplinary plan of study. Eight Program Areas, described in the College
catalogue, have emerged as particularly well suited to our curriculum, faculty
expertise, and student interests. These thematic programs are: Marine Studies;
Public Policy and Social Change; Education; Fine Arts; Environmental Design;
Writers in Their Environment; Consciousness and Culture; and Environmental and
Students vrtiose plans of study do not fall easily within one or two of the
programs identified above are aided in the development of a Program in Self-
Directed Studies . Sample profiles of past students ' programs are included in the
College catalogue as guides for current students in developing their own
particular focus of study. The faculty is currently preparing a "User's Guide to
the Curriculum" (TW) that more thoroughly describes the opportunities available
in each program area and lists courses most appropriate for inclusion in
particular plans of study. As curriculum and faculty strengths change, the
adequacy of academic support for formally recognized programs is reviewed;
adjustments are made in their scope and description as appropriate.
A conscious effort is made to teach writing across the curriculum, and many
courses include a writing component. Through courses, independent studies,
tutorials, senior projects, and the Writing Clinic, the writing program serves
students at remedial, introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. Entering
students are given a writing assessment test to determine which writing course
will be most appropriate in each case. Writing class size is limited to 10-12
The Writing Clinic gives students access to undergraduate writing tutors,
who provide assistance on course -related writing assignments and work
individually with students having writing problems. These undergraduate tutors
are supervised by a faculty coordinator. An important measurement of a student's
writing ability is the Human Ecology Essay, a graduation requirement in which the
student explains his or her sense of human ecology.
Tutorials and Independent Studies
The formal COA curriculum is limited in the range of advanced courses it can
offer due to the College's small faculty and student body size. Some ad'/anced
topics that would not regularly attract a minimum class size of six students are
offered as tutorials- -focused programs of study designed and guided by a faculty
member with expertise in a particular subject and offered for up to five
interested students. New tutorial proposals are reviewed and approved by the
Academic Affairs Committee and subsequently offered at the discretion of the
concerned faculty member.
Independent Studies allow students to develop single -credit, one-term
activities to explore topics not necessarily treated in formal courses or
tutorials. To conduct an independent study, the stiodent first identifies a
qualified sponsor from the faculty or the surrounding community and prepares a
written proposal outlining a study plan, inclioding a reading list and criteria
for evaluation by the sponsor. Independent study proposals are reviewed for
approval by the Review and Appeals Conmittee no later than the first week of the
term during which studies are undertaken. The Independent Studies Program has
been enormously successful in broadening educational opportunities for COA
students; almost all students take one or more independent studies and 15-30 are
elected each term.
All students are required to participate in at least one Group Study, a
student- initiated, one-term project allowing a group of five to ten students the