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Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation





Wednesday, September 6 - Friday, November 17

Wednesday, January 3 - Friday, March 15

Monday, April 1 - Friday, June 7

Saturday, June 8





The Board of Trustees 6

The President 7

Campus Governance 7

Standing Committees 7

All College Meeting (ACM), Community Forum, and Dialogues 9

Proposals 11


Academic Misconduct 13

Judiciary Hearing 13

Discrimination 14

Sexual Harassment 14

Alcohol 18

Smoking 19

Drug-free Workplace and Campus 20

Parking 20

Pets 20

Posted Materials 20

Recruiters 20

Recycling 21

Snow 21


Library 22

Writing Center 23

Career Planning 23

Audio-Visual Equipment 23

Computers 24

FAX 24

Photocopying 24

Housing 25

Food Service 25

Events and Space Use 26

Publications 27

Grants 28

Greenhouses and Gardens 28

Pottery 29

Laundry, Showers 29

Outdoor Equipment 29

Physical Activity 29

Counseling Resources 30

Medical Resources 30

Emergencies 31

Information, Mailboxes 31

Picture Boards 31

Telephones 32



College of the Atlantic is a small undergraduate college awarding a Bachelor of Arts
and a Master of Philosophy in Human Ecology. The college's mission is to foster
interdisciplinary approaches to complex environmental and social problems in the face of
rapid cultural change. The academic program encourages students to view the world as an
interacting whole by bringing together traditional disciplines through a unifying perspective
- Human Ecology.

This human ecological perspective can most effectively be developed through an
education that:

* encourages students to pursue their individual academic interests within the
context of a broad education in the arts, sciences, and humanities;

* promotes the acquisition and application of knowledge through internships,
independent research, and group study projects;

* offers a college self-governance system which develops active responsible
citizenship and collaborative decision-making skills.

This handbook is intended as a resource for all members of the college community, to
be used as a manual of policies and procedures for meeting these goals for education and
citizenship. It's a product of past years' work by Student Services Committee, Steering
Committee, and various staff members.

All requirements, guidelines, and regulations have evolved from lengthy discussions
among students and staff members and committees. Most are flexible; all are open to
change. All members of the community are encouraged to use the book as a basis for
discussion of any clarification or revision in the way things get done at College of the

Look in the 1995-96 COA Catalog for details regarding degree requirements, academic
program and planning, and registration and fees.




College of the Atlantic can trace its origins back to the Bar Harbor fire of 1947, an
economic disaster for a town that depended heavily on its seasonal residents. With
hundreds of summer homes in ashes, the town in 1948 began looking for ways to
revitalize its economy, and considerable thought was given to the idea of starting or
attracting a small school or college. Nothing came of this until the fall of 1968, when
James Gower, a Catholic priest and a native of Mount Desert Island, made the idea his

Distressed by the turmoil and spiritual malaise he saw on America's campuses, he
envisioned something he first called Acadia Peace College, a college with human values at
the center of its curriculum, an alternative to the political and educational tensions of the
late sixties. A man of vision and charisma, Gower soon acquired the support of Leslie
Brewer, a man of political and financial acumen, a businessman and community servant
who had long regarded a college in Bar Harbor as a sound idea. In late 1968 they formed
the Committee for an Island College; by July, 1969, the Committee had leased a campus,
the former Oblate Seminary, and expanded from five to fifteen members. The major
challenges facing this group were three: to communicate the college's purposes to island
residents; to obtain state approval; and to select and recruit a president.

From the beginning, Father Gower (strongly seconded by the scientists and educators
on the Board) was determined not to start "just another liberal arts college." In early 1969
the Board prepared a four-part statement of purpose for their embryonic institution,
supporting the liberal arts, ethical development, and community service and emphasizing
"ecological and environmental study within the college program." This emphasis, later to
be known as human ecology, committed the college to an interdisciplinary problem-
centered curriculum.

"It is the philosophy and purpose of the proposed college that the Arts and Sciences are
complementary and supplementary and best provide the scales on which the potential
graduate can weigh man's human and natural resources for their best use for future
generations. The student must be led to see creation as one unit, to be respected and not
merely exploited. Professional abilities and knowledge are not to be seen as ends in
themselves, but as opportunities to bring greater life to mankind."

The College's first president was Edward Kaelber, former lumber company vice
president and owner, and Associate Dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
When appointed he had recently returned from two years as head of the Harvard-USAID
project in Nigeria. Kaelber took office in January, 1970, with the first Secretary of the
College, Ann Peach, and initiated significant changes in the composition of the Board. He
also made two administrative appointments: Melville Cote, student affairs and admissions
officer (1970), and Samuel Eliot, assistant to the president (1971). With support from the
full Board and daily assistance from a "core" of local members, Kaelber, Cote, and Eliot
raised the money, hired the faculty (4 from 1800 applicants), and selected the students, 32
in all, with which to open the college in 1972. The college's first year saw the
establishment of several significant patterns and emphases, including:

a college decision-making structure in which students, faculty, and staff, and
trustees played nominally equal parts;


* a high priority on communication, through committee meetings, memoranda,
"town meetings", and informal discussion;

* trustees as teachers in the college, and as members of the internal college

* institutional self-evaluation, occupying two full weeks in December and June;

* involvement of individuals as advocates, in several local environmental issues; the
beginnings of the college's most visible achievement, work and research in
cetacean population and biology;

* regular re-examination of the college's values and purposes.

Once the college had obtained state authority to grant degrees, the New England
Association of Schools and Colleges (which had sent its own visiting team in the fall of
1972) was persuaded to confer Candidate status. Over the next three years, staff members
assembled the materials which were to become the college's 1975 institutional self-study,
an effort which involved many people (including nearly all the trustees) in an exhaustive
examination of what the college was doing and how well it was being done. In February
1976 another NEASC team came to Bar Harbor. Full accreditation was granted in May
1976, one week before the college awarded degrees to its first full graduating class.

Evolution of Curriculum and Community

After determining that the college's focus would be on human ecology, the original
trustees left it to the faculty to determine just how that focus would be developed,
suggesting only that the curriculum be interdisciplinary rather than departmental, and
stressing the educational and practical significance of problem orientation. Faculty and
students embraced these emphases, using them as the basis for years of discussion and
experimentation, the development of detailed graduation requirements, and the beginnings
of a long range vision of how the curriculum might evolve. Team-teaching was
encouraged; students were urged to see and make the connections between their different
courses; student demand was regularly taken into account in curriculum planning.

From the outset a degree of tension was experienced between the demands of
academics and those of community life. While students, staff, and trustees were agreed
upon the importance of maintaining high academic standards, there was considerable
debate about the relative importance of conceptual, practical, and extra-curricular activities.
Pressure was intense for recognition of all forms of personal development and experiential
learning and for participation by all parties in group activities. One influential student
proposed removal of the entire college to the Maine woods to build log structures and
become self-sufficient.

During the first two years, the environmental emphasis of the college flourished, with
work on whales, heathlands, recycling and other issues. The college was also forced to
work on its own internal structures. The trustees stressed clarification of programs, but
many of the staff and students were distrustful of institutionalization in any form which
might impede free exploration. Degree requirements and areas of concentration were
slowly and often reluctantly articulated.

The communal orientation showed itself most strongly in governance and social life.
While the college continues to be a collaborative enterprise, belonging equally to all its
members, the distributive sense of personal proprietorship was its most distinctive trait. By
late 1974, the community had spawned thirty-eight standing committees, and an
assortment of informal project groups. In order to maintain such a baroque establishment
with only a few dozen individuals, it was necessary for some to serve on ten or more
deliberative bodies. While this process left no doubt that the community was working
together. Indeed, minor crises were occasioned by the decision of a small group of


students to rent a house away from Bar Harbor and by several students who felt censured
for forming "couples" and isolating themselves from the group.

Happily, growth has to some extent been an antidote to these problems. Early in
1974, a moratorium on classes led to the abolition of 19 committees. A second critical
decision led indirectly to a shift from communal unity in all dimensions to a concentration
upon activities of the college proper. Substantial funds had been invested in design of a
new campus where students and some staff would live and work together. Financing was
likely. However, at an all-college meeting several students and staff eloquently made the
case that this new campus would itself be an aesthetic and ecological disruption of the
landscape, while the lovely old buildings of the present campus would have to be
abandoned to commercial development. Perhaps that decision, sustained by the trustees,
was the critical point in crystallizing the ecological commitment of the college. The
financial uncertainty of the college had helped reinforce group solidarity; here a second
reinforcement was added in the agreement to make the best use of marginal physical
facilities. At the same time, the limited potential for campus housing forced off-campus
living in small units which in turn proved to be a benefit. Students had the opportunity to
learn the responsibilities of maintaining a household and to recognize both the advantages
of smaller group associations and the needs of staff members to maintain their own home

The flexibility and resiliency of the College has been tested by a long series of stresses
and changes. In the summer of 1981, Ed Kaelber announced his plans to resign as
president. The energies of the whole community were absorbed in '81-'82 with the
presidential search and transition, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities
funded program of core courses in "Community," "Value," "Consciousness," and "Order."
Shortly after Dr. Judith Swazey stepped in as COA's second president in July 1982, the
College lost its philosopher, vice-president and spiritual leader with the tragic death of
Dick Davis, just days before the Fall term began in September. Sam Eliot's departure in
October of that same year meant that the entire administrative leadership had changed in
less than five months.

Despite the tragic start of the '82-'83 academic year, COA enjoyed happy moments;
e.g. the inauguration of President Swazey; notification that our student, Peter Wayne, had
won a Watson Fellowship; and the dedication of our college library to the memory of R.
Amory Thorndike, an early supporter of COA.

The College community was looking forward to the imminent expansion of the library
facilities and the building of a new auditorium, funds for which were appropriated through
the '82-'83 school year. An architect had been hired to fill a two-year gap in the Design
program, and work was underway on renovating the Science Laboratories when, on July
25, 1983, fire swept away Kaelber Hall which housed most of the administration, faculty
offices and the library. This event sparked wholesale re-examination of the need for
physical facilities. A Phoenix Fund was created by the Board of Trustees and a new
campus Master Plan was developed.

The '83-'84 academic year following the fire was one of internal turmoil. Two years of
declining enrollments shook the confidence of the entire institution. A number of
administrative actions created much dissension, resulting in the resignation of President
Swazey following the 1984 Commencement. The stresses of a difficult year had some
positive effects in creating a strong sense of fiscal responsibility. Faculty, administrators,
students and trustees actively cooperated to support the College through a difficult time.
During this period, another COA student, Richard Epstein, was appointed Watson Fellow
and the College was allotted two Watson Nominees. Several faculty members were also
honored with fellowships and publications.


The summer of 1984 was again a time of change and reassessment. Dr. Louis
Rabineau was appointed interim president in 1984, and was appointed President following
a nationwide search in 1985. A new studio and laboratory building opened in fall 1986,
and planning began on the new library, student center and dining facility building. The
NEASC conducted an interim review and continued accreditation of the College in 1985.

The Current Perspective

The College completed a full institutional self-study for the accreditation process during
1987. In 1988, the college was reviewed and received full accreditation for a period of
ten years from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

In 1988-89, enrollment reached 200 with the largest class of freshmen ever to enroll.
To meet the expanded enrollment, two new faculty members were added for 1988-89 and
four more anticipated for 1989-90. The enrollment goal of the college was set at 250 full-
time equivalent students and the admission office was encouraged to meet this goal.

This rapid growth caused the usual stress due to a shortage of adequate office and
work space for faculty and staff. In spite of these problems, morale remained high and
optimism about the future positively affected the entire college community.

The rebuilding campaign continued in 1987 and Kaelber Hall, housing the Thorndike
Library, Camp Lounge, Blair Dining Hall, and Goodwin Computer Center opened in 1989.
In 1988-89 the Trustees approved plans for campus circulation, a pier, new campus
residences for students, and a new meeting hall. The pier and campus circulation were
completed in 1990 and the Gates Community Center housing a meeting hall, lecture room,
gallery, and offices in June, 1993.

President Rabineau announced his retirement in the Fall of 1992 and after an extensive
search, Dr. Steven Katona was appointed the fourth President of College of the Atlantic in
May of 1993. Dr. Katona was among the first four faculty of the college and had been
instrumental in founding Allied Whale, a marine mammal research arm of the college. He
also served as Provost for several years.

Aided by the energy and vision of a new President and a new Title III grant from the
Federal Government, COA's future plans are underway for a campus wide computer
network and computerized library, continued curriculum development, student housing on
campus, and new summer programs for teachers, environmental educators and other
adults. This fall, 1995, COA is opening the Blair-Tyson Hall, a new dormitory which will
house 56 students.



Participation in the college's governance activities is an integral part of COA's
educational experience. Because the college is small and in constant transition, we have a
special opportunity to exercise responsibility, to experiment, to perceive results, and to
evaluate our experiments.

The college's current policies and the procedures used to administer these policies are
found in this handbook, the COA Personnel Manual, the college Catalog, and the By-laws
of the Board of Trustees.

While it is often difficult to distinguish policies from their administration, the difference
is important. Policies are broad-ranging general goals, guidelines, and instructions. For
example, it is a COA policy that, "The Internship Committee reviews and approves
internships for credit and considers questions of internship policy." The procedures the
committee develops for evaluating the credit-worthiness of internships, guidelines for
internship reports, etc., are seen as details of its attempts to administer the overall policy.

All community members may review, criticize, or suggest revisions of both policies
and the ways the policies are implemented. Such discussions should begin between the
community member and the relevant administrator(s), with due respect being given to both
the expertise and experience of the professional administrators and to the goodwill and
innovative spirit of less experienced community members.

The Board of Trustees

Primary and final authority over and responsibility for the conduct of college affairs
rests with the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees meets four times each year and its Executive Committee meets
another three times each year. Usually, the Trustees' own committees (Finance, Academic
Policy, Nominating, etc.) meet on scheduled Fridays, and the full or executive committees
on Saturdays. COA community members are usually welcome to observe these meetings
but arrangements must be made in advance with the Chairman of the Board through the
President's office.

Items of particular concern to the Board are policies which concern administrative
functions such as:

* 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;

* the awarding of degrees;

* policies with legal implications for the Corporation.

The policy - by custom and conviction - of the Board of Trustees is to have decisions
reached through a process of wide democratic participation. The Board usually concerns
itself with financial or broad curricular issues, leaving the details of daily college life to the
campus. Nonetheless, the Board remains the final decision maker, and no proposals for
change are final until approved by the Board.


Trustees serve on several of the college's standing committees, often attend ACM, and
some have taught courses in their respective fields of competence. These formal and
informal relationships between many Board members and the campus community greatly
facilitate their understanding of the college, and have allowed the major constituencies of
the college to develop a uniquely open and collaborative system of governance.
Community members are encouraged to get to know members of the board.

The President

The Board appoints the President of the College, who represents the Board,
implements its policies and directives, and has the responsibility to take necessary
administrative actions for the welfare of the COA community.

The President is the official conduit for information exchange between the Board and
the campus. According to the College's Bylaws, the President "has direct responsibility
and authority for budgetary management, institutional advancement (development, public
relations, and student recruitment); long range planning and evaluation; and administrative
organization. The President, after consultation with the College Personnel Committee,
shall make recommendations to the Board on hiring, promotions, dismissals and
employment policies for all faculty and staff other than officers of the college. The
President, after consultation with the College Academic Affairs Committee shall make
recommendations to the Board on academic matters (such as standards, degree
requirements, and curriculum). In exercising the functions of administration and
leadership, the President also has the responsibility to interpret the College and its mission
to the general public, to assist in recruiting Trustees, friends, and visiting scholars in
support of the college and its mission; and to maintain a collegial and collaborative
atmosphere in the college community. The President's primary goal is the promotion of
high academic standards in the teaching and study of human ecology and subjects
pertinent thereto". (The complete By-laws are available in the library or from the

Campus Governance

Participatory, rather than representative, democracy is currently both the philosophic
ideal and the practical political alternative for COA. Since changes in policies, programs,
and institutional directions usually have broad consequences for the lives of the various
campus constituents, the system is organized so that all individuals have opportunity to
contribute opinions and expertise and to make recommendations prior to the adoption of
such changes.

The standing committees and All College Meeting (ACM) are vehicles for providing this
opportunity. In addition to providing a process for getting institutional work done, the
ACM and committee structure is also designed to foster informed responsibility, develop
collaborative skills, and serve as a laboratory for participatory decision making.

Standing Committees

College policies are routinely administered by the standing committees, their
subcommittees, and their members. The chairpersons of the committees are appointed by
the President, and are responsible for administrative actions between meetings. As much
as possible, committees and administrators must remember that their administrative actions
should not be considered final until reported to and accepted by the All College Meeting.
Committees or administrators desiring to change the policies that they administer must
submit proposals to ACM to that effect. On questions concerning the administrative
decisions of individual staff members, appeals should first be taken to that individual, then
to the appropriate committee. Final appeal to ACM is possible.


The number or existence of committees is not sacrosanct at COA. We do speak of.
"standing committees," but these "stand" largely because their functions have been
recognized as essential for a long time. Committees come into being as needs arise that
cannot be dealt with by any existing committee. When necessary, subcommittees or ad
hoc work groups are formed to deal with specific issues. The President, the Trustees, or
the ACM have all suggested the formation of various committees 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. Each
committee decides its own size and membership requirements. Normally, committees are

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Online LibraryBostonian SocietyStudent Handbook (Volume 1995-1996) → online text (page 1 of 5)