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Wednesday, September 5, Convocation - Friday, November 16


Monday, January 7 - 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 10

Proposals 11


Campus Environmental Initiative 12

Academic Misconduct 13

Judiciary Hearing 14

Discrimination 15

Sexual Harassment 15

Alcohol 19

Smoking 20

Drug-free Workplace and Campus 20

Parking 21

Pets 21

Posted Materials 22

Recruiters 22

Recycling 22

Snow 22


Library 23

Audio Visual Equipment 24

Writing Center 24

Career Planning 25

Computers 25

FAX 26

Photocopying 26

Housing 26

Food Service 27

Events and Space Use 28

Publications 29

Grants 30

Greenhouses and Gardens 30

Pottery 30

Laundry. Showers 31

Outdoor Equipment 31

Physical Activity 31

Counseling Resources 31

Medical Resources 32

Emergencies 33

Information. Mailboxes 33

Picture Boards 34

Telephones 34


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.

A 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

All requirements, guidelines, and regulations have evolved from lengthy discussions among
students and staff members and committees. The College tries to be even-handed and fair in the
way it interprets and implements these rules. Students who wish to see a policy change should
bring their suggestions up through the All College Meeting. 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 Atlantic. It should be noted that COA's policies and procedures
are subject to change.

Look in the 2001-2002 COA Course 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 pnest and a native of
Mount Desert Island, made the idea his own

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 chansma. 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
pla\cd 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 committees;

* 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

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, arid 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 cnticaJ 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 lime, 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 lives.

The flexibility and resiliency of the College has been tested by a long scries of stresses and
changes In the summer of 1981, Ed Kaelbcr 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 rocky 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 w holesale 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 Rabincau 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 often 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 manne mammal research arm of the college. He also served as Provost for several

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. Four years ago COA
opened its newest dorm the Blair-Tvson Hall. In July 2001, COA celebrated the re-opening of the
Natural History Museum in a new building incorporating the original Acadia National Park


Participation in the college's governance acu\ ities is an integral pan of COA's educational
e.xpenence Because the college is small and in constant transition. \vc 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 CO A Personnel Manual, the college Catalog, and the By-laws of the Board of

While it is often difficult to distinguish policies from their administration, the difference is
important Policies arc 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
e.xpenence 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 cumcular issues, leaving the details of daily college life to the campus.
Nonetheless, the Board remains the final decision maker on some issues. Proposals for
administrative and/or policy changes, as described above, are not 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 arc 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 lias 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 President.)

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

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Online LibraryBostonian SocietyStudent Handbook (Volume 2001-2002) → online text (page 1 of 5)