Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison David Gibson
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

College of the Atlantic
PA-3: Participatory Governance

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.75 / 3.00 Heather Albert-Knopp
Dean of Admission
Office of Admission
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Do the institution’s students have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a student council)? :
Yes

Do the institution’s students have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body?:
No

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which students are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

COA’s governance system is designed as a direct democracy, rather than a representative democracy, and encourages student participation at all levels of the college. In the college's operating model, the All College Meeting (ACM) is designated as the primary decision-making body for the college, and all students, faculty, and staff are full voting members. The ACM meets weekly to discuss issues and make decisions on matters of importance to the college. The ACM agenda includes issues such as feedback on faculty job candidates, goal setting, and strategic planning. All standing committees and subcommittees report to the ACM, and students serve on nearly all committees including faculty review committees, Academic Affairs Committee, Admission Committee, the Committee for Campus Sustainability, and the Campus Planning and Building Committee. One of the subcommittees is Student Meeting, which is one medium to coordinate communication between students and other COA decision-making bodies, such as ACM, the committees of ACM, the President, the Board of Trustees, and trustee committees. Students are also welcome to sit in on all meetings and committee meetings of the Board of Trustees, though there are no student members of the board. This decision was made by students, who felt that a "representative" role, where one student would have to speak for the full student body in a representative capacity, was not in keeping with the college's principles of direct participation and openness. While the Board of Trustees is technically the college's highest governing body, it defers to the All College Meeting in matters of college policy and governance, and the ACM is seen as the way for students, faculty, and staff to participate in governing the college.


Do the institution’s staff members have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a staff council)?:
Yes

Do the institution’s non-supervisory staff members have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body?:
No

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which staff are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

In addition to participation in the All College Meeting and committees, as described above, there is a Staff Meeting where staff members participate in issues directly related to staff. As part of involvement in the ACM and college committee structure, staff members are involved in governance on all levels, based on their interests. For instance, a library staff member may serve on the college's Personnel Committee, or an IT staff member may serve on the Campus Planning and Building Committee, or the Steering Committee which develops the agendas for the ACM. All committees except Student Meeting and Faculty Development Group/Faculty Meeting are open to staff participation. Trustee meetings and trustee committee meetings are open to all staff, but there is no staff elected representative to the Board of Trustees.


Do the institution’s teaching and research faculty have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a faculty senate)?:
Yes

Do the institution’s teaching and research faculty have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body? :
No

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which teaching and research faculty are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

As described above, in COA’s system of participatory decision making, all faculty have direct participation as voting members in the All College Meeting. There are also two committees specifically for faculty: Faculty Meeting, and the Faculty Development Group (which deals with personnel-related matters and policies). In addition, all faculty may serve on any committees of the ACM/college, with the exception of the Student Meeting and the Staff Meeting. As with students and staff, faculty members are welcome to sit in on Trustee meetings and their committees, but faculty do not have an elected representative on the Board of Trustees.


Does the institution have written policies and procedures to identify and engage external stakeholders (i.e. local residents) in land use planning, capital investment projects, and other institutional decisions that affect the community?:
No

A copy of the written policies and procedures:
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The policies and procedures:
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Does the institution have formal participatory or shared governance bodies through which community members representing the interests of the following stakeholder groups can regularly participate in institutional governance?:
Yes or No
Local government and/or educational organizations No
Private sector organizations No
Civil society (e.g. NGOs, NPOs) No

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which external stakeholders are engaged in institutional governance (including information about each stakeholder group selected above):
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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College policies are routinely administered by the standing committees of the ACM, their subcommittees, and their members. Unless indicated otherwise in their charters, committee chairpersons are appointed by the President, and are responsible for administrative actions between meetings. Administrative actions are typically not considered final until reported to and approved by ACM, usually in the form of meeting minutes. Any decision made or action taken by a committee, unless specifically delegated to the committee as part of its autonomous purview by ACM through the committee’s charter, may be challenged by any ACM member. Committees or administrators desiring to change the policies that they administer must submit proposals to ACM to that effect.

The operating model of the All College Meeting can be found here: https://www.coa.edu/policies/

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.