The College of the Atlantic
The College of the Atlantic, founded in 1969, has a current capacity of 275 students in degree programs, namely, the Bachelor of Arts or Master of Philosophy in human ecology. It follows a tradition of nearly 80 years in human ecology, which began in 1930 at the University of Chicago and which was also the origin of empirical, interdisciplinary studies. The programs of the College of the Atlantic concentrate on projects, the shape of which is largely determined by the talents and skills of participating students. There are two mandatory seminars in the first year, introducing the thinking, research, and learning model of human ecology. All further seminars or study content are selected by the students, whose progress is accompanied and overseen by mentors supporting them on their journey through the 40 disciplines and subjects represented at the college. Every seminar has a maximum of 12 students.
Study is project-oriented, allowing students to develop and alter their projects and study plans step-by-step all the way to graduation. Accordingly, there are various topics and subjects to choose from, but all of these are connected or relate to specific local issues, inhabitants, or problems in the region; at the same time, topics can overlap. The College of the Atlantic is a special institution, which, not least because of its regional inter? and correlations, and structure, makes strong impression on the country through its ventures and unique research content. From Bar Harbor, located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, the college cooperates not only with the nearby Arcadia National Park (one of the oldest national parks in the US) or the regional water resource management facilities of the neighboring counties, but also invests in extensive maritime and coast-related fields of research (e.g., modern studies on whales began here), as well as aspects of tourist, museum, and exhibition management, or procedural matters in planning and participation.
Not only do science and research follow the principles of sustainable development, but also the organization of the college itself. College of the Atlantic was the first campus to be honored with the Zero Waste Graduation in 2005. Ultimately, the professional success of the graduates is what speaks for the concept. Of course, this is also a matter of financing. At the moment annual tuition and fees amount to approximately $28,000, and the costs for student housing and board add up to another $8,000 per annum. At the same time, however, the American grant program comes supports about 70 % of the students with financial aid.