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College of the Atlantic
Maine, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Dec 6, 2023

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Position Type
Academic Centers, Education
Employment Type
Full Time


College of the Atlantic invites applications, expressions of interest, and nominations in its search for the college’s next president.

College of the Atlantic began fifty years ago as a bold experiment: to create an educational community where students and teachers immersed themselves in a new way of thinking about humans and their natural and social environments. Mount Desert Island, off the coast of Maine and surrounded by Acadia National Park, was the ideal setting for a mission-driven, place-based new model of higher education.

The experiment has proven a success on every level. COA alumni are leaders researching climate change, preserving wildlife habitat, working for social justice, creating food policy, and improving human health all over the world. COA’s systems approach to higher education has inspired an international interdisciplinary professional association—The Society for Human Ecology —which promotes the use of an ecological perspective in research, education, and application in hundreds of colleges and universities from New York to New Zealand. COA’s growth has also created hundreds of jobs on MDI and graduates who stay on the island have created dozens of enterprises.

Reporting to the Board of Trustees and partnering with a strong, experienced, and collaborative senior leadership team, the president serves as chief executive officer and fundraiser for COA. The President serves as ex-officio member of the Board and has operating and budgetary responsibility for the college, advancing its mission and commitment to the values of collaboration, open communication, service, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The president leads the faculty and staff and promotes the values of shared governance, which is a hallmark of the college. The president understands and cultivates the strong sense of community by serving as a champion and advocate. The president leads the college’s fundraising initiatives by building and nourishing relationships with current and prospective donors and working closely with the Board of Trustees.

The next president will be a visionary, innovative, and strategic leader while building the vital systems and processes that will ensure efficient and effective management of the college. The new president will benefit from the intensive grassroots community visioning process that has been a cornerstone of the work of the college over the past year and has resulted in our strategic plan that leverages COA’s many distinctive strengths. Because trustees, faculty, staff, and students have all contributed to this plan over the past year, it provides a rich foundation upon which the new president can continue to engage the community in charting a distinctive path forward for the college. The president will identify new ways to increase opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and trustees to exchange ideas and perspectives and will advance the college in the following key areas: Governance and Leadership; Value and Visibility; Financial Health and Revenue Generation; Fundraising; Campus Systems and Infrastructure; Academic Innovation; Student Wellbeing and Post-Graduation Readiness; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The next president must be able to navigate the challenges and opportunities of a small liberal arts college with a distinctive educational philosophy. At the same time, the next president must be able to foster a collaborative, supportive, and positive environment in which all members of the college can thrive and achieve fulfillment to help solve problems that challenge communities everywhere. Dedicated to maintaining the college’s financial health and sustainability, the incoming president will bring an unparalleled level of creativity and business-minded strategy in areas of finance, marketing, enrollment, advancement, organizational leadership, and programmatic growth, among others. Above all, the next president of COA must display a contagious enthusiasm for the college and incite action and support from a diverse array of constituents, new and old.

Those from nontraditional backgrounds outside of academia who possess knowledge of, appreciation for, commitment to, and experience in line with COA’s distinctive educational philosophy are encouraged to apply.

A full position profile can be found here.

For best consideration, please send all nominations, and applications, electronically and in confidence, to:

Ruth Shoemaker Wood, Ph.D., Managing Director
Erin Meissner, Senior Associate

For more information, please visit the college’s website at

COA has recently committed to an institution-wide effort to enact an affirmatively anti-racist college and to put in place policies and practices that enable all students, staff, and faculty to flourish regardless of background and identity. It is essential that this role be able to contribute to these efforts. We strive toward an open and diverse community that fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized or underrepresented in higher education. More information about the college’s commitment and strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion can be found here: COA is an AA/EEO employer.

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