MECA’s Student Handbook includes information about Student Life policies and resources. Student Life can address any information within the PDF below.  All academic policies can be found below on this website, but questions for those policies must be addressed with the Dean’s Office.

As a member of the MECA Community you are responsible for the information contained in the Student Handbook. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with this information.

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Academic Policies

Last updated 2016.

Welcome

Welcome to Maine College of Art and the Portland community!

As a MECA student, you are a member of a nationally recognized creative community of highly committed students, outstanding faculty and dedicated staff.

MECA is unique for the excellent quality of its education and the high level of personal support. This student-centered campus is at the heart of a vibrant contemporary arts community. In coming to Portland, you are joining one of the most livable metropolitan communities in the country, an appealing haven for artists that combines cultural amenities and accessibility with inspiring coastlines and mountains.

This Student Handbook is a tool to help you chart your course at MECA. You’ll find clear explanations of campus policies as well as helpful information about how to connect with the extraordinary resources at MECA and in the Portland community. Keep it close at hand; you will want to consult it throughout your MECA career.

Your education will be anchored in MECA’s classrooms, studios, library and galleries, but it will also be deeply connected to the region’s professional art and design circles as well as to Portland’s diverse neighborhoods, community organizations and extraordinary natural environment. You will, of course, learn from MECA’s faculty, all of them practicing artists and scholars, and from our staff. You’ll also learn from your fellow students and from members of the Portland community — its artists, designers, neighborhood leaders, young people and seniors. Equally important, you’ll learn from yourself. The MECA experience is designed to help you push your own boundaries, both in and out of the classroom.

Our knowledgeable and experienced staff is here to help you take advantage of all that MECA has to offer, from tutorial and counseling services to internships, co-curricular programs and community engagement opportunities. Whether you need support with academic or personal matters, you can rely on us for information, advice and referrals. I encourage you to partner with staff for assistance in shaping the quality of your academic experience at MECA.

College provides a liberating opportunity to express and to share your energy, opinions, vision, and talents, and to help create the kind of artistic and educational community where you and your future colleagues can thrive. It is a special time to explore, experiment, test your limits, fail and succeed, and push the boundaries of your ambitions.

Thank you for honoring us with your faith in our ability to serve you in your personal and professional development. We are excited that you have chosen MECA, and we are willing to do everything we can to help you reach your aspirations.

Mission Statement

Our Mission:
Maine College of Art educates Artists for Life.

Our Vision:
MECA will be distinguished by its focus on educating artists and designers who excel in their chosen field with integrity, professionalism and community leadership.

Our Core Values:
At MECA, we believe in the transformational power of an arts education to serve as the foundation for a lifelong pursuit of personal and professional goals. We combine a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum, immersive studio practice and a wealth of professional development opportunities to provide an educational experience that embodies artistic excellence, civic engagement and creative entrepreneurship.

Artistic Excellence: In the belief that learning is centered in the process of inquiry, self-discovery and creative expression, we offer our students the environment and tools they need to take risks, think critically and work creatively within and across disciplines.

Civic Engagement: With a history of a commitment to the creative evolution of our communities, we focus on engaging students in the process of becoming the inventive, self-disciplined, contributing citizens upon whom our world depends.

Creative Entrepreneurship: We teach each student the necessary professional skills to transform aspirations and values into a creative practice that will serve as the foundation for a rewarding career.

Bachelor of Fine Arts

The BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) is an undergraduate college degree offered in all areas of the fine and applied arts. Since World War II it has been recognized as the standard degree for students seeking a professional education in art and design. The National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD) is the nationally recognized accrediting agency for programs in art and design. In NASAD’s own words, “the professional degree focuses on intensive work in the visual arts supported by a program of general studies.”

Bachelor of Fine Arts

BFA Majors at MECA

MECA offers eleven majors:

  • Ceramics
  • Digital Media
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Metalsmithing & Jewelry
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Textile & Fashion Design
  • Woodworking & Furniture Design

Students declare a major in the spring of their sophomore year. They must meet with the program chair of their chosen major and obtain the chair’s signature to start the approval process.* See “Standards to Enter a Studio Major and Maintain While Majoring” for details.

BFA Minors at MECA

Students must meet with the minor coordinator of the discipline for application materials and to design a pathway for completion of minor requirements. MECA offers four minors:

  • Art History
  • Drawing
  • Public Engagement
  • Writing

Credit Requirements for a BFA Degree at MECA

  • 120 credits required if matriculated after Fall 2009
  • 121 credits required if matriculated between Fall 2003 and Spring 2007
  • 129 credits required if matriculated between Fall 2002 and Spring 2003
  • 132 credits required if matriculated between Fall 1999 and Spring 2002
  • 134 credits required if matriculated prior to Fall 1999

Full-time students take between 12-18 credits per term. The typical load is 15 credits. Taking fewer than 12 credits per semester changes a student’s status to part-time. Students who wish to take over 18 credits will be charged for the additional credits.

General BFA Credit Distribution

120 Credits over 4 Years:

  • 75 Studio Credits
  • 30 Liberal Arts Credits (WH, WP, NS, SS, ENG)
  • 15 Art History Credits
  • 64% studio courses
  • 36% humanities courses

Art History Requirements

Students must take 15 credits of Art History courses, as follows:

  • AH 101 and AH 102 Art History Survey I & II, 6 credits
  • AH 250 Critical Approaches to Contemporary Art, 3 credits
  • (2) Art History electives, 6 credits
  • (Prior to F12 all students must have 3 credits of Non-Western Art History)

Liberal Arts Requirements

Students must take 30 credits of liberal arts courses, as follows:

  • EN 100 English Composition, 3 credits
  • EN 105 Introduction to Literature, 3 credits
  • Humanities or Social Science (HU/SS), 6 credits
  • Natural Science (NS), 6 credits
  • World History (WH), 3 credits
  • Western Philosophy (WP), 3 credits
  • (2) Liberal Arts electives (NS, SS, HU, WP or WH) 6 credits
    • One Art History elective can be used towards this requirement

Minor Requirements

Art History Minor
The Art History minor is designed for students who wish to augment their studio major with a series of courses that analyze the history, theory and criticism of diverse visual traditions in visual culture. A total of 21 credits, equal to seven (7) courses are required to complete the undergraduate minor in Art History. Prerequisites for declaring an Art History minor include completion of AH 101 and AH 102 Art History Survey with a minimum 3.0 GPA in both classes, and permission of the Art History Minor Coordinator.

The Art History Minor pathway consists of:

  • AH 101 and AH 102 Art History Survey I and II, 6 credits
  • AH 250 Critical Approaches in Contemporary Art, 3 credits
  • AH 3xx Art History Electives, 9 credits
  • AH 440 Art History Thesis, 3 credits

Drawing Minor
The Drawing Minor at MECA is sequenced to provide progressive challenges within a flexible structure, allowing students to make an educated choice about the path of their studies within this diverse discipline. A total of 18 credits is required to complete the minor. Prerequisites include successful completion of DR 100 Introduction to Drawing and permission of the Foundation Coordinator.

The Drawing Minor pathway consists of:

  • DR 100 Introduction to Drawing, 3 credits
  • DR 120 Representation Drawing, DR 130 Non-Objective Drawing or DR 140 Thinking with Drawing, 3 credits
  • DR 2xx/ 3xx Drawing Electives, 9 credits
  • DR 400 Advanced Drawing OR Independent Study, 3 credits

Public Engagement Minor
The Public Engagement (PE) minor puts students in real-world situations that tap into their creative potential. Public Engagement students work with community partners to address real, complex problems in project- and problem- based courses. Eligibility for application includes successful completion of a minimum of 30 credits with a 2.5 GPA minimum. Permission of the Public Engagement Director required.

The Public Engagement Minor pathway consists of:

  • FYL 100 First-Year Seminar 3 credits
  • PE xxx Studio Elective 3 credits
  • PE xxx Liberal Arts Elective 3 credits
  • SEM 330 Art for Social Change 3 credits
  • PE xxx Internship w/Community Partner 3 credits
  • PE 400 Public Engagement Capstone 3 credits

Writing Minor
This 18-credit minor is designed to give students exposure and experience in the writing of fiction and nonfiction writing while providing them with ample opportunity to develop their craft as writers and to create a body of work in their genre of choice. Revision and multiple drafts are treated as a necessary element in the writing process, and are therefore a required part of each course.

The Writing Capstone experience is a 3-credit course in which students develop a substantial writing project of their own choice, whether a novel, graphic novel, memoir, three-act play, collection of poetry, series of essays, etc.. Interdisciplinary work and collaborations with other departments are also encouraged.

Requirements:
Any MECA student who has successfully completed a minimum of 30 credits and has achieved a 3.0 average or higher in EN 100/105 and EN 110/112 may apply to the writing minor. To apply, each student must fill out the Writing Minor Application Form (available in the Registrar’s Office) and have an interview with the Writing Minor Coordinator prior to the start of their third semester. The minor requires accumulating 18 credits as described below:

The Writing Minor pathway consists of:

  • EN 100/110 English Composition, 3 credits
  • EN 105/112 Introduction to Literature, 3 credits
  • NOTE: Only one of these can be applied to the minor. All honors sections apply to minor.
  • HU 323(W) Creative Writing or HU 326 (W) Fiction Writing, 3 credits
  • Writing Intensive Elective (1* or 2) look for the (W,) 6 credits*
  • HU 326 (W) Advanced Essay & Thesis Writing, 3 credits
  • HU 440 Writing Capstone, 3 credits

*Writing minors who have completed the Honors section of both English Composition and Introduction to Literature with a grade of 3.0 or higher will require only one (1) 3-credit Writing Intensive Elective.

Time on Task

A 3-credit studio course meets each week for six hours and assumes a minimum of another three hours will be spent outside of class to complete assignments. A 3-credit liberal arts or art history course meets each week for three hours and assumes a minimum of another six hours will be spent outside of class to complete assignments.

BFA Graduation Plan

BFA Graduation Plan

The BFA Graduation Plan maps a student’s pathway through the curriculum. At the end of each semester the Office of Registration & Academic Advising updates each student’s degree requirement control sheet with completed coursework, course numbers, semesters completed, and credits earned. Any questions about the accuracy of your control sheet should be directed to the Office of Registration & Academic Advising. Questions regarding course selection can be directed to your Academic Advisor or Faculty Mentor.

Please keep your control sheet handy when making enrollment decisions. Tracking your courses in relationship to your requirements is critical in both following the sequential learning necessary to successfully complete all course work and assuring one graduates on time.

Standards to Enter a Studio Major

1. Achieved Satisfactory Academic Progress with a minimum GPA of 2.0 (C)
2. Completed their first two years (60 credits)
3. Completed a minimum of two semesters of electives in your chosen major department with a grade of at least 2.7 (B-) in your second semester major studio elective.

*Exceptions to this policy may be made by the appropriate Program Chair and Dean of the College. Students seeking an exception should make this request in writing (email is fine) to the Program Chair and Dean of the College.

The Registrar will continue the approval process after the spring term grades are recorded. The Registrar will then send a report to the appropriate Program Chair regarding the academic standing of the incoming majors. Program chairs can decide to allow a student into a major on a probationary basis. This student then must achieve a GPA of 2.0 (C) or better within the studio major in the first term of majoring. Enrollment in a studio major may occur before the last four semesters if all prerequisites are met and departmental permission is obtained.

Standard to Maintain While Majoring

A minimum of nine major credit hours per semester is required while majoring. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 (C) GPA each semester in the major studio courses. However, if a student’s major GPA falls below 2.0 (C) during the first semester of the first year of majoring, the student may remain in the major on probation. Failure to maintain a 2.0 (C) major GPA in any other semester will result in the student’s ineligibility to continue in that major.

Year by Year Curricular Requirements

Year One: Foundation
In the foundation year students develop essential skills, including a rigorous perceptual vocabulary across media and an understanding of the foundational academic issues in art and design. These courses foster collective inquiry, teach students how to access their creative potential, and help build trust and confidence in institutional community and self.

  • FN 113 Two-Dimensional Design, 3 credits
  • FN 115 Three-Dimensional Design, 3 credits
  • DR 100 Introduction to Drawing, 3 credits
  • FN 101 Digital Imaging (Basic, Drawing & Painting, Photography or 3-D), 3 credits
  • FYL 100 (PE) FY-IN, 3 credits
  • (2) Studio Electives, 6 credits
  • AH 101 Art History Survey I, 3 credits
  • EN 100 English Composition, 3 credits
  • EN 105 Introduction to Literature, 3 credits

Year Two: Expansion
The expansion year builds upon the foundational principles developed in the previous year, involving project-based work and expansive studio exploration, which includes experimentation with different disciplines, media, processes, ideas, motives, and communities. Students have a wide array of choices in this year and are encouraged to try new processes, media and disciplines.

  • AH 102 Art History Survey II, 3 credits
  • AH 250 Critical Approaches to Contemporary Art, 3 credits
  • SYL 200 Second Year Lab, 3 credits
  • WH 231 or 232 Diverse Cultures, 3 credits
  • WP 211 or 212 Issues in Ideology, 3 credits
  • Five Studio Electives, 15 credits

Year Three: Convergence
In year three, convergence, students enter the major and become grounded in their chosen discipline, begin to develop an independent voice and artistic identity, and work on focused historical, theoretical, contextual and social inquiry.

  • (2) Majors Studio Courses 6 credits
  • (2) Majors Electives 6 credits
  • Seminar: Introduction to the Discipline 3 credits
  • Seminar: Combined Junior Seminar (Craft, Fine Arts or Design/Media) 3 credits
  • (2) AH Electives 6 credits
  • (2) Liberal Arts Electives 6 credits

Year Four: Synthesis
In their synthesis year, students wed strong technical, aesthetic and critical thinking skills with the concurrent creation of a self-directed body of work and a written thesis. Together, Senior Synthesis, the written thesis course, and the studio major form the capstone experience, which culminates in the Senior Exhibition. Entrepreneurial and professional development courses are also embedded into the synthesis year and the term ends with a capstone experience.

  • (2) Majors Studio Courses, 6 credits
  • (2) Majors Electives, 6 credits
  • Seminar: Professional Studio, 3 credits
  • Seminar: Senior Synthesis, 3 credits
  • (4) Liberal Arts Electives, 12 credits

Core Studio-Seminars from First Year to Senior Year

A series of studio-seminars underlines MECA’s commitment to an education that cuts across disciplines. The studio-seminars bring together teachers and students from a range of disciplines, and provide time for research and discussion not always possible in a fast-paced studio class. The seminars include project-based learning, understanding art and design in a historical context, and various approaches to contemporary practice.

FYL 100 (PE) FY-IN
This seminar involves studio work, academic research, and involvement with a community partner. Its intent is to fully immerse you in art and design, to involve you in the MECA and Portland communities, and to place your creative efforts into a real-world context. FY-In teaches the critical importance of combining research and practice, and serves as an introduction to collaborating with one another and with a community partner. Students read, write, research, make art, discuss and critique while working on specific projects in their section. The course is required of all first-year students: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week.

SYL 200 Second Year Lab
This course is designed to immerse students in a sustained project in order to combine and advance objectives from their foundation year, develop the ability to take an idea from inception to completion, and introduce professional skills necessary to be an artist at work. Students will research, write, make, revise, remake, and present their work in a professional context. Within this interdisciplinary class, required of all second-year students, structured parameters create an environment in which students have the opportunity to work both individually and collaboratively while developing the skills to self-direct. Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week. Prerequisite: Foundation courses completed. Required of students who entered MECA in or after Fall 2010. (PE) option typically available.

SEM 352 Junior Seminar: Design/Media Topics
The focus of this course will be how to best represent yourself and your work online. Students will learn the fundamentals of translating works for display online. Demonstrations and lectures will explore the potentials of social networking sites, open source software, and desktop web tools. Examples of successful web presences will be presented and discussed. Topics covered in this class will include online portfolio design and development, professional networking sites, and digital distribution opportunities among others. You will create, or continue to build your unique digital presence as an Artist, Designer, Photographer, or Illustrator. Major requirement: 3 credits/semester; 3 hours/week.

SEM 353 Junior Seminar: Fine Arts/Topics Contemporary Topics and Practice
This is a studio/discussion course designed to provide historical ideas, context and ground for students to more clearly define their own studio work and relationship to art history. Group conversations, field trips, in-process critiques, workshops and/or visiting artists will assist students in establishing strategies for studio research in order to isolate, identify, and pursue a meaningful subject(s) within a personal and art historical context. Students will practice voicing their attitudes, opinions and conclusions about the topics discussed in seminar and gain more confidence talking about their own practice within larger issues of history, society, and culture outside of the art world. Scheduled concurrently with other sections of junior seminar, faculty and students will have the opportunity to meet as a larger group when appropriate. Students outside of the fine arts disciplines may take this class as a studio elective. Major requirement: 3 credits/semester; 3 hours/week.

SEM 354 Junior Seminar: Crafts Issues/Topics
This course is designed to foster each student’s relationship within the historical context of crafts through the study and application of contemporary practice and theory. In coordination with all departments, course lectures, field trips, workshops and visiting artists will be selected to assist students in establishing strategies for studio research in order to isolate, identify, and pursue a meaningful subject(s) within a clearly defined personal and craft historical context. In addition each student will develop a more articulate understanding of their practice within a larger context of their specific discipline, history, society, and culture. Major requirement: 3 credits/ semester; 3 hours/week. This class may be taken by students outside of the crafts disciplines as a studio elective.

SEM 451 Professional Studio
This one-semester course is designed to deliver professional development information to seniors through presentations and lectures pertinent to artists and designers. How to establish a studio/community, to various ways of working with individuals and the public, to making a professional identity package, to managing finances are among the topics explored. In addition to lectures and tutorials, there may also be field trips connected to appropriate topics, as well as visiting artists and professionals such as a CPA and Maine Arts Commission. Class projects are designed to offer specific experiences and skills pertinent to the student’s professional development. Sections will be split into Fine Art, Design, Illustration, and Craft to focus area-specific professional information and assignments. Major requirement: 3 credits/semester; 3 hours/week.

SEM 452 Senior Synthesis
This course is taken in the final semester of the senior year. Students’ studio practice is integral to their work in this class, as they are led through a guided research and writing process to identify and explore the inspirations for their studio work, how those interests are played out historically, and what their relevance is to contemporary art and culture. The class will culminate in a fully articulated written thesis that explains and details their studio thesis work. Students will present their ideas at various points throughout the semester and conversations will be held about the ideas underlying their work both in the classroom and in individualized studio visits. Major requirement: 3 credits/ 6 hours per semester. Prerequisites: Senior Status.

Independent Study

MECA students have the opportunity to design their own independent study course and explore areas of interest not currently offered in our curriculum. To be eligible, a student must be at least a sophomore and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B). Interested students must complete an Independent Study application form, available on the Office of Registration & Academic Advising Google site. The completed application should be delivered to the Dean’s Office by the posted deadline. A subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee will review all independent studies for approval or denial in the first week of the semester they will be performed; the committee then makes a recommendation to the Dean of the College, who either approves the proposal or denies it. The Dean’s decision is final. Deadlines are strict and are printed in the Academic Calendar. Upon receipt of appropriate approval, the Office of Registration & Academic Advising will automatically register the student in the course and provide documentation to the student. Internships and Independent Studies taken in the summer are applied to fall term. A lab fee will be applied.

Internships

Internships are available in a wide range of both studio and art administrative settings, and provide opportunities for students to explore first-hand the different venues in which their art knowledge and skills may be applied. To be eligible, a student must be in good academic standing (cumulative GPA of at least 2.0). Students may receive course credit while gaining professional, hands-on experience and building relationships with practicing professionals. Not infrequently, internships lead to summer or post-graduation employment opportunities, and become the basis for life and career defining decisions.

If you are interested in doing an internship, contact the Artists at Work Office for information on available placements. All internship applications must be submitted to Artists At Work who then passed the application on for approval by the Assistant Dean. Ideally, these are approved prior to the semester in which they will be performed; deadlines are published in the Academic Calendar. Upon receipt of appropriate approval, the Office of Registration & Academic Advising will automatically register the student in the course and provide documentation to the student. Internships and Independent Studies taken in the summer are applied to fall term. A lab fee will be applied.

Academic Policies

Enrollment Rules

Students are not permitted to attend classes until all outstanding College bills are paid. Students may not register for courses until adequate proof of immunization is filed with the Registration & Academic Advising Office. A student will not receive a grade for a course unless he or she is properly registered for it. A student may receive a failing grade for a course he or she stops attending unless a drop form or exit form has been completed and submitted. It is the student’s responsibility to submit the necessary forms and to be aware of credit-load status and refund period deadlines. Students who are not achieving satisfactory academic progress will not be allowed to continue their enrollment at Maine College of Art. Any student who creates a disruption or interferes with instruction of a class may be removed from that course. Any student who causes harm to another student, or to faculty or staff, may be asked to leave the College. Students receiving financial aid are governed by the policies outlined in the catalog.

The Registrar may revoke full or partial registration at any time for lack of proper immunization records, non- payment of financial obligations to the school, or failure to complete academic prerequisites, including failure to participate in required reviews. The College reserves the right at any time to change the course offerings, fees, calendar, rules and regulations governing admission and registration.

With enrollment in any class, a student consents to being photographed in student activities on- or off-campus. These photographs may be used in promotional efforts without specific written permission from the student. The College may also use reproductions of student work in promotional materials.

Determination of Class Level in the BFA

All students achieve class levels solely based on the accumulation of credits.

  • First Year: 0 – 30 credits
  • Sophomore: 31 – 60 credits
  • Junior: 61 – 90 credits
  • Senior: 91 credits and above

**Based on the current 120 credit curriculum

Class level designation is used to determine financial aid award eligibility. Failure to complete a course with credit or enrollment in less than the optimum number of credits per semester could result in less aid in the future. Transfer credits are included in the calculation of class level. Students receiving financial aid who are making decisions about dropping classes or not registering for a full load should speak to a staff member of the Financial Aid Office.

Add and Drop Procedures

Add/Drop forms are available online within the Registration & Academic Advising site and in paper form outside the Assistant Registrar’s office. Deadlines for adding/dropping classes are listed in the academic calendar and on the actual form. It is the student’s responsibility to submit the necessary forms and to be aware of credit-load and refund period deadlines. Failure to submit a Add/Drop form can result in not getting credit for your work or can result in a grade of “F” in the course. These forms are also used to determine eligibility for refunds.

In order to add or drop a class:
Complete the student portion on the top of the form found in the Registrar Office.

  • Adding: Obtain the signature of the professors on your form, then return form to the Registrar’s Office.
  • Dropping: You can drop a class within the first two weeks without a professor’s signature. Simply complete your portion and submit to the Registrar’s Office, which will then email your professor for you.

Please note that English Composition and Art History Survey cannot be dropped without counsel. These courses are prerequisites for all further academic courses.

Withdrawals for a Single Class

A “W” grade indicates that the student withdrew from the course after the add/ drop period. A withdrawal (W) receives no credit. The “W” is not figured into the grade point average (GPA) but counts towards attempted credits. A student who withdraws from a course after the Drop Period but during the Withdrawal Period (the third through the eighth weeks of a semester) will receive an automatic grade of “W”. The instructor’s signature is not required to withdraw from a course during the Withdrawal Period.

After the eighth week of the semester, a student withdrawing from a class will receive a letter grade designated to be determined by the instructor. Exceptions for cause (e.g. illness) may be made by the course instructor in consultation with the Dean’s Office, on a case-by-case basis. Doctor’s certification may be required. Withdrawals do not affect the student’s grade point average.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend all class sessions and required course-related activities. Absent students are responsible for notifying their professor and obtaining all material presented and completing all course assignments; an excused or unexcused absence does not relieve the student from the obligation of coursework, including homework, exams, critiques or discussions.

More than three (3) absences will lower a students final grade one half mark. (For example, an A becomes and A-, a B+ becomes a B, and so on).
Arrive on time. Do not leave early. Three (3) instances of arriving late and/or leaving early without explicit permission of the instructor constitute one (1) absence.
In the case of courses that meet one (1) day a week, two (2) absences will result in lowering your final grade one half mark.

It is ultimately the instructor’s decision to determine the consequences of excessive absences even if absences are excused or due to unforeseen circumstances. Students who have excessive absences can be removed from the class by the Registrar or fail the class. In the case of a course that meets twice a week, seven (7) or more absences will result in a failing grade. In the case of a course that meets once a week, four (4) absences will result in a failing grade.

In consultation with the Dean’s office a “W” (withdrawal) grade may be granted within the first eight weeks of the semester by the instructor for legitimate medical or qualifying personal reasons, or if too much class time has been missed for successful completion of the course. Students who are seriously ill should not come to class and should notify their faculty as soon as possible.

Students who are registered for a class but are reported as never attending a course may be withdrawn from the class by the Registrar.

MECA Alert

Whenever an instructor observes that a student’s absences are adversely affecting performance and may ultimately result in the lowering of a grade or failure, or if for any reason a student seems to be experiencing serious difficulties in the class, the instructor should use the MECA Alert system to report concerns.

The MECA Alert system is a centralized student referral system for faculty, staff, students and parents to use. Every legitimate referral will be carefully reviewed, responded to, and forwarded to the appropriate staff or faculty member. All information will be held in appropriate confidence.

Statement on Religious Observance for MECA Students

MECA respects the religious beliefs of all members of the community, affirms their rights to observe significant religious holy days, and will make reasonable accommodations, upon request, for such observances. If one’s religious observance is in conflict with the academic experience, the student should inform his/her instructor(s) of the class or other school functions that will be affected. It is the student’s responsibility to make the necessary arrangements mutually agreed upon with the instructor(s).

Types of instances/absences that the policy supports:

Class absence: Excused absence from a scheduled academic class/classes due to a religious conflict that falls on the same day as the class itself. Missing a class due to travel associated with a particular holiday does not constitute an excused absence and faculty do not have to consider such requests for accommodations.

Missed exam: Excused absence from an exam scheduled on a date/time in conflict with a religious holy day. Reasonable accommodations can be made to take the exam earlier or later than the date/time in conflict. If an instructor requires a make-up exam, the instructor retains the right to determine the content of the exam and the conditions of its administration, with considerations given to equitable treatment. Missing an exam due to travel associated with a particular holiday does not constitute an excused absence and faculty do not have to consider such requests for accommodations.

Deadline conflict: Reasonable accommodations may be made for academic work that is due on a date/time in conflict with a religious holy day. In such cases work may be submitted earlier or later than the date in conflict. Missing a deadline due to travel associated with a particular holiday does not constitute an excused absence and faculty do not have to consider such requests for accommodations.

Audit Policy

Current matriculated MECA students may audit MECA classes within their program of matriculation by permission of the instructor. They will be allowed to do so on a space-available basis, and will be accommodated after all credit-seeking students are registered. They will register through the Registrar’s Office, and will be charged full tuition and fees.
Individuals who are not currently matriculated MECA students may take classes at MECA – either for credit or as an audit – only after they have applied and been admitted to the program offering the class. They may apply for either “special or non-degree” student status or as degree candidates. Once admitted, they may audit MECA classes within their program of matriculation by permission of the instructor. They will be allowed to do so on a space- available basis, and will be accommodated after all credit-seeking student are registered. They will register through the Registrar’s Office, and will be charged full tuition and fees.

Graduation Requirements

The Bachelors of Fine Arts degree is awarded to students who have earned 120 credits (according to the curricular distribution requirements) and who have met the following criteria:

  • Completion of all course credit requirements with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of not less than 2.0.
  • Completion of all studio major requirements with a grade point average (GPA) in the major of not less than 2.0.
  • Completion of all requirements within the parameters of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Presentation of work in the Senior Thesis Exhibition and Index Show.
  • Submitted Intent to Graduate Application to the College Registrar’s Office.
  • Completed a Financial Aid Exit Interview (for students receiving federal loans).
  • Satisfied all financial obligations to Maine College of Art.
  • Returned all books to the Joanne Waxman Library (even if they are not overdue).
  • Returned all equipment borrowed from the College.

*NOTE: All credit requirements must be completed to participate in Commencement ceremonies.

Graduating with Honors

The BFA degree is awarded “with honors” to those who have a cumulative grade point average (GPA of 3.5 or better) for the years of study at Maine College of Art.

Commencement Policy

Maine College of Art believes that commencement is a degree granting ceremony. Therefore commencement is strictly reserved for students who have completed all degree requirements. This policy applies to all degree programs. Though MECA informs students about their status through annual degree audits, ultimately it is the student who is responsible for identifying requirements and completing necessary courses. Students are responsible for the selection of courses, the completion of all degree requirements, and familiarization with all regulations pertaining to their degree status. Students who have not completed all degree requirements cannot walk at commencement.

Formal commencement ceremonies are held every year in May. Only students who have completed all BFA graduation requirements will be permitted to participate in commencement. Students who complete degree requirements after May obtain their diploma from the Registrar’s Office; these students may also participate in the formal commencement ceremony the following May. Exceptions to this policy will only be made in extreme circumstances that are clearly beyond the student’s control. Appeal for an exception should be made in writing to the Dean of the College no less than ten days before commencement.

Directory Information: Disclosure Policy & Solomon Amendment

The College normally will not supply non-related organizations with personally identifiable student information, including “directory information.” Active students who wish to have directory information withheld from release must do so in writing on a “per academic-year” basis. Please remember: Active students must renew a request for nondisclosure each year to keep such requests in effect.

One exception to this policy is the result of a federal law known as the “Solomon Amendment” which requires the College to release directory information to military recruiters upon request. For this purpose, directory information is defined as: name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, level of education, academic major, degrees received, and educational institution in which a student most recently was enrolled. Information not required or permitted by the Solomon Amendment and not considered directory information under FERPA will not be released without written permission of the student.

FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day Maine College of Art receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar’s Office written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar’s Office, the student shall be advised of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate. Students may ask Maine College of Art to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. If Maine College of Art decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the student shall be notified of the decision and advised as to his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by Maine College of Art in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom Maine College of Art has contracted (such services (such as an attorney, auditor, consultant, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. As allowed within FERPA guidelines, Maine College of Art may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Maine College of Art to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, 20202-4605. At its discretion Maine College of Art may provide Directory Information in accordance with the provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Directory Information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Designated Directory Information at Maine College of Art includes the following: student name, permanent address, local address, temporary address, electronic mail address, telephone number, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities, theses titles/topics, photograph, full- time/part-time status, most recent previous school attended, date and place of birth, class schedule. Students may withhold Directory Information by notifying the Registrar in writing; please note that such withholding requests are binding for all information to all parties other than for those exceptions allowed under the Act. Students should consider all aspects of a Directory Hold prior to filing such a request. Although the initial request must be filed during the first two weeks of the enrollment period, requests for nondisclosure will be honored by the for no more than one academic year. Re-authorization to withhold Directory Information must be filed annually in the Registrar’s Office within the first two weeks of the fall semester.

Grading Policies

Grade Reports

Grades are available on-line using MyMECA. Printed grades can be mail upon request.

Grading System
Letter grades are assigned based on the chart below, and record the level of student performance. Plus and minus grades are computed into grade point averages. Grades are permanent after one year.

  • 4.0 A Excellent
  • 3.7 A-
  • 3.5 B+
  • 3.0 B Above average
  • 2.7 B-
  • 2.5 C+
  • 2.0 C Average
  • 1.7 C-
  • 1.5 D+
  • 1.0 D Below average
  • 0.7 D-
  • 0.0 F Failed
  • 0.0 I Incomplete (The student must make up an “I” incomplete grade within 30 days;* otherwise, it becomes an F)
  • 0.0 W Withdrawal
  • 0.0 FR Failed & Repeated (Original grade is forgiven)

Failed & Repeated Classes
A student may repeat a failed course, and the original “F” grade will be replaced with a “FR” (failed & repeated) grade. The “FR” grade will remain on the transcript, along with the new grade earned during the second attempt. Students must notify the Registrar that they are repeating a course to improve their grade. (See Evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress for further details.)

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades are granted only for mitigating circumstances and are given at the course instructor’s discretion only. The student must make up an “I” incomplete grade within 30 days;* otherwise, it becomes an F.

Mid-term Grades
Midterm grades reflect a student’s academic progress at about the sixth week into the semester. Although midterm grades are not part of a student’s permanent record and will not be reflected in the semester grade point average (GPA), they are important indicators of academic performance. Midterm grades are meant to encourage students to get in touch with their instructors and to request academic assistance if it is needed.

Dean’s List and Honors
The Dean’s list is for students earning a semester grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or better. The BFA degree is awarded “with honors” to those who have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or better for their years of study at Maine College of Art.

Appealing a Grade
To appeal a grade, a student must contact, in writing, the course instructor who issued the original grade. The appeal must include a detailed explanation for the reason of the appeal. If the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, he/she may appeal in writing to the Dean of the College. A copy of the original written appeal and the instructor’s response to the appeal must be included with the written appeal to the Dean. The Dean will call a meeting of an Appeal Committee, which shall consist of one faculty member selected by the student, one faculty member selected by the instructor, and one faculty or staff member selected by the Dean of the College. The committee shall make a recommendation to the Dean of the College. Every reasonable effort will be made to convene this committee; however, if circumstances are such that the committee cannot be organized in a reasonable amount of time, the Dean has the authority to make a final decision independently, after review of relevant materials.

Evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The academic records of degree-seeking students are regularly reviewed by the Registrar to ensure that each student is making satisfactory academic progress. Each measure is reviewed at the conclusion of each semester, and is used to determine whether or not a student is in good academic standing. Three measures are used in evaluating a student’s standing:

1. Qualitative Measure of Satisfactory Academic Progress: Every student must achieve a semester grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 (C ) or above to remain in good academic standing. This measure is reviewed at the conclusion of each semester, and is used to determine whether or not a student is in good academic standing. A student with a semester GPA below 2.0 is put on an Academic Probation Status in which they continue to be eligible for financial aid. Any student who has earned a semester grade point average below 2.0 for two consecutive semesters will be dismissed from the College and may not be eligible for financial aid. This measure is not affected by full-time or part-time enrollment status.
* See also student admitted on probation.

2. Quantitative Measure of Satisfactory Academic Progress: Students must complete at least 67% of cumulative attempted credit hours. The completion rate is defined as the percentage of the total number of credits earned divided by the total number of credits attempted over the entirety of a student’s academic record. Any transfer credits and remedial credits on the student’s record are included when computing the student’s completion rate. This measure is reviewed at the conclusion of each semester, and is used to determine whether or not a student is in good academic standing. A student who has earned less than 67% during a semester is put on an Academic Probation Status in which they continue to be eligible for financial aid. A student who has not successfully completed at least 67% of coursework attempted for two consecutive semesters will be dismissed from the College and may not be eligible for financial aid.

(Credits Completed / Credits Attempted) x 100 = Completion Rate

3. Maximum Time Frame: Federal regulations allow financial aid recipients to receive financial aid for a maximum number of attempted credits. Students attempting credits in excess of 150% of the required number of credits to complete their program of study will be ineligible for financial aid. MECA’s formula for maximum time to complete the program is based on the total number of credit hours required for the degree: 120 credits x 150% = 180 maximum credits that can be attempted.

The following are included in the calculation of allowable maximum time frame:

  • Changes in major
  • Adding a minor degree
  • Incomplete grades
  • Repeated courses
  • Second degrees
  • Transfer credits

Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: are not included in the qualitative measure of satisfactory academic progress but are included in the quantitative measure.

Incomplete grades (I grades): If, at the time satisfactory academic progress is reviewed, the student has an incomplete on his/her record and is not meeting satisfactory academic progress, no exception is made. If the student completes the incomplete within the 30-day time frame, they can request a re-review of satisfactory academic progress. Failure to complete automatically changes the grade to “F.” The “F” grade will be included in the quantitative and qualitative measures.

Transfer Credits: Are not included in the qualitative measure of satisfactory academic progress but are included in the quantitative measure.

Failed Repeat Courses (FR grades): When a student repeats a course that was previously failed, only the new grade and credit earned are included in the qualitative measure of academic progress. However, both the subsequent credits earned and the original credits unsuccessfully attempted are included in the quantitative measure. In other words, a repeated course may improve a student’s grade point average, but it does not extend the allowable attempted credits toward degree completion. Both courses must be taken at Maine College of Art.

AICAD Mobility and Student Exchange Grades: Grades earned through the AICAD (Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design) mobility program are included in both the qualitative and quantitative measures of satisfactory academic progress. Due to the time needed to transfer academic records, these evaluations may be delayed beyond the usual evaluation timetable. Grades earned in other student exchange programs are not included in the qualitative measure of satisfactory progress but are included in the quantitative measure.

Midterm Grades: Midterm grades reflect a student’s academic progress at about the sixth to eighth week into the semester. Although midterm grades are not part of a student’s permanent record and will not be reflected in the semester grade point average (GPA), they are important indicators of how a student is doing academically. Midterm grades are meant to encourage students to get in touch with their instructors and to request academic assistance if it is needed.

Academic Sanctions

The following actions are taken when a student fails to achieve satisfactory academic progress in the BFA program as ascertained by either of the College’s measures.

Students Admitted to MECA on Academic Probation

The Director of Admissions will determine if a student is to be admitted to the college on Academic Probation and will notify that student in writing. A student who achieves a 2.0 or better in his/her first semester will be removed from Academic Probation. If a student’s GPA falls below a 1.7 (C-) during their first semester, s/he will be academically dismissed.

In order to ensure academic success, every student who enters MECA on Academic Probation is required to meet with the academic tutor within the first two weeks of the semester. The tutor will develop a contract of goals and expectations that the student must follow. This contract will be on record. Students who fail to comply will be subject to dismissal.

Academic Probation: Students who earn a semester grade point average below 2.0 and/or have earned less than 67% of their attempted credit hours are placed on Academic Probation for the following semester. Students remain Title IV Financial Aid eligible while on academic probation. See Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Academic Dismissal: A student who is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress, as ascertained by qualitative, quantitative or maximum time-frame measurements will be academically dismissed. See Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Appeal of Dismissal: Students may appeal to the Dean of the College for a reversal of an academic dismissal and a one-time exception to the qualitative, quantitative and/or maximum time-frame measures of satisfactory academic progress. The appeal must be in writing and must be submitted within thirty (30) days of official notification of dismissal. The formal appeal letter must be accompanied by third-party documentation detailing the circumstances as to why satisfactory academic progress was not maintained and what has changed that will permit the student to make satisfactory academic progress by the end of the upcoming semester. Both the appeal and the documentation should also address the possibility of the circumstances recurring within 30 days of official notification of dismissal. Appeals will be considered from students who have been laboring under adverse circumstances beyond their control, including illness or injury (student or a close relative), death of a relative, or family emergency. Customarily the Dean will convene an appeal committee of at least three employees to review the appeal. The committee typically consists of the student’s mentor or program chair, an employee of the college selected by the student, and another employee selected by the Dean. The committee will interview the student, review his/her work from all courses, and, if necessary, speak with other faculty and staff who have worked with the student. The appeal committee will submit its findings to the Dean in the form of a recommendation, and the Dean will decide whether to uphold the dismissal or permit the student to be readmitted on a probationary basis. The Dean of the College also reserves the right to forgo the committee process and review the appeal directly. The student will be notified of the appeal decision within thirty (30) days of the Dean’s receipt of the appeal or before the start of the next enrollment period, whichever comes first.

Transfer Credit Policy

Prior to your arrival on campus, the Admissions Office in conjunction with the program chairs will determine transfer credit evaluation and placement. Please note that transfer placement is studio driven and determined on a case-by-case, individual basis.

MECA will award up to 60 credits in transfer for courses matching our curriculum and completed with a grade of C or better. Only credits completed at regionally accredited colleges, universities or post-secondary professional schools will be considered. No more than 30 credits will be awarded for humanities coursework, 15 for art history coursework, and 36 in studio coursework. Official college transcripts and course descriptions for all such coursework are required. Visual documentation must be submitted in slide or digital format, from all courses for which studio credit is sought. Please make sure that all work submitted is clearly labeled with your first and last name.

If you are a current MECA student who is planning to take a summer course and you would like to receive transfer credits for this work please refer to the following:

  • Make sure the school you would like to attend is regionally accredited.
  • Find the course(s) you are interested in taking and print the course description(s).
  • Bring the course descriptions to the Office of Registration & Academic Advising to determine whether the course or courses are transferable.
  • Once the course or courses are complete you will need to submit an official transcript to the Office of Registration & Academic Advising.
  • Courses completed with a grade of C or better.
  • Once the transcript is received you will need to follow-up with the Office of Registration & Academic Advising to see if any further information is needed. Please note that the above transfer Credit Policy will apply.

Leave of Absence and Withdrawal

If a student decides not to continue at Maine College of Art, he/she may either withdraw or take a leave of absence. Students who are in good academic standing may take a leave of absence for up to four semesters and then return to MECA without reapplying for admission.

A student who does not plan to return to the college, must formally withdraw. In either case, you must complete the proper paperwork (Exit-LOA form). Non-attendance does not constitute notification of intent to exit. Your exit date is the date the College is formally notified and the exit is completed.

A student withdrawing during the first eight weeks of a semester will have a permanent record of registration with all courses carrying a grade of “W.” A student withdrawing after the eighth week of classes will have a grade issued by the professor. A student withdrawing before the start of a semester will have their registration completely removed from their academic record. Tuition refunds will be issued according to the enrollment agreement each student signs. Students who are receiving financial aid may need to follow additional procedures and guidelines pertaining to credit loads and financial aid exit interviews. For further information, contact the Financial Aid Office directly (telephone 207-699-5074 or 5073).

Voluntary Medical Leave Policy

A medical leave is a leave of absence from Maine College of Art (MECA) based on a qualified and documented medical issue. A medical leave may be taken for up to four (4) consecutive semesters. If a medical leave is granted during a semester already in progress, that semester shall count as the first of the four semesters. A medical leave is initiated by the student and supported by documentation provided by a medical professional. MECA may request additional documentation from a provider to make a final decision.

Initial Request: A student requesting a medical leave must complete an Exit Notification Form with the Registrar indicating his/her request for a medical leave. When the Exit Notification Form is submitted, it must be accompanied by documentation from a medical professional that specifies: 1) the reason(s) for the leave (i.e. diagnosis), 2) the reason(s) the leave is needed (i.e. the symptoms), 3) the expected duration of the leave, and 4) the criteria under which the medical professional will be able to recommend the student’s re-entry at MECA.

Review: Within forty-eight (48) business hours of receiving the completed Exit Notification Form and medical documentation, the Director of Student Life (or designee) will review the submitted documentation and contact members of the MECA community to discuss the case. Based on the documentation, the Director of Student Life (or designee) will inform the student of the decision in writing; in the event that a decision is made not to grant a leave of absence, this notification shall also include a description of the appeal process.

Grading: A medical leave effectively withdraws a student from all enrolled classes. The student’s instructors will assign a grade of withdraw (W) or if requested by the student, the grade the student has earned up to the date of the withdrawal taking into consideration requirements for the whole semester.

Request to Return: When a student who has voluntarily withdrawn wishes to return to MECA, s/he must submit a reentry letter to the Director of Student Life requesting a return to the College. The letter should include detailed and comprehensive written documentation from a medical professional that indicates: (1) symptoms, (2) current and future treatment plan, (3) reason(s) that the voluntary medical withdrawal no longer poses a significant risk or threat to the health and safety of the individual student and/or the MECA Community, and (4) that the student is capable of successfully returning to MECA. The Director of Student Affairs (or designee) shall review the submitted documentation and contact members of the MECA community to discuss the case. Based on the documentation and advice, the Director of Student Life(or designee) shall inform the student of the decision in writing; in the event that a decision is made not to grant a return, the notification will also include a description of the appeal process. If readmitted, the student must adhere to any conditions set forth in the letter by the Director of Student Life (or designee). If a student does not adhere to these conditions, the student may be removed from MECA at any point through due process established within the Student Code of Conduct.

Appeal: A student may appeal a denial of either the request for a medical leave or the request to return from medical leave. This appeal, along with a report from the Director of Student Life (or designee) must be submitted in writing to the Dean of the College. The Dean of the College has the ultimate authority for the medical leave process.

Additional Information
Relationship of Medical Leave to the Student Conduct Code: All MECA students are accountable to the standards articulated in the Student Conduct Code. A student’s decision to pursue a medical leave in no way suggests that the student will not be held accountable if his/her behavior was in violation of the Student Conduct Code.

Campus Access: A student on a voluntary leave may maintain contact with the MECA community with permission of the Director of Student Life (or designee).

Confidentiality: All information received and/or reviewed during the medical leave process, will be held in the strictest confidence and shall constitute the working papers of the Director of Student Life (or designee) rather than a component of the student’s official academic file. Documentation and official letters of notice written by an agent of MECA shall be considered part of the student’s file and not that of the academic file. An academic file will only disclose that the student is on leave for a standard amount of time.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as the use without attribution of languages, images, ideas, or the organization of ideas not one’s own. It is considered to be a fundamental breach of basic academic principles and is prohibited in all courses. The development of original thinking and intellectual honesty is regarded as central to MECA’s pedagogy. Although in the pursuit of these goals students continually consult existing works, it is expected that they acknowledge the debt owed to others by citing all sources. Unless group work is assigned, coursework is normally completed independently. If books, journals, magazine, or any other sources are reviewed and the ideas or language therein used, they must be cited. Students should consult a reference source on proper notation.

Evidence of plagiarism results in a grade of F for the assignment and may, at the discretion of the faculty, lead to a grade of F in the course. In addition, the Dean of the College may impose further sanctions (such as probation or dismissal). For complete information, see the Student Conduct Code in the Student Handbook.

Prerequisites

Many courses have prerequisites, which are noted at the end of each course description. Be sure you have completed the prerequisites for any courses for which you want to register. In addition, please note that many courses are sequential from fall to spring.

Immunization Policy

Maine Law requires all degree-seeking students and full-time, non-degree students born after December 31, 1956 to provide the following proof of immunization:

  • One (1) dose of Tetanus/Diphtheria (Td or Tdap) received within the last ten (10) years.
  • Two (2) doses of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) received after (not on) the first birthday. If measles immunization was done prior to 1968, students must provide proof it was done with a live virus.

Immunization records must indicate the date of immunization and are REQUIRED to be signed or stamped from one of the following sources:

  • Healthcare provider
  • High school
  • Military base
  • Previous college
  • Titre tests with positive results for immunity to Measles, Mumps and Rubella are accepted as long as they are signed or stamped and clearly indicate immunity to all three diseases.

Academic Programs & Services

AICAD and the AICAD Mobility Program

MECA students benefit from the cooperative programs and built-in access to leading art schools that are members of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). By sharing resources and facilities, AICAD colleges offer educational opportunities that, taken together, are without parallel in professional arts education. Through the Student Mobility Program, qualified students at one AICAD school can spend a semester at another participating AICAD school without additional cost or loss of credit. It is very important to discuss your interest in participating in the Mobility/ Exchange program with your Faculty Mentor and/or Major Program Chair. View the AICAD website.

Through the New York Studio Program, qualified students can spend a semester studying in New York. Selected students also have the opportunity to study at the Burren College of Art in Ireland. Students should contact the Office of Registration and Academic Advising (telephone 207.699.5057 or 5054) for more information on these programs. Application deadlines are April 1 for the fall semester and November 1 for the winter semester.

Grades earned through the AICAD (Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design) mobility program are included in both the qualitative and quantitative measures of satisfactory academic progress. Due to the time needed to transfer academic records, these evaluations may be delayed beyond the usual evaluation timetable. Grades earned in other student exchange programs are not included in the qualitative measure of satisfactory progress but are included in the quantitative measure.

Curriculum Fair

The annual Curriculum Fair, held each spring, marks the beginning of the registration process for the following year. Faculty from each department and area are available to answer questions and discuss courses and majors. Staff from the Registrar’s Office distribute the fall and spring course schedule and registration materials, and are available to assist students.

Office of Registration & Academic Advising

The office of the registrar exists to serve the needs of the students, to respond to faculty and administrative requests for data, and to safeguard the integrity of the institution’s records and degrees.

Student Reviews

End of term reviews or critiques are held twice a year during the first year and at least once each year during the sophomore and junior years, and are required for all students. Pass/fail grades are assigned. During a review, the student meets with a team of faculty to view a body of work assembled by the student. Reviews provide the opportunity to discuss the student’s progress and to recognize common themes in works from different courses. Attendance and participation in all foundation and major reviews are mandatory.

Guidelines for Foundation Reviews

  • You should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time. It is helpful to have done a practice set up of your work in the same room you are to show your work.
  • Bring lots of work from all foundation and studio elective classes. Also bring papers and writings from English Composition, Art History and other Liberal Arts classes.
  • Two or three weeks before your review, ask your faculty and advisor any questions you have about the reviews, what they like to talk about when they participate in reviews and what you can do to better prepare for your review.
  • An effective presentation allows space between both two- and three-dimensional works. It encourages the viewer to walk amongst three-dimensional work, and to see the relationship to drawing and two- dimensional design. Avoid crowding works together. Find relationships. Arrange tables, pedestals, and chairs in the room so that your work can be seen clearly.
  • You will be nervous, especially if this is your first review. Remember, this is a supportive process that seeks to help you see more in your work, to help you identify your strengths, and to learn how to use them to your advantage.
  • In preparation for your review, think of questions,you would like to explore or have answered.
  • Don’t hesitate to show work that you feel was not particularly successful. It is possible to gain as much benefit and insight from discussing less successful attempts at something new as from successful work. In general, it is always better to have a lot of work at your review rather than not enough.
  • You must ask a friend to attend your review, to listen and take notes. This will give you something to review regarding the issues that are discussed.
  • Enjoy your work! Foundation Reviews are grade Pass/Fail and are recorded on student transcripts.

Transcript Requests

Transcript request forms are available online. Each student pays a one-time transcript fee upon initial enrollment and no per-transcript fee is charged. It is important to note that official transcripts will not be released with outstanding financial obligations to the school. Transcript processing takes seven business days.

Veteran Benefits

Maine College of Art programs are approved for military personnel, veterans, and their eligible dependents under various educational assistance programs. The Registrar of the College is the Certifying Official and can be reached at adennison@meca.edu. Please notify the registrar upon admission to the college if you will be receiving VA benefits.

To apply for veterans educational benefits online, search for the VONAPP (Veterans Online Application) on the Dept. of Veterans Affairs website. Prior to applying, please read the latest update on the Post- 9/11 GI Bill and contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (1.888.442.4551, prompts 1 then 0) to discuss your eligibility. The election of CH 33 is irrevocable; the service member or veteran will need to make the best decision on which program benefits them most – staying with the Montgomery GI Bill or electing the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Representatives with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Buffalo, NY are available to counsel members on a comparison of both program benefits.

One month before classes begin the Registrar will submit an electronic enrollment certification to the Department of Veterans Affairs on your behalf. This certification will included the number of credit hours authorized towards completion of degree, tuition and fees for the term.. An undergraduate student would receive maximum monthly entitlement with full-time status of 12 credit hours or more for Fall or Spring semester. Please contact the Registrar with any questions you might have on veterans’ educational benefits. Thank you for all that you do and for your service to our country.

 

Student Accounts

Billing Information

Tuition and fees are billed by semester. BFA students enrolled in 12-18 credits are considered full-time for tuition billing. BFA student enrolled 3-11 credit are considered part-time and billed on a per-credit basis. BFA students carrying in excess of 18 credits in any semester will be billed an additional amount for these credits. Student enrolled in the MAT and MFA programs are enrolled as full-time reflected on their invoice. The balance due, after deducting any financial aid or loans, must be paid approximately five (5) weeks prior to the first day of the semester. The College offers a monthly payment plan through Tuition Management Systems, Inc. Information about this plan is mailed directly to students during the summer. Any student with a student account and/or financial aid hold on their record will need to clear the hold prior to completing the registration process. For further information, please contact the Student Accounts Office.

Office of Student Accounts
Room 256, Administrative Center, 207.699.5049

Osher Loan

This program, though not actually a loan, is an advance on an anticipated credit. If a student has an anticipated credit on their student account and needs funds immediately they can use this program to get up to $500.00. Please contact the Student Accounts Office for further information.

Refund Policy and Dates

Students who withdraw from the College during a semester, drop from full- to part-time status within a semester may be granted refunds only in accordance with the College’s published policy and refund schedule. A refund is a reduction in the original tuition charged rather than a portion of the amount already paid. In order to receive a refund, the student must complete and submit a drop or exit form before the end of the refund period. This applies to part-time students and those who drop from full-time (12 credits or more) to part-time (less than 12 credits) status. The date that written notification is received determines whether or not charges will be reduced. Students receiving financial aid funds are governed by additional refund policies related to their aid; for further information, please contact the Financial Aid Office. Refund period deadlines are published in the academic calendar.

Refund Dates

  • Withdraw prior to the first day of classes 100%
  • Drop or Exit Form led by end of 1st full week of classes 75%
  • Drop or Exit Form led by end of 2nd full week of classes 40%
  • Day following 2nd full week of classes No Refund
  • End of Add/ Drop After 2nd full week of classes

Payment Negligence

No student may attend classes, acquire transcripts of grades, receive grade reports, or receive a graduation diploma until all financial obligations to Maine College of Art are fulfilled. Access to email may be interrupted during a period of non-payment.

 

Exhibition Installation Policies – Porteous Building

Exhibition Installation Policies

Installation Policies:

  • Artwork must be displayed in the designated zones only. To reserve a zone, sign out a space in the binder located outside the ICA.
  • Please seek assistance from the Exhibition Coordinator or Facilities staff for any installations that may be difficult to install, hazardous, or potentially damaging to the building.
  • Artwork that may be controversial, offensive or inappropriate for younger audiences must be discussed, prior to installation, with the Exhibition Coordinator. The Lower Level, Floors 1 & 2 are accessible to the public and require. Work of this nature may be relocated to an area viewable only to the MECA community.
  • Artwork may not be fastened to the flooring in any way.
  • Painting, drawing or using adhesives (tape, glue) directly on the walls or floor is NOT permitted. (In some cases, exceptions may be made for a specific class or project, with prior consent from the Exhibition Coordinator or the Facilities Dept.)
  • Artwork is NOT permitted in the restrooms.
  • Holes in the wall, beyond basic mounting or hanging and/or 1 inch or bigger, must be discussed with the Exhibition Coordinator and approved by the Director of Facilities.
  • Artists are responsible for fully de-installing artwork (including hanging devices) and returning the space to it’s original condition, or it may be removed.
  • If damages are made to any building infrastructure (i.e.: wall, floor, ceiling, window sill, window, sign, etc.) the repair will be handled by the Facilities Department and billed to the student. Such repairs will be handled by the Facilities Department as time and resources permit.
  • Please check with Facilities before turning out lights in display areas.
  • Artists are responsible for maintaining proper presentation of electronic media (e.g. monitoring on/off or looping video/ audio works, changing bulbs).

Please understand that these policies exist to provide all students, faculty and exhibiting artists with a uniform quality of space for their exhibitions. Thank you.

Please Note: Students should take precautions to protect their artwork from damage or theft by making sure their work is properly secured and installed safely, especially on floors open to the public (Lower Level, 1 and 2). Secure display cases are available for smaller artworks or pieces made from valuable materials (i.e. jewelry). Please see Chris Patch, Exhibition Coordinator, if you would like to reserve a case.

Life/Safety Policies:

  • Artwork installed in a manner that places the safety of the MECA community at risk or violates life/safety policies will be immediately removed by the Facilities Department. A discussion with the Dean of the College will follow as soon as possible after the removal of work installed in this manner.
  • Fire exits, fire extinguishers, fire extinguisher signage, fire pull stations, red emergency shutdown buttons, electrical panels and exit lighting shall not be blocked or visually obscured.
  • A straight 4-foot wide corridor shall be maintained in all hallways at all times.
  • No artwork shall be suspended from or in any manner attached to any of the electrical, plumbing, ventilation, or life-safety systems in the College.
  • Should you be running electrical wiring/extension cords on the floor in a travel lane, you must tape it down with gaffer’s tape to meet fire/safety guidelines. (Please see Facilities Department for the proper tape.)

Chris Patch, Exhibition Coordinator
Doug Doering, Director of Facilities
Erin Hutton, Director of Exhibitions & Special Projects

Facilities Studio Guide

Facilities Studio Guide

Facilities, Porteous Building
207.699.5082

The college takes all practical steps to provide a safe and healthy working community, in compliance with federal, state and local laws. For example, each year, first year students participate in a mandatory safety training session. In addition, this studio safety guide provides an overview of some of the hazards connected with making art, as well as policies and guidelines on maintaining a safe studio practice. In addition, material safety data sheets (MSDS) are on file for materials used in each department. Ask your faculty, department technician, environmental coordinator (EC), or department chair where they are located. A central file of MSDS sheets is maintained in the Facilities office. If you have questions about materials you are using, read the MSDS for those materials. You are working with chemistry and materials that have the potential to be highly toxic and dangerous; it is your responsibility to be safe and to maintain a healthy studio environment.

Chemicals can enter the body through skin contact, ingestion through the mouth, and through inhalation. Skin contact and inhalation are the most common methods of entry. Our body has defensive barriers, but many art products contain acids, caustic alkaloids, peroxides, bleaches and organic solvents, any of which may cause deterioration of body defenses. Constant exposure can cause both severe short- and long-term damage. The breakdown of these defenses may occur immediately; or slowly, over an extended period of time.

Disruptions of the digestive system can occur when your hands, contaminated with art chemicals, come in contact with your mouth. This often occurs when food, cigarettes, or soft drinks are exposed to these chemicals in your studio. Eating and drinking is not permitted in the studios. All materials that have been removed from their original, labeled container need to be placed in a secondary container that is labeled.

Inhaling materials also contributes significantly to the disruption of your digestive and respiratory systems. Once inhaled, materials also find their way into your bloodstream. Some of these materials, such as glacial acetic acid (a “stop bath” in photography), welding fumes, wood dust, clay glazes, glass grinding materials and other noxious materials, can cause damage to your lungs and sensitive airway linings.

Prolonged and repeated exposures to chemicals can lead to chronic health problems. High-risk groups include smokers, heavy alcohol drinkers, and people with chronic diseases of the heart, lungs, kidney, and liver. Pregnant and lactating women are a very high-risk group because even small amounts of certain chemicals may damage a fetus or be transmitted through the milk to the nursing child. MSDS sheets provide important information about any health risks that may be associated with the use of particular products or materials.

When working in the studios, follow all “use-of-equipment” rules carefully. Students are not permitted to operate certain studio equipment without having first been trained and cleared by a college technician or instructor. Be especially attentive to rules and notices posted on the bulletin boards found in many studios and workshops. Important information on repairs, etc., may be found there. Important information may also be found on the equipment itself. Finally, follow the guidelines for all studios and those related to your particular field(s) of study.

Studio Safety Guide

Summary Environmental Management Plans
Summary environmental management plans (SEMP) have been written for the ceramics, metalsmithing & jewelry, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture departments. Each SEMP is designed to be a guide for instructors, students and technicians on the environmental regulations that apply to each department. Additional information pertaining to environmental compliance is available in MECA’s Environmental Management Plan, which is located in the Facilities office.

Hazardous waste determinations have been done for all departments which identify waste streams and correct disposal methods. The plan also identifies the responsibilities (associated with environmental compliance) of the department’s technician, who is referred to as the department’s environmental coordinator. Environmental coordinators in these six departments assist the facilities director in overseeing each department’s operations to ensure they are in compliance with local, state and federal environmental regulations. Each department’s environmental coordinator relies on the students and instructors of each class to follow the guidelines listed in each SEMP. By following these guidelines, each department will maintain compliance with these regulations.

Chemical Spills
There are two types of spills, an “incidental spill” or one requiring an “emergency response.” An “incidental spill” is defined as a spill where a person is knowledgeable with the material and the amount spilled is small and easily cleaned up with materials in the spill kit. The type of response and necessary precautions that should be taken for an “incidental spill” is reviewed with each student during the annual hazard communication training, which explains the types of spills that can be or should not be handled by students. Students should notify the instructor or department technician when a spill occurs to find out how to dispose of the spilled chemical and clean up debris.

If the student is in doubt as to the classification of a spill, they should notify the instructor, technician or facilities director immediately. Always err on the side of caution. Students should never place themselves in harm’s way.

All other spills are considered to require an “emergency response.” “Emergency response” spills are releases of chemicals of such magnitude and risk that they are considered out of control and extend beyond the current training of the students, college personnel or facilities director to respond to effectively. They may also be spills that are released down a drain. All emergency spills should be immediately reported to the instructor, department technician or Facilities Director.

Guidelines for All Studios

  • There is no eating and drinking in the studios. Violations may jeopardize a student’s use of studio space.
  • Do not expose food or beverages to art materials, or use containers for both food and art material storage.
  • Keep your area/studio clean. Studios are to be kept in good order. Solvent, flammable and corrosive material containers are to be kept covered at all times and stored in appropriate cabinets or lockers when not in use.
  • All materials must be labeled and stored safely.
  • All waste solvents and other waste chemicals are to be disposed according to the department’s SEMP.
  • Rags contaminated with chemicals are to be thrown away only in the designated rag disposal containers provided.
  • Do not mix chemical waste with trash.
  • Never pour chemicals down the drain!
  • Label chemicals properly. Any chemical that has been transferred from its manufacturer’s container must be labeled using an HMIS label with the name of the material and the appropriate hazard warnings. Department technicians can provide labels and assist you in filling in the information. If you cannot immediately obtain an HMIS label, a temporary label may be made using a felt tip pen or marker.
  • Use proper ventilation. This is not only for your protection but to protect the air quality of those around you. If you are not sure what constitutes proper ventilation in any given situation, ask your faculty or a member of facilities.
  • Use approved materials only. The use of any chemical/industrial materials not supplied by the college is prohibited unless prior approval has been obtained from your instructor(s) or the departmental EC.
  • Ask for help. Be sure to check with the technician or instructor if you are unsure of any procedure. Immediately report any problem or unsafe condition to the technician or instructor.
  • Be sure to follow all guidelines for using personal protective equipment such as eye protection, earplugs, etc. for the studio you are working in.

Ceramics
Some clay dusts and glazes are toxic. Dusts such as silica and talc are listed as carcinogens and can cause disabling, lung-scarring and sometimes fatal diseases. Some glazes also contain toxic metal compounds. Symptoms may take years to develop and may promote susceptibility to other diseases. During kiln ring, toxic fumes and gases are produced. These can include carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and chlorine released from the clay or glazes. All gas or electric kilns are located in well-ventilated areas. Safety in the ceramics studio consists of avoiding exposure to dangerous chemicals, dust and safety around kilns and moving parts. Because everyone’s body is unique, even officially tolerable levels of a material may be intolerable for you. Pay attention to the early signals your body sends: if you develop a rash, nausea or dizziness, stop what you are doing and take a break. See the chart of hazardous compounds at the back of the studio safety guide for more information.

Safety Rules for the Ceramics Area

  • Keep work areas clean. Cluttered areas invite accidents.
  • Clean up wet glaze spills before they dry.
  • Avoid procedures that produce dust. Keep materials wet. Work with pre-mixed clay (when possible).
  • Wear proper apparel such as coveralls or a jumpsuit over your regular clothing.
  • Do not wear loose clothing, rings, bracelets etc. that can get caught in moving parts (such as a potter’s wheel). Non-slip footwear is recommended.
  • Protect your face and eyes. Use goggles during mixing, chipping and grinding.
  • Rubber gloves must be worn when mixing or using glazes in the glaze lab.
  • Only the procedures outlined in the departmental SEMP are to be used to mix glazes. These have been designed for your health and safety, and to comply with USEPA and MEDEP regulations.
  • Electrically ground all equipment. If equipment has a three-prong plug, it should be plugged into a three-slot receptacle. If an adapter is used to accommodate a two-slot receptacle, the adapter must be attached to the receptacle’s faceplate. Never remove the third prong of a plug.
  • Use the process ventilator in the glaze lab and clay mixing areas. Always ensure that the space you are working in is well ventilated.
  • Materials and belongings must be stored above floor level so that all floors can be regularly and thoroughly cleaned.
  • No dry sweeping is allowed in the ceramics area. Wet mopping or wet vacuuming is the only way to clean floors.
  • No eating, drinking or smoking is allowed in the ceramic areas.
  • Learn about the chemistry of the materials with which you are working by reading labels, charts and the material safety data sheets (MSDS).

Personal Safety Around Kilns

  • Loose clothing and hair can easily catch fire.
  • Use only the specifically designated kilns for raku firing or other processes that generate visible smoke. This will prevent false fire alarms.
  • Assume anything on or around a kiln is hot.
  • Keep your face and hands back from spy ports.
  • Be careful looking into a yellow-hot kiln. The radiation may damage your eyes and even some types of glasses. Ultraviolet and infrared rated safety glasses are a good idea for everyone, and they make the parametric cones easier to see.
  • If you are exposed to excessive heat for long periods, leave the kiln studio every so often, drink lots of liquids and eat a bit of high-energy food.
  • A kiln with a reduction atmosphere produces some carbon monoxide.
  • If you start to feel dizzy, get out of the kiln room and seek medical help immediately.
  • Alcohol, drugs and medication impair control of the ring and clear thinking in case of a problem or emergency.
  • All participants in raku firings must wear fire-resistant clothing.

Kiln Safety

  • Check the structural condition of the kiln before any firing. Report any problems to the instructor or technician.
  • Clean the kiln before and after the firing.
  • Make sure the stacking of ware is stable and level.
  • Do not leave combustible materials anywhere near the kilns.
  • Only students who have been authorized by an instructor may sign up for and fire kilns.
  • Never touch controls or make adjustments to kilns that you are not firing.
  • Exhaust fans must be turned on during all firings.
  • Kiln shelves and stilts must be returned to proper storage.
  • Goggles must be worn when chipping and washing kiln shelves. Use process ventilation.

Graphic Design and Digital Media
Hazards in graphic design and digital media are primarily the result of long hours at a computer terminal. Studies show that repetitive motion (like typing, using a mouse, etc.) can cause physical disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. Additionally, long hours at the computer also cause problems with posture, etc. Tests are not conclusive about the long-term exposure to monitors, etc., but if your eyes or anything else gets sore the best plan is to take a break!

Safety Rules for Graphic Design and Digital Media

  • Keep your work area clean: cluttered areas and benches invite accidents.
  • Use toxic materials like spray mount or spray fixative only in a designated spray-booth in the Porteous building.
  • Check your workstation and be sure that it is ergonomically correct—your shoulders should not be hunched up while working on a keyboard, your back should be straight and your head in a comfortable position.
  • Take time every half-hour or so to do some basic arm, hand, shoulder and neck stretches.

Care & Operation of Equipment

  • Do not spill liquids, etc. on or near any of the computer terminals.
  • If something is not working let the technology support staff know right away.
  • Follow instructions posted near machines for proper steps to turn equipment on or off.
  • When in doubt ask someone in technology or your faculty.

Metalsmithing & Jewelry
Metalsmithing, jewelry and enameling use a broad range of processes and materials, which can be potentially harmful. For example, cutting, ling, and sanding can create dusts; soldering, brazing, enameling, and melting metal create toxic fumes. The infrared light from these processes can also be a threat to vision. Repetitive hammering required for metalsmithing can be a serious threat to hearing, as well as the potential cause of repetitive motion disorders. Corrosives for cleaning, etching, and patination must be handled with extreme caution.

Safety in the metals studio consists of understanding and respecting the machines, avoiding dangerous materials and processes, and protecting oneself from invasion by particles, fumes or sharp objects. Because everyone’s body is unique, even of officially tolerable levels of a material may be intolerable for you. Pay attention to the early signals your body sends: if you have a dry mouth, an odd taste, a rash, nausea or dizziness, stop what you are doing and take a break. See the chart of hazardous compounds at the back of the studio safety guide for more information.

Safety rules for Metals

  • Keep your work area clean: cluttered areas and benches invite accidents.
  • Do not work by yourself. Have someone else with you at all times in the studio or shop.
  • Wear proper apparel. Do not wear loose clothing, gloves, necklaces, rings, bracelets or other jewelry that may get caught in moving parts.
  • Bare feet are not allowed in anystudio or shop. Sandals, open-toe shoes, or high heels should not be worn. Non-slip safety shoes are recommended.
  • All hair longer than shoulder length must be tied back and away from the face at all times.
  • Always use safety glasses.
  • No machines or tools should be used prior to instruction from faculty member.
  • A dust mask must be worn whenever grinding, sanding, cutting or for any activity that produces particulate matter. Use proper ventilation where toxic fumes may be generated.
  • Use hearing protection when around loud machinery or processes.
  • Do not work or operate tools while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication.
  • Don’t use power tools in damp or wet locations or expose them to rain. Keep your work area well lit.
  • Keep children and visitors out of work areas.
  • Report any problems with tools immediately to the faculty or technician. Do not repair tools or replace blades, bits, etc., unless you have been authorized and trained by the faculty or technician.
  • Make your workshop tamper-proof (and childproof at home) with padlocks, master switches, and by removing starter keys.
  • Return all tools to designated storerooms or tool rooms.

Care & Operation of Equipment:

  • Do not operate any tools or equipment without prior instruction from faculty or technicians.
  • Use the right tool. Don’t force a tool or attachment to do a job for which it was not designed.
  • Read the instruction manual before operating a tool.
  • Electrically ground all tools where required. If a tool is equipped with a three-prong plug, it should be plugged into a three-slot electrical receptacle.
  • Remove adjusting keys and wrenches before operating equipment. They can become lethal projectiles.
  • Maintain tools in top condition. Keep tools sharp and clean for safe performance.
  • Follow instructions for lubricating and changing accessories.
  • Avoid accidental starting. Make sure switch is in the “off” position before plugging in the power cord. Do not use equipment that is tagged or labeled as inoperative or under repair.
  • Never stand on a tool. Serious injury may occur if the tool is tipped or if the cutting edge is accidentally contacted.
  • Feed work into a blade or cutter only against the direction of rotation of the blade or cutter.
  • Secure your work. Use clamps or a vise to hold your work. This is safer than using your hand and leaves both hands free to operate the tool.
  • Don’t overreach. Keep proper footing and balance at all times.
  • Never leave a tool running unattended. Turn off the power. Don’t leave a tool until it comes to a complete stop.
  • Disconnect tools before servicing or when changing accessories such as blades, bits, t-cutters, or while a motor is being mounted or repaired.

Painting
There are significant health hazards connected with the use of pigments as well as the use of chemical thinners, solvents, etc. Even ready-to-use paints can be dangerous to handle and precautions need to be taken. Safety in the painting studio consists of avoiding exposure to dangerous chemicals and processes and maintaining good housekeeping. Every attempt should be made to properly discard combustibles, such as newspapers, paper, trash, solvent-contaminated rags, etc. Combustibles in the presence of flammable solvents and paints can result in personal injury. Because everyone’s body is unique, even of officially tolerable levels of a material may be intolerable for you. Pay attention to the early signals your body sends: if you develop a rash, nausea or dizziness, stop what you are doing and take a break. See the chart of hazardous compounds at the back of the studio safety guide for more information.

Safety Rules for Painting Studios

  • Use gloves when handling varnishes, lacquers, thinners and epoxy resins.
  • Disposable latex gloves are good for working with paints of low toxicity. Highly toxic paints (such as those containing chromium, lead, cadmium and zinc) should be used with caution, adequate personal protection, and under circumstances approved by the instructor.
  • Spray paints and fixatives are to be used only in designated spray booths, and with proper ventilation.
  • No heaters, hot plates, or open flames of any kind are allowed in the studios.
  • No melting of waxes of any kind.
  • No storage of flammable materials such as: hay, newspaper, oily rags, etc.
  • No pastels or chalks may be used in any elective classroom. Pastels may only be used in major’s studios while wearing a dust mask, and only with the express permission of the major instructor and with the consent of the students working nearby.
  • Odorless paint thinner or odorless mineral spirits are the only solvents that may be used to thin paint or to clean painting materials. Other solvents such as ‘Citrisolve’, ‘Turpenoid’, turpentine, lacquer thinner and plain (not odorless) mineral spirits are not allowed in any studio.
  • The largest container of odorless mineral spirits allowed in 2D studios is 1 pint.
  • All unused solvent or medium containers must be made of plastic or metal, clearly labeled as to exact content, and stored in a container with a tightly closing top. All paint and solvent containers should be tightly closed when not being used. Unlabeled or improper containers may be removed by the EC.
  • Use the smallest amount possible of any solvent.
  • Do not use solvents to clean your hands. Wear barrier cream or gloves when working and follow this with soap and water. Use solvent resistant gloves wherever possible.
  • Use the mildest solvent that will do the job for thinning paints and cleaning brushes.
  • For example, baby oil or mineral oil may be used to clean brushes. Higher-flashpoint solvents such as Gamsol or odorless mineral spirits are good choices of solvents.
  • Carefully washing your hands after using these materials is crucial to ensuring that hazardous materials connected with them are not inhaled or accidentally ingested.
  • No sinks may be used to dispose of painting wastes. Solvent or media waste is to be disposed of in marked drums only.
  • No painting rags or trash is permitted to accumulate in the studio space. This presents a life/health/safety issue to yourself as well as others and in addition is a violation of federal, state, and local laws that can result in financial penalties to the college and or shutdown of the department until, violations are corrected. Criminal charges can be brought, particularly in cases of willful negligence.
  • No breakable glass containers may be used to store solvents or mediums.
  • Cover all palettes that contain paint unless you are using them.
  • Always make sure that there is ample ventilation.
  • Leave at least 18’ from the bottom of curtains to the floor.
  • Most solvents are flammable – be sure that you are familiar with the location of your studio re-extinguisher. All re-extinguishers are mounted and identified with signs.

Photography
Prolonged and repeated exposures to photographic chemicals, as with any chemical sub-stance, can lead to chronic health problems. Many of the chemicals used in photographic processing can cause severe skin problems, and in some cases, lung disease. The greatest hazard occurs during the preparation and handling of concentrated stock solutions and chemicals. Developers are highly toxic and are taken in by ingestion and absorption. Remember, not all chemicals have distinctive odors or emit a readily detectable vapor. Safety in the photography darkroom and studio consists of avoiding exposure to dangerous chemicals and practicing safety around equipment. Because everyone’s body is unique, even of officially tolerable levels of a material may be intolerable for you. Pay attention to the early signals your body sends: if you develop a rash, nausea or dizziness, stop what you are doing and take a break. See the chart of hazardous compounds at the back of the studio safety guide for more information.

Safety Rules for the Photography Darkrooms

  • Use common sense. Pace yourself when working in the darkroom. Take frequent outside rest periods so that intense, prolonged exposure to any potentially toxic materials is reduced.
  • Protect yourself from chemical absorption through the skin. Never put your hands into photographic chemicals unless you are wearing the appropriate gloves.
  • Do not splash chemicals. Splashing is a common cause of eye contamination. Gently place prints into each solution to prevent splashing.
  • Wipe up all spills immediately to prevent people from slipping and falling and to prevent chemical exposures by inhalation.
  • If you are mixing chemicals from powders or liquid concentrates, or if you are toning, you must wear safety goggles. When mixing acids with water, always add the acid to water, never the reverse. When water is added to concentrated acids (such as glacial acetic acid used to mix a stop bath) a violent reaction may occur causing the mixture to boil and splatter about the room.
  • If you do get chemicals in your eyes, flush them with a gentle, constant flow of water for at least fifteen (15) minutes. Report the accident immediately and seek medical attention as quickly as possible after flushing the eyes.
  • Be sure that waste chemicals are discarded into the correct containers.
  • It is mandatory that disposal information (posted on bulletin boards) and label instructions be followed exactly. Failure to follow instructions could result in a serious violation of state and federal environmental regulations. If you do not know exactly what to do, consult the technician before discarding any photographic waste.
  • Wear an acid-proof apron when working in the studio. Protect your face, eyes and hands when any chemical is used.
  • Process and mix only in approved spaces.

Photography studio safety:

  • Never eat, drink or smoke in the studio.
  • Do not overload individual electrical circuits.
  • Secure the camera to a tripod.
  • Avoid overcrowding the studio area with people or objects.
  • Use appropriate heat resistant gloves when using studio lights.
  • Keep all cables clear of foot traffic and gaff them down.
  • Avoid long shoots using an excessive number of lights.
  • Secure light stands and tripod legs with sandbags where needed.
  • Never move a light while it is turned on.
  • Be careful when moving freestanding lights, as they are top-heavy.
  • Avoid lifting heavy equipment without assistance.

Safety Rules for Portable Lights:

  • Do not use attachments that are not recommended by the equipment manufacturer.
  • Do not use electrical or electronic equipment near water: for example, near a sink, or laundry tub, in a wet basement, or near a swimming pool, etc.
  • Don’t place equipment on an unstable cart, stand, or table.
  • Slots and openings in electronic equipment are provided for ventilation. These openings must not be blocked or covered. Do not place the equipment on a bed, sofa, rug, etc. or on or over a radiator or heat source.
  • Never push objects of any kind into the equipment’s ventilation slots as they may touch dangerous voltage points or short out parts. This could result in re or electric shock.
  • Never spill liquid of any kind on the equipment.
  • The equipment should be operated only from the type of power source indicated on its label.
  • Most equipment is equipped with a 3-wire grounding type plug (a plug having a third, grounding pin). This plug will only fit into a grounding type outlet. This is a safety feature. Do not defeat the safety purpose of the 3-wire plug by removing the grounding pin.
  • Do not crush, or walk on, the equipment’s power cord. Do not locate equipment where the cord will be abused, such as in doorways or high traffic areas.
  • Follow all warnings and instructions marked on the equipment. Do not overload wall outlets and extension cords as this can result in re or electric shock.
  • Do not attempt to service the equipment yourself, as opening or removing covers may expose you to dangerous voltage or other hazards.
  • Unplug the equipment from the wall outlet and bring it to the technician immediately if it is not working properly.
  • Do not attempt to lift heavy equipment by yourself.
  • Turn the power switch off before plugging or unplugging a piece of equipment.
  • Keep equipment off the ground, if possible, to prevent accidental tripping.
  • Never eat or drink around equipment.

Printmaking
The various chemicals, solvents and inks used in printmaking processes can present various health hazards. For example, aromatic hydrocarbons and other lacquer solvents must be used with adequate ventilation. Inks (black and white) usually contain carbon black, which may cause skin cancer years later. Common toxic pigments may include chrome yellow (lead chromate), zinc yellow (zinc chromate), milori green (lead chromate), and cadmium colors. Most solvents used in printmaking are skin irritants. Commonly used powders including magnesium carbonate, citric acid powder, French chalk etc. May cause skin and/or respiratory problems. There may also be exposure to lacquer thinner, alcohol and acids. Although these materials are used in relatively small amounts they are potentially dangerous if used incorrectly. Hazards in silk-screening are minimized at MECA because only water-based inks are used. However, there are toxic materials contained in photo-emulsion and emulsion removers. Also, advanced silkscreen classes utilize photo chemicals such as developers, stop bath and fixers. (see the chart of hazardous compounds at the back of this safety guide for more particular information about working with or avoiding chemical compounds.) Safety in the printmaking studio consists of avoiding exposure to these various chemicals and processes. Because everyone’s body is unique, even of officially tolerable levels of a material may be intolerable for you. Pay attention to the early signals your body sends: if you develop a rash, nausea or dizziness, stop what you are doing and take a break. Remember, not all chemicals have distinctive odors or emit a readily detectable vapor. See the chart of hazardous compounds at the back of the studio safety guide for more information.

Safety Rules for Printmaking Studios:

  • Use gloves when handling chemicals such as gum arabic, tannic plate etch, citric plate etches, cellulose gum, micro-gum prosol and image remover.
  • Be careful when working with acid! Goggles, face-shields, aprons, and gloves should always be worn! One rule to always follow: always add acid to water, never the re- verse. (Treatment for exposure to acid is to flush clear water on the affected eyes, skin or clothing for a minimum of 15 minutes, followed immediately with medical attention by a doctor of a nurse.)
  • Chemical powders are a hazard and may require the use of a dust mask. Be respectful of the breathing space of others when using these powders: keep them localized to the task.
  • The lithography chemical, lacquer base, requires or application of plate or stone must be done at a designated process ventilation area.
  • Trays in the acid hoods must be kept covered to prevent unneeded exposure to fumes and reduce evaporation.
  • Spray paints and fixatives are to be used only in designated spray booths, and with proper ventilation.
  • Carefully washing your hands after using these materials is crucial to ensuring that hazardous materials connected with them are not inhaled or accidentally ingested.
  • Rags impregnated with ink or solvents may represent both a health and regulated hazard. Be sure they are discarded into the special reproof containers provided for this purpose.
  • No storage of flammable materials such as: hay, newspaper, oily rags, etc. No rags or trash may be allowed to accumulate in studios. No breakable glass containers may be used to store solvents or mediums.
  • All unused solvent or medium containers must be made of plastic or metal, clearly labeled as to exact contents, and stored in a container with a tightly closing top.
  • Most solvents are flammable — be sure that you are familiar with the location of your studio re extinguisher. All fire extinguishers are mounted and identified with signs.
  • Caution must be used in the operation of print equipment. For example, intaglio printing requires a great deal of pressure and it is necessary to operate the presses properly. Students must be alert and knowledgeable when operating print equipment and seek assistance when in doubt.
  • The printmaking studio is only available to beginning students when there is a monitor present who is trained in the proper use of equipment. Always seek assistance when necessary.

Sculpture, Woodworking and Furniture Design
Sculpture employs a vast range of materials and processes, from more ‘traditional’ materials like plaster, wood, stone, steel and bronze to plastics, resins, found objects and non-traditional materials including foodstuffs, clothing, waste materials, etc. Therefore, it is particularly important that you consider the safety or toxicity of the materials you may be using before bringing them into your studio. Certain materials used in sculpture have toxic properties. The hazards of silica and asbestos are well documented, and these substances are found in some stones and clays. Some metals, when heated, give off fumes that can cause fevers, headaches and nausea. When in doubt about the safety of any material, check with your faculty immediately. Sculptors must be very thorough in considering potential hazards connected with materials. For example, even ready-to-use lead paints are dangerous to handle
and precautions need to be taken such as wearing rubber gloves. Safety in the sculpture studios and woodshop consists of avoiding exposure to dangerous chemicals, airborne debris and practicing safety around equipment. Because everyone’s body is unique, even officially tolerable levels of a material may be intolerable for you. Pay attention to the early signals your body sends: if you develop a rash, nausea or dizziness, stop what you are doing and take a break. See the chart of hazardous compounds at the back of the studio safety guide for more information; listed below are some broad categories of materials and general hazards related to each.

Acids/Patinas
One of the greatest hazards in bronze patina is the use of acid, which can cause severe skin burns. Eye damage from splashed acid can also be dangerous. One rule to always follow: always add acid to water, never the reverse. Treatment for exposure to acid is to flush clear water on the affected eyes, skin or clothing for a minimum of 15 minutes, followed immediately with medical attention by a doctor or nurse.
Chemicals/Solvents
Solvents are used to dissolve and mix oils, resins, and varnishes and to clean brushes, etc. Almost all solvents are poisonous if swallowed or inhaled in sufficient quantity. Similar properties exist among many different solvents. If one member of a class of solvents
is toxic, usually another safer solvent can be used. Remember: water is the preferred universal solvent. Solvent-saturated rags can also result in spontaneous combustion and must be air-dried (with good ventilation present) and not stored wet. Prior to using any solvent, review its MSDS, and read the precautions and warning labels on the container. Familiarize yourself with the side-effects that could result from long-term or short-term overexposure to the properties of that solvent. Wear proper gloves, eye protection and a respirator with the appropriate cartridge and always use paints, glues, etc. in a designated spray booth.

Dusts
Dusts such as silica, asbestos and talc are listed as carcinogens and can cause disabling, lung-scarring and even fatal disease. Dust is created during the carving of plaster, wood, stone, etc. and is also present during various mold-making processes such as lost-wax investment. Symptoms may take years to develop and may promote susceptibility to other diseases. Follow studio procedures and wear appropriate personal protection equipment, especially gloves, when working with clay and toxic materials.

Fibers
Most of the hazards with fiber come from dust. Cotton, flax and hemp dusts can
cause lung ailments years after exposure. Hazards in dyeing come from both the dyes and mordants, as well as from other dyeing assistants. Direct dyes for cotton, linen and rayon are often made from benzene-type derivatives. Fiber reactives or cold water dyes can cause severe respiratory allergies. Inhalation of these materials can also cause serious damage to the nasal passages and respiratory system. Using proper ventilation greatly reduces the risks. Properly storing materials after each use will eliminate the hazards connected with exposed or unattended raw ber materials.

Glass
When working with glass, your personal safety needs to be considered. Dust is also of significant concern when grinding, etc. Proper ventilation, sturdy gloves and safety glasses are essential.

Glue, Paint, and Finish
Gluing, painting and finishing may be part of the sculpture-making process and include possible exposure to solvents and chemicals. Wear proper gloves, eye protection and a respirator with the appropriate cartridge and always use paints, glues, etc. in a designated spray booth.

Metal and Casting
Both the materials and the environment for metalworking can be hazardous. Hazards include dusts formed while grinding or polishing, fumes from welding or soldering, or vapors from casting, plating or cleaning. Any abrasive process, such as grinding or using a wire brush, can produce airborne debris that can damage the eyes and lungs. Welding, brazing and soldering can produce lead and other metallic fumes. Polystyrene produces toxic smoke and fumes if used improperly during “lost wax” casting. Pickling solutions are caustic and most cleaning solvents are toxic to some degree. Additional hazards of metalworking arise from the use of a wide variety of tools and machinery, from simple hand tools to the overhead hoist, lathes, etc. Virtually every accident (or “close call”) is the result of inattention or improper use of the machinery and tools. Fire hazards are also present: propane gas cylinders are especially insidious because they are so common that it is easy to forget they contain flammable gas under pressure. Finally, in the casting process, metal is melted and poured into a suitable negative mold. The fumes of many of these metals and alloys are toxic. This is especially true of the lead found in brass and pewter. In addition, lead is sometimes added to molten bronze. Inhalation of these fumes can cause lead poisoning. The sand used in the shell-molding process has a high silica content and the dust should not be inhaled. In the lost wax process, the fire-resistant plaster or clay used as a negative mold contains many additives that are hazardous. These include solvents, acids and silica our, which can cause rapidly developing silicosis. A major concern in casting is exposure to intense heat. Safety glasses, welder’s helmets, high temperature clothing and similar specialized items are provided by the college and must be used where required by the instructor. It is highly recommended that each student purchase an approved pair of safety shoes.

Wax Fumes
When melted, wax emits organic vapors. In petroleum-based waxes this vapor can cause lung damage and asthma. This is less true for paraffin and beeswax, which tend to have less toxic organic vapors. Use a good respirator with cartridges for organic vapors.
Wood
Working with wood presents various hazards from issues of safety around machinery (table saws, etc), to toxic dusts and ying debris put off during sanding. Some woods themselves are highly toxic, especially exotic woods. Check with your faculty if you are uncertain and always wear proper protection and handle machinery with care.

Safety Rules for Sculpture & Woodshop

  • Keep your work area and studio space clean and organized: cluttered areas invite accidents and violate federal, state, and local life/health/safety codes. Said violations may result in financial penalties and department shutdown until violations are corrected.
  • Do not work by yourself. Have someone else with you at all times in the studio or shop.
  • Wear proper apparel. Do not wear loose clothing, gloves, necklaces, rings, bracelets or other jewelry that may get caught in moving parts. Bare feet are not allowed in any studio or shop. Sandals, open-toe shoes, or high heels should not be worn. Non-slip safety shoes are recommended.
  • Wear protective hair covering to contain long hair.
  • Always use safety glasses.
  • Use a dust mask if a cutting operation is dusty.
  • Use proper ventilation where toxic fumes may be generated.
  • Use hearing protection when around loud machinery or processes.
  • Do not work or operate tools while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication.
  • Don’t use power tools in damp or wet locations or expose them to rain.
  • Keep your work area well lighted.
  • Keep children and visitors out of work areas.
  • Report any problems with tools immediately to the faculty or technician. Do not repair tools or replace blades, bits, etc., unless you have been authorized and trained by the faculty or technician.
  • Make your workshop tamper-proof (and childproof at home) with padlocks, master switches, and by removing starter keys.
  • Return all tools to designated storerooms or tool rooms.

Care & Operation of Equipment

  • Do not operate any tools or equipment without prior instruction from faculty or technicians.
  • Use the right tool. Don’t force a tool or attachment to do a job for which it was not designed.
  • Read the instruction manual before operating a tool.
  • Electrically ground all tools where required. If a tool is equipped with a three-prong plug, it should be plugged into a three-slot electrical receptacle.
  • Remove adjusting keys and wrenches before operating equipment. They can be-come lethal projectiles.
  • Maintain tools in top condition. Keep tools sharp and clean for safe performance. Follow instructions for lubricating and changing accessories.
  • Avoid accidental starting. Make sure switch is in the “off” position before plugging in the power cord. Do not use equipment that is tagged or labeled as inoperative or under repair.
  • Never stand on a tool. Serious injury may occur if the tool is tipped or if the cutting edge is accidentally contacted.
  • Feed work into a blade or cutter only against the direction of rotation of the blade or cutter.
  • Secure your work. Use clamps or a vise to hold your work. This is safer than using your hand and leaves both hands free to operate the tool.
  • Don’t overreach. Keep proper footing and balance at all times.
  • Never leave a tool running unattended. Turn off the power. Don’t leave a tool until it comes to a complete stop.
  • Disconnect tools before servicing or when changing accessories such as blades, bits, cutters, or while a motor is being mounted or repaired.

Chart of Hazardous Compounds
Acetone
Headache, drowsiness, irritation. This is one of the least toxic solvents. Precautions: adequate ventilation, extremely flammable.

Acetylene
Mild narcotic in small doses, large doses cut off oxygen. Precautions: use caution and check equipment for leaks.

Aerosol sprays
Fine mists containing possible toxic materials can travel long distances or remain suspended in the air for long periods before settling, commonly flammable and toxic. Precautions: spray booths must be used. Be sure to direct spray away from anyone’s breathing space. Store cans away from fire, at a temperature that does not exceed 120°f. Empty cans should be disposed of in the trash promptly. Use non-aerosol products if available.

Ammonia
Irritant to the eyes, caustic to lungs, serious when in strong solution. Precautions: use diluted soap and water.

Aqua Regia
Most caustic of all acids. Precautions: wear protective clothing. Store in a well marked loosely stoppered bottle.

Asbestos
Made up of fibers the body cannot dissolve. This product is a carcinogen whose effects can take 20-30 years to develop. Precautions: do not use! – use substitutes.

Benzene
Intoxication, coma, respiratory failure. Precautions: do not use: carcinogen; cumulative poison by all methods of entry; use an alternate solvent.

Cadmium
Affects brain, nervous system, lungs, kidneys. Precautions: avoid if possible and use only with strong ventilation.

Chlorinated hydrocarbons
Dissolves the fatty layer of the skin. Causes liver and kidney damage. Precautions: avoid if possible. Ventilate. Wear neoprene rubber gloves.

Copper oxides
Can irritate lungs, intestines, eyes and skin. Precautions: ventilate when heating copper alloys. Wear gloves when handling a lot.
Cyanides
Mists inhaled or falling on skin are poisonous. Precautions: ventilate well; wear protective clothing.

Fluorides
Can form hydrofluoric acid in the lungs. Precautions: ventilate, avoid breathing fumes.

Lead
Damages brain, central nervous system, red blood cells, marrow, liver, kidneys. Fumes are especially dangerous. Precautions: avoid if possible. Ventilate well, minimize handling and wash well after contact.

Ketones
Skin, eye and respiratory tract irritants. Can cause peripheral nerve damage. Precautions: ventilate very well; wear rubber gloves.

Liver of Sulfur
When heated to decomposition, it can create hydrogen sulfide, a source of brain damage and suffocation. Precautions: do not allow mixture to come to a boil.

Mercury
Damages brain, nervous system and kidneys. Precautions: avoid fumes and skin contact. Ventilate very well and wear protective clothing.

Polyester resins
Skin irritants. Some release toxic fumes when mixed with their binders; some are explosive.
Precautions: wear gloves and ventilate. Store according to directions.

Silver compounds
Absorbed into the skin as vapor or dust, can cause night blindness. Precautions: wear gloves and ventilate well.

Sulfuric acid & Sparex (sodium bisulfate)
Irritates skin and respiratory tract. Damages clothing. Precautions: ventilate. Keep container covered. Neutralize with a solution of baking soda and water.

Tellurium
Fumes generated in refining gold, silver, copper and in welding. Irritates skin and gastrointestinal system. Precautions: ventilate. Early symptom is ‘garlic breath’ and a metallic taste in the mouth. Be alert for this.

Toluene & Toluol
Causes hallucination, possible liver and kidney failure, intoxication, lung, brain and red blood cell damage. Precautions: avoid if possible. Ventilate well – inhalation can cause death.

Turpentine
Skin irritant, brain and lung damage possible. Precautions: ventilate well and Wear gloves. Do not ingest as may be fatal.

Zinc compounds
Dust and fumes attack the central nervous system, skin and lungs. Precautions: ventilate well.

Waste Management Procedures
College policy and procedure complies with federal, state and municipal regulations regarding hazardous waste disposal. These procedures are outlined below. Any questions should be directed to the Director of Facilities.

There are three categories of wastes that require special handling at MECA:
Hazardous waste — as defined by Federal and Maine law
Universal waste — as defined by Federal and Maine law
Prohibited wastewater — waste which may not be poured down drains, according to MECA’s wastewater discharge permit. Pouring prohibited wastewater down sink drains can result in significant fines and, more importantly, can cause serious injury to workers of the city of Portland’s wastewater treatment plant.

The wastes generated by each department’s routine operations have been identified in the
SEMP and the department’s technician can direct you to proper disposal methods. Occasionally, you may have a waste, which is not addressed by the SEMP. These may be wastes generated by new products or methods or simply leftover product you don’t want to keep. Your department’s technician, and/or the facilities department, can assist you in determining the proper disposal method.

Make every attempt to properly label every container. Improper disposal of a hazardous waste or prohibited wastewater can result in fines, environmental damage, or worse, serious safety consequences.

You are responsible for products you bring to MECA. Do not leave any unused products at MECA without arranging for their use or disposal. You may give unwanted, but still usable, products directly to another student. You may not abandon products or wastes at MECA without permission from your department’s technician or the facilities department.

Additional Safety Considerations:
5th Floor Spray Booth: this facility must be maintained in a clean and uncluttered condition. Rules are posted. Violations will result in the ventilation being shut down until corrections are made. The Departmental EC, the Facilities Director and an environmental firm will conduct periodic inspections.

Violations will be noted and brought to the attention of the individual(s) involved and their department. Recommendations will be provided to help resolve violations. All violations will be considered a serious matter as they potentially affect your health and safety as well as others around you. In addition violations of departmental SEMPS violate federal, state, and local laws and can result in: Financial penalties, Departmental or institution shutdown , and possibly criminal charges based on willful negligence.