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NEASC approves UMPI’s five-year report

The University of Maine at Presque Isle recently received some positive news from its national accrediting body that confirms the institution is meeting important standards set forth for institutions of higher learning.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges [NEASC] through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education recently accepted the University’s five-year interim report, submitted in the latter half of 2008. NEASC, one of six regional accrediting associations in the U.S., conducts comprehensive evaluations of schools every 10 years. UMPI was last fully reviewed and reaccredited in 2003. The University’s next self-study will be due in 2013.

In a letter to the University, the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education commended the University on several points, including its work to: complete an update of its strategic plan; improve campus communication and transparency by involving faculty, staff, and students in decision-making processes; participate in the Voluntary System of Accountability; and assess each academic program and prepare to begin external program assessments. The Commission has asked that the University submit a report in 2010 about financial resources since the State of Maine was forced to make reductions in its allocations to the institution during the last two years.

“We are very pleased that NEASC has accepted our five-year report and highlighted some of the excellent work our campus community has done to make important improvements at this institution,” Dr. Michael Sonntag, Vice President for Academic Affairs, said. “We hope to effect much more positive change in the years between now and our next comprehensive evaluation in 2013.”

While not as intensive as the 10-year comprehensive evaluation, Sonntag pointed out that the process to put together a five-year report is very much a campus-wide effort.

“We brought together many University staff and faculty members to prepare updates for this report on the work this University has done in several areas, from Physical and Technological Resources and Information Resources to Public Disclosure and Integrity,” Sonntag said. “There was collective good work done on this project and we commend those who were involved in helping to make this effort a success.”

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., founded in 1885, is the nation’s oldest accrediting association, serving more than 2,000 public and independent schools, colleges and universities in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and American/international schools in more than 60 nations worldwide, according to its website. NEASC is characterized by a commitment to establishing and maintaining high standards for all levels of education (pre-K-to doctoral level) within one association.