1. home About the System News UMS Press Releases UMF President Kathryn Foster and Former UMS Trustee and Maine Business Leader Eleanor Baker To Serve

UMF President Kathryn Foster and Former UMS Trustee and Maine Business Leader Eleanor Baker To Serve

Proven Maine public servants to bring strategic thinking and appreciation of Maine’s workforce and
education challenges to the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the
New England Association of Schools and Colleges in time of great change in public higher education

AUGUSTA, MAINE — University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page announced today that University of Maine at Farmington President Kathryn A. (Kate) Foster and Former University of Maine System Trustee and Maine business leader Eleanor (Ellie) Baker have been elected for three-year terms to serve on the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  The election was held as part of the 132nd Annual Meeting of the accrediting body being held this week in Boston, Massachusetts.

“It is a time of great change in higher education particularly so in Maine where our demographic and workforce challenges create new service and partnership opportunities for our public universities,” said University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page.  “President Foster and former Trustee Baker are public servants who understand our state, its people and the service mission of public higher education.  On behalf of the Board of Trustees I want to thank Kate and Ellie for bringing their perspectives and strategic thinking to the Commission.

“I also want to thank the Commission and its professional staff for its guidance and support as we continue to adapt our public higher education system to better serve our students and state while still adhering to the highest expectations in terms of academic quality.”  

Commission and Accreditation Background

The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education is the regional accreditor for 224 colleges and universities in six New England states and ten in other countries. It is a constituent element of NEASC, founded in 1885 and the oldest quality assurance agency in higher education in the world. The Commission consists of 29 members elected by the member colleges and universities; it approves the Standards for Accreditation and policies and makes every accreditation decision affecting applicant, candidate, and accredited institutions of higher education.

As CIHE members President Foster and Ms. Baker will serve with faculty and administrators from affiliated institutions and public members from throughout the region as well as trustee and public members.  

The CIHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to be a reliable authority on the quality of education for the institutions it accredits. The accreditation quality assurance function, according to the U.S. Department of Education, is one of the three main elements of oversight
governing the Higher Education Act’s federal student aid programs. Institutions must be accredited by a “nationally recognized” accreditor in order for students to receive federal financial aid for postsecondary study.  

For more information about NEASC or the CIHE please contact Dr. Barbara E. Brittingham, President of the Commission, by email or at 781-425-7747.

UMF President Kate Foster:  Quote, Background and Photo

“It is an honor to have this chance to serve on the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education in a time when we must sustain innovation, academic standards, and quality expectations in post-secondary education,” said University of Maine at Farmington President Foster.  “Higher education serves our students and society best when we pursue teaching, scholarship, and service opportunities within a forward-looking system of quality assurance and continuous improvement.”

Kate Foster became the 14th president of the University of Maine at Farmington in 2012. A scholar-educator with over thirty years of experience in public higher education and regional policy and practice, she came to UMF from a position as Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., where she was on research leave from the State University of New York at Buffalo, her academic home from 1993 to 2012.

During her tenure, UMF received a full ten-year accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, expanded university governance, boosted student success programs, bolstered experiential education, and developed and aligned plans for programming and investment through the university strategic plan. She works closely with the University of Maine System Chancellor, fellow Presidents, and Trustees to chart strategic directions for the public higher education system in Maine.

In 2016, Kate Foster was named one of Maine magazine’s ‘50 People Charting the Future of Maine.’  She serves on the Board of Governors of the Greater Franklin Development Council and JMG (formerly Jobs for Maine’s Graduates), as Board Member for the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, and Chair of the Presidents’ Council for the North Atlantic [athletic] Conference.

President Foster earned her B.A. in geography from the Johns Hopkins University, her M.C.P. (city planning) from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in public and international affairs from Princeton University.  

Link to photo of President Foster

Ellie Baker:  Quote, Background and Photo

“The institutions and systems of higher education in Maine and throughout the Northeast are global leaders and resources of immense regional value,” said Ellie Baker, former Trustee of the University of Maine System.  “But for all that has been accomplished, there is more to be done and higher education will once again lead the way, preparing our students, our communities, and our economy for the future.  I am grateful for this chance to join the CIHE and continue my service to Maine and the higher education community throughout New England.”  

Ms. Eleanor (Ellie) Baker was a founding member of Baker Newman Noyes, one of the nation’s top 100 accounting and consulting firms.  Under her leadership as managing principal the firm expanded in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and gained national recognition as one of the fasting growing accounting firms in the United States.  In 2014, Ms. Baker was named one of Maine Magazines ‘50 People Shaping our State.’  She retired from Baker Newman Noyes in June of 2016 concluding a 40-year career of providing dedicated service to clients and communities throughout New England.

Ms. Baker holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine, a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law, and an LL.M. in taxation from Boston University School of Law.

Ms. Baker’s record of public service has earned a number of distinguished service awards from organizations such as the Maine Society of Certified Public Accountants, University of Maine School of Law Alumni Association, Kennebec Council of Girl Scouts, YWCA, Junior Achievement, the American Heart Association, and University of New England. Her service to state institutions has included an appointment as a Trustee of the University of Maine School of Law Foundation, serving as Chair of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and an appointment to the University of Maine System Board of Trustees.  

During her tenure on the UMS Board of Trustees (April of ‘09 – May of ‘13) Ms. Baker Chaired the Investment Committee and served on the Executive, Technology, and the Audit Committees.   

Link to photo of Eleanor Baker