Upon granting unified accreditation to the University of Maine System in July 2020, our regional accreditor, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), asked us to prepare a self-study in advance of a Fall 2022 visit by a NECHE-appointed evaluation team. NECHE Actions, Items of Special Attention, or Concerns can be found on this page.Read the full self-study
Detailed Actions, Items of Special Attention, or Concerns
NECHE letter: October 26, 2021[P]rovide an update on the contractual arrangement between [the University of Maine at Farmington] and [the] Seguinland Institute with particular emphasis on UMF’s success in: a. achieving the financial and enrollment goals set for the program; b. strengthening its agreement with Seguinland Institute with attention to ensuring that academic resources and student services are sufficient and appropriate to support the program; [and] c. evaluating the effectiveness of the program with attention to assessing student learning outcomes and using the results to make improvements [.]
UMF surpassed its fiscal and enrollment targets for the 2021-22 academic year; fully aligned its Seguinland admissions processes, review of faculty, curricular development, and assessment of student learning outcomes; and used the Seguinland location to deliver high-impact first-year fall seminars.
- Standard: Six
- Self study page number: 125
NECHE letter: May 25, 2021[Provide an update on the] University of Maine at Augusta’s success in achieving its goals for graduation rates [.]
UMA’s one-year baccalaureate retention rate climbed from 59% for the fall 2017 cohort to 65% for the fall 2020 cohort. Following first- time, full-time 150% graduation rates of 18%, 19%, 13%, and 16% for its four most recent cohorts, UMA has set a goal of 18% for its next cohort.
- Standard: Six
- Self study page number: 126
NECHE letter: November 6, 2020[Provide an update on] the implementation of the [Master of Arts in Organization Leadership competency- based education] program offered at the [University of Maine at] Presque Isle. . . with attention to: a. evaluating the effectiveness of its governance structures on the Presque Isle campus; b. assessing student learning outcomes in the MAOL CBE program and using the results to make improvements; c. ensuring that student services are sufficient to support the program with emphasis on career services [.]
UMPI hired a Dean of Competency- Based Education and Degree Completion in September 2021 with direct responsibility in all three areas (a, b, and c). The Dean has partnered with UMPI’s senior leadership and MAOL faculty to review program governance structures and areas of need, and will present an MAOL assessment plan to UMPI’s curriculum and assessment group in fall 2022 in preparation for assessing learning outcomes and using the results to improve the program.
- Standard: Five
- Self study page number: 94-95
NECHE letter: July 17, 2020[Provide an update on] further developing the system of reviewing academic programs, including an evaluation of the effectiveness of the methodology to ensure a System-wide perspective as well as qualitative judgments of the programs at the individual institutions [.]
Under the leadership of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the university provosts, UMS is forming a three-pronged system for academic program review entailing an annual Academic Affairs Program Review (AAPR), a revision and application of a five- year Academic Practice Letter (APL) governing program review practices, and external evaluations at the program level. A newly established System- wide assessment group will evaluate the AAPR and confirm the efficacy and methodology of its data.
- Standard: Eight
- Self study page number: 235-236
NECHE letter: July 17, 2020[Provide an update on] strengthening the funding model for research and increasing research funding and doctoral-level education at the University of Maine [UM] [.]
UM has developed a new F&A distribution model, increased research funding, increased doctoral enrollment (and overall graduate enrollment), established a Faculty Affiliates program to foster System-wide growth of research activity and capacity, contributed to statewide economic and research planning, expanded its support for business and technology acceleration and incubation, and in early 2022 achieved Carnegie R1 status.
- Standard: Six
- Self study page number: 130-133
NECHE letter: July 17, 2020[Provide an update on] further developing the internal governance of the System, including the University of Maine System Faculty Governance Council[.]
The Council has reached positive outcomes in several areas of self- governance, including decisions about length of terms of service, optimal size of the Council, appropriate representation from stakeholder groups, and the development of its leadership structure. The Council has reviewed plans and proposals and shared feedback on four System-wide initiatives to date, including selection and implementation of a new learning management system, and development of new course (coding) component data standards. The Council continues to pursue the adoption of its charter.
- Standard: Three
- Self study page number: 27-29
NECHE letter: July 17, 2020[F]or each of the Commission’s standards, [address] the issues identified in the [June 2020] substantive change report to help ensure that the System and its universities are better situated to address important issues and gain value from the move to single accreditation; [and,] that the University of Maine System further be reminded that it may, in the Fall 2022 self- study, request general approval to offer CBE programs within the scope of its mission and that, until general approval is given by the Commission, any new competency-based education program proposed by the System to be offered at any of its universities [is] considered a substantive change.
- The alignment of university strategic plans with System-level strategic direction.
- Expanding access to courses and programs of all types to students at universities where desired curricula are not presently offered.
- The completion of a UMS libraries strategic plan.
- The development of a System-wide assessment and institutional effectiveness committee with representation from all UMS universities.
- Standard: Four specific issues identified in the 2020 report are addressed in the Institutional Overview and Standards Six, Seven, and Eight, respectively. Other issues in the 2020 report are addressed variously throughout the self study. Our request for general approval to offer CBE programs can be found in the Institutional Overview.
- Self study page number: Specific June 2020 report issues: 1) XLV 2) 133 3) 170 4) 238 Request for general CBE approval: XLVIII
We share three further updates per productive conversations and email exchanges with NECHE staff.
An update on the ongoing development of the Maine College of Engineering, Computing and Information Science (MCECIS).
An initiative stemming from the Harold Alfond Foundation’s $240 million gift to UMS, MCECIS will serve as a statewide resource for engineering, computing, and information science education and research. A Steering Committee and six working committees (on undergraduate engineering; graduate programs and research; undergraduate computing; fundraising and outreach; transitions to MCECIS from K-12, community college, and as adult learners; and organizational structure) will deliver final reports in May 2022.
- Standard: Institutional Overview
- Self study page number: XLV
An update on the Maine Business School (MBS).
MBS and its Graduate School of Business (GSB) have added a new major in Sport Management in the BSBA program and received approvals for two new concentrations in the MBA. MBS and GSB have secured funding from the University of Maine needed to support two faculty lines, the GSB Dean’s position, and other resources for fiscal year 2023. Enrollment in the BSBA and MBA programs remains strong, and the MBS and GSB leadership have invested in marketing to develop a combined value proposition for the two programs.
- Standard: Three
- Self study page number: 29
An update on the University of Maine at Farmington’s ongoing conversion from a four-credit to three-credit instructional model.
UMF completed major stages of this work in January 2022 and April 2022. Most UMF programs have submitted catalogue- ready program and course descriptions reflecting the 3-credit instructional model. Upon completing the conversion, UMF expects to achieve greater curricular alignment with the rest of UMS, increased opportunities for shared programming and instruction, markedly reduced barriers for transfer activity, and other benefits for students, faculty, and enrollment.
- Standard: Six
- Self study page number: 129-130