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Decennial accreditation of UMD

April 6, 2017

Dear University of Maryland community,

This is the year of our ​mandatory ​decennial accreditation review​ by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSC)​. ​​It focuses ​on the educational mission of ​the University​. ​

Our last review was in 2007, on the eve of the Great Recession and the ensuing "new normal" ​ (decreasing state funding and increasing tuition​) ​that ​is​ reshaping American public higher education. 

For the past two years, about 75 faculty, staff, and students labored for hundreds of hours to prepare a ​thoughtful and ​comprehensive 100-page self-study of our University, with 400 pages of data and analyses. The co-chairs of this herculean effort are Betsy Beise (Physics), Rebecca Ratner (Business) and Sharon La Voy (Institutional Research), under the leadership of Provost Mary Ann Rankin.

​A copy of the self-study can be found at  ​

This week, the M​SC​ review team​ -- comprised ​of faculty, staff, provosts, and presidents of nine universities --​ interviewed many groups on​ campus.

Yesterday, the review team​ presented ​publicly ​its findings and conclusions​. The team's chair, president​-emeritus​ Rod Erickson of Pen​n State​ University​, delivered a laudatory report, stating that UMD met all the standards and requirements for re-accreditation. The​ report has ​many "commendations" and constructive "recommendations" for improvement​. It has​​ no "requirements" for ​corrective actions.

The written report will be made available to the campus when ​it arrives​. ​MSC will make a ​formal decision on UMD's re-accreditation this summer.

​A ​sample of the review's findings​ in its areas of evaluation:

Mission and​ ethics
As the state's flagship and original land-grant institution, ​UMD has a unique and important role in the State's system of higher education​. UMD requires an appropriate degree of autonomy to better fulfill its mission.  The review ​also ​commended UMD for the integrity of its policies and practices.

Vision and plan
​UMD's 2007 strategic plan ("Higher Expectations") ​charts a road map ​​for the future ​​and the 2016 updated strategic plan ("Equal to the Best")​ ​addresses​ the new challenges ​of ​the ​post-Great Recession era. The review ​commended the strategic partnership between UMD and UMB​ to advance excellence. ​

UMD's faculty is of "high quality​.​" ​The policies on​ professional track faculty​ are "exemplary."​ ​​But the review​ recommended ​improved ​​recruitment and retention of faculty of color. 

​Student learning ​and assessment
The​ review ​commended​​ ​our ​new General Education curriculum​;​ living-learning communities​; ​programs in Shady Grove​;​ and Student Affairs' ​support ​services​. I​t deemed "exemplary" ​​our ​assessment of student learning outcomes​. ​​ I​t recommended ​that we develop ​a campus-wide strategy for online learning.

Planning ​and resources
The ​​recommendations included ​developing a long-term funding plan for deferred maintenance and for ​IT infrastructure, ​as well as​ restructuring ​the budget model​ for today's fiscal realities. ​It​ ​commended​​ UMD's on-going efforts at administrative modernization to provide ​improved ​services at lower cost​, and to redirect savings to the institution's core missions. ​

Governance and administration
The review commended UMD's ​distinctive​ shared governance and the collegial working relationship with the administration.

​This remarkably positive external review ​reflects our outstanding ​faculty, staff, and students​. ​ ​Your excellence makes​ this ​a ​remarkable University. ​On behalf of the University community, a special thank you to all who ​participated in this accreditation process​.

​Together, we ​have set a high bar for 2027.


Wallace D. Loh