Regional accreditation council to evaluate the University’s status


Alek Fleury

President Tom Sullivan addresses incoming first-years at this year’s convocation Aug. 26 in the Patrick Gymnasium. A tram from the New England Commission on Higher Education will be holding three public forums with the UVM community 4 p.m. Match 25 to assess the quality of the University as an institution over the last 10 years.

Sophia Venturo, Staff Writer

A group of representatives from the regional accreditation agency will visit UVM this week to discuss how the University measures against New England’s standards for higher education.

A team from New England Commission on Higher Education will be holding three public forums with the UVM community to assess the quality of the University over the last 10 years, according to a March 4 email from President Tom Sullivan.

There will be one forum each for faculty, staff and students, and they will be held separately 4 p.m March 25 in the Davis Center, the email stated.

The group, chaired by University of Rhode Island President David Dooley, will review UVM and make recommendations to NECHE, and the commission itself may then take action, according to the Office of the President’s website.

In addition to the forums, the group will read a self-study Report from UVM that was published February 2019.

The self-study includes reviews of the University’s performance in its internal governance, quality of academic programming, faculty performance, transparency and public disclosure.

“It is a comprehensive, honest, evidence-based self-assessment of UVM as an institution of higher education: who we are, how we function and what we aspire to be,” the Office of the President’s website states.

The NECHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a reliable authority on the quality of higher education and institutional accreditation, the NECHE’s website stated.

Some students hope that the commission will consider the recent administrative turnover and funding distribution.

“How we chose the new president should definitely be considered,” first-year Jacob Wiener said. “It was so subpar. A random new president is definitely going to impact the quality of our education.”

First-year Owen Webster wants the commission to address recent department budget cuts and overall spending.

“Spending is so unevenly distributed. Wellness Environment has so much money and the humanities have none,” he said. “That’s debilitating to our education.”

Sullivan acknowledged that the report will address both UVM’s strengths and weaknesses.

“I am pleased with the self-reflection that occurred throughout the process and the resulting insights about what we do well and what we must still seek to improve,” he said in a statement on the Office of the President’s website.