UMCES has been committed to graduate education for more than 35 years. Faculty members teach and mentor MS and PhD students. Historically, students have received degrees and diplomas from degree-granting institutions in the University System of Maryland (USM), primarily from the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP). In 2012-13, the Board of Regents and Maryland General Assembly authorized UMCES to become a degree-granting institution within the USM. To do so, UMCES initiated an accreditation process with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and submitted its Accreditation Readiness Report (ARR) in August 2013. Acceptance of the ARR by MSCHE advanced UMCES to Candidacy for Accreditation, which allowed UMCES to award graduate degrees. The first MS and PhD degrees were jointly awarded with UMCP in May 2014. UMCES submitted its Self-Study Design to MSCHE in October 2014. Its approval was followed by initiation of self-study that was completed in October 2015. An Evaluation Team visit was conducted by MSCHE in November 2015. In March 2016, UMCES was granted accreditation by the MSCHE.
About the UMCES Self-Study
- The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) is seeking to be accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The multi-step, multiyear process was initiated in February 2013.
- In August 2013, UMCES submitted its Accreditation Readiness Report (ARR) to the MSCHE. This report addressed the level of compliance by UMCES with respect to MSCHE’s Standards of Excellence. The ARR was approved and MSCHE advanced UMCES to “Candidate for Accreditation,” in November 2013. This designation authorized UMCES to grant joint degrees and to begin the self-study process leading to accreditation.
- UMCES prepared to conduct a comprehensive self-study as part of the MSCHE accreditation process in winter-spring 2014. Prior to initiating the self-study, a Self-Study Design Report was approved by MSCHE in October 2014. The Self-Study Design was the operational plan to address MSCHE’s 14 Standards of Excellence.
- It established a steering committee and five working groups charged with critically analyzing structures and procedures in UMCES that document and establish degree of compliance with the 14 Standards of Excellence.
- A 17-member Steering Committee (SC), consisting of UMCES faculty, administrative staff, students, and stakeholders/constituents guided the self-study. The SC provided oversight of the working groups, ensured that the self-study timeline was followed, and was responsible for editing and finalizing the Self-Study Report.
- Each of the five working groups consisted of 10 – 14 members and included UMCES faculty, staff and students. Working groups addressed specific MSCHE standards and compiled data and evidence to demonstrate compliance by UMCES with the standards.
- The SC and Working Groups produced a Self-Study Report for submittal to MSCHE in October 2015.
- An evaluation team of peer reviewers, appointed by MSCHE, visited UMCES in November 2015 and submitted its report and recommendations to MSCHE.
- In March 2016, UMCES was granted accreditation by the MSCHE.
About the UMCES Self-Study
- Accreditation Readiness Report (for UMCES only)
- Supporting Documents for the MSCHE Evaluation Team (for UMCES only)
- Self Study Documents (for UMCES only)
- Accreditation Supporting Documents (for UMCES only)
- Accreditation Activity Reports (for UMCES only)
- Accreditation Candidate Letter (for UMCES only)
- MSCHE Evaluation Team Report (for UMCES only)
- UMCES Response to the Evaluation Team Report (for UMCES only)