Franklin Countys First News

UMF president to serve on higher education accrediting agency

Kathryn Foster

AUGUSTA - University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page announced today that University of Maine at Farmington President Kathryn A. Foster and former University of Maine System Trustee and Maine Business Leader Eleanor 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. 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.

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.

“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 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.”

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, 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.

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.

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3 Responses »

  1. Congratulations, Kate. You had some big shoes to fill when you first came to UMF, and you have filled them well!

  2. Congratulations Kate!

  3. Congratulations! This is a great recognition of your professional accomplishments. You are moving a good college institution forward.