USMMA regains full accreditation status after making reforms

USMMA regains full accreditation status after making reforms
Graduates of United States Merchant Marines Academy throw their hats into the air at the end of the commencement ceremony. (Photo by David Pollard)

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy has regained the full accreditation status it lost more than a year ago.

“I am pleased to announce that the Middle States Commission on Higher Education has granted the US Merchant Marine Academy full reaccreditation effective 16 November 2017,” Rear Adm. James A. Helis, superintendent of the academy, said in an email to faculty and staff. “I thank all the staff, faculty, and Midshipmen who worked so hard to achieve this milestone.”

The Middle States Commission, a nonprofit academic accreditation agency, took the academy off of warning because it demonstrated compliance with “planning, resource allocation and institutional renewal” standards, according to the agency’s letter, the last standard it needed to be in compliance with.

On June 23, 2016, the Middle States Commission issued a warning to the academy about its accreditation status, noting that there was insufficient evidence to show that it was in compliance with five of the commission’s 14 standards.

These standards included institutional planning, leadership and governance, administration, student support services, and planning, resources and institutional renewal.

A year later, the institution was fully in compliance, except for institutional planning, resource and renewal requirements.

Retired Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, a USMMA alumnus heading the Maritime Administration, which is a U.S. Department of Transportation agency overseeing the academy, sent his thanks to academy officials for resolving the commission’s concerns.

“As I’ve stated since my confirmation hearing, the success of the Academy at every level is one of my highest priorities, and this announcement is confirmation that the US Merchant Marine Academy is getting back on course for providing a world-class educational experience to our future leaders,” Buzby said.

Middle States’s next evaluation visit is scheduled for 2024-25.

The commission has also requested a monitoring report, due Sept. 1, 2018, that demonstrates the “sustainability of institutional and unit level goals that are clearly stated, assessed appropriately, linked to mission and goal achievement, and further development of organized and systematic assessments,” as well as the “documentation of existing and future assessment practices.”

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