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St. Mary's College of Maryland gets accreditation warning

St. Mary's College of Maryland was warned its accreditation could be in jeopardy.

St. Mary's College of Maryland was warned earlier this month that its accreditation could be in jeopardy if it does not address how it assesses student learning.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the accrediting body for colleges in Maryland and several other states, issued the warn notice at its thrice-yearly meeting on March 3. The Middle States Commission issues warn notices infrequently, but the action means the college is still accredited while it works to fix the issues identified by the accrediting body.

The warn notice did not go into detail about why St. Mary's had fallen out of compliance with one of the 14 measures the Middle States Commission assesses. The body requested a report from the school by March 2017 documenting an "organized and sustained assessment process to evaluate and improve student learning."

"This in no way reflects on the quality of the education our students receive or the value of their degree," St. Mary's spokeswoman Arminta Plater said in an email. "Considerable work has already begun by the Administration and the faculty to address this."

In 2014, the Middle States Commission took the rare step of revoking the accreditation of Sojourner-Douglass College in Baltimore amid its money troubles, which meant the school lost federal funding and closed. The body has revoked the accreditation of an institution only a handful of times in its 97-year history.

In a separate action on March 3, the Middle States Commission awarded accreditation to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, a specialized public institution that conducts environmental research and offers joint degree programs with other colleges in the state university system. Its locations include the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, the Maryland Sea Grant College in College Park, and Horn Point Laboratory on the banks of the Choptank River.

cwells@baltsun.com

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