Last June, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) put USMMA on accreditation warning. It is the only federal academy ever to be placed on accreditation warning. It was an extraordinarily negative “milestone” in the Academy’s history. (At the time, the rumor was that MARAD had actually staved off much worse and jawboned MSCHE into reducing the action taken from “accreditation probation” to “accreditation warning.”) MSCHE issued a report following its April 2016 visit to the Academy that listed “requirements” that the Academy was required to meet in order to remain accredited. Today is the deadline for the Academy to submit a “monitoring report” to MSCHE. The report must identify the steps the Academy has taken to meet MSCHE’s requirements.
Among the many deficiencies MSCHE found, it noted problems with the Academy filling vacancies of key personnel. For example, the report stated:
“[T]he team was told that a timeline for replacing the Academic Dean on a permanent basis could not be determined at this time even though the Dean left the Academy almost 6 months ago.”
To address the unfilled vacancies problem, MSCHE identified a “requirement” that was “needed to achieve compliance with the [MSCHE] standard”:
“The Director of Institutional Assessment, Director of Admissions, Academic Dean, Chief Financial Officer, Human Resources Officer, and other key administrator positions are all currently vacant or occupied by interim staff. While some of these positions, such as the Academic Dean, are filled on an interim basis with highly qualified, skilled and dedicated individuals, the Academy must move forward with permanently filling these critical positions with administrative leaders who possess the appropriate skills, credentials, and training.”
Report, p.14 (emphasis added).
We’ve been criticizing, repeatedly, the Academy for not keeping the stakeholders apprised of the steps it was taking to respond by the March 1, 2017 deadline. We still haven’t received any update. But there is this job announcement. That’s right. On the day that the report to MSCHE is due, the administration finally took the first step towards meeting just a portion of one of the requirements — advertising that the dean’s position is open. They’ve known for over eight months that they needed to show progress towards hiring the dean. They’ve done nothing. And as far as I can determine, they haven’t even advertised any of the other vacant positions that MSCHE instructed the Academy to take action to fill.
That would be like on the day your sea project is due, you finally put your name on the unopened assignment booklet and turn it in to show the progress you have made.