August 24, 2005
The University of Maine at Fort Kent is one of the select institutions named a "2006 Best College in the Northeastern Region" by The Princeton Review, a national organization dedicated to helping students, parents, and educators achieve the best outcomes at all stages of their educational careers.
The announcement of UMFK's inclusion in The Best Northeastern Colleges publication was made by University President Richard Cost at a press conference today attended by faculty and staff, as well as Fort Kent area community leaders.
"Most of us who teach here and work here do so because we value the small college experience. We enjoy a setting in which the individual can really make a difference - in the lives of our students, and in the future of this institution. For us, selection to this list validates the important role of small colleges within our total system of higher education in Maine and in the United States. Small colleges make a big difference," said Cost.
UMFK is the only small, public university in Maine named to the list of 224 institutions in the Northeast. Other schools in the state appearing in the publication are the University of Maine, University of Southern Maine, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Unity College and College of the Atlantic.
The book includes schools in eleven states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.
For the Northeast edition, The Princeton Review surveyed 53,000 students, asking them to rate their schools on several matters from the teaching ability of their professors to the campus food.
Several hundred colleges and universities in the Northeast were considered for inclusion in The Best Northeastern Colleges publication.
"The schools in this book all have excellent academic programs," said Robert Franek, vice president for publishing at the The Princeton Review. "They were selected based on institutional data we collect about the schools, our visits to the schools over the years, and our surveys of the students. We also worked to have a wide representation of colleges in the book by size, selectivity, character and locale."
Candid comments from surveyed students are included in the publication's narrative profiles of each college.
In summarizing student responses at UMFK, the copy that will appear in the book indicates: "Survey says... small classes, registration is a breeze, great computer facilities, great library, students are friendly, diverse student types on campus, and students get along with local community."
UMFK campus officials are pleased that the student remarks echo language included in the University's new five-year strategic plan. The mission statement of that document, which was approved by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees in June, includes the following: "The UMFK experience provides close interaction with faculty, small classes and the use of leading technologies to prepare students for lifelong learning and success as professional and engaged citizens of a democracy."
"I am excited by the wonderful relationship between the strategic planning objectives created by the people at all levels of this campus and the comments our students made about their experiences," said Cost. "That's not happenstance, it is exactly what we set out to achieve."
"Our agenda requires extended hours and a great deal of hard work, but it is enormously satisfying. Crafting anything one piece at a time is painstaking work, but for each student, it is the key to understanding their needs and helping them to reach their personal goals. That's how we teach and how we work with the students. Our students are the reason we are listed in this publication and I want to thank them for their responses to the survey," said Cost.