College of the Atlantic Co-Director of Educational Studies Linda Fuller, right, accepts an Excell...College of the Atlantic Co-Director of Educational Studies Linda Fuller, right, accepts an Excellence Award from the New England Board of Higher Education at the Maine State House in Augusta.The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) honored 16 Maine public and independent higher education institutions that prepare students for teaching careers with Excellence Awards at the State House in Augusta.

The Maine delegation of NEBHE nominated the educator preparation programs to recognize the collective efforts of all of the educator-preparing institutions for their contribution to Maine’s vitality.

In announcing the awards, Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin noted a significant increase in the number of students completing initial certification to teach in Maine. Makin also noted a number of innovations across the state including educator apprenticeships, competency-based training, programs focused on preparing immigrants and refugees known as “New Mainers,” and initiatives for career changers who would like to teach.

Representatives of Maine's colleges and universities assemble at the Maine State House for an...Representatives of Maine's colleges and universities assemble at the Maine State House for an Excellence Award ceremony held by the New England Board of Higher Education.

“There’s no higher calling than being a teacher… and, I would argue, no higher return,” said University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy, who nominated the state’s educator preparation programs for the award. “We are better and stronger as a democracy because of a great public education system.” 

Honoring all of a state’s academic programs in one discipline recognizes the critical importance of educator preparation programs to Maine’s educational, economic and social goals, said, NEBHE President and CEO Michael Thomas.

“Educator Preparation programs are crucial infrastructure in Maine, because teachers and schools play a central role in addressing economic and racial disparities, welcoming immigrants, and preparing young people for their role in the workforce and society,” he said.

2023 Excellence Awards were given to:

  • Bates College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Colby College
  • College of the Atlantic
  • Eastern Maine Community College
  • Husson University
  • Maine College of Art and Design
  • St. Joseph’s College
  • Thomas College
  • University of Maine
  • University of Maine at Augusta
  • University of Maine at Farmington
  • University of Maine at Machias
  • University of Maine at Presque Isle
  • University of New England
  • University of Southern Maine

Since 2003, NEBHE has formally recognized people and groups with New England Higher Education Excellence Awards for their exceptional leadership on behalf of higher education and advancement of educational opportunity.

Distinguished Maine recipients include former US Senator the Hon. George J. Mitchell, former University of Maine System Board of Trustees Chair Patricia Collins, MELMAC Education Foundation Executive Director Wendy Ault, and University of Maine professor Habib Dagher.

The New England Board of Higher Education advances equitable postsecondary outcomes through convening, research and programs for students, institution leaders and policymakers. Their vision is that everyone in New England will have lifelong access to affordable, high-value postsecondary education.