Sterling College President Matthew Derr elected as Commissioner to NECHE

Sterling College President Matthew Derr has been elected as a commissioner to New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), the regional accreditor for higher education in New England. NECHE accredits over 200 regional and international colleges and universities. The commission is composed of at least 27 individuals elected by its member institutions for their experience and expertise. Membership includes faculty, senior administrators, trustees and representatives of the public interest. Recognized by both the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, NECHE serves to provide academic quality assurance to the public about the institutions it accredits.

"Accreditation provides accountability and informs the public that an institution is meeting a set of standards in all areas of operations, including finances and academics," said President Derr. “I am honored to have been elected by my peers to serve as a commissioner for a highly-regarded accreditation agency like NECHE."

An accredited institution undergoes a comprehensive evaluation at least every ten years. The comprehensive evaluation includes a site visit from a team of experienced higher education faculty and administrators selected by the commission staff. In recent years, Derr has served as chair of two accreditation visiting teams on behalf of the Commission.

“AVIC members are pleased that President Derr is representing the Vermont independent higher education sector on NECHE,” said Susan Stitely, president of the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges (AVIC), a voluntary association of private colleges and universities. “He will be an excellent representative making certain that an institution’s performance is consistent with the Standards for Accreditation and Commission policies and procedures. Accreditation is an important safeguard to ensure a high-quality education for students.”

Matthew Derr was appointed as the 11th president of Sterling College in 2012. Derr has led the College through an unparalleled period of growth in enrollment, philanthropic support and renewed focus on its mission of advancing ecological thinking and action. A community organizer and educator, Derr is a member of the executive committee for the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges and the recent former chair of the Work Colleges Consortium.


Founded in 1958 in Craftsbury Common, Vermont, Sterling College advances ecological thinking and action through affordable experiential learning, preparing knowledgeable, skilled and responsible leaders to face the ecological crises caused by unlimited growth and consumption that threatens the future of the planet. Enrollment is limited to 125 students. Sterling is home to the School of the New American Farmstead and the Wendell Berry Farming Program, is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education and is one of only nine colleges and universities recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a “Work College.” For more information about Sterling College, please visit: