P. O. Box 159
Kolonia, Pohnpei 96941
Federated States of Micronesia
Phone: (691) 320-2480 Fax: (691) 320-2479 E-Mail:

President's Message to the College Community

March 20, 2012

Dear Members of the College of Micronesia-FSM Community,

It does not seem possible to me that it was six weeks ago that I joined this learning community as president. Sometimes it seems as though I have been here with you for much longer, and at other times it seems like it was yesterday. Perhaps this is because, as much as I have learned about you, the culture(s), the college, the community, the states and the country, it is still much like experiencing an introductory survey course, when what I really need is a master course. So, I continue to appreciate your patience and support as I learn from you and as we work through our many issues and challenges together.

As you may know, during the past two weeks I have been away from the national campus on college business.

Beginning on March 7, and continuing on the 8th, and 9th, the Board of Regents met in Yap to review the reports submitted by the college. During that meeting I reported the following to the Regents:

“First, let me assure you that there is much about the college of which to be proud! I don't care what some critics might say about our students, based on my frequent interaction with them, I can only sing their praises. They have charmed me with their authenticity and desire to be the very best they can be. They do have dreams and aspirations and we should not only be proud of them, we need to ensure that the college provides them the opportunity to realize them.

As well, I have come to know the faculty in very short order. Please know that we are truly blessed to have an extraordinary group of really talented individuals to be serving as teachers for our students. They really care about these young people with whom we are entrusted. From my first hand experience, they are bright, caring, and hardworking. As president, while there are extraordinary challenges facing us as a college, I am so grateful to know that the faculty is as committed to our well-being as a college, as they are.

Staff, as the backbone of the college continues to impress me with their dedication. On many Saturdays and Sundays, when I have come to the college to work, and to spend time with students, I am rarely alone. Often, I find staff working to catch up or just working to be sure that the students are well served.

I have found the administrators of the college, the vice presidents and the directors to be helpful, and willing to share the responsibility and the accountability for ensuring the success of the college. We are working closely and coming to know and understand one another, even as I share my expectations for their leadership, both individually and collectively.

While this report may not be as substantive as you and the members of the Board of Regents should and can expect in the future, I thought you would appreciate the perspective of a fresh set of eyes, and nonetheless a fresh set of eyes with high expectations. ”

Regarding accreditation, I reported the following to the Board of Regents: “We continue to face significant challenges. Frankie Harriss has done an extraordinary job as ALO in directing the college's focus, energy and efforts to document the progress to address accreditation related concerns. Certainly, I have now added my efforts to the process to ensure we will have addressed the areas of concern identified by the commission regarding the Standards for Accreditation. In my opinion, with the efforts of administrators, faculty and staff, we have made considerable progress and will be able to demonstrate and document the steps taken by the college to address these areas. Unfortunately, there is so much more we need to do, and while we may have made important progress in these areas, it may not have been enough to resolve the probationary status.

I also remain confident that, in time, we will be able to satisfactorily address all areas related to the threat to our accreditation save one, financial support.

While the loss of financial support, evident from the JEMCO resolutions, may be satisfactorily resolved by action from the FSM government in the immediate future and perhaps even for the long term, it will now be expected of the college to assess the impact of the loss of the $700,000 per year, and to reduce the college's academic programs, faculty, staff and services, accordingly to address the funding loss.

As you and the members of the Board of Regents know, the college will be ready to present scenarios to the Board of Regents for consideration regarding next steps to ensure a balanced budget. However, as you are aware if the funding gap is not closed, the scenarios will be painful for the college to endure. I would describe what will follow, as cutting deep to the bone's marrow. So, please let me know if there is anything I can do as president in support of your efforts to ensure such cuts to the future of the college will not be necessary.”

As well, during these past two weeks I also spent time visiting our state campus and FMI in Yap, and visiting our state campus in Chuuk. During both of these state site visits, Vice President Ringlen and I met with administrators, faculty, staff and students. The questions and concerns raised and expressed by them mirror many of the same questions and concerns that I have heard directly from you. In that regard, it would appear that the challenges we face are clearly understood by all constituencies of the college regardless of the position one holds and the location where that position is held.

My response to these questions and concerns which primarily focused on the issues related to our probation status with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), and the JEMCO decrement of $700,000 over the next four years remains the same, as my understanding of the problems and my commitment to our collective ability to resolve them remain unaltered. During these state visits, Vice President Ringlen and I also met with our national legislative leaders, and respective state leaders. In Yap, Vice President Ringlen and I accompanied members of the Board of Regents during their courtesy calls to leadership, and to a meeting held with the community. During both of these state visits, leadership expressed concern about the college’s present probationary status with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), and the impact of the JEMCO decrement on the college.

We should feel fortunate that our leadership is well informed about the accreditation issues and the impact of the JEMCO resolutions and subsequent decrement. This was evident by the probing questions asked by leadership at both the state and national levels. I am grateful that we were also provided quality time to respond to questions and concerns and to add a greater level of detail to more fully present the breadth and depth of the issues and challenges we face. Equally important, we were provided quality time to update leadership and to share with them the progress we have made and the additional plans to address the issues for which the college is on probation with ACCJC.

Be assured that we were able to effectively convey to leadership the need for financial support at both the state and national level, to fund the gap created by the JEMCO resolutions and the $700,000 decrement, cumulative to $2.8 million dollars over the next four years.

Please share my pride in our state and national leaders. We should be proud. We have every reason to be encouraged and to be proud of them, as the leadership with whom we met at both the state and national level expressed their profound support for the college. So, from my perspective as president, there is much about which we can and should be proud. As individuals and collectively as a higher learning community, we should be constant and demonstrative in our expression of thanks to our leadership for their current expression of support, and in anticipation of their future action and financial support to ensure the long term fiscal stability of this college, The College of Micronesia-FSM, the nation’s college and the nation’s future.


Joseph M. Daisy, Ed.D., President