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March 1, 2000 - Palikir, Pohnpei

Update from the President's Office - No. 153

Professional Development Seminar. The College's Trio programs successfully hosted the Professional Development Seminar, which was held in Pohnpei from February 19-22, 2000. (Trio programs include the Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Student Support Services programs among others.) Seminar participants represented Trio programs from Florida, California, Washington State, Colorado, Kentucky, Tennessee, Washington DC, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Marianas, Palau, Marshalls, and all of the FSM States. A lot of hard work and planning went into this event. Special recognition goes to Talent Search Program Director Heinrich Palik and his staff for their efforts in bringing the Seminar to Pohnpei and ensuring its success. Also, thanks go to the Pohnpei Campus Director Penny Weilbacher and her staff, all of the College's Upward Bound staff, and Vice President for Support and Student Affairs Ringlen Ringlen who was the National Campus' representative on the planning committee. And a special "Thank You" to the Founding Day teams who provided food, flowers, and entertainment. Many of the participants expressed positive comments regarding the organization of the Seminar including the plenary sessions, the training sessions, the special tours and activities provided, and the hospitality in general. Well done!

Cabinet News. The President's Cabinet meets at 8:00 a.m. on Friday's on a weekly basis. At the February 25, 2000, meeting the proposed Certificate of Agriculture and Food Technology program, recommended by the Curriculum Committee, was approved. This program will be included on the agenda of the April Board of Regents meeting in addition to the modification of the policy on the "Incomplete" grade which was approved at an earlier meeting. Under the proposed "Incomplete" grade policy, students failing to complete the required work by midterm of the following semester will receive an "F" for the incomplete course. Under the current policy, the "I" remains on a student's transcript indefinitely. A proposed policy on the "Non-Instructional Use of Instructional Equipment" has been received from the Curriculum Committee and will be discussed at the March 3rd Cabinet meeting.

At the February 25th meeting the Cabinet also discussed ways to streamline the process of obtaining input from faculty, staff, and students on proposed policies. The Cabinet agreed to modify established procedures to include the following steps:

  • As a committee begins to develop a policy, written notice will be provided to all groups to be affected by the policy and an invitation extended for ideas and input.
  • When a committee completes a policy, it is forwarded to the President who will forward it either to the Staff Senate and/or Student Body Association for review.
  • From the Staff Senate and/or Student Body Association, the policy will come to the Cabinet and on to the Board, if Board action is required

Under this new scheme, the role of the Staff Senate and SBA in the review of policies becomes critical in the policy development process.

Items due for Cabinet review in the meetings ahead include policies on outside employment, intellectual property, and faculty workload, the Certificate of Achievement in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and the technology policy manual.

Visitors. There have been a number of visitors to the National Campus in the past two weeks. On Tuesday, February 22nd, the College was privileged to host a session provided by the trainers on island with the Trio Professional Development Seminar. Session participants included Trio and other staff from the College's National and State Campuses as well as Trio staff from Palau Community College.

Mr. Jim Mellon and Mr. Kurt Dela Cruz from the University of Hawaii at Hilo also visited the College. Mr. Dela Cruz, who has experience in managing residence halls at UHH, met with Dormitory Manager Josephine Albert to share ideas on activity programming. Mr. Mellon met with Vice President for Instructional Affairs Spensin James to discuss updating the articulation agreement between COM-FSM and UHH. Mr. Mellon also met with many COM-FSM students regarding transferring to UHH after graduation.

Mr. Bob Spegal and two physicians from the University of Washington, Drs. Ronald Schneeweiss and L. Gary Hart, met with me on Tuesday, February 22nd, to discuss the possibility of establishing nursing programs in collaboration with the College.

On Wednesday, February 23rd, US Ambassador to the FSM Diane Watson, and Mr. Vic Hobson accompanied Dr. Robert King and Mr. Matthew Reynolds, staff of the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, to meet with me and tour the National Campus. That same day, Mr. Salik Cornelius, a CCM student in 1975-76, and his wife visited the campus.

A group of 111 students and 13 faculty members from a research vessel from Tokai University in Japan visited the campus on Thursday, February 24th. Special appreciation is expressed to VPSSA Ringlen Ringlen, who coordinated this visit, and all who helped in providing tours. Thanks, also, to the cafeteria staff for providing lunch for these visitors. Later that same day Mr. Rick Caldwell, a consultant with the Asian Development Bank, met with a me and members of our staff to discuss the future of the Trial Counselors Program and other needs for legal training in the FSM.

On Friday, February 25th, the College was visited by Dr. Norman Okamura, Specialist in Telecommunication Policy, Planning, Technology Systems of the Social Science Research Institute, and Ms. Christina Higa, PEACESAT Director at the University of Hawaii, and Mr. Jim Bannan, Distance Learning Specialist from PREL who met with Vice President for Instructional Affairs Spensin James, Director of Academic Programs Joe Habuchmai, Title III Coordinator Jean Thoulag, System Network Specialist Ken Girrard, and Information System Specialist Gordon Segal to discuss a proposal from the Republic of Palau to seek funding from the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to increase the capacity for distance learning and telehealth for the ROP, the FSM, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Also, as a result of this visit, an agreement has been reached with Pohnpei State that allows certain pieces of equipment to be lent to the College that will allow the College to conduct video-teleconferencing with Guam, Hawaii, American Samoa, Saipan, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.

A team from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) met with FSM Fisheries and Maritime Institute (FMI) Director Matthias Erwarmai and me on February 28th to discuss the implementation of the Fisheries Training Project. Under the proposed agreement between the FSM and JICA, JICA would provide a number of experts to assist and train local counterpart instructors, provide some instructional equipment to support the instructional programs, and provide opportunities for Micronesians to receive fisheries training in Japan. It is hoped that this agreement can be finalized and signed this week.

Correction. In Update 152 I reported that the College's supplemental budget request was not acted upon during the most recent FSM Congress session. I learned last week that that information was not correct and that Congress has appropriated $257,000 for architectural and engineering and project management services for the construction of new facilities for the Chuuk Campus. Both this new appropriation as well as the previous appropriation which provides $500,000 for this project lapse on September 30, 2000. A meeting was held last week with the College's Legal Counsel, VPSSA Ringlen, Director of Maintenance Francisco Mendiola, and Associate Director for Physical Plant Alfred Olter to develop plans for implementing this project.

Hearing with FSM Executive Budget Review Committee. As announced in Update 152, a hearing was held on February 16th with the FSM Executive Budget Review Committee chaired by FSM Vice President Redley Killion. Following a presentation of the College's mission, goals, current and planned programs, enrollment, graduation statistics, and FY 2001 budget development guidelines, a summary of the College's FY 2001 budgets was reviewed. These budgets include: $3.3 million for operations; $78,966 for the Board of Regents; $4,738,634 for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) + $236,600 for additional A&E and project administration; and $871,700 for the FSM FMI. The general feeling was that the hearing went well. At the same time, the College was asked to provide additional information to assist the committee in its deliberations including: projected costs for programs which have been approved by the Board but have not yet been implemented; detailed CIP worksheets for each proposed construction project; a CIP worksheet for $300,000 in student assistance; staff listing; travel breakdown; and the FMI budget in the performance-based format. A package containing many of these documents was delivered to the FSM Vice President's Office last week. The remaining documents will be submitted this week.

Recruitment. In a February 18, 2000, memorandum, the Admissions Board outlined the plan for this year's student recruitment visits as follows:

Eastern Team: Kosrae, Marshall Islands (Joe Habuchmai and Lore Nena)
Central Team: Chuuk (Ringlen Ringlen and John Gann)
Western Team: Guam, Yap, and Palau (Gary Robertson and Eddie Haleyalig)

All of the visits will be conducted between March 13-24, 2000. It should be noted that the Republic of Palau, Guam, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands were included in this year's recruitment efforts for the first time since the break-up of the COM system. Our recruitment efforts will be coordinated with officials at Palau Community College and the College of the Marshall Islands to ensure that we maintain a collaborative relationship with these institutions.

The recruitment tape is nearly finished. Special thanks to Joseph Saimon of the A-V Division for developing a quality tape in a relatively short period of time. A copy of this tape will be left with the respective TV stations at each stop so that it can be viewed by a larger audience.

Title III Update. According to a report received from Title III Coordinator Jean Thoulag, many of the Languages and Literature instructors have been working extra hard this semester to utilize the Internet in the classroom. Both Nina Blair ( and Patricia Pedrus ( have developed web sites that their students are accessing to get assignments and class handouts. These instructors are also using e-mail as the mode for turning in essays and receiving feedback. Languages and Literature Division Chairperson Jonathan Gourlay has done a great job on his web sites for the Poetry class (http://www.small and his photography class ( Jonathan, in his capacity as Staff Senate President, has also set up a State Senate Forum for all staff to access and provide comments. Catherine Good has recently begun building her web site. Nearly all instructors in the Languages and Literature Division at the National Campus are using technology in their classes whether it be the Internet or the previously purchased tutorials. CALL Mentor Sylvia Henry reports that on a daily basis the Languages and Literature Computer Lab is a busy place.

Information Systems Specialist Gordon Segal and Systems Network Specialist Ken Girrard traveled to Honolulu last month to attend the Pacific Telecommunications Conference and the Pan Pacific Distance Learning Conference to learn about what is happening with technology in the Pacific. Also on their visit, they met with UH Manoa's data systems manager to discuss software programs used for student records and institutional data. On their return, they stopped in Guam to visit the University of Guam and Guam Community College to view and discuss the data systems these colleges use. The information they garnered will help in planning and decision making for our institutional development plans.

Chuuk and Kosrae Campuses report that the student "Internet Coaches" they hired through Title III funds have been able to assist many students on their campuses learn to use Internet and e-mail. The two Kosrae Campus coaches took the initiative to aggressively recruit students for training. Kosrae Campus Director Kalwin Kephas reports that their goal is to provide basic Internet and e-mail training to every Kosrae Campus student by the end of this semester.

Title III Math Science Specialist Dana Lee Ling reports that he has been providing technical assistance to Mr. Morgan Soloman, a math teacher at Bailey Olter High School, as part of the follow up to the Pacific Algebra Network workshop that Dana attended this past summer. The College is pleased to be a partner with the high school in this project.

Letters, Letters. Two letters were received recently that I would like to share with everyone. The first is from Ms. Kay Scully of the Micronesian Program at Eastern Oregon University. In this letter Kay says:

This letter is to thank you for the beautiful letter of support you wrote for the Micronesian Program at Eastern Oregon University. All of the letters have been collected and passed on to Dr. Creighton, president at Eastern. Please continue to encourage FSM students to contact us and I will do everything possible to provide them with all the information they need about our college. I am very proud of all the past students and was thrilled to see all the previous Eastern students working at COM. The articulation agreement has been working well for the transfer students and again I thank everyone at COM for helping to develop this, especially Spensin James. We share the same goal of providing excellent educational opportunities for the students of FSM and I am happy that we have been able to contribute in some small way to the success of the hard working students.

The second letter was received from Acting Director Switer Eter of Chuuk Campus who says:

On behalf of the faculty and staff of COM-FSM, Chuuk, as well as other community members from Chuuk who participated in our Strategic Planning Workshop, I would like to express our gratitude for your assistance in making the retreat possible. During the meeting there was evidence of a high degree of collaboration and a positive exchange of ideas and points of view among the participants.

There were numerous lively discussions relating to where we, as a college, should be headed and which road should be taken to get there.

Dr. Greg Myers was most helpful in running the workshop and his guidance kept the participants on task and focused. He was a great asset. Please extend our thanks to him for all his efforts.

Perhaps the most important result of the workshop was the general feeling that a face to face dialog between the National Campus and Chuuk State Campus had been opened. Frank and honest discussions marked the event and this was a positive step.

Once again I want to convey to you the positive feeling that resulted from the workshop. We certainly hope that others like it can be arranged in the future.

Kinisou Chapur.

Academic College Bowl. The Academic College Bowl will be held on Wednesday, March 1st at 6:30 p.m. in the temporary gymnasium in conjunction with the celebration of Founding Day. Faculty and staff have been encouraged by Languages and Literature Division Chairperson Jonathan Gourlay, the coordinator of this event, to submit questions relating to classes they teach or any fact they think our students should know. Founding Day teams will compete for points by answering the questions. It should be a lot of fun.
Special appreciation to Jonathan for coordinating this event.

Yenti Verg-in to China. Math/Science Instructor Yenti Verg-in has received an official invitation from FSM President Leo A. Falcam to accompany the FSM delegation on a State visit to the People's Republic of china during the latter part of March. Yenti will serve as an official interpreter for the President and his staff during this visit. All expenses are being covered by the President's Office. Congratulations, Yenti, and have a good trip!

Fundraising. A meeting of the Fundraising Steering Committee is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Thursday, March 2, 2000, in the President's Conference Room. Since the last update, donations have been received from Foster and Doris Cummings in the amount of $1500 and from Rechuuk band and 4TY Yamachuchi in the amount of $733.50. Mr. and Mrs. Cummings, personal friends of Gene Ashby who reside in Boston, have visted the College several times, each time making a sizable donation to the Endowment Fund. The Rechuuk band performed in Pohnpei several weeks ago and contributed a percentage of their proceeds to the College's Endowment Fund and to the Pohnpei State Hospital. SBA officer, Teliwy Liwy, was the person who coordinated this contribution. In a letter to Teliwy which accompanied the donation, Louisa Aliven of 4TY Yamaguchi stated:

On behalf of Rechuuk and 4TY, I would like to present $733.50 to the COM Endowment Fund. We are pleased to contribute to the education of our Micronesian students.

Thanks for your efforts in making this donation possible, Teliwy!

The Fun Walk/Run will be held on Saturday, March 25th, beginning at 7 a.m. in the Palm Terrace parking lot. There is a $5 registration fee, and all persons completing the walk/run will receive a free t-shirt compliments of Ambros and Co. (Guam). Other sponsors of the event include the FSM National Olympic Committee, Palm Terrace, Moylan's Ins. (FSM), and Bank of the FSM. Founding Day teams who wish to solicit sponsors for this event can also take advantage of this opportunity to raise funds for your team. Sponsor sheets are available from Lore Nena or Norma Edwin. The College will cover the $5 registration fee for students participating in the walk/run. I encourage faculty, staff, and students to support this event. If you don't want to walk or run, you can volunteer to help at the registration desk. Thanks in advance for your support.

Business Office to Close. In a February 15, 2000, memorandum from Comptroller Bob Epstein, all concerned were reminded that the Business Office will be closed during the week of April 3-7 to allow for conversion to the upgraded version of the MIP accounting system and associated staff training. This memo further advised that the week preceding this closure is the week of our Founding Day activities. The Business Office will be closed on March 30-31. All staff are encouraged to plan ahead to avoid any inconveniences or disruptions due to this schedule.

Personnel. A warm welcome is extended to Mr. Tioti (pronounced "Sos") Teburea who has been hired as an instructor with the FSM FMI in Yap. Tioti comes to the College from Kiribati.

The College is also pleased to welcome Mr. Dean Anthony who is the new Outreach Librarian at the National Campus. Dean comes to the College after having served with the Government of the Republic of Palau.

We also extend our best wishes to Associate Professor Bernard Mullins of the National Campus and Information Specialist Kalio Edwin who are leaving the College. Thank you for your service to COM-FSM.

I am pleased to announce a new addition to the family of one of our staff members. Charles and Lydia Musana became the proud parents of a baby boy named Moses. Moses, who was born on February 23rd at Guam Memorial Hospital, weighed in at 6 lbs. 12 oz. Congratulations, Charles and Lydia

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