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July 19, 2000 - Palikir, Pohnpei

Update from the President's Office - No. 163

Trip Report. Vacation. I left Pohnpei on June 9, 2000, to travel to Chicago, Illinois, to enjoy a two-week vacation with my family.

CCLDI Design Workshop. On June 24th I traveled from Chicago to Ontario, California, to participate in the "Design Workshop: Partnership for Community College Leadership," jointly sponsored by Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and the Community College Leadership Development Initiative (CCLDI). Held at CGU, the Design Workshop officially opened at 6:00 p.m. on June 25th with a reception followed by an opening session from 7:45 - 8:45 p.m. During the opening session welcoming remarks were delivered by Andrea McAleenan, Dean, Executive and Extended Learning, CGU. Remarks were then provided by the following participants: Constance Carroll, Chair CCLDI Board and President, Mesa College, San Diego, who focused on the challenge of the high level of turnover among community college CEO's and the need to orient faculty for leadership roles; Joyce Tsunoda, Senior Vice President and Chancellor for Community Colleges, University of Hawaii, who focused on the need to rekindle the community college spirit; Tom Nussbaum, Chancellor, California Community Colleges; and Ah Quon McElrath, Member, Board of Regents, University of Hawaii.

The workshop continued the following day with an overview provided by Andrea McAleenan entitled, "The Community College: What is it doing to Leaders?" followed by the keynote address given by John Petersen, Former Executive Director of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, who was introduced by the current Executive Director, David Wolf. Dr. Petersen focused on the skills and abilities required for good leadership. A panel discussion entitled, "The Leadership Challenge," followed a break. Panel members included the following: Steve Weiner, Consultant and Former President, Board of Governors, California Community Colleges; Robert Jensen, Chancellor, Pima Community College; Martha Romero, Superintendent/President, College of the Siskiyous; and Bill Scroggins, Professor of Chemistry, Chabot College and Immediate Past President, Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. Following the panel discussion, participants were divided into groups to discuss the topic: "My Leadership Issues and Personal Experiences within the Community College."

Following a lunch break, participants were asked to re-assemble into small groups to discuss the topic: "Setting the Leadership Agenda." The results of these discussions were then shared with the entire group at a 3:00 p.m. session. Following these discussions, a reception was hosted by CGU President Steadman Upham.

The discussion during the morning on Tuesday, July 27th, was facilitated by Bill Scroggins, who focused on the summary of priority leadership topics, and Daryl Smith, Professor of Education and Psychology at CGU, who facilitated discussion to link the areas identified for Leadership Initiative to program elements. The afternoon small group discussions focused on developing specific strategies, principles, and suggestions for implementation of the Leadership Institute's programs. Initiatives discussed include the following: the Doctoral Fellows Program; the Leadership Fellows Program; Certificate Programs; Master's Programs; Research, Policy, and Advocacy Priorities; and Dissemination and Information Clearinghouse. The results of these discussions were summarized orally and presented to the entire group the following day. The workshop concluded at approximately 11:30 a.m. on July 28th.

Throughout the workshop I attempted to remind participants of the uniqueness of the institutions in the Western Pacific as various program initiatives were being discussed. For example, at several points when it was suggested that sub-areas be designated for a particular program and that selected participants could gather at those areas 6-7 times during the year, workshop participants were reminded of the key role that electronic communication will play for the institutions in the Western Pacific as the costs associated with physically meeting would be prohibitive. A request to include a representative of the Western Pacific institutions on the Board of Governors for the Leadership Initiative is currently under consideration. The airfare and a portion of other expenses for my participation at this workshop will be reimbursed to COM-FSM by CCLDI.

Meeting with Senior Commission Staff. On June 28th I traveled to Alameda, California, to meet, along with COM-FSM Board of Regents Chairman Podis Pedrus, with Dr. Ralph Wolff and Dr. Judie Wexler, Executive Director and Associate Executive Director of the WASC Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities. This meeting was held from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. on June 29th at the Senior Commission Office.

Chairman Pedrus opened the meeting by explaining that our request to meet had two primary purposes - to learn from the Senior Commission the requirements that would need to be met for COM-FSM to transition from a two-year to a four-year institution and to provide an opportunity for the Executive Director and Associate Executive Director to learn a little about COM-FSM and the uniqueness of our situation. Following the Chairman's opening remarks, we then presented printed booklets which included the following information regarding COM-FSM: mission statement; institutional goals; history of the institution; enrollment data; data on faculty and staff; programs; facilities; finances, including the endowment fund, US federal grants, and foreign assistance; and a listing of the primary challenges facing the institution.

Discussion then turned to the issue of COM-FSM possibly transitioning to a four-year institution. Dr. Wolff indicated that during his tenure with the Senior Commission only one institution in the region served by WASC had made such a transition, that being Humphrey's College. He further stated that if the mandate being provided by the Board and the leadership is clearly to work towards COM-FSM becoming a four-year institution, then the Senior Commission will want to work with us in that vein. However, if we are interested in exploring some sort of dual accreditation such as that currently being pursued by Northern Marianas College, then that would require a different course. Dr. Wexler, who has been working with NMC on their request to establish a baccalaureate degree in education only, indicated that if education is COM-FSM's clear priority and the only priority for a four-year degree, then the NMC model might be workable. However, it that is not the case, then we should pursue accreditation with the Senior Commission.

Both Dr. Wexler and Dr. Wolff stressed the importance of conducting serious planning before applying for eligibility. Such planning should identify areas to be pursued and the potential number of students to enroll in each. He stressed that it would be important to establish a critical mass of students in support of each proposed program. Further he indicated that it would be important to gather information as to how many FSM students are currently studying at four-year institutions abroad, how many of those actually complete their programs, how many students who complete an AA/AS degree want to go on to a BA/BS, and how many of those would prefer to complete a BA/BS in the FSM as opposed to going abroad. After a brief discussion of the multiple campuses of the COM-FSM system, Dr. Wolff suggested that four-year degrees be offered only at the National Campus with accessibility to other campuses possibly offered at least partially through distance education.

Both Dr. Wolff and Dr. Wexler stressed the need for upgrading of COM-FSM's library to deepen the library's capacity in general education as well as major areas. Dr. Wexler further stated that it is critical that a library have enough materials and that students are required to locate information from a variety of sources.

Some discussion was also held on a possible change in the role of the faculty in that under the Senior Commission there would be a shift in orientation from the vocational aspects of a program, such as business, to the theoretical. However, they recognized that an institution such as ours must, at the same time, retain its community orientation and relate its goals and programs to the needs of the country.

Finally, Dr. Wolff noted that achieving accreditation under the Senior Commission to offer four-year degrees will be considerably more costly to the country that the two-year programs. In that regard, he cautioned that as a country devotes more of its fiscal resources to support an institution, there is a tendency for the government to become more involved in directing that institution. Like the Junior Commission, the Senior Commission requires the institution to operate with a degree of autonomy.

Towards the end of the meeting Dr. Wexler provided a Summary Data Form that must be completed as part of the application for eligibility. Earlier in the meeting it was also noted that the maximum number of years for candidacy status is now four, reduced from the earlier level of six years.

The following day I left for Honolulu to undergo a medical checkup and take a couple more days of vacation before returning to Pohnpei on July 7th.

Accreditation Update. In a June 16, 2000, letter, from Dr. David Wolf, Executive Director of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the College was informed that at its meeting on June 4-6, 2000, the Commission had approved the substantive change report the College had submitted relative to the FSM Fisheries and Maritime Institute. This approval extends COM-FSM's accreditation to the programs and site affected by the substantive change.

Dr. Wolf stated:

The Commission wishes to commend the College of Micronesia-FSM for its thorough, well-documented, and well-written report. Clearly, considerable thought and preparation precede the establishment of the Fisheries and Maritime Institute.

Appreciation is expressed to Director of Research and Planning Greg Myers for the many hours he spent on developing and editing this report.

The Commission will be sending a representative to visit FSM FMI once the program is established and FMI is operational.

Chuuk Campus Update. The following are highlights from the May and June monthly reports from Chuuk Campus.

English Department. Under the staff development program, the English Department implemented a three-day workshop for its faculty on "Integrated English Teaching Methods and Strategies." Presenters included English Department Chairperson Karen Simion and Social Science Department Chairperson Alton Higashi. The English Department also held an open house for incoming IESL students on May 18, 2000. Student presentations included an overview of the history of the program, explanations of the courses involved, description of the program's structure, and in-depth presentations of students' accomplishments during the year.

Math/Science. During this past spring semester the Chuuk Campus Math and Science Department added an extra class on Friday to MS 100 Elementary Algebra in an attempt to improve student outcomes. According to the instructor, class attendance and participation improved and a lower percentage of students failed the class in comparison to the fall semester.

Vocational Education. During the month of May the Vocational Education Department completed a training survey of the larger hotels and restaurants in Chuuk, readied classrooms so that vocational classes can begin in the fall, identified the top three candidates for the position of Carpentry Instructor, and disseminated program information and admissions applications to seniors who are interested in enrolling in the Carpentry Program. Vocational Education Department Chairman Stephen Richmond has been invited to be part of a hospital maintenance survey team or task force that will bedetailed to visit each of the hospital in the FSM and make recommendations for establishing and implementing maintenance programs for the facilities.

Social Science. The Social Science Department offered six courses during the spring semester with the help of three part-time instructors. The department chair also taught two classes of Science for the Integrated ESL Program.

Education Department. The Education Department at Chuuk Campus is offering eight courses during the summer session with a total of 87 students enrolled in these courses.

Culture Studies. The Culture Studies activities during the month included the following: Chuuk Research and Archival Collection through which an estimated 150 items have been donated; Oral History Recording and Interview Projects; Chuuk Multimedia Center to support materials development, publications, and video documentary; Chuuk Senior Leader Interview Series; Outreach projects including a series of seminars/lectures to high school and the community on various topics of interest; and the Joint Research Project on Personal Ecology of Substance Abuse being conducted in partnership with the University of Hawaii.

Land Grant (Cooperative Extension Services). A three-month training program for youth-at-risk was successfully completed during the month of May with 36 out-of-school youth graduating. Also during the month, a series of workshops in small business training, beginning sewing, parenting skills, and physical fitness were extended to Fananu Municipality which were attended by 49 participants. During this same period, five CES staff traveled to remote islands of the different regions of Chuuk State and provided workshops and lessons to 296 persons on topics related to health, education and physical fitness. During the month of June, through the Food Safety and Quality, Health and Nutrition Program, a total of 284 persons in five different islands and regions in Chuuk State were given cooking lessons and demonstrations.

Upward Bound. The visit to the National Campus by the Chuuk Upward Bound students was reported in earlier Updates. In addition, during the month of May two Upward Bound students represented Chuuk High School in the annual debates and won second place.

PREL Project Delta. Associate Professors Danny Mamangon and Alton Higashi collaborated with team members from the Chuuk State Department of Education in designing and developing a math teacher training program for the elementary schools. This program is scheduled to be introduced to selected schools and teachers of grades 5-8 during the month of August, 2000.

Pohnpei Campus. The following is a summary of activities as reported in the May and June monthly reports from Pohnpei Campus:

Advisory Council. The Pohnpei Campus Advisory Council met on May 18, 2000, to discuss vocational programs. The June and July meetings will focus on committee work. Work on the five-year plan is scheduled to begin in August.

GED. The ten-week General Education Development (GED) preparatory program began on June 26th. There is also an additional follow up session for students who may not pass the first round of tests. This program includes classes in English, math, social studies, science, and literature.

Non-credit Classes. Two non-credit courses in computer for adults and kids are in progress as scheduled with 15 adults in one class and 12 kids in the other.

Upward Bound. There are fifty freshman, sophomore, and junior students taking classes at Pohnpei Campus through the Upward Bound Program. A meeting was held with parents on June 23rd in the Pohnpei Campus Nahs. All full-time program staff and Director Weilbacher attended this meeting which was chaired by the PTA President Mitchuo Daniel. Each of the staff members gave reports in regards to program accomplishments and upcoming summer activities, while Director Weilbacher provided a detailed report with regards to Pohnpei campus cholera prevention policies that students must follow on campus.

The Upward Bound summer session began on June 27th with classes in English, math, science, computer, foreign language/Japanese, and Pohnpeian Studies. A staff orientation session was held on June 26th in preparation for the summer session.

Unfortunately, the plan to recruit freshmen for the Upward Bound Program was cancelled since the target school, Bailey Olter High School, was unable to administer the high school entrance test to the eighth graders because of the State of Emergency.

Land Grant (Cooperative Extension Services). Pohnpei CES staff are now on limited field activities due to the cholera epidemic. This has resulted in cancellation of cooking demonstrations and other activities. However, a total of 71 individuals were assisted by CES staff in May with regards to raising of hogs, sakau planting, proper maintenance of banana plants, and layout of an agroforest farming system.

Two training sessions were conducted for the Agriculture Extension Agents by Raul Javier, also an Extension Agent. These training sessions are conducted on a weekly basis.

Talent Search Program. The Talent Search Program held an employee retreat at Black Coral Island May 5-6, 2000. Guest speakers included Title III Coordinator Jean Thoulag, Outreach Librarian Dean Anthony, Business Office Manager Pelma Palik, and Director of Maintenance Francisco Mendiola. All TSP fulltime employees along with about 30 tutors and work study students were present.

TSP assisted the Kosrae Upward Bound Program during the college visit to the National Campus during the early part of May. Activities included a welcoming party, a trip to Nan Madol and lunch at Rev. Dachuo Johnson's residence in Madolenihmw. TSP also hosted students and staff from the Chuuk Upward Bound Program to a lunch at Sei Restaurant during May.

Kosrae Campus Update. According to the June monthly report from Kosrae Campus Director Kalwin Kephas, a total of 91 students are enrolled for the summer session including 44 full time and 47 part time students. Twelve (12) courses are being offered. The Kosrae Department of Education has contracted with the College to offer two courses for teachers.

Land Grant. The Local Plan of Work for the next four years was submitted to Vice President for Cooperative Research and Extension Yasuo Yamada for final review and approval. A $15,000 grant was awarded to the Kosrae CES Program for delivery of services to children and youth at risk and will be used to continue services to ninth graders and their teachers in computer literacy.

The Micronesian Plant Propagation Research Center announced that its first batch of cultured banana sprouts has been transferred to the greenhouse.

Upward Bound Program. Upward Bound Director Morgan Jonas reported that at the end of the academic year, all 23 UB seniors took the COM-FSM entrance examination with 86% passing. There are now 57 alumni of the Kosrae UB program of whom 87% are currently attending a postsecondary institution full time, not counting those who just graduated in May. Upward Bound students continued to achieve GPA's of 2.5 and above on their college preparatory courses, with 96% of them earning a GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.

The week of July 10th marks the completion of the Kosrae UB summer session. A series of activities has been lined up including a trip to Walung and a year end awards banquet.

GEAR UP. A Kick-Off Banquet to mark the commencement of the GEAR UP Program was held at the Kosrae State Gymnasium with approximately 800 students and parents in attendance. Speeches were given by Kosrae State Governor Rensley Sigrah and COM-FSM Board of Regents Vice Chairman and Director of Education Henry Robert. Other dignitaries in attendance included Speaker Hiteo Shrew, Chief Justice Yosiwo George, Mayor Maheta Kilafwasru of Malem, Mayor Joab Sigrah of Lelu, Mayor Julian Jonah of Tafunsak, the principal and vice principal of Malem Elementary School, Kosrae High School Principal Tulensa Sigrah, Pastor Nena Kilafwasru, Pastor Takeo Shrew, and Pastor Natchuo Andrew. During this program, a Twenty-First Century Scholar Certificate, signed by President Clinton and Secretary Riley, was presented to each student in the program.

A total of 424 students are enrolled in the GEAR UP summer program.

Cooperative Research and Extension. According to the June monthly report from Vice President for Cooperative Research and Extension Yasuo Yamada, a Regional Fruit Fly meeting was held on June 2, 2000, during which it was agreed that the FSM should continue to provide fruit fly surveillance surveys. Since the COM-FSM program has qualified staff and facilities to provide this service, it was agreed that Agriculture Extension Services (AES) staff will continue to provide this service to the FSM. A formal letter of request will be forwarded from the FSM Department of Economic Affairs.

A meeting of the Assistant Campus Directors (Land Grant) was held from June 13-15, 2000, at the National Campus. The following persons were in attendance at this meeting: Dr. Singeru Singeo, Jackson Phillip, Stan Fal'mngar, Ansina Kony, Kenye Killin, Dr. Flordeliza Javier, Dr. Karl Brookins, Sonny Padock, Penny Weilbacher, and Yasuo Yamada. Topics discussed during the meeting included the following: Local Plan of Work; the Five Year Plan of Work Update, working as a team, and the roles of the State Campus Directors and the VPCRE.

A major part of Sea Grant Extension Agent Ahser Edward's time during the month of June was spent on drafting the COM-FSM/MAREPAC Five-year Plan. Meetings were held during the month regarding the possibility of funding from the Australian Embassy to erect markers on the submerged reefs in the Pohnpei lagoon and around Langer and Sapwtik, to discuss matters relative to the LEAP project, to discuss issues relative to the Conservation Society of Pohnpei, to discuss a Trochus Transfer project for Pingelap, and to gather input from relevant individuals for the Five-year Plan.

Dr. Javier and staff of the Agriculture Experiment Station (AES) program have been active in implementing the following projects: Trials of Banana Resistant to Black Leave Streak (BLS); Trials on Taro; Enhancing Subsistence Crop Production in Northwestern/Western Region of Chuuk; and In Vitro Propagation and Field Establishment of High Vitamin A Containing Banana.

During the month of June Dr. Brookins completed a CTSA proposal for a $30,639 project which was submitted to the COM Central Office. In addition, the equipment order for the Nett Point Laboratory arrived during the month and has been set up. Klasthin Diopulos continues to modify the COM-FSM boats for efficient sampling.

Personnel. Title III System Network Specialist Ken Girrard will be completing his contract with the College on July 31, 2000. We are deeply indebted to Ken for all of his assistance in keeping the College technologically up-to-date. We wish you all the best in the future.

A letter of resignation has been received from Math/Science Division Chairperson John Gann who has accepted an appointment at Tomball College near Houston, Texas.

John states in his letter:

When I was initially offered this position in Texas, it took a considerable amount of time for my family and me to finally decided to accept it. It's a great opportunity for us to settle in an area close to home after so many years of travelling around. And yet, I have also wanted to be a part of the College of Micronesia as it continues to grow and become an even more constructive influence on the educational development of the FSM.

I greatly appreciate the members of the faculty here whose professionalism and dedication to the College, and especially, the students are second to none in my opinion. I am glad to have learned so much from the instructors here.

Sincere appreciation is expressed to John for his service to the College. We wish him and his family the very best as they relocate to Texas.

A letter of resignation has also been received from Sean Stratton who stated, "Though my goals must lead me elsewhere, in my heart I remain a friend of COM, the Languages and Literature Division, and the Island of Pohnpei, and should our future paths cross, I will meet the occasion with much happiness."

Word has been received that Pohnpei Campus Upward Bound Director Paul Seng has also resigned effective July 26, 2000. We wish him well in his new endeavors.

More Next Time!

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