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October 10, 2000 - Palikir, Pohnpei

Update from the President's Office - No. 169

SBA and Scholarship Ceremony. A ceremony to swear in the SBA officers and to recognize scholarship recipients was held on October 4, 2000, in the MITC. SBA officers include: Benrita Martin, President; Jonathan Mathau, Vice President; Eileen Sabino, Secretary; and Leilani Welley, Treasurer. Also recognized were the following State Reps: LJ Rayphand, Chuuk; Christopher Ithelmal, Yap; Whitney deBrum, Marshalls; and Lipan Lipan, Kosrae. (Pohnpei has not yet selected its rep.) Also, the following scholarship recipients were recognized: Marvin Russel and Eleanor Samual - Mobil Oil Scholarhsip; Ander Ilai, Elizabeth Silwer, and Emma Mori (graduated) - Rotary Scholarship; and Ainstain Ioanis, the Samahang Tagalog ATBP SA Ponape (STAP) Scholarship. A group from the STAP organization presented the award to Ainstain during the occasion. Also honored during the ceremony were Loveleen James, David Syne, Senoleen Syne, and Leonard Ekiek for being recognized for academic achievement in the College Board's 2000-2001 Talent Roster of Outstanding Community College Transfer Students (TRCC). According to a letter from Evelyn Davila-Blackburn, Director, National Recognition Programs, the TRCC Program is an effort to recognize the exceptional academic achievements of transfer students from community colleges and encourage their recruitment and financial support by colleges and universities. Congratulations to all of you!!!

Also, word was received from Pohnpei Campus that the students elected to serve as officers of their SBA for this school year include: Johnnyber Hirens, President; Kennedy Sohl, Vice President; Kathleen Alden, Secretary; and Morgan David, Treasurer. Congratulations to you, also!!

FSM Congress. I attended the FSM Congress opening session on Monday, October 9, 2000. In the afternoon I met with Jamie Bowman, Legal Counsel for the HESA Committee, and Carolyn Kern, Legal Counsel for the Ways and Means Committee, to brief them on College issues that were pending in Congress. During this meeting we discussed the proposed measure to re-appropriate the outstanding FY 97 Board of Regents funds in the amount of $67,344 and a floor amendment passed during the last session with regards to construction of a baseball field at the National Campus. At its most recent meeting, the Board of Regents directed the Administration to meet with members of Congress to determine the feasibility of reappropriating the $236,600 appropriated during the May/June session for a baseball field to bring the appropriation in line with the College's master facilities plan. Appointments with members of Congress have been requested. Congress will be in session for 30 days.

Meeting with FSM Secretary of Foreign Affairs. At the September Board meeting it was agreed that the COM-FSM Board Chairman, the COM FSM Regent, and the COM-FSM President would meet with the FSM Secretary of Foreign Affairs to discuss the "Treaty Among the Governments of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau Regarding the College of Micronesia" which governs the Land Grant program. The Treaty will expire September 30, 2001. This meeting was held at Joy Hotel Restaurant on September 26, 2000. Vice President for Cooperative Research and Extension Yasuo Yamada also attended this meeting.

During this meeting Secretary Ilon stressed that the Land Grant Program was not expiring under the Compact. Instead, the Land Grant program is available to the FSM, Marshalls, and Palau through legislation that has a life of its own, and that this legislation is re-authorized on a five-year cycle. The Secretary further stated that typically the FSM President would look to the Department of Health, Education, and Social Affairs and the Department of Foreign affairs for advice on issues such as the impending expiration of the Treaty and suggested that someone from the College follow up on a February 1, 2000, letter that was sent to the FSM President from the Chairman of the COM-FSM Board of Regents in this regard. A letter was sent to the FSM Division of Education later that same afternoon to follow up on this matter.

At the same meeting concerns were expressed regarding the continued eligibility of FSM students for the Pell Grant program under the Compact. In response, Secretary Ilon explained that, like the Land Grant program, eligibility for the Pell Grant program is provided through legislation and that eligibility for Pell Grant is not dependent on the Compact. He further indicated that, to date, the subject of Pell Grant eligibility has not been discussed in the re-negotiations. However, he further stated that such a topic can be brought up by either side at any time. If the US side chooses to bring up Pell Grant eligibility for discussion, the College needs to be prepared to make a case as to the benefits. Secretary Ilon concluded the discussion by stating that the areas of health and education should be well-protected in the re-negotiated Compact as these are the primary areas being stressed by the US.

Instructional Affairs. According to the September 2000 monthly report from Vice President for Instructional Affairs Spensin James, he and the Director of Vocational Programs developed and submitted the scope of work for the FSM School to Work program to Region IX. The College has been allotted $190,000 to assist the State Departments of Education with their School to Work programs.

During the month the VPIA's office also updated the graduation data for the 1996-1998 freshman cohorts and calculated the cost per student seat for the instructional divisions. These data, along with course completion data, are being included in the FY 99 COM-FSM Annual Report which should be finalized for printing this week.

Another major project for the VPIA's office during this school year is the coordination of the revision of the College's general catalog for school years 2001-2003. Communication will soon be sent out to Division Chairpersons, program and activity heads, and State Campus Directors to review and revise their respective sections. A General Catalog Committee will be established during the latter part of October. The target date to submit the catalog for printing is the first week of June 2001.

In the area of federal grants, word was received from Washington that the request for a no-cost extension until December 31, 2000, for the Teacher Technology Grant was approved. Also, on September 15, 2000, a $293,000 proposal was submitted to the FSM Division of Education in response to the Special Education Program for Pacific Entities (SEPPIE) Request for Proposal. A progress report and a request for a no-cost extension for current SEPPIE projects until December 31, 2000, was also submitted.

The Curriculum Committee has established a subcommittee comprised of Jean Thoulag, Patty Grandos, Jonathan Gourlay, Dana Lee Ling, and Spensin James, to review the Intensive English Program (IEP).

The new network agreement with FSM Telecom took effect on September 1, 2000. This agreement covers the networking of the six COM-FSM campuses (including FSM FMI) and expanding the network bandwidth from 64 kb to 192 kb.

According to the monthly report from LRC Director Dakio Syne a total of 1,988 patrons used the LRC during September. A total of 628 materials were circulated, and 263 materials were catalogued. During September the LRC offered to the public more than 350 discarded book titles and magazines in front of the entrance to the library. Teachers from all over Pohnpei, faculty, staff and students had their chance to look over these materials which were gone by September 28th.

The MITC, US Government, UN and Inter-Library Loan Services sections of the LRC have web pages on the COM-FSM web site. Dakio expressed appreciation to Dean Anthony, Joseph Saimon, Corrina deWolf, and Bruce Robert for their efforts in developing these web pages and announced that Dean is currently working on a Pacific Collection web page. MITC Coordiantor Joseph Saimon and Media Technician Luciano Mathias participated in a one-day workshop conducted by the Audio Visual Company of Hawaii which was promoting its line of products including interactive white boards, projection systems, and non-linear video editing systems.

The Outreach Librarian, Dean Anthony, has been reaching out to the Pohnpei Public Library, the Bailey Olter Memorial High School Library, and the four State Campus LRCs on constructing web pages, Inter-Library Loan Services, and the library skills training packets.

Director of Academic Programs Joe Habuchmai participated as a member of the Special Education Monitoring Team during a September 11-15, 2000, visit to Yap.

During the month of September, Maria Donre of the Social Sciences Division, traveled to Guam on educational leave to consult with her thesis advisors. She expects to complete her thesis by the end of October for her Master's Degree from UOG. Similarly, Mariana Ben, also of the Social Sciences Division, will be traveling to Hawaii to defend her thesis for her Master's Degree from UH.

A concern was expressed regarding the difficulties encountered in recruiting instructors for the vocational education programs.

Coordination of the Fourth-Year Program has been turned over to the Division of Education, and Dr. Richard Womack, Division of Education Chairperson has been designed as the contact person for this program.

The Accounting Internship commenced as scheduled on September 20, 2000, for most of the 12 students enrolled in AC 270. Students have been placed at FSM Department of Finance, Bank of Hawaii, FSM Development Bank, Pohnpei State Auditor's Office, Bank of FSM, Pohnpei Utilities Corporation, and FSM Social Security.

Staff involved with the development of K-12 standards in the areas of tourism, marine science, and agriculture will be visiting all FSM states during October to finalize those standards. The Chairperson of the Division of Education will be accompanying the team on these visits.

The Title III Program officially came to a close on September 30, 2000, with all remaining funds obligated by that date. A final inventory of Title III equipment and location at the close of the project will be prepared and made available by December 30, 2000. This project has been tremendously successful in supporting the College's quest to take the lead in technology through implementation of projects in the areas of math/science, CALL, IEP, and library automation. The Title III project also provided the staff and served as the primary catalyst for both the local area networks and the wide area network that have been established. An appreciation luncheon is being held in honor of the Title III project and the staff on Wednesday, October 11, 2000. Special thanks to Jean Thoulag, Dana Lee Ling, and Sylvia Henry for an outstanding job in implementing this project which had such a positive impact on the College.

National Language and Cultural Institute Director Damian Sohl attended the Improving America's Schools annual conference in Sacramento from September 18-20, 2000. According to Damian's report, the conference included grantee workshops, education reform institutes, and forums on critical issues.

The second module of the Bilingual Education Project was conducted at the five professional development school sites simultaneously from September 12-22, 2000. A total of 52 teachers and principals attended sessions at Ohmine, Sekere, Sokehs Powe, ESDM, and Pohnlangas Elementary Schools.

Chuuk Campus. According to the Chuuk Campus September report, Joe Kasian from the Chuuk State School System met with Chuuk Campus Education Chairperson Flocerfida Cualing to discuss the possibility of collaborating on future curriculum revision efforts designed to better align training program with perceived local needs.

Representatives of the Asian Development Bank also visited Chuuk Campus to discuss the possibility of ADB funding for a building for the Chuuk Small Business Center which will be included in the master plan for the new Chuuk Campus facilities. Chuuk Campus Director Graceful Enlet attended the opening ceremony of the University of Guam Small Business Development Center held at Chuuk High School on September 25, 2000. The Guam SBDC will be helping interested community members to start new businesses and assisting current business owners with their needs.

Math and Science Chairperson Danilo Mamangon accepted an invitation from the Kosrae Department of Eduation to assist with the DELTA Project from October 9-14, 2000.

Chuuk Cultural Education Specialist Joakim Peter conducted a workshop on the Personal Ecology Survey at the Truk Stop Hotel from September 29-30, 2000.

Chuuk Land Grant staff members, Linus Soumetau and Inos Kuliano, traveled to municipalities in the Western region to conduct research on agricultural production on coral atolls. This project is jointly sponsored by Senator Simeon Innocenti and the Chuuk Land Grant program.

Chuuk Upward Bound Director Deliver Salle attended the 19th annual conference for the Council for Education Opportunity held in Washington, DC, from September 17-20, 2000.

Chuuk Campus is offering eight education classes to 93 students this fall. Students enrolled in the Practicum course are teaching at Iras Elementary School. Because of the large number of students, it was necessary to assign two to three students to one cooperating teacher.

The English Department at Chuuk Campus has implemented two new courses, Integrated English I and II, for the fall semester. The purpose of these courses is to provide a more intensive English program for beginning students through which they will learn listening, speaking, reading and writing skills all in one class. Under this model, students are in class for nine hours each week instead of the usual three. It is hoped that these students will be able to move through the lower level in two semesters instead of three or four.

The Chuuk Campus Counseling Office conducted student orientation sessions during September. These sessions were a joint effort of staff of the Registrar's Office, the Financial Aid Office, the Business Office, and the Counseling Office.

Under the Chuuk Campus Land Grant Program, in addition to the staff conducting research in the Western Region, three Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) staff continued to maintain the plant nursery and demonstration garden.

Staff from the FSO, Health and Nutrition component of the Land Grant program coordinated the Food Handler's Training, held at the Land Grant office from September 11-15, 2000. This program was implemented in partnership with the Chuuk State Department of Health Services. A total of 28 food handlers attended the training.

The Community Resource Development component of the Land Grant program organized the Nomwin group for small business training and a sewing class. Unfortunately, both of these activities have had to be postponed for a later time.

A total of 103 high school dropouts have applied for the Youth-at-Risk program, with 52 accepted in the program. The parents of these 52 participants attended a meeting during which they were informed of the rules, regulations, and expectations of the program. It is important to note that 35 former high school dropouts who participated in earlier programs returned to school fall 2000. In addition, three are now attending COM-fSM and one is attending JFK High School in Guam.

The Chuuk Upward Bound Program staff spent most of September testing, interviewing and evaluating potential students for the program. Orientation for selected students and their parents was held September 29-30, 2000. A total of 18 part-time instructors/tutors have been recruited for the 18 classes which comprise the academic component of the program. Classes will be held on Saturdays from October 7, 2000 through May 19, 2001, at Chuuk Campus.

Dr. Kyaw Soe's Visit. Dr. Kyaw Soe from Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) visited the College on Friday, October 5, 2000, to provide assistance and recommendations in the establishment of a database. During this visit, Dr. Soe met with staff of the various offices to determine the current capabilities and the networking possibilities. Chuuk Campus Information Management Specialist Herner Braiel also joined these meetings. The College is fortunate that Dr. Soe's expertise is being provided by PREL at no cost.

Publications. I have become aware of recent publications by two of the College's staff. Congratulations are extended to Dr. Don Buden of the National Campus Math/Science Divison who has two articles in the June 2000 issue of Micronesica: A Journal of the University of Guam, entitled, "The reptiles of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia," and "The reptiles of Sapwuahfik Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia."

Congratulations are also in order for Chuuk Campus Education Culture Specialist Joakim Peter for his article entitled, "Indigenous Science and Education," in the March 2000 issue of Tok Blong Pasifik.

Whoops! In listing the staff who attended the Board of Regents meeting held in Chuuk in September, I inadvertently omitted FSM FMI Director Matthias Ewarmai from the list. My apologies to Matthias for this oversight.

Personnel. Dana Lee Ling has officially made the transition from his previous position with the Title III project to his new position as Chairperson of the Math/Science Division. We are looking forward to working with Dana in this new role.

A warm welcome is extended to Churchill Edward who began working as the Director of the Pohnpei Campus Upward Bound Program Director on October 3, 2000. We are glad to have you with us!

And the College is pleased to welcome Francesca Money who will be serving as a cook for FSM FMI. I am sure the students will appreciate your efforts.

More Next Time!
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