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April 25, 2001 - Palikir, Pohnpei

Update from the President's Office - No. 183

April 25, 2001


To:       All Regents, Faculty, Staff, and Students

From:     President

Subject:  Update from the President's Office-No.183

Accreditation "Project Renewal" Task Force.    On April 7, 2001, I left Pohnpei to travel to Los Angeles to represent the Far Pacific institutions served by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) on the Task Force for Standards 5 & 6. This activity is part of an overall review and revision of the accreditation standards which has been named Project Renewal. The meeting was held on April 10, 2001, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Westin Hotel.

The initial discussion focused on the proposal restructuring of the accreditation standards into four as opposed to the current ten. The four proposed standards include: Institutional Mission and Effectiveness; Programs and Services; Resources; and Governance and Leadership. Programs and Services includes sections on educational programs, student services, and instructional support services (learning resources and technology). Resources includes sections on human resources, physical resources, and financial resources. Although nearly all of the current standards have been retained under the proposed standards, a new emphasis on student learning outcomes can be noted throughout the proposed version. The Task Force on Standards 5 & 6 also revised wording on some of the standards to provide a greater emphasis on student learning outcomes.

Another change that is being proposed is to make the self study a two-part process with the first part focused on quality assurance and minimum standards for accreditation and the second part focused on quality improvement plans. Under the proposed process, colleges could choose how to demonstrate to the evaluation team and the Commission how it is meeting the minimum accreditation standards through portfolios or written reports. Colleges would also be encouraged to provide information via its web site in lieu of bulky documentation.

The work of the five task forces will be compiled and submitted as a progress report to the Commission for review at its June meeting with the hope that a set of draft standards will be ready for field review by January 2002. Institutions will be required to submit self studies using the new standards by fall 2004. COM-FSM's next self study will be due sometime around December 2003 or January 2004 in preparation for a spring 2004 visit. At this point it does not appear that we will be required to use the new standards although it may be to our advantage to do so.

I returned to Pohnpei on April 12, 2001. All expenses to support my participation on the Task Force were covered by the Accrediting Commission.

Chuuk Campus Update.    The report from Chuuk Campus began on a very somber note as it included a brief summary of the tragic fighting incident that occurred on the main road across from the Chuuk Campus premises that resulted in the stabbing death of one of the students enrolled in the Land Grant program. All at the College join the Chuuk Campus faculty staff, and students in mourning this loss. Immediately following this incident, classes were suspended and a series of meetings were held with students, faculty, staff, government officials, and community members. Counseling was made available to students for the next several days. Classes resumed the following Monday. In the report, Chuuk Campus Director Graceful Enlet expressed sincere gratitude for the assistance provided by Chuuk Governor Ansito Walter and his family. Our sincerest sympathy to the family of Wanty Walter.

In other news, Graceful and Bilingual Education Career Ladder Program Coordinator Rioichy Johnny attended the Title VII Institute for participating grantees in Phoenix, Arizona, from February 20-24, 2001. According to the report, this institute focused on developing partnerships for sharing effective practices and addressing national, state, and local accountability challenges concerning the education of limited English proficient students.

Chuuk Upward Bound Program Director Deliver Salle attended the TRIO Seminar on Legislation and Regulations in Dallas, Texas from February 3-4, 2001. On February 20, 2001, Deliver traveled to Reno, Nevada, along with the program's counselor and academic instructor, to attend the WESTOP 23rd Annual Conference which was held from February 24-28, 2001. On their return from Reno, they stopped at California State University in Chico where they attended a workshop on File Maker Pro and other topics conducted by Chico TRIO program staff.

IEP Coordinator Margarita Cholymay and English Department Chairperson Karen Simion traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, to attend the International TESOL Convention held from February 26-March 3, 2001.

In the Vocational Education Department, a number of guest speakers, including representatives of the FSM Immigration Office, FSM Telecommunications Corporation, and Truk Stop Hotel, have made presentations to students enrolled in the World of Work course. In the vocational classes, demonstrations of the entire process of carpentry work, rough framing, concrete form construction, and industrial safety were provided to students who are making model houses. Preparations are also being made to offer a residential wiring course to Chuuk utilities linepersons this fall.

The Education Department reported that students in ED 210 and ED 215 are exchanging letters with Education majors at the State University of New York as part of their class activities. Also, students in ED 290 Practicum are now fulfilling their responsibilities at St. Cecilia Elementary School.

The Chuuk Bilingual Education Career Ladder Program has reported that some difficulties have been encountered in the establishment of that program including the geographical location of several of the model schools, the selection of model teachers, and the hiring of instructors. It was reported that to meet the required schedule of activities for this project the program staff will be working with the Coordinator of the Chuuk State Leadership Academy to recruit participants for the summer program which will be held from June 4 - July 25, 2001.

The Chuuk Upward Bound Program reported that the program dropped 14 students from the program due to poor attendance and lack of participation in program classes and activities. Applications for replacements have been made and selections were scheduled to be completed by the end of March. Six Chuuk Upward Bound students attended the Student Leadership Conference held in Kosrae in February, one 11th grader has been accepted to participate in the Summer Math/Science Upward Bound Program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, one student is a candidate for the Summer Math/Science Upward Bound Program at Leeward Community College, and six students will participate in the Close-up Program in Washington, D.C. to be held in June.

Pohnpei Campus Update.    According to Pohnpei Campus Director Penny Weilbacher, the month of March should be called the Month of Madness because of all the activities and happenings at the campus during the month. The TRIO programs were very busy planning and organizing the TRIO Day, an all-day event celebrated at the Pohnpei State Gymnasium and the track and field on March 15th. (See Update 181 for details) Also during the month Pohnpei Campus staff put in a lot of effort in fundraising activities for the gymnasium project including the March Madness Sale organized by Student Activity Coordinator Patterson Shed on March 24th. According to Penny, nearly all of the staff and faculty and many students contributed to the success of the day which resulted in $330 for the project. This amount does not yet include the proceeds from the sale of the reef fish that were contributed by the CES staff who went fishing for the event.

Founding Day was a very good day for Pohnpei Campus for the Purple Team due to Patterson's organizing skills, the talent and stamina of Pohnpei Campus athletes, and the team spirit of Pohnpei campus students, staff, and faulty.

Pohnpei Campus faculty have been busy with curriculum development work including the development of a Certificate of Achievement in Secretarial Science, a Certificate of Achievement in Cabinet-Making, submission of new course outlines, development of IDP forms for the vocational programs currently being offered, and the development of a curriculum for the non-credit courses in Electronics to be offered to PUC staff enrolled in the Apprenticeship Program in Auto Mechanics.

Continuing education classes being offered this semester at Pohnpei Campus include Basic Pohnpeian Language, Dance, Basic Singing/Voice, Guitar for Beginners, and Introduction to Computer.

In an April 11, 2001, letter from Nikolao I. Pula, Acting Director of the Office of Insular Affairs of the US Department of Interior, I was informed that Pohnpei Campus had been awarded $145,000 from the Operations and Maitenance Improvement Program (OMIP) for continuation of the vocational education programs there. In this letter, Mr. Pula states:

The grant provides $145,000 to be equally matched with $145,000 from COM-FSM… I
applaud your efforts to provide the opportunity for citizens of Micronesia to learn these
valuable technical skills, and wish you continued success in all of your programs!

Congratulations to Pohnpei Campus on this achievement!

The Upward Bound Program also shared good news in that all but one of the Upward Bound students passed the COM-FSM entrance test above the IEP level. According to the report, this one student only missed passing the test by a few points on the reading portion and will challenge the test again at a later time. Congratulations to all of you! According to their report, the majority of these students will attend the National Campus if they are not going abroad.

Major Upward Bound activities for the month of March included special classes on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, counseling services, tutorials, workshops, fieldtrips and community involvement.

Pohnpei Campus Talent Search Director Heinrich Palik attended the WESTOP Conference in Reno, Nevada, during which he was appointed by WESTOP President Leonard Woods to serve as a member of the WESTOP Board of Directors. Heinrich is chairing the fundraising committee of this organization. TSP has been involved in local fundraising activities also in support of the gymnasium project.

The TSP Program has been interviewing prospective target schools for the upcoming new proposal. TSP services continue to be provided at the high school after school for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors concentrating on English and math. TSP seniors are focusing on completion of their financial aid applications and computer literacy at Pohnpei Campus in the evenings. Weekend sessions are continuing in the villages for elementary program participants.

PREL Board of Directors meeting.    I am writing this Update a few days early to be sure it is ready before I leave Friday, April 20th, for Majuro to attend a meeting of the PREL Board of Directors which is scheduled for April 21st and 22nd. I will be returning to Pohnpei on Tuesday, April 24th. All expenses associated with my participation in this meeting are being covered by PREL. During my absence, Vice President for Instructional Affairs Spensin James will be acting in my stead.

Gertrude Mangarwen has transferred from the National Campus Financial Aid Office to the Yap Campus Upward Bound Program to fill the Student Services Specialist II position there. We bid a fond farewell and thank Gertrude for her dedication and all of the contributions that she made, especially to the students, at the National Campus. At the same time, we wish her all the best in her new position at Yap Campus. We are glad she is still with COM-FSM!

A resignation notice has been received from Dormitory Manager Josephine Albert. Josephine will be leaving COM-FSM at the end of April or the early part of May. We thank Josephine for her dedication, hard work, and accomplishments made during her tenure at the College. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors!

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