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June 19, 2002- Palikir, Pohnpei

Update from the President's Office - No. 212

June 19, 2002MEMORANDUM

To:       All Regents, Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni,Community Patrons,
Valued College Friends From: Dr. Michael Tatum, President Subject: Update from the President's Office-No.212

Time certainly flies! Since my last update, there has been a virtual whirlwind of activity at our various campus sites. I see the College of Micronesia - FSM as being a well-oiled machine. We have truly great faculty and staff, and with each new day I become more and more convinced that our COM-FSM "Family" of professionals could do their jobs on any campus anywhere and Shine! Thanks to each of you for all that you do.

Highlights from the past two weeks include a two-day seminar sponsored by the European Union. Held at the National Campus, the purpose of the seminar was to introduce the European Union (EU) to the FSM and to explore ways the EU and the FSM can collaborate in areas of Capacity Building (Health, Education, etc.). Attending the seminar were various officials from the FSM Diplomatic Corp, FSM Legislators, representatives from the community, local businesses, NGOs' from throughout the region, and representatives from COM-FSM.

On June 4th we had a visit from Mr. James Johnson, representing the Department of the Interior. Accompanied by his wife Emma, the focus of Mr. Johnson's visit was to become better acquainted with our campus and programs, and to explore possible future areas where his agency can work with COM-FSM in areas of program development and delivery.

June 5th was an "Opportunity Day" for me. I had the very special honor of being the commencement speaker at the Palikir School graduation ceremonies. Accompanied by Vice-President Spensin James, it was a most gratifying experience. Making the occasion even more special is the fact that the Palikir School will be the site of our BA.Ed Lab School this coming year. It has been a good experience to watch this partnership between our college and the Palikir School grow. Credit for this partnership rests with Dr. Richard Womack and Glen Snider for all of their hard work, dedication, and vision.

On June 6th we had a meeting with Patricia Leon of the Nature Conservancy, exploring ways that COM-FSM and her organization can partner in the future in areas where our organizations share common ground. There exists some possible avenues for future funding of curricula relating to environmental issues and concerns. We look forward to working with Ms. Leon in the future.

A very interesting meeting took place on campus on June 7th. Mr. Dean Anthony met with myself, Ankie Mendiola, Alfred Olter, and Vice-President Ringlen Ringlen, regarding the further and future development of the National Campus through the assistance of the Rural Development arm of the United States Department of Agriculture. In this meeting, we discussed the long-range plans that we have for our campus infrastructure and the financing of such efforts. There will be more information forthcoming regarding our work with Mr. Anthony. Special thanks to Ankie and Olter for their technical assistance with these plans.

During the week of June 3rd to June 7th we also hosted a seminar presented by Dr. Theresa Lally and Dr. Michelle Warn from the Distance Learning Center at San Diego State University. This week-long seminar was most productive and informative. Under the direction of Vice-President Spensin James and Joe Habuchmai, our partnership with San Diego State University in the area of distance learning was thoroughly covered. It was an intense and productive week for all those involved. Thanks goes out to all participants and facilitators for making this seminar a success.

We also had visits and a meeting with FSM legal advisors Caroline Laws and Randall Gerry. Their informal visit and inquiry coincided with our summer semester registration activities. They were basically interested in learning more about how financial aid is handled here at COM-FSM. The visit proved productive and both Caroline and Randall enjoyed their lunch at the college cafeteria. We all need to thank and acknowledge the good menus and affordable cuisine provided daily by our talented food services people.

And how could I forget Summer School? Our Summer Semester is off and running. The campus is buzzing and alive with students. We exceeded our enrollment expectations in an impressive manner. We had expected about 346 students for the summer, yet as of today we have an impressive 407 students enrolled in classes. What does this say to me? It says that each of you, faculty and staff, are doing a superb job by creating an environment conducive to learning, growth, and success. The students want to be here because of each of you and your dedicated efforts. Thanks.

Late Sunday night, June 9th, a fact-finding committee representing an urgent request of our Board of Regents met at the Pohnpei airport to catch the red-eye flight to Chuuk. The committee included Vice-President Ringlen Ringlen, Regent Dr.Bryan Isaac, Ankie Mendiola, Afred Olter, and myself. We were joined in Chuuk by Regent Gardenia Walter. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the Chuuk Campus and it's needs, and find some solutions to the problems that they face there. The visit was an "eye-opener" and I am glad to say that some realistic innovative and doable ideas were generated. As circumstances and future negotiations permit, I hope to have some good news shortly regarding our Chuuk Campus. In the meantime, I want to commend the Chuuk administration, faculty, and staff for the excellent job that they have done under the most difficult of circumstances. I also want to thank the fact-finding committee for their valuable help and insights. Special thanks go to Governor Walter for his guidance and direction in finding possible viable solutions to the problems that have plagued our Chuuk Campus for so long.

As I bring this update to a close, I find myself reflecting on a saying that says "We gain immortality through our children." I think that as Teachers, and we are all Teachers here at the College of Micronesia-FSM, that we will gain our own kind of immortality through our students. And even though today is a payday for us, the future successes of our students is our real pay and our bonus for what we as Teachers do.

I thank each of you, everyone, for what you do and for all that you do. I see each of you as Teachers and I learn so much from each of you daily. Keep up the Excellent Work. Thank You.

More next time!!


Dr. Michael Tatum, President
College of Micronesia-FSM



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