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December 11, 2002- Palikir, Pohnpei

Update from the President's Office - No.217

Thanksgiving and Christmas

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

To: All Regents, Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, Community Patrons, and Our Valued College Friends
From: Dr. Michael Tatum, President

Subject: Update from the President’s Office – No. 217

Legacies of Service – Loved Ones Remembered and Honored

“Supposing today was your last day on earth, the last mile of the journeyou’ve trod. After all of your struggles, how much are you worth andhow much can you take home to God? Don’t count as possessions your silver and gold, for tomorrow you leave these behind. All that is yoursto have and to hold is the Service you have given to Mankind.” - Unknown

 Since the last Update, the College of Micronesia-FSM suffered two significant loses:

Walter Husser

On October 26th Mr. Husser Walter passed away. He was hired at the Chuuk Campus in 1993, as a custodian, but also served as a campus grounds man, and all around handyman. Mr. Walter worked dutifully in that capacity until his passing. Mr. Walter was a familiar face around the Chuuk Campus and always had a friendly word and smile for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Chuuk Campus Director Joakim “Jojo” Peter remarked, “For many years Mr. Walter was not simply just a custodian, he was there to do whatever he was asked to do, and more. He was dedicated and worked cheerfully in all that he did. He will be greatly missed.”

Dakio Syne

On November 14th faculty, students, and staff at the National Campus were saddened by the untimely death of Mr. Dakio Syne. The next afternoon classes at both the Pohnpei Campus and the National Campus were cancelled to allow his many friends and colleagues to attend the Memorial Services held at the Sekere United Church of Christ.

Mr. Dakio Syne started working at the Micronesian Teacher Education Center in 1965 as a library clerk. In 1970, he received a scholarship to further his education at the University of Guam, where he completed a BA Degree in Elementary Education. Dakio then returned to what had become the Community College of Micronesia (CCM) to work as a librarian. However, by this time Dakio’s love of Library Science had come to the forefront and he was soon off to New York University in Albany, New York, with another scholarship which led him to a Masters of Science Degree in Library Science in 1976. Upon returning to Pohnpei, Dakio was hired as the Director of the Learning Resource Center where he served with love and distinction until his passing.

Mr. Dakio Syne was a true educator and leader. He served on numerous committees and was always there with a helping hand. He loved his job as a facilitator for learning. In his leadership role, Dakio was one of the founders of the Pacific Islands Association of Library and Archives (PIALA).

Our friend and colleague, Mr. Dakio Syne, was a loving husband and father. He is dearly missed by all of us.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” – Cicero

Thank you Husser and Dakio.

Our gardens and libraries will keep your memories alive in our hearts and minds.

Campus Notes from Around the FSM

Ms. Serlinda Soukon, the reigning Miss Pohnpei and National Campus student was recently featured in a special “photo shoot” by a media company from Hong Kong who is currently producing promotional literature for the FSM and the Pohnpei Visitors Bureau. Thanks to Serlinda for representing us in such a “Royal” manner.

In this year’s edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers 2002, three of our faculty are honored for their educational leadership and excellence. Kudos go to Heinrich Bingham Palik, Ray Verg-In, and Dr. Richard Womack. Thanks guys!

Damian Sohl, the Director of our National Language and Culture Institute (NLCI), was recently named as the Honorary Israeli Counsel to the FSM, representing the Embassy of Israel in Canberra, Australia. As part of his duties, Damian has been invited to represent the college and the FSM at the Workshop on Bilingualism and Multilingualism in Early Childhood – Educational Implications scheduled to be held in Israel this coming year. One question: Can we still call you Damian, or do we now refer to you as “Excellency?” Seriously, we know that Damian will represent us well!

Howard Rice recently led a large contingency of HRM Students (Hotel and Restaurant Management) to a regional HRM conference held in Guam. The students held various fund raising events to help pay their way, plus had assistance from a number of helpful and caring community sponsors. Attending this conference gave our students a chance to see how the skills they have learned in HRM can be applied to future career opportunities. Thanks goes to Howard for going the “extra mile” with his students.

One more HRM Note: If you haven’t sampled the cuisine at the Blue Plate Café on the Pohnpei Campus, you are really missing out on a true taste treat delight! The service and food is so good that reservations are required.

On Thanksgiving Day, Pohnpei Campus Director Penny Weilbacher hosted a special Thanksgiving Dinner at the Pohnpei Campus Gym to honor and show appreciation to all of the donors who have helped make the Pohnpei Campus Gym a reality. Those receiving special recognition included the embassies of Australia, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand, along with the FSM NOC, the Miss FSM Games Queen Committee, the Pohnpei State Government, and the U.S. CAT Team. The traditional Thanksgiving Dinner was prepared by the HRM students of the Pohnpei Campus.

The Student Support Services Program (SSSP) held it’s first ever Awards Banquet where nearly 100 students were honored for their achievements. SSSP Director Morehna Santos and her assistants Lucia Donre and Rencelly Nelson did an excellent job of organizing this event and Francisco Simram was a great MC. The keynote speaker was Mr. Heinrich Palik of the Talent Search Program. A highlight of the evening was the presentation of a special Work Study Award and Scholarship Stipend in Alaska Marine Science and Fisheries to Lee Antreas by Ray and Yenti Verg-in.

The Student Body Association and the Student Activities Committee recently held a special “end of semester” Luau and Dance at the FSM-China Friendship Sports Center. The dinner and dance was well attended. A number of local bands and singing groups performed to the contentment of all. Added value came from the interspersed dance performances by local island dancing groups. It was a fun and enjoyable evening! Our student body officers and their helpers are to be commended for a job well done.

“A Tropical Christmas” was the theme of the College of Micronesia-FSM’s first Christmas Choir Festival, which was held as a community outreach effort at the FSM-China Friendship Sports Center on December 7th. Choirs and singing groups from local schools performed to an appreciative audience. A special puppet show depicting the Christmas Story (featuring the voice of Joe Habuchmai among others) was a hit with everyone, as was the entertaining piano duets performed by Patty Kelly and Kathy Snider. The audience “sing-along” was a nice touch to the program, which culminated in a visit by Santa Claus and one of his elves. We want to thank the CAT Team for making Santa’s travel arrangements from the North Pole, and thank Kathy Snider, Patty and Doug Kelly, Aleta Cox, the Pohnpei Lions Club, our Student Body Association Officers, and all of the other volunteer helpers for making this such a grand holiday success!

“One thing I know: The only ones among you who will really be happy are

those who will have sought and found how to serve.” – Albert Schweitzer

On and About our Campuses and on the Road

In the past couple of weeks three of our colleagues have had added responsibilities as they have traveled to state campuses to conduct classroom and teacher evaluations.

“Not all who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Brent Villiers was assigned to visit our Yap Campus. While there, he also conducted a course outline development workshop for FMI, and on his return trip visited with representatives at the University of Guam regarding the Agriculture Challenge Grant and their Nursing Program, and also paid a visit to PEACESAT, and stopped by Guam Community College with regards to their CISCO System Training.

“Books may well be the only true magic.” – Alice Hoffman

Robert Churney, our Social Science Chair had the assignment of visiting the Chuuk Campus. In addition to conducting classroom and teacher evaluations, Robert also looked into some of the problems that the Chuuk Campus has been experiencing regarding inadequate facilities, need for added technology (more computers and other necessary equipment), the need for current textbooks, and other pressing issues.

Charles Musana, our Business and Accounting Chair, traveled to Kosrae as his assignment for conducting classroom and teacher evaluations. Charles also visited and evaluated the library facilities and the Land Grant operations there. Of particular noteworthiness, Charles visited about a dozen of his former students while he was in Kosrae and is most happy to report that each of them is gainfully employed in areas of private business, education, and with the government. Such revelations make it all worthwhile!

“Ah, my children . . . in the end what else is there?” – Anthony Quinn

The Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant

As you know, the FSM National Department of Education and our own Division of Education worked together this summer in a cooperative effort to win U.S. Department of Education funding for the Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant (TQEG). Now that the grant has been officially awarded the real work begins.

“Quality is never an accident; It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” – Dr. Cliff Edwards and Dr. Ivan Muse (lifelong educators)

For three days last week educational leaders from each of the FSM states, the National Department of Education, and the College of Micronesia-FSM, met to discuss and formulate plans for implementing this important grant. The college was well represented by a delegation led by Dr. Richard Womack, Vice President Spensin James, Vice President Ringlen Ringlen, Research and Planning Director Glen Snider, state campus directors Kalwin Kephas, Lourdes Roboman, Joakim Peter, and Penny Weilbacher, various department and division chairs and faculty members, and myself. The meeting went well, leaving those in attendance with the hope and belief that true teacher quality in the FSM can be improved upon if all educators in the FSM commit by insisting on high standards and enforcement of those standards for teacher certification. It was agreed that competent teachers and credible certification must be our goal. We must rise to the occasion and work for the creation and establishment a competent corps of teachers in the FSM.

“The past should be a springboard, not a hammock.” – Ivern Ball

The College of Micronesia-FSM Baccalaureate Degree in Education (B.Ed Degree)

“Excellence can be attained if you . . .
*Care more than others think is wise.
*Dream more than others think is practical.
*Expect more than others think is possible.” – Dr. Wayne Shute

The above quote from an old mentor of mine makes me think of our own Division of Education and in particular Dr. Richard Womack and his drive to raise educational standards to new heights in the FSM by creating and implementing a competency based B.Ed Degree at the college.

Anyone who knows Dr. Womack, knows that he says what is on his mind in no uncertain terms. To know Dr. Womack is to also know that he “Cares” with a fiery passion, and that he truly cares with his entire being about improving the state of education here in the FSM. He believes that the B.Ed Degree will be the means and foundation for doing just that. I am convinced that he and his colleagues in our Division of Education are right.

The B.Ed Degree is moving ahead and set for Fall 2003. All components are soon to be set in motion. Various aspects of the B.Ed Degree are coupled to the Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant, as they are seen as being complimentary to one another, since both have as goals the creation of a competent corps of teachers in the FSM. Between now and Fall 2003 there still remains some hurdles to overcome, but they are doable, the major one being that of attaining the necessary accreditation.

“And from the spark shall the flames arise.” – Old Russian Proverb

Accreditation Notes

Deadlines! Deadlines! Deadlines! The accreditation process is moving ever forward. The amount of documentation required and the flow of reports and other information to the WASC has been monumental, but the Office of Research and Planning has been able to keep us ahead of the game and keep our Eligibility Study progressing. A number of reports (B.Ed Substantive Change, the Substantive Change for the Vocational Education Program of Computer Aided Instruction and Distance Education System for Telecommunications, Electronics, and Electrical Training in the FSM, the Progress Report for the Third Year Certificate of Achievement in Accounting and in Business Administration, and other related reports) have been or are being developed in tandem with the deadlines ahead of us. Glen Snider and Dayle Dannis have been doing a Lion’s Share in meeting the demands of accreditation. Thank you both for all that you are doing!

“And let us not be weary in well doing,
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Gal. 6:9

New Horizons

Three of our colleagues are leaving our midst to pursue new opportunities and horizons:

Joe Habuchmai, Director of Academic Programs, is leaving us after 23 years of dedicated and faithful service. Joe recently threw his “dhu” into the ring, entering the world of politics in the State of Yap. For those who somehow missed the news, Joe was recently elected Lt. Governor for the State of Yap. Joe, thank you for all you have done for the college, you will be missed, but we still Congratulate you and wish you well as you begin this new chapter in your life.

Brent Villiers, Director of Vocational Education, will soon be saying his “goodbyes” as he returns to his home and family in Australia . . . “Sounds good on ya.” Brent has been with us a short two years, yet in this period of time has become endeared to us all with his keen wit and sense of humor that he has coupled with his dedicated drive to build and enhance vocational education programs here at the college. “G’day Mate.”

Kumi Kadoma, our JICA Volunteer / Japanese Instructor, is also leaving after two years of service here at the college. Kumi will be missed. Her always pleasant demeanor has given us sunshine even on the cloudy days. Kumi, we wish you well as you return home to your family and friends. Thanks for all of your contributions and service. Best wishes.

“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” – Dr. Jonas Salk

‘Tis the Season . . .

It is a special time of the year. A Time for Reminiscing . . . A Time for Thankfulness . . .
A Time for Giving . . . A Time for Celebration . . . A Time to Count Blessings . . .

In the Spirit of the Season and with Christmas just a few days away I would be remiss and ungrateful if I didn’t express my thankfulness and appreciation to each of you for all that you do. Your each and every contribution makes a noticeable difference in making the College of Micronesia-FSM the great and wonderful place that it is.

Sincere thanks to each of you.

Merry Christmas!


Dr. Michael Tatum, President
College of Micronesia-FSM



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