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December - Palikir, Pohnpei


December 24, 2003

To: All Regents, Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni,Community Patrons, and our Valued College Friends & Supporters

From: Dr. Michael Tatum, President

Subject: Update from the President's Office - No. 225

'Tis the Night Before Christmas and Santa is lurking; wondering why I'm still here working?  However, I would be seriously remiss if I let this evening and the Holiday Season pass without thanking each of you for your contributions to the College and thank you for your dedication to the future of the FSM.

This past semester and these past few months have been tough ones for us all.  As mentioned in previous Updates, we have faced a number of "Storms" in the recent past.  Yet, here we are with the semester and the year at an end, and we are able to stand tall as we look back at all of the accomplishments of the year . . . And these have been Your Accomplishments.  And your accomplishments have been many, with The Number One Accomplishment being the completion of our Self Study in preparation for the ACCJC accreditation visit in March 2004.  This monumental task couldn't have been completed without the contributions made by each of you.  The endless and thankless hours that have gone into the Self Study prove beyond a doubt that our faculty and staff are the best that can be found anywhere or on any campus. It has been said that the best gift that anyone can give, is the "Gift of Giving of One's Self."  This certainly serves to epitomize our faculty and staff.  The College of Micronesia-FSM is indeed blessed to have a faculty and staff of your caliber who give freely of time and efforts to make the College and the FSM a better place.

 Merry Christmas to each of You!  And Thank You!


Accreditation As the New Year begins, we will begin preparing for our Accreditation Visit in March 2004.  Initial contact with the Visitation Team has been made via Team Chair, Dr. Marie Smith, President of American River College in Sacramento, California.  The other members of the team include:     

Mr. Rober Allegre (Assistan Team Chair)
Vice President of Administrative Services
American River College
Sacramento, California

Mr. Chandulal Brahmbhatt
Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services
Coast Community College District
Costa Mesa, California

Dr. Eva Conrad
Moorpark College
Moorpark, California

Dr. Louise Pagotto
Interim Assistant Dean of Arts & Sciences
Kapi'olani Community College
Honolulu, Hawaii
Dr. Darla Conrad
Director of Institutional Research and Curriculum Management
Oxnard College
Oxnard, California
Dr. Erlinda Martinez
Vice President of Student Services/Assistant Superintendent
Cerritos College
Norwalk, California

The Visitation Team will visit each of our campuses with their visit culminating with a visit and exit meeting at the National Campus.  We expect the visit to be a positive one.  We fully expect to learn from our visitors how we can continue to build on our strengths and improve in areas we may be weak in.  However, the true quest for improvement and excellence rests with each of us.  To quote Dr. Barbara Beno, Executive Director of the ACCJC, "Professional self-regulation is the most effective means of assuring integrity, effectiveness and quality."  The future of our College is truly in our hands.

Dr. Smith and the Visitation Team will provide us with an Opportunity to Learn and Grow from their collective guidance and experience.  It is my hope that statements similar to the following will result from the visit:

"In none of the interviews was a disparaging remark made about the   students, even in jest. Not only were students discussed as the most important and central purpose of being at college, the students were   frequently cited as the essential source of satisfaction in a teaching career.This priority concern did not displace concern for and pursuit of Excellence as a professional or teacher." (Excerpt from an accreditation evaluation report Northwestern Association of Schools & Colleges)


Compact of Free Association This past week President Bush signed the new Compact of Free Association.  This is good news for the FSM.  The impact on post-secondary education is significant.  In a recent meeting with FSM Ambassador to the United States Jesse Marehalau, and Mr. Jim Stoval. Chief Legal Counsel for the JCN, the particulars of  the new Compact that relate to education were explained.  In short, the College of Micronesia-FSM will continue to receive PELL Grants and will remain eligible for US Department of Education Supplemental Education Grant (Competitive Grants).  Land Grant will continue to be funded.  However, SEOG and Work Study will be no longer be directly funded.  Students currently participating in these programs will be phased out over the next four years.  New students will funded through "Cash-Out" funds which will come yearly for assistance in funding those programs which will no longer receive direct funding from US agencies. The overall news is good. However, there will still remain challenges for adequately funding post-secondary education.  As the only institution of higher learning in the FSM, the College of Micronesia-FSM will need consistent and reliable funding to remain viable.  President Urusemal has pledged his support.  Senator Resio Moses and the HESA Committee have also been exponents for the cause of the College.  We are appreciative of all those who have shared this advocacy.

Board of Regents News The College Board of Regents met in Pohnpei at the National Campus on December 15th-18th.  As part of its agenda, the following Regents were elected as officers:

Board President/Chairman - Podis Pedrus, Pohnpei State

Vice President/Vice Chairman - Joseph Habuchmai, Yap State

Secretary/Treasurer - Tiser Lippwe, Chuuk State

The Board of Regents took the following actions:

· The Board certified that the College of Micronesia-FSM meets the eligibility requirements for accreditation, and approved the Institutional Self Study Report of the College of Micronesia-FSM for submission to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
· The Board also endorsed the Substantive Change Report To Offer Associate of Applied Science Degree Programs in Telecommunications, Electronics Technology, And Building Maintenance for submission to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
· The proposed FY 2005 COM-FSM Operations Budget in the amount of $11,284,063 was approved by the Board.

· The following FY 2005 CIP Budget was approved for submission to the FSM National Government:

Student Assistance Program $475,000
National Campus water tank/distribution lines $120,000
Yap Campus classroom building and furnishings $380,000
Kosrae Campus classroom building and furnishings $255,640
Pohnpei Campus classroom and student center $300,000
Chuuk Campus additional facility development $100,000
National Campus standby generator $150,000






· The proposed FY 2005 Budget of $708,398 for the FSM Fisheries and Maritime Institute was approved for submission to the FSM National Government.

· The Board adopted general guidelines for the development of a long term budget for the College and tasked the Administration with developing a strategic plan within six months.
· The Board tasked the Administration with developing an accessibility plan for providing reasonable accommodation for the physically challenged people with special needs in the College's current and future facilities.
· Revisions to the General Education core requirements for Associate of Applied Science degree programs were approved.
· A strategic enrollment management plan was approved for the Chuuk Campus whereby the Chuuk Campus is to immediately begin to move toward appropriate enrollment by not taking in any new students for the Spring 2004 semester.
· Use of up to $300,000 from the fund balance was granted to Chuuk Campus for improvement of the current site.
· The Pohnpei Campus was granted use of $33,000 of their fund balance to construct a retaining wall to support the foundation of their gymnasium.  The Kosrae Campus was granted $121,360 from their fund balance for their share of constructing a Small Business Development Center/Vocational Trade Center on the Kosrae Campus, provided that the provisions recommended by the Finance Committee are clearly stated in the MOU between the College and the Kosrae State Government.  The National Campus was granted the sum of $59,092 from the fund balance for installation of an elevator in the Learning Resources Center and for improvements in the dormitories.
· The Board approved the proposed articulation agreement with Hawaii Pacific University.
· Restructuring of the approach to intensive English instruction was approved. 

The Board of Regents meeting was very productive.  The next Board meeting will be held in Kosrae in March 2004 after the accreditation visit takes place.

2003 Goodwill Games On October 31st the Goodwill Games were "kicked off" at the National Campus.  Men's and Women's basketball and volleyball teams from the Kosrae, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and National campuses competed in these friendly and spirited games.  This was the first time in the history of the College that competitive sporting events of this nature have been held between campuses.  The games were successful because they were played in a spirit of Win/Win.  Yes, there was competition, but each game was centered on building bridges of cooperation between each of our campuses, and each game played placed emphasis on good sportsmanship. A Big Thanks goes out to Campus Directors Jojo Peter, Penny Weilbacher, and Kalwin Kephas, and Vice President Ringlen Ringlen for all of their hard work in putting this event together.  The Goodwill Games were sanctioned as a fundraising activity by the College Board of Regents and wouldn't have been possible without their support.  The next Goodwill Games are scheduled for Spring 2005.

GIS and Remote Sensing was the focus of a recent meeting held by the Administration and Mr. Les Allinson of the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC).  The purpose of the meeting was to begin preparation of an initial inventory of data and resources for a future proposed project.  The College will play a key role as the project is further developed.  Funding for participation will come through the European Union (EU).  The project will include involvement and cooperation from nearly all agencies in the FSM.

Visitors from New Zealand Representing the Pacific Islands Forum and New Zealand, His Excellency John Goodman, New Zealand Ambassador to the FSM, and Mr. Bob Cotton, who is a member of the Eminent Persons Group of the Pacific Island Forum, visited the National Campus on a fact finding visit relating to post-secondary education.  Of specific interest was the success and completion rates for students from the FSM who receive scholarships to universities in New Zealand.  It appears that COM-FSM transfer students do better than students who go directly from high school to New Zealand.

News from the United States Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs Mr. David B. Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary, has announced that the Pohnpei Campus of the College of Micronesia-FSM has received a $100,000 grant under the Operations and Maintenance Improvement Program (OMIP), to help in the further development of the plumbing, air conditioning, small engine repair, and auto mechanics vocational programs, and the apprenticeship program.  Once again, we are very grateful to the Office of Insular Affairs and to Deputy Assistant Secretary Cohen for sharing our vision of what the future can be through means of an educated and skilled workforce.

Personnel News Since the last Update the following persons have joined the COM-FSM family of employees:

David Etiker, Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant Site Coordinator, National Campus

Gibson Mongkeya, Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant Site Coordinator, Kosrae Campus

John Mafel, English Instructor, Yap Campus

Resignations since the last Update include:

Magrina Wakuk, Administrative Assistant for Kosrae Land Grant
Rosa Tacheliol, English Instructor, Yap Campus

We welcome these new employees and at the same time thank those who are leaving for the great service they have rendered to the College and to the FSM.

And now it is time for me to point myself in the direction of home.  It is time to hang the Christmas stockings and spend time with the family.  It is my prayer that each of you will have a great Christmas and Holiday break.  Please accept my thanks for all that each of you do to make our College such a great place!

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Goodnight!



Dr. Michael Tatum, President

College of Micronesia-FSM