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September 22, 2004

To: All Concerned

From: Interim President

Subject: Update from the President's Office - No. 240


Board of Regents:

The Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia approved at its August 2004 Special Session the nomination of Mr. Andrew Yatilman, Director of Visitors Office, Yap State to be the member at large (representing National Government) on the COM-FSM Board of Regents. The FSM Congress' action enabled Mr. Yatilman to attend the recent BOR meeting in Weno, Chuuk during the week of September 6-9, 2004. The BOR and the administration of the College congratulated and welcomed Mr. Yatilman at the meeting in Chuuk.

Mr. Andrew Yatilman served on the BOR from March 1993 to August 2003 representing the Yap State.

The BOR reviewed and approved the following action items during its meeting in Weno, Chuuk: Revised Organizational Chart for the College, The Instructional Programs for National and State Campuses, Budget Guidelines for fiscal year 2006, concept for the Substantive Change Report for the FSM Fisheries and Maritime Institute, and Establishment of New Bank Accounts. The Board also issued the following attached directives for the College administration (see attachments).

The BOR approved organizational chart was a modified version of the one the administration of the College submitted for review and action. The modified version took into account the geographical locations of the campuses within the system and the need for accountability at the campuses. The Board of Regents commended the faculty and staff at all campuses for the effort and hard work they put into developing the revised organizational chart for the COM-FSM System. The BOR approved chart and the timeline for implementation are attached for your information.


The College of Micronesia-FSM was placed on warning by the Accrediting Commission for WASC during its June 2004 meeting. The College was warned for not having an organizational structure that clearly indicates the line of authority between its six campuses. The newly approved organizational chart by the COM-FSM BOR will be used in addressing the concerns of the Accrediting Commission in a progress report that the College is submitting to the Commission by October 15, 2004. The newly approved chart is attached for your information.

The Interim President attended a Pacific Postsecondary Education Council (PPEC) Presidents meeting in Hawaii during the week of September 13-15, 2004, at the office of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for Hawaii Community Colleges Office in Honolulu Hawaii. The objectives of the meeting were to revitalize and re-organize PPEC, seek funding for the operations of the organization, and build critical regional capacity to enable the public colleges in the region to maintain WASC regional accreditation. The ten (10) presidents that attended the meeting developed a $353,640 proposal to address these issues and submit it for funding to Office of Insular Affairs at Department of Interior.

All of the PPEC member institutions are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The two-year colleges are accredited by the WASC Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), and the four-year Colleges are accredited by the WASC Senior College Commission. Regional accreditation not only signifies a level of institutional quality, but is a requirement for any institution to become a recipient of US government funding, including student financial aid (PELL Grant) and other federal grants like Title III, etc.

The issues facing the PPEC Colleges are long-standing, but becoming increasingly more important to deal with given the changing regional accreditation standards. The accrediting commission is in a difficult position because it has to make decisions and recommendations to the PPEC institutions that, if left unresolved, will lead to loss of accreditation.

Recently, one of the PPEC institutions has been placed on Show-Cause status by WASC. This action will lead to loss of accreditation by the end of January 2005, if there are no major institutional changes necessary to meet established accreditation standards.

In addition, three other PPEC member institutions are on warning status from the WASC which could lead to a resultant loss in accreditation within the next two years if corrective action is not taken as soon as possible. All of these institutions are facing similar issues and problems to deal with, including: Governance, Administrative and Fiscal Operations, Leadership Development, Academics and Curriculum, Institutional Processes, Resource Allocation, Facilities, Institutional Assessment, and Continuing Improvement.

Highlights from the Campuses:

Personnel News. Resignation: Divine Grace Gasapo, Student Service Specialist for Pohnpei Talent Search Program has submitted her resignation. Merins Race, Administrative Specialist for the Office of Personnel, has resigned effective August 27, 2004. New Hires: Rathnamony Pathmajothy (Jothy) John joined COM-FSM Chuuk Campus to fill the English Instruction vacancy. Dr. James Yaingeluo was hired to fill the position of Director of Residential/Campus Life.

Pohnpei Campus. Assistant Professor Howard Rice has just concluded a trip through the Nation with a high level delegation from Michigan State University (MSU). The COM-FSM was very pleased to have had the opportunity to host this delegation consisting of:

Dr. Jeffrey Riedinger
Associate Dean
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Michigan State University

Dr. Thomas Coon
Associate Dean
International Studies and Programs
Michigan State University

Dr. Richard Paulsen
The Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies
Michigan State University

The purpose of the trip was to first meet with the COM-FSM Board of Regents on Chuuk to discuss the pending MOU between COM-FSM and MSU. This MOU is a tremendous achievement and opportunity for our College, as it will enable both institutions (COM-FSM and MSU) to cooperate in many areas.

The scope of the MOU is that both parties agree to encourage the following activities in particular to promote international academic cooperation:

a. Exchange of materials in education and research, publications, and academic information;
b. Exchange of faculty and research scholars;
c. Exchange of students;
d. Joint research and meetings for education and research;
e. Technical assistance, and
f. Cooperation of FSM tourism development.

In addition to addressing the COM-FSM Board of Regents, Howard and the MSU delegation met with the FSM President Joseph J. Urusemal to discuss an economic development initiative proposed by Howard Rice at the recently concluded 3rd FSM Economic Summit. This "Sustainable Development" initiative was developed by Howard as part of the mission of the COM-FSM HRM Division and the COM-FSM to build local capacity for the FSM.

The MSU delegation and Howard visited all the FSM States and have with the leadership of the states and discussed with them the "Sustainable Development" initiative. Each meeting to date has been very successful with support stated at each site and the initiative now continues forward into planning phase.

The College would like to extend a sincere thank you to Howard Rice for this vision and determination to assist the Nation and we will continue to support the efforts of the HRM Division in this important project.

National Campus.
In September 6-10, 2004 Board of Regents meeting in Chuuk, the Board approved the budget guidelines for fiscal year 2006 and it was disseminated to all Department Heads and State Campus Directors through e-mail by the Chairman of the Finance Committee. The process of budget preparation for fiscal year 2006 started with a workshop conducted by the Chair of the Finance Committee to all Department Heads at the National and Pohnpei Campuses on September 21, 2004 at MITC Viewing Rooms. Thirty-eight (38) participants attended the workshop. The objective of the workshop was to provide a uniform understanding of the budget process for fiscal year 2006. The workshop went well and the department heads and campus directors were requested to start preparing their budgets that will be submitted to the Finance Committee for further review and action on October 5, 2004.

Land Grant. Mr. Mark Kostka, CES Agent at Pohnpei State Campus, has been nominated to represent the FSM at the Plant Genetic Resources and Pacific Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources Network: Planning for the Future meetings during the week of October 4-8, 2004 in Apia, Samoa.

Thank you.