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    January - Palikir, Pohnpei    


January 25 , 2006


To:           All Concerned 

From:       President, COM-FSM 

Subject:     President’s Update #268


The matrix on the Accrediting Commissions recommendations that have not been addressed in the two previous Progress Reports which were submitted to the Commission has been updated up to 2007. The updated matrix will be used as guidelines for writing the Progress Report to be submitted to the Accrediting Commission in March 15, 2006. An outline from the updated matrix will also be developed for the principle writers of the report. Thanks to Mr. Joe Saimon, Accreditation Liaison Officer and members of the Accreditation Working Group for their hard work on updating the matrix and developing the outline for the Progress Report.

Dedication of Two New Buildings at the COM-FSM Chuuk Campus

Over three hundred faculty, staff, students, friends, dignitaries joined the Honorable Redley Killion, Vice President, Federated States of Micronesia, the Honorable Wesley Simina, Governor, Chuuk State, First Lady, and President of the COM-FSM at the dedication ceremony for the two newly completed buildings at Chuuk Campus on January 16, 2006. President James presented the opening remarks by stressing the point that upgrading facilities at the COM-FSM Chuuk Campus is a clear indication and commitment by the College to upgrade facilities at its six campuses to support the consistent delivery of quality programs and services for its students.

Vice President Killion and Governor Simina also delivered remarks by thanking those people, companies, land owners, and providers of funds toward completion of the two buildings. They also reminded the students to take care of the buildings and not to write on the walls. Mr. Joakim Peter, Director of Chuuk Campus presented the closing remarks by also thanking the people who have contributed their time and efforts toward the completion of the two new buildings.

The two newly completed buildings will be housing the computer labs and the Learning Resource Center for Chuuk Campus. The total number of computers in the two new buildings is at 72. Adding these to 22 computers in the IEI lab, the computer to student ratio is at 1:4 (1 computer for 4 students) during Spring Semester 2006. This is much better than the 1 computer to about 10 students at the National Campus. The seating ratio for students at Chuuk Campus improved tremendously.

Kudos to Mr. Joakim Peter, Mr. Francisco Mendiola, Mr. Alfred Olter, Mr. Mark DeOrio, Chuuk Campus maintenance staff, Mr. Dannis Lorrin, Mr. Stephen Richmond, Vincent Brothers Construction Company, Mr. Roger Mori, and the COM-FSM Board of Regents for their time, efforts, and contributions toward completion of the buildings.

Given below is a photo of the dedication ceremony for the newly completed buildings.

Chuuk State First Lady is cutting the ribbon before the tour of the buildings

Chuuk Campus CES will be utilizing the College's Land at Nandaku

Mrs. Ansina Kony, CES Director, Chuuk Campus met President James on January 17, 2006, and inquired about the possibility of utilizing the College’s land at Nandaku for gardening and other major projects planned for this fiscal year. The Chuuk Land Grant Program has some major projects that require land. The Chuuk Land Grant Program has been given the green light on utilizing the Nandaku land for their projects.

Public Hearing at the FSM Congress

Some of the key staff and faculty from the National Campus joined Mr. Podis Pedrus, Chairman of the COM-FSM BOR , and Mr. Andrew Yatilman, Member of the BOR at Large that represents the National Government at a public hearing on Friday, 1/20/06, at 3 p.m. at the FSM Congress Hearing Room. The public hearing was on a bill to amend Title 40 of the FSM Code by amending Section 722 to require that preference to be given to FSM citizens with respect to recruitment of COM-FSM employee.

The Chairman of the Health, Education, and Social Affairs Committee, the Honorable Resio Moses, welcomed the representatives from the College at the hearing and asked the President of the College to begin. The President thanked the chairman and members of the HESA Committee for inviting the representatives of the College to the hearing. President James started by saying that the amendment to Title 40 of the FSM Code especially section 722 and section 5 of the enabling law 7-79, which established the College as an autonomous agency of the government. The autonomous status for the college gives the authority to the College to establish its personnel policies and regulations (personnel system).

Section 722 of the Title 40 of the FSM Codes clearly stated that "in appointing and promoting officials and other employees of the College, criteria and procedures shall be utilized with are fair, objectives, practical, do not discriminate on the basis of sex, marital status, physical handicap, race, religious or political preference, place of origin or ancestry, and result in the impartial selection of the ablest person for the particular job".

The Chairman of the Board of Regents pointed out that the College of Micronesia-FSM has a personnel system that works and what should be looked at in hiring FSM Citizens is to look for qualified citizens.

Section 5 of the enabling law clearly states that the "college in accordance with recognized professional standards, shall have a representative governance structure to insure institutional autonomy, academic freedom, principles of equity, and insulation from political interference in order to better serve the public interest".

The two BOR members and key staff from the College believe that the amendment is impinging on the autonomy of the College. This is also a clear indication of political interference on the autonomy of the College. The proposed amendment will impact on the accreditation of the College. The College will work with the HESA Committee on the proposed amendment to make sure that a workable amendment can be put in place without jeopardizing the accreditation of the College.

Since the copy of the proposed bill was not available to the representatives of the College before the hearing on Friday, 1/20/06, the President will review the proposed amendment and come up with a synopsis on each of the major points and sent these to the Chairman of the HESA Committee for information and use. The proposed bill is attached for your information.

Update from Human Resources Division

January is the open season for the Retirement Plan Program. Employees who are currently enrolled and wish to make changes in the contribution election may do so at this time. Likewise, employees who are not enrolled in the Plan may enroll at this time provided they are full-time employees and have completed the first year of service.

Enrollment forms can be picked up at the Director of Human Resources Office. Please submit your forms to the Human Resources Office by January 31, 2006.

If you have any questions regarding the Retirement Plan, please contact the HR Office.

The College welcomes the following new hires at:

National Campus: Tyer Frank- Instructor Business Division
  Rafael Pulmano-Instructor Business Divsion
  LJ Rayphand-Instructor Language/Literature Div.
  Koisimy Rudolph-Insturctor Education Division
  Jimmy Hicks -Director Research and Planning Office
Pohnpei Campus Sheila Santos - Instructor HTM Division
  Stacy Tadlock-Instructor Language/Literature Div.
  Francisco Simram-Student Services Specialist II TSP
Kosrae Campus Nestor Acosta - Instructor Vocational Education

Update from Kosrae Campus

Director Kalwin Kephas and Regent Henry Robert met with Governor Rensely Sigrah regarding the infrastructure need for Kosrae Campus earlier during the month of January 2006. Director Kephas reported that Governor Sigrah is very supportive of the infrastructure development for Kosrae Campus and assured the College representatives that he would stand by to assist where appropriate.

The enrollment for Spring Semester 2006 is at 289 students.

The Bookstore is now in operation and is selling textbooks to students. More items will be sold at the store soon.

Lyle Baconguis is on his way to the University of California at Davis to attend a Sustainable Agriculture Workshop.

Kiyoshi Phillip, Chair, Agriculture Division, stopped at Kosrae Campus for one day to look at the agriculture program before proceeding to Hawaii to attend the distance education in agriculture workshop.

System Wide Communication Policy

One of the recommendations from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) to the College of Micronesia-FSM is to improve communications among its campuses as well as within the campuses. This recommendation involved two major tasks, the development of an organizational structure that will clarify the line of authority among the campuses and to improve communications among and within the campuses. The organizational structure has been developed and approved by the COM-FSM BOR over a year ago. The implementation of the organizational structure will be completed in February 2006. The Communication Policy has recently been developed and circulated to all campuses for wider comments and inputs from the college community. The copy of this policy will be submitted to the BOR for their review and action at the March 2006 meeting in Kosrae State.

Transfer Workshop for Interested Students

The counselors at the National Campus had organized series of Transfer Workshops for students who are interested in transferring to institutions of higher education abroad. The workshops are scheduled on February 7, 2006 at 3:30 p.m. and February 8, 2006, at 3:00 p.m. These workshops will be conducted at MITC. See counselors for more information on the workshops.
Refreshments will be served at the workshops.

Update from Apprenticeship Programs

Mr. Romino Victor, Vocational Instructor at Pohnpei Campus, recently completed his apprenticeship training and has been certified by the US Department of Labor as a journeyman. The FSM Telecommunication has joined the other proud sponsors for the apprenticeship program in Pohnpei. The College welcomes the FSM Telecom to our family of apprenticeship program sponsors.

Update from Pohnpei Campus

First half of the month of January, 2006 was devoted to planning and making final arrangements for the official opening of the PBDC program scheduled for January 16, 2006.

The grand opening ceremony was held on Monday, January 16, 2006 when Pohnpei Business Development Center (PBDC) celebrated it's official opening in the COM-FSM Pohnpei Campus Nahs.  The speakers included Herman P. Semes, Jean Thoulag, Penny Weilbacher and Maderson Ramon, representing the PBDC, COM-FSM National Campus, COM-FSM Pohnpei Campus and the National Department of Economic Affairs, respectively.  The festivities concluded with all of the guests dining together and participating in a traditional  Pohnpei sakau ceremony.  Representatives of all cooperating organizations were present at the ceremony except Pohnpei State as designated State representative, Mr. Kikuo Apis, had an urgent meeting with OIA which coincided with the opening ceremony. Attendants at the ceremony commented favorably on the catering service which provided assortment of favorite local food. Kaselehlie Press was present and reported the event in its recent newspaper.

Following day, PBDC Coordinator was invited for a community meeting in Mwakot, Kitti, where representatives of Pohnpei Land Grant, State Agriculture, and National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) conducted a community training in vegetable farming. PBDC Coordinator was given opportunity to explain the services that PBDC will be providing to help the growth and development of the private sector. PBDC has a standing invitation to accompany the joint working team to community meetings that they will be conducting from here on. The next community meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 24, at Tomwoaroahlong, Kitti. It appears that the joint working team will have extended community meetings for sometimes. PBDC will be attending these meetings to promote the center’s services in the communities.

On January 23, 2006, PBDC Coordinator and staff, the Pohnpei Campus Director and Instructional Affairs Coordinator and Business Development Council Vice Chairperson, Maria Dison, had a lunch meeting with Ms Tiffany Taylor of OIA, in charge of Private Sector funding under the Compact. The purpose of the meeting was to explore with Ms. Taylor if PBDC would be able to tap the private sector funds. Director Weilbacher also took the opportunity to explore funding prospect for the Vocational Program at Pohnpei Campus.

Ms. Taylor discussed the process through which funding request would be channeled and advised that State Budget Officer Semensin James be contacted for further advice on left-over funds from the previous fiscal year and the deadline for the current submission of budget.

From among the four items that were submitted to her for funding advice, Ms. Taylor indicated that three of them could likely receive funding from the private sector funds. The items include the following:

1.Women Empowerment through Micro Enterprise (WEME)

The WEME program aims to target poor women for specialized training (in indigenous languages) to enhance their business and leadership skills.

2.Information Resource Unit (IRU) Multimedia Business Reference Library

In the new PBDC building , an Information Resource Unit (IRU) would be needed to serve as Pohnpei's "one stop shop" business center for private sector economic development research.

3.Annual Trade Show & Fair

This show would take place once a year during which PBDC clients and local producers of value-added products would display and promote their products for buyers. This event would be promoted on and off island to bring potential buyers together. Venue of this event has not been established, however, Kaselehlie Stadium and Pohnpei Gym could be considered.

Thank you.