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    May 03- Palikir, Pohnpei


May 03 , 2006

To:           All Concerned 

From:       President, COM-FSM 

Subject: Update #274

Accreditation Team Visit:

The Accreditation Team from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges visited the College, in particular Chuuk, Pohnpei, and National Campuses, from April 19 to 25, 2006. The main purpose of the visit was to validate what were written in the Progress Report submitted to the Accreditating Commission on March 15, 2006.

The team praised the College for submitting a very good Progress Report. They also commended the College for the accomplishments made on the construction of facilities at Chuuk Campus. The overall visit was a success; they saw lots of accomplishments made on all six recommendations. The also informed the faculty, staff, and students at the exit meeting that there are still work that need to be done and the process is an ongoing one. They also thanked the College community for the hospitality provided to them at Chuuk, Pohnpei, and National Campuses.

A draft report on the team's findings will be e-mailed to President James. This report can be shared with key staff for review and correction of facts. Corrections must be substantiated with data and facts.

I would like to thank the whole College community for the hard work, camaraderie, and support during the last month's Accreditation Team visit. All of you make the College a wonderful place to work.

President Barbara Beno's Visit:

The President of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Dr. Barbara Beno, has informed President James that she will be making her official visit to the College of Micronesia-FSM during the first week of October 2006. She is interested in meeting with the Board of Regents, faculty, staff, and students during the visit. She will also be visiting the campuses within the system to learn more about the system.

Dr. Barbara Beno and Dr. Joseph Richey, Chair of the Commission, also wrote President James and thanked him and Mrs. Jean Thoulag, VPIA, for their attendance and presentation at the Commission's retreat in Kona, Hawaii, on March 29, 2006.

Board of Regents to Meet in Pohnpei:

The Board of Regents will be meeting at the National Campus in Palikir, Pohnpei, during the week of May 15-19, 2006. This is one of the two regular meetings of the Board of Regents. Some of the major agenda items at this meeting will include: Budget guidelines for developing FY 2008 budget, Memorandum of Understanding between Michigan State University and College of Micronesia-FSM, and Revision of Goal 7.

Tenth Annual Fun Run/Walk for COM-FSM Endowment:

The 10 th Annual Fun Run/Walk for COM-FSM Endowment Fund has been scheduled to take place on May 6, 2006. The starting time for the Fun Run/Walk is at 7:00 a.m. and will start at the Palm Terrace. Students are encouraged to register at Recreation Office, Boys Dorm, Learning Resource Center, and at VPSSA's Office; registration fee for the students will be paid for by the BOR. We are also encouraging faculty and staff from the College to join the Fun/Walk. Registration fee is $5.00 per person.

Updates from the State Campuses:

Update from Kosrae Campus:

The contract agreement for the construction for the Kosrae State Small Business Development Center at Kosrae Campus has been signed by the Kosrae State Government, College of Micronesia-FSM, and APSCO. The College of Micronesia-FSM is contributing $121,000 for the construction of the SBDC. The construction for the center will begins soon.

Update from Pohnpei Campus:

On April 26, 2006, Pohnpei Campus recruitment team visited PICS. The members of the recruitment team that visited PICS included: Stanley Etse, Rita Hinga, Yoneko Kanichy, Marlou Gorospe, Howard Rice, Joyce Roby, Sheila Santos, Nena Fujizuka, and Jeff Arnold. About 430 students from PICS and senior counselor, Caroline Olter Pretrick attended the recruitment sessions conducted by the recruitment team from Pohnpei Campus.

On April 27, 2006, another recruitment team from Pohnpei Campus joined the recruitment team from National Campus and visited the Madolenihmw High School. The two recruitment teams conducted recruitment sessions for 98 seniors and key faculty and staff from that school. The visit was a success.

Sixteen (16) students from Pohnpei Campus have submitted their applications for Spring Semester 2006 graduation. Of these 16 students, 5 are from Hospitality and Tourism and 11 are from Vocational Education Programs.

The Lecture Forum Series, organized by the US Embassy in Pohnpei, on Climate Change and Its Impacts was conducted at Pohnpei Campus on April 20, 2006, by Cheryl L. Anderson, PhD, Climate and Environmental Program, University of Hawaii. About 23 students and people from the communities in Pohnpei attended the Lecture Series.

Updates from Yap Campus:

The Student Body Association (SBA) officers, students, and their advisor have been working hard to raise funds for the COM-FSM Endowment Fund. During the Mini Olympic Games held at the Sports Complex in April 2006, the SBA officers and students raised $576.03 from selling food, drinks and snacks. Yap Campus is planning to have a concert toward the end of Spring Semester 2006 and Summer Session 2006 to raise $5,500.

Planning for teacher training during the summer session has been finalized to commence on June 19, 2006 and ends on August 4, 2006. The commencing date depends on the arrival of the MS Micro Spirit from the Outer Islands with teachers that will be attending the teacher training during Summer Session 2006. The registration for Summer Session 2006, begins June 12-14, 2006, and registration for Outer Island teachers will take place on June 19 th.

Because of PMA suspending flights to Outer Islands due to mechanical problems, it was agreed that Yap Campus can represent the COM-FSM System and conduct recruitment visits to high schools in Yap State. The recruitment team from Yap Campus visited Yap SDA High School seniors, Yap Campus, Yap High School senior and juniors. This is the first time that recruitment visits have included juniors in the recruitment sessions to get them to begin thinking about college and programs available at the COM-FSM. The recruitment team from Yap Campus also informed the juniors about the Early Admission Program now available at the College for high school juniors.

The recruitment team from Yap Campus will be traveling to Woleai and Ulithi to conduct the recruitment sessions for high school seniors and juniors there on May 4 th and 5 th respectively.

Updates from FSM-FMI:

Development of Traditional Navigation Program is underway at the FSM-FMI. The following program courses are under the development now: canoe building, canoe sailing, survival skills, navigation (art of sailing a canoe from one place to another). The approval of the program will take place after all program courses are developed.

Mr. Augustino Sinemai, FSM-FMI recruitment/placement officer, returned from a recruitment trip to Pohnpei and Chuuk. He was in Pohnpei for a week meeting with high school seniors and school officials. In Chuuk, he also met with interested high school seniors and school officials and talked to them about programs at FSM-FMI. There are more students interested in attending FSM-FMI from these two states. Mr. Sinemai returns to Yap with 20 applications and expects to receive more later.

Updates from Institutional Research and Planning Office:

The Spring 2006 IPEDS data collection closed on April 19, 2006. Data collected included enrollment, graduation rate, finance, and student financial aid information. For more details on the data, contact William Mailpiy at IRPO. A summary report on the data is being prepared and will be distributed later this month.

Strategic planning working sessions were completed at Kosrae Campus on April 29, 2006. This completes the initial round of input from all six campuses to the strategic plan development. A working draft of the strategic plan is being completed by IRPO for distribution and comment.

Background briefings were conducted at Kosrae Campus on April 28, 2006, on the institutional assessment plan development and will continue on Monday afternoon, May 1, 2006, at Pohnpei Campus. The working group for development of the institutional assessment plan has been established, and drafting of the plan will begin this month.

Updates from Director of Human Resources:

New Hires at National and Pohnpei Campus:

  1. Charles Musana has been promoted to fill the new Vice President for Administration position effective May 25, 2006.
  2. Senolyn Syne started at her new post on May 1, 2006 as Student Services Specialist I at the Student Services Program.
  3. Mary Sue Caldwell has been hired as the new Director of Learning Resources Center.
  4. Sincerelynn Pernet was hired as the new Administrative Assistant II at the Talent Search Program effective May 1, 2006.

Individual Assurance Company's (IAC) local general agent Mr. David Panuelo did a presentation on the group life insurance program at the National Campus on May 3, 2006.

On May 5, 2006, Mr. Panuelo will be giving the same presentation at Pohnpei Campus.

Challenges Facing the Pacific Postsecondary Education Council Institutions:

Challenges facing higher education institutions in the U.S. Pacific Affiliated Islands seeking to acquire and maintain WASC accreditation are many. One of these challenges has to do with underprepared students entering these institutions.

The excerpt below are taken from a paper developed and written by Presidents of the PPEC Institutions and three of the Commissioners from the Pacific Islands that sit on the ACCJC of WASC, and President of ACCJC.

"Most colleges accredited by the ACCJC provide "open access" to students and do not have entrance screens such as SAT score or high secondary high school grade point average. In that regard, they are "open access" institutions committed to serving all who do enter, and limiting their requirement to some sense of "who can benefit." Public community colleges tend to view their mission as including that of providing students with a "second chance" at higher education, and commit to offer remedial/developmental courses for those who are not yet ready for college. The provision of remedial/ developmental courses and programs are the means by which institutions see to ready student for collegiate experience.

Like most accredited institutions, all of the Pacific institutions admit high school graduates of their own school system who lack sufficient skills in English language, in reading, writing and computation to perform at the postsecondary level in college courses. The college's have, to various degrees, implemented remedial/developmental or pre-college courses and student support programs. However, the degree of under-preparedness that Pacific institutions must address appears to be far greater than what one can expect to find in most mainland colleges. Pacific institutions (like COM-FSM) must find a means to bring entering students with a wider range of educational preparation up to collegiate level in the amount of time that students will willingly spend in pre-collegiate courses and that student financial aid will fund. The lower the level of educational attainment of incoming college students, the more significant is this challenge. The skills of the existing high school students, particularly those graduating from public high schools, are in some places quite low. In addition, data suggest some of the Pacific entities have a significant proportion of their primary and secondary teachers who lack associates or bachelor degrees themselves. Unless the local primary and secondary education systems improve the educational attainment of their graduates, the Pacific colleges will continue to have to place a high proportion of their effort and resources into remedial/developmental programs, and thus be unable to elevate the level of their collegiate curriculum to meet quality standards for high school education."

The above excerpts may provide some responses to questions that have been posed by leaders in the FSM on why College of Micronesia-FSM has to offer more remedial and developmental courses to underprepared entering students it admits at its state campuses.

Thank you.