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    October - Palikir, Pohnpei


October 04, 2006

To:         All Concerned 

From:     President, COM-FSM 

Subject: Update #283


The President of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges for Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Dr. Barbara A. Beno, arrived on Pohnpei on October 3, 2006. She will be meeting the President's cabinet members, faculty and staff, as well as the leadership of the FSM and Pohnpei State Governments during the week of October 4-6, 2006. The schedule of her meetings is attached for your information.

WASC Concerns on Proposed Bill to Amend Section 722 of Title 40

President James received a letter from Dr. Barbara A. Beno, expressing their concerns on the proposed bill to amend section 722 of Title 40. The content of the letter is as follows: "I am writing to express the concerns of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges regarding proposed changes to the law of the Federated States of Micronesia, Section 722 of Title 40. The proposed changes would require College of Micronesia-Federated States of Micronesia (COM-FSM) to institute preferential hiring procedures for positions at the college in providing "qualified and available" Micronesian applicants preference over non-citizens. The college would be mandated to set aside current law, which requires hiring procedures to be "fair, objective, practical non discriminatory on the basis of sex, marital status, physical handicap, race, religious or political preference, place of origin or ancestry." The proposed law appears to discourage COM-FSM from selecting employees on the criteria of education and experience rather, require a Micronesian candidate who might, only nominally, meet the qualifications of the position be hired on the basis of ancestry or place of birth.

The proposed change will place COM-FSM out of compliance with Standard II1A of the ACCJC's Standards of Accreditation. These standards require all institutions to maintain fair hiring processes and to employ staff with the necessary education and experience qualifications to perform their jobs. In addition, our standards clearly stipulate that accredited colleges seek excellence through hiring of the most highly qualified candidates.

The proposed change will place COM-FSM out of compliance with Eligibility Requirement #3. This requirement clearly states that the governing board of an accredited college base its decisions independent of any other body and base these decision to reflect the needs of the college in providing the quality of educational services. These proposed changes will remove the authority of the Board over personnel decisions of the college by imposing a hiring policy contradictory to its standards set fort.

In Final note, and perhaps most important of all, this proposed change violates the US Civil Rights Act. If the Compact of Free Association between the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States requires the FSM to adhere to the Civil Rights Act, the proposed legislation may be counterbalanced by the Compact. I've asked Honorable Robert Henry to examine this matter when he returns from vacation on October 9.

I hope this information is useful to you as you seek to inform the legislature about the impact of the proposed law on the ability of the COM-FSM to remain accredited."

Supplemental Education Grant funds for COM-FSM

An e-mail has been received by President James from JEMCO regarding the release of the SEG funds for the College's Work Study, SEOG, and Teacher Corp programs. This e-mail informed the FSM Finance Office that the funds should be released to the College as it is received by the FSM Finance. These funds are reimbursement to the College because the College's reimbursement proposal was approved by OIA beginning of Spring 2006. The e-mail from JEMCO staff in Honolulu, Hawaii did not mention anything on the Student Assistant Grant of $300,000. President James is working with OCM to find out more about the Student Assistant Grant funds.

Recommended FY 2007 Funding Allocations for the College

The recommended FY 2007 funding allocations for the College and the Board of Regents are given below:

COM-FSM (5 Campuses) ----------------$3,852,933

FSM-FMI----------------------------------- 650,000 (from local revenue)

Board of Regents-------------------------- 58,000

The fiscal year 2007 funding for the FSM-FMI was recommended to be included under the Education Sector Grant funds; however, JEMCO did not concur with this recommendation, but thanks to the FSM Congress for providing an appropriation of $616,231 from the local revenue for the FSM-FMI.

College's Infrastructure Development Projects Funds

The infrastructures funding for the College of Micronesia-FSM for the fiscal years 2004 to 2006 is at $2.18 million. A letter has been sent to the Secretary of Transportation, Communication, and Infrastructure requesting clarification on issues relating to the status of the IDP funding for the College as the College has continuously receiving mixed messages from the FSM Officials on the status of its IDP funds.

As recently as last week the Acting Secretary of Transportation, Communication, and Infrastructure alerted the College that IDP funds for the College is still in question. The amount stated in the Compact funds does not match the $2.18 earmarked for the College.

Updates from Institutional Research and Planning Office

The Board of Regents at its Yap meeting during the week of September 4-6, 2006 approved the College's Strategic Plan 2006-2011. Institutional Research and Planning Office is conducting a series of orientation, training and planning sessions at all campuses to assist with the implementation of the strategic plan. Sessions have been conducted at Yap Campus, FSM-FMI, Chuuk Campus, Kosrae Campus and Pohnpei Campus. Sessions at the National Campus are ongoing.

Key purposes of the strategic plan are to assist in:

• Setting of priorities for the college;

• Reporting to FSM, US, BOR and all stakeholders;

• Guiding assessment and evaluation of programs, services and progress of the college in meeting its mission;

• Developing yearly improvement plans (may or may not require additional resources);

• Providing a framework for decision making and resource allocation; and

• Meeting accreditation requirements.

A one-page copy of the College's vision, mission, values and goals is attached.

Upward Bound Applications

The notice for Upward Bound applications has been posted in the U.S. Federal Register. The closing date is on November 6, 2006. There are some significant changes in the requirements for the Upward Bound applications, such as required objectives, addressing only one site, etc. Additional information on the current competition may be obtained from Dayle Dannis (IPRO) or the local Upward Bound coordinator at the state campuses.

Pacific Post Secondary Education Council (PPEC)

Pacific Post Secondary Education Council (PPEC) is an organization of the higher education institutions in the U.S. Pacific Affiliated Islands. The membership of the PPEC includes the following institutions: American Samoa Community College, College of Marshall Islands, Hawaii Community Colleges, Guam Community College, College of Micronesia-FSM, Northern Mariana College, Palau Community College, and University of Guam. The Council is made up of Presidents from these institutions and they usually meet once a year. The council met during the week of September 25-26, 2006, at the Hawaii Community College Academic Affair's Office in Honolulu, Hawaii. The agenda for the meeting included the following:

• Multi-Year Funding Proposal

• Asian/Pacific Leadership Academy - 6/3-8/07 - Hosted by PPEC and GCC

• Financial Report

• Membership Dues

• Information/data sharing

• Regional Articulation with UH Manoa and UH Hilo

• Collaborative initiative

• Exchange Agreements

• UH Tuition Increase Impact and Scholarship Opportunities with UH President McClain and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Linda Johnsrud.

• Teleconference on Healthcare Workforce Development with health services staff in the region

• Election of Officers

Since the Vice Chair of PPEC has retired in August 2006 and Chair is retiring during Spring 2007, President James was elected by the Presidents of the PPEC as the Vice Chair and as Chair for the next year/period.

The PPEC Council also elected Atelle Satele, President of the American Samoa Community College to represent the PPEC in the ACCJC for WASC after the term for the current member expires in June 2007.

Update from Chuuk Campus

The back-up generator for Chuuk Campus has been working beyond its capacity due to frequent power outages in Chuuk, The College has decided to purchase a smaller generator in order to relieve some of the power load on the back-up generator- The smaller generator should be arriving in Chuuk later this month.

The College is looking for funds to fence up the newly constructed facilities at Chuuk Campus. We hope the funds can be identified and secured soon so fencing of Chuuk campus may take place sometimes next month.

Thank you.

Attachment (Dr. Beno's Itinerary and College's Goals, Mission etc)