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November 15 , 2006

To:         All Concerned 

From:     President, COM-FSM 

Subject: Update #285

Asia – Pacific Leadership Academy:

The Pacific Postsecondary Education Council members identified training of leaders for institutions in the U.S. Affiliated Islands as a priority area. The council endorsed the idea of supporting the on-going academy at Guam Community College. The flyer for the academy is attached for your information.


The Project Director for Islands of Opportunity Alliance from the University of Hawaii at Hilo and chief investigators from Hawaii will be visiting the College of Micronesia-FSM toward the end of 2006 to establish the project’s contacts.

Launched in 1991, the main goal of Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Participation (LSAMP) was to encourage and facilitate access to careers in STEM fields for underrepresented populations. More specifically, NSF hoped to encourage these students to enroll in and complete baccalaureate programs in STEM, as well as to continue on to graduate studies in these fields. The LSAMP Program began with grants to six multi-institution collaborative efforts, called Alliances. Today, there are 34 Alliances with more than 450 participating institutions throughout the country, with the Islands of Opportunity Alliance being the newest addition.

The Islands of Opportunity Alliance builds upon the successes of past and current LSAMP Programs throughout the country, utilizing practices that have been shown to best accomplish the primary goal of increasing graduation rates of underrepresented students in STEM fields. The Alliance has adapted these best practices to the unique cultural and geographic setting of the Pacific region, utilizing the extensive scholarship on cross-cultural communication and on learning styles of islander peoples, and administrative structures that have succeeded in spanning the vast distances between islands.

The four main objectives of the Islands of Opportunity Allianceare:

Objective 1:

Create, maintain, and/or expand alliance partnership activities designed to recruit well-qualified, under-represented community college students into STEM baccalaureate degree programs within the Islands of Opportunity Alliance universities.

Objective 2:

Provide internship and research experiences for those pursuing baccalaureate degrees in STEM disciplines.

Objective 3:

Promote retention and progression rates amongst scholars by creating a scholarly learning community in which academic excellence is encouraged and supported through appropriate advising, mentoring, and academic support programs.

Objective 4:

Improve instruction in STEM courses, particularly the gateway science and mathematics courses, through faculty development of high context teaching approaches.  

Island of Opportunity Alliance Members

University of Hawaii at Hilo Leeward Community College

University of Hawaii at Manoa Maui Community College

Chaminade University Windward Community College

University of Guam American Samoa Community College

Hawaii Pacific University Guam Community College Hawaii Community College College of Marshall Islands

Honolulu Community College College of Micronesia-FSM

Kapiolania Community College Northern Marianas College

Kauai Community College Palau Community College

Beta Omicron Upsilon Press Release:

On the evening of October 20, 2006, COM-FSM’s Beta Omicron Upsilon Chapter officially chartered as a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Ms. Dana Van Deman, a representative from the international headquarters of Phi Theta Kappa, traveled from Jackson, Mississippi to conduct the ceremony. During the ceremony, President James was presented commemorative plague and an official charter by the representative from Phi Theta Kappa. Twenty-three founding members were inducted that evening and they were: Adreas Nelber, Antonio Actouka, Christopher Gilmete, Corry Kustin, Diane Tickell, Ceorgelina Reyuw, Jamesina Lemalisei, Jason Louis, Jereen Raymond, Jovian John, Lina Seymour, Lona Reuney, Madelina Rangailug, Megan Nichole William, Mrleen Elias, Pernes Samuel, Raynard Martin, Roger Gilmete, Steezia Aldis, Swinglen Nelber, Tracy Tom, and Wefonne Billen. The advisors for the new chapter are: Cindy Edwin, Delihna Manuel Ehmes, Dr. Richard Womack, Jeff Arnold, Lore R. Nena, Mariana Ben Dereas, and Ringlen Ringlen. The new officers for Beta Omicron Upsilon Chapter were also installed that evening. The officers are Roger Gilmete, President; Dandihn Johnson, Vice President; Amanda Liza Nanpei, Secretary, Marleener Elias, Treasurer; Cory Kustin, Chaplin; and Jason Louis, Public Relations Office.

Update on Course Selection Week at National Campus:

Course selection for Spring Semester 2007 at the National Campus started on October 30, 2006, and continued for about a week. Based on data received from Office of Admissions and Records, good number of courses are filling up quickly and some have already been closed. The course selection week for Spring Semester 2007 broke the records as over 700 students completed their course selections.

COM-FSM Board Nominees from Chuuk, Kosrae, and Pohnpei States Confirmed:

The College of Micronesia-FSM Board of Regent nominees from the States of Chuuk, Kosrae, and Pohnpei were confirmed by the FSM Congress at its special Session earlier this month. The confirmed nominee from Chuuk State will fill the vacant slot from that state that has been vacant since December 2005. The confirmed nominees from the states of Kosrae and Pohnpei will replace Regents Henry Robert and Podis Pedrus respectively. Regents Robert and Pedrus have serve on the COM-FSM Board for long time and have contributed immensely to the development at the College. The college community will miss these Regents. On behalf of the administration, faculty, students, and staff at the COM-FSM, I would like to express our kudos to them and wish them all best wishes in their future endeavors.

Update from the Institutional Research and Planning Office:

The Board of Regents approved the funding for developing a Student Information System (SIS) and purchase of diagnostic, placement, and tracking software. The contract for the SIS has been completed and the developer, Mr. Kenneth Girrard, has started initial work on the database. A working group is being put together on the diagnostic, placement, and tracking software to discuss specific requirements and potential program(s) to be purchased. For additional information contact either IRPO or IT.

Planning Council Meeting:

A Planning Council meeting was held on November 6, 2006. Key topics of discussion included implementing annual improvement plans, reporting requirement and printing and distribution of the strategic plan; process for developing the institutional assessment plan; and startup process for development of the communication plan to be based on the BOR approved communication policy. Discussions on reporting centered around use of a common format on the strategic plan to allow linking of college activities to its mission. Methods of integrating planning, assessment and resource allocation were also discussed with consideration given to an annual President’s retreat to be held each Spring Semester to review implementation of the strategic plan, review of factors affecting the college, and assessment results to assist in setting institutional priorities and resource allocations for the college. Discussion was held on the need for an advisory group on the World Park concept and recommendations on membership were made by the council. Minutes of the meeting and related documents are available from IRPO.

World Park Planning Meeting:

A letter of invitation has been received from Dr. Lou Anna K. Simon, President of the Michigan State University, Lansing, inviting President James to attend the World Park Planning Meeting to be facilitated by the Michigan State University and the College of Micronesia-FSM during the week of November 27- December 2, 2006. President Simon also looks forward to receiving the Governors and Lt. Governors from the states of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap and their delegations at the Michigan State University.

The College of Micronesia-FSM and the Michigan State University have been working together to help bring the World Park sustainable development strategy forward for the benefits of the four states of the FSM. Through an MOU, the Michigan State University is committed to a long-term partnership with the College of Micronesia-FSM and, in turn, each of the FSM States in this visionary and globally setting initiative.

Budget and Confirmation Hearings at the FSM Congress:

The cabinet members and some key staff from the College attended a public hearing at the FSM Congress Committee on Ways and Means relating to a request from the FSM President for the FSM Congress to appropriate $270,000 from local revenues for the student assistance programs at the College. The purpose of this supplemental request is for the College to be able to administer the programs at the beginning of the new school year before Supplemental Education Grant (SEG) funds are received. We have not heard from appropriate officials at the FSM on the status of this $270,000 request.

Mrs. Jean Thoulag, then Acting President, and Mr. Ringlen Ringlen, Vice President for Student Services represented the College at a public hearing on Wednesday, November 8, 2006, at the FSM Congress Committee on Health, Education, and Social Affairs relating to the confirmation of the nominees for the COM-FSM Board of Regents. Two other Board members (Chairman Podis Pedrus and Member Andrew Yatilman), also attended this hearing.

Related Services Assistant 2006 Completion Ceremony:

A completion ceremony has been scheduled to take place on Saturday, 11/18/06, at the COM-FSM Practice Gym at 9:00 a.m. for twenty-four (24) Related Services Assistance students who have completed 18 Related Services Assistance credits of the 32 credits of the Third Year Certificate of Achievements in the Related Services Assistance Programs. The members of the College community are invited to this ceremony.

Board of Regents December 2006 Meeting:

With the recent confirmation of the three new Board of Regent members from the states of Chuuk, Kosrae, and Pohnpei the administration is attempting to determine from the FSM Attorney General’s Office when the terms of the new members become effective. The administration is also planning to arrange an orientation session for the new members as recommended by the Accreditation Commission that new Board members attend boardmanship training.

The next BOR meeting has been scheduled during the week of December 4-7, 2006, at the National Campus. The Board meetings are open to public and the draft agenda for the meeting is shown below:

1. Call to Order; opening prayer

2. Reading of Mission Statement

3. Roll Call; declaration of quorum

4. Election of Officers

5 .Approval of Minutes

a. September 2006 special meeting

b. October 2006 teleconference meeting

6. Communications

7. Regents’ Reports

8. President’s Report (summary of progress and concerns)

a. President’s update

b. Instructional Affairs

c. Support and Student Affairs

d. Cooperative Research and Extension (Land Grant)

e. Administration

1.)Campus reports (all State Campuses and FSM FMI)


3.)Research and Planning

4.)Human Resources


6.)Information Technology

7.)Development and Community Relations

f. Faculty/Staff Senate

g. Student Body Association

h. Accreditation

9.Old Business

a.Chuuk Campus permanent site

b.Tuition increase*

10.New Business


1.)FY 2008 COM-FSM operations budget*

2.)FY 2008 FSM FMI budget*

3.)FY 2008 infrastructure development plan (IDP)*

4.)FY 2008 student assistance program*

5.)FY 2008 Board of Regents budget*

b.Student Services

1.) Revised Associate of Science Degree Program in Agriculture Policy on unclassified students*

2.) Policy on Admission to Second Associate Degree*

c.Human Resources

1.)Revised sick leave policy*

2.)Revised employment policy *


1.)Governance policy*

2.)Revised motor vehicle policy*


1.)Regent on Planning Council*

2.)Revision to Board policy on periodic survey*

11.Executive Session

a.Personnel matters*

12.Next Meeting

13. Adjournment

* action items

Updates from Office of theVice President for Administration:

Tuition Increase Hearing(s):

The tuition increase public hearings were conducted successfully at all the College campuses between October 16 and October 20, 2006. During the hearings, comments and questions from students, faculty and staff, parents, and the general public regarding the proposed $10/credit tuition increase were addressed by appropriate college administrators. The comments, questions and answers were also recorded and will be presented together with the proposal to the Board of Regents. Overall, the reaction to the proposed increase was positive as most students and parents seemed to appreciate the need for the increase.

FY 08:

The FY 08 budget, under construction for some time, has been completed with the $944,000 deficit being reduced to zero. Two scenarios will be presented – one without a tuition increase and the other with the $10 proposed increase. The “no increase” scenario obviously involves major constraints on resources which would adversely impact our programs and services. The two scenarios will be distributed to the divisions and campuses system wide for information before being presented to the Finance Committee and Cabinet.

Student Essay Contest:

Sergio Keller, the APAFS-PRIC Essay Contest winner from COM-FSM traveled to Manila, Philippines, last week to attend the Pacific Region Investment Conference. Sergio together with his counterparts from the Marshalls-USP, Northern Marianas College, UOG, and Palau Community College were presented trophies and recognized by the entire conference. Sergio also presented a synopsis of his essay, “My Experience in Stock Market Investment” to the APAFS Board of Governors. The College extends appreciation to Sergio for his effort and for representing us at the Conference. We also thank all those who chipped in to ensure Sergio’s successful participation.

Business/Finance Systems Consultant:

A consultant, Ms. Maria Belinda “MariBel” San Jose, arrived on November 13, 2006, to begin a 3-month contract to work with the Business Office (including cafeteria and bookstore) in reviewing and updating systems, policies and procedures. She will be calling on various offices to gather information and data and to acquaint herself with the inner workings of the college. Let us all welcome MariBel and give her all the support she needs to get her (our) work done.

Updates from the Office of the Vice President for Cooperative Research and Extension:

Cooperative Research and Extension across the country have been very busy during this past month.

Yap Cooperative Extension Service (CES) collaborated with EPA and Yap Agriculture to train farmers in the Safe Application of Pesticides. Trainers from Palau provided the expertise to insure the vegetables and other produce of Yap are protected from pests yet remain safe for our consumption. More than Twenty farmers participated with most of them passing the exams.

Chuuk CES have developed demonstration gardens in four sites around Weno and the lagoon islands. There are plans to include the COM-FSM property when it is fenced and to include at least one of the outer atolls. The CES agents have been involved in the out-planting of Banana plants provided from the tissue culture laboratory on Kosrae through a project funded by FAO.

Pohnpei CES collaborated with the Office of Economic Affairs – Agriculture Service to train 50 Pohnpei farmers in better methods of crop production. Special emphasis was placed on vegetables and certain cash crops such as black pepper and bananas. Proper use of pesticides and pig manure as fertilizer to reduce costs and improve quality and productivity was emphasized.

Pohnpei CES and Agriculture Experiment Station (AES) staff collaborated with the Island Food Community of Pohnpei and the Agriculture Service to present World Food Day as celebrated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. More than 60 farmers presented produce in the Agriculture competitions while 17 participants competed in the local food recipe competitions. Sixteen people participated in a demonstration of water quality testing and were provided with kits to test the quality of their own water at home. Although smaller than previous years, there was much more participation by the general public.

Pohnpei AES conducted a taste test of 18 varieties of colocasia (soft) taro. The taste test is part of an effort to identify disease resistant taro that appeals to the Micronesian taste buds.

Kosrae AES continues to produce exceptional banana, taro, Noni and citrus tissue culture planting materials for local farmers. They are also producing banana plantlets under funding from FAO for distribution to Chuuk to assist farmers in that state. In another project funded from western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, sweet potato varieties are being multiplied and distributed to the atoll islands throughout FSM. The sweet potato is an ideal crop to regenerate quickly after a disaster as the shoot tips can be eaten within a couple of weeks after planting while the root only takes about 5 months to mature.

Update from the Office of the Vice President for Instructional Affairs:

Delihna Manuel has completed her Masters in Psychology this fall from Capella University through the funding of the COM-FSM Staff Development Program.

Vice President for Instructional Affairs Thoulag, Vice President for Student Services, and Willer Benjamin, Student Services Coordinator from Kosrae Campus attended the National Symposium on Student Retention last month in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The symposium was sponsored by the Consortium for Student Data Exchange at the University of Oklahoma and focused on “Elevating Expectations for Student Success”. Sessions covered retention theory, retention efforts with special populations, and reports of best practices and meritorious programs from various two and four year institutions. Three themes reverberated throughout the sessions that they hop to share with others – the use of “intrusive advising” to retain students and lead them to success, student retention as a college wide effort, effective retention and advising strategies help students to close the gap between “their expectations” and the “realities” of college to be a successful college student.

Dandihn Johnson, National Campus student and winner of the “Water Quality Issues on My Island” essay contest traveled to Okinawa, Japan, to present his essay. He joined other winners from the region and students from Japan to learn about water conservation techniques used in Okinawa. Director of Academic Program, Karen Simion, participated as a chaperone and reported that Dandihn did an outstanding job in delivering his presentation. Dandhihn and Karen also visited Ryukyu University and other parts of Okinawa.

Dr. Patricia Kelly just returned to Pohnpei after presenting a paper entitled “ Creative Ways of Teaching Religious Tolerance in a One-Religion Culture.” at the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Dan Meyer will be directing the MU 101 students in their end-of-the semester concert on Tuesday, November, 2006, at 7:00 p.m. All are invited to attend.

Results of the COM-FSM Intramural Games:

























Thank you.