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    October - Palikir, Pohnpei


October 30, 2007

To:         All Concerned 

From:     President, COM-FSM 

Subject: President’s Update #301

Update from Instructional Affairs department

Developmental Education Meeting: Loribeth Larsen, English Instructor and Karen Simion, Director of Academic Programs led a workshop on October 15 and 16, with developmental education faculty and student support staff to design a replacement for the old Intensive English Initiative and revise the General Studies program. The following faculty and staff represented all campuses in this endeavor: John Mafel from Yap; Penselyn Etse from Counseling and Robert Jonas from Student Support Services; Catherine Good, Deva Senarathgoda and John Saber from National Campus; Jothy John and Danielo Mamangon from Chuuk; Shirley Jano and Stacy Tadlock from Pohnpei State Campus; and Skipper Ittu and Nena Mike from Kosrae.

The group spent the first day discovering what is and what isn’t currently working at the College of Micronesia-FSM, and what other colleges are doing that is currently working in the area of developmental education. On the second day of the workshop, the group discussed a new design for developmental education at the College of Micronesia-FSM including the “best practices” in developmental education. Some of the highlights of the desired new program are:

  • Intensive, 6-8 week sessions for English and math.
  • Integrated courses
  • Inclusion of study skills, college life skills, and computer skills
  • Intrusive advising/counseling/tutoring
  • Specific entrance and exit criteria
  • Careful assessment of student learning/tracking students through developmental program and degree program
  • Staff development and membership in professional organizations

A full proposal will be drafted for comments from the College community and for Curriculum Committee review in early November.

Vocational , Community and Continuing Education update. The college continues to develop and deliver training modules under the contract funded by the ADB and FSM Department of Economic affairs to deliver training to the staff of the various land related agencies in the four FSM states continues. Yap recently completed all the land law modules and four of the six IT modules developed for the land training. Pohnpei completed all six Information Technology (IT) modules and is also schedule to completed the surveying module. Kosrae completed 3 IT modules and the land law modules. In Chuuk , 2 IT module have been completed. Modules and training on land development and use will also be conducted over the course of the project as well as land mapping and registration.

Updates from Administration Department

IRPO Update for Pay Period 10/31/2007. The Communications Plan Working Group developed draft communications strategy for State Departments of Education and has established a timeline for completion of the college’s communications plan by December 31, 2007.

The Institutional Assessment Plan Working Group has begun development of the Assessment Handbook. Sections have been drafted on focus on learning, administrative and support unit assessment, and developing program student learning outcomes. Additional sections are currently under development.

The IRPO Director assisted the Pohnpei Department of Education with a Stakeholder Workshop in preparation for development of their five year strategic plan under the PRIDE project out of the University of the South Pacific. There was extensive participation by members of the college community in the Stakeholder Workshop. The widespread participation is part of the college’s implementation strategies to address the problem statements developed at the President’s Retreat 2007 to enhance communications and interaction with key partners.

The IPED Fall 2007 Survey was completed and locked. The survey dealt with 1) institutional characteristic data and information, 2) graduates by program and 3) 12 month enrollment (basic enrollment for last school year). Program graduate data is provided below.

The sponsored program facilitator has been in communications with State campuses regarding advance preparation for Gear Up applications. The Gear Up competition is expected to be opened either this fall or early next calendar year. The Gear Up is a partnership between state departments of education and the college to increase readiness and awareness of students’ postsecondary opportunities.

The working group for the Feasibility Study reviewed its mandate and timeline. Communications aliases and a secure forum were set up to aid development of the study. The Feasibility Study will address future directions of the college and report to the FSM President at the end of November 2007.

IRPO compiled the 4 th Quarter 2007 performance report for both the college, Education Sector Grant and the Supplemental Education Grant (SEG) and transmitted to the Office of Compact Management through the acting President. Electronic copies of the report are available from IRPO ( and/or

IRPO has also participated in working groups to revise evaluation forms for administrators and development of functional job descriptions.

IRPO is awaiting the completion of the FY 2009 line budgets prior to development of the college’s performance budget.

Data regarding the College-wide completion data of graduation by programs is attached for your information. Thanks to the IRPO staff for compiling these data.

Update from IT Office. The Student Information System (SIS) project is in its mid phase, the developer’s 2nd site visit is complete and was a success, the next scheduled visit is to begin early 2008.

At this point in the project, the developer reports that most of the framework for requesting and generating PDF reports is in place. We do need to purchase a license for the full-function PDFlib, however. The free version that is built into the PHP we use, PDFlib Lite, is too stripped down for our needs. The full version for x86 Linux is approximately $1000, which is a permanent license for the current version. When a new major version is released upgrades are 60% of the full price. IT Office is purchasing the software to be used with the same license used by our developer.

  • Log in/Log out links have been added,
  • Internal improvements to security during authentication by using limited-access user until credentials pass
  • Class list and official transcript reports (PDF) complete
  • Improved interface for Online Transcript form (Display button)
  • Lots of other programming, of course, but our developer doesn’t consider these of a milestone nature so they are not mentioned.

During the previous SIS trip the decision was made to operate the new SIS database in parallel with the existing database to allow for more thorough testing and to insure that all needed functionality is present. Activities for the two trips will now include:

February 2008:

  • Training of National Campus Business Office, Financial Aid, and OAR staff;
  • Conversion of existing student and accounts receivable data;
  • Initiating parallel operation in OAR;
  • Testing operation in Business Office and Financial Aid;
  • Training of State Campus personnel;
  • Evaluation of office procedures related to database;
  • Product development (forms and reports where needed);
  • Addressing reporting needs of Development Office;
  • Assessment of infrastructure needs (e.g. printing, access points);
  • Backup and recovery procedure testing

May 2008:

  • Final conversion of existing student and accounts receivable data;
  • Converted data cleanup and verification;
  • Ending parallel operation;
  • Monitoring and feedback of operation;
  • Operation and support training for IT
  • Planning for future applications

The training will be for approximately 3 weeks, things to be covered over training period will include SIS structure, navigation, other how to etc. The suggestion based on our last meeting regarding the SIS is that trainings be in two parts, basic introduction and then follow up with additional advanced training. Training dates per department are preliminarily set to be Feb. to early March 2008 for OAR office followed by Business office which stated that their time is more flexible. The testing period is currently set to be the middle of May to mid June 2008. The training will continue into that year’s summer session. Student and Faculty training will possibly happen the following fall. The initial conversion will occur at the end of summer and the final conversion is currently set to occur at the end of June 2008.

Other system news. Thirteen (13) new VoIP phones have been ordered for the 3 rd phase of deployment as well as to meet communications needs at our FMI campus. New routers have been ordered to replace temporary equipment at the Chuuk campus due to a recent router system failure at that site. Other new routers have also been ordered to upgrade our main router at the national campus and to replace aging units at two other campuses. The units will first be shipped to the national campus for programming then distributed to the intended location and installed with the assistance of state campus IT staff. All new routers are expected to be programmed and in place before 2008 begins. Bandwidth levels for specific functions have been adjusted at various com-fsm networks and on fsmtc networks in an attempt to further improve specific capabilities over our tunnel system such as VoIP calls.

The COM-FSM IT Office has purchased a new teleconferencing phone unit to further make use of VoIP technology and assist with communication issues primarily between state campuses and national campus. The new unit is a Polycom SoundStation VTX 1000. It has been installed in the president’s conference room and as of 10/29/07 is fully functional. The unit is advertised to have remarkable voice quality: speak naturally from 2-feet to 10-feet away from the microphone and be heard clearly; enjoy increased productivity and faster decision making through more natural and efficient conversations; covers the full range of the human speech spectrum, making every syllable crystal clear; provides full room coverage for a 54’ x 40’ room.

The new phone, in addition to other smaller units already installed across the campuses, is expected to enhance intercampus communication tremendously thereby improving the College’s new effort in effective shared governance.

Pohnpei Campus Update

Highlights from Pohnpei Campus include the following: Campus Director and Campus Management Team members participated in the Strategic Planning Conference for Pohnpei Department of Education at Misko Restaurant on October 17, 2007; a campus directors conference via the voice over internet phone on October 18, 2007 was unsuccessful; on October 18, 2007, the Chinese Ambassador to the FSM, Her Excellency Liu Fei visited Pohnpei Campus and presented two boxes of books on China to Campus Director for Pohnpei Campus’ LRC; on October 19, 2007, the Campus Director attended the World Food Day Official Ceremony at Agriculture Station in Kolonia in support of Pohnpei CES program and staff.; on October 23, a reception for USDA Western SARE representatives was held at the Pohnpei Campus Nahs with tour of the Medicinal Garden; and a questions & answer forum for both the Lt. Governor and Governor’s candidates were held at the Pohnpei Campus Nahs on October 25 and 26 respectively.

The College facilitated a Questions and Answers Forum for the candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor on the 25th and 26th of October at the Pohnpei Campus Nahs. The questions asked were generated by COM-FSM students and by members of the public. The questions were based on the following topics: Compact; Education; Health; Infrastructure; The FSM Federation; Economic Development; Environment; and Law Enforcement. The event was broadcasted live over AM 1000. The event was sponsored by the College of Micronesia-FSM Pohnpei Campus Enrichment Committee, V6AH Radio, Kaselehlie Press, AM 1000, FM 104.1, FM 88.9, and FM 100.3.

The President commended and extended appreciation to the Director of Development and Community Relations and the Pohnpei Campus Enrichment Committee for the effort they made in making the exercise a success. “Well done, folks.”

Chuuk Campus Update

The Chuuk Campus generator has been down for some weeks now; they are
awaiting parts to arrive from Guam.  The campus is currently renting a
generator on a daily basis to keep operations running.  At the same time the
College is looking into the possibility of purchasing another unit large
enough to handle most of the campus energy needs.  A decision will be made
in the very near future.

Other campus events include Chuuk Campus SBA took the initiative to repaint the restroom as part of its anti-graffiti campaign; new chairs that arrived in September have been placed in classrooms replacing all the old ones.

The President welcomes and encourages other campuses to send highlights to be included in the next President’s update.

Thank you.