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April 30, 2008


To : All Concerned

From : President

Subject: President's Update #309


2008 WESTOP: Achiever

Each year the WESTOP TRIO Achiever Award was created by all Trio Programs under Region IX to acknowledge the accomplishments of education equity program participants who have completed their baccalaureate degree, have earned professional fields and whose community or professional activities have serve their communities with focus on the improvement of society. The 2008 WESTOP Achiever Awards were given to three former Trio Program participants from the Upward Bound project at the University of California Riverside , Upward Bound projects at the College of Micronesia-FSM Kosrae Campus , and Upward Bound project at the University of Hawaii at Hilo . The 2008 WESTOP Achievers are: Marshall Saudeda from UC Riverside, Shanty Sigrah from COM-FSM Kosrae Campus, and Shayna Sung from UH at Hilo .

On behalf of the College of Micronesia-FSM community, I would like to express our appreciation and congratulatory messages to Shanty Sigrah, her parents and family, and Kosrae Campus Upward Bound Program staff for this great accomplishment. Being selected as one of the three 2008 WESTOP Achievers from among thousands of students is something that Shanty Sigrah should be proud of.

Dr. Barbara A. Beno's and Commissioner Floyd Takeuchi’s Visit to COM-FSM

Dr. Barbara A. Beno, President, ACCJC of WASC, and Commissioner Floyd Takeuchi visited the College of Micronesia-FSM National Campus during the week of April 23-25, 2008 . The purpose of the visit was to prepare the College of Micronesia-FSM for upcoming preparation of its Self-Study Report and the next accreditation reaffirmation visit in March 2010.

President Beno and Commissioner Takeuchi also met with the Acting FSM President Honorable Loren Robert, COM-FSM Faculty and Staff, and administrators at the National Campus. The issues that they highlighted in their meetings with the faculty, staff, and administrators of the College included: Program evaluation/review, student learning outcome, need for the COM-FSM to secure the permanent site for the COM-FSM Chuuk Campus, and consistency of delivering quality programs/services at all sites regardless of the location. They also discussed the US Department of Education requirements for accredited institutions by any of the Six Regional Accreditors, especially on two years requirement for institutions on placed sanctions or compliance to accreditation standards to get out of these in two years. They also warned the administration of the fake degrees and diplomas from higher education institutions not recognized by accrediting commissions. The ACCJC will require the COM-FSM to have all degrees/diplomas from foreign institutions to be evaluated as part of the next Self-Study Report.

President Beno and Commissioner Takeuchi also warned the College of the consequences of not putting the Program Evaluation/Review in place. The Program Evaluation/Review should be data driven and results must be used in improving the quality of programs and services. The Program Evaluation/Review was one of the issues the Commission wanted the College to do during the 2004 visit. However, if we will not show good results of this process in the next accreditation reaffirmation visit, then there is a strong possibility that we will loose our accreditation.

The College of Micronesia-FSM has no choice but to get on the bandwagon and do a better job on its Program Evaluation/Review for the next visit in 2010.

Self-Study Workshop

The following College of Micronesia-FSM faculty, staff, and administrators: Norma Edwin, Susan Moses, Jean Thoulag, Ringlen Ringlen, Jimmy Hicks, Joe Saimon, and Spensin James attended the Self-Study Workshop sponsored by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) for Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and hosted by the Guam Community College during the week of April 14-17, 2008. A total of 43 participants from Higher Education Institutions from Guam , Saipan , Palau , Marshalls , and the FSM attended the workshop that was conducted by Dr. Jack Pond from WASC.

The purposes of the workshop were to prepare institutions for writing their Self-Study Reports especially on Program Evaluation/Review, other pertinent accreditation issues, and also learned more about the roles of the Accreditation Liaison Officer as well as key administrators at the Colleges. The workshop was very helpful and informative for the delegation members from the COM-FSM as it will help us to write a good Self-Study Report for the next accreditation reaffirmation visit in March 2010.

Chuuk Department of Education and COM-FSM Staff Met on Teacher Training Issues

The Vice President for Instructional Affairs Jean Thoulag, Director of Institutional Research and Planning Office Jimmy Hicks, and President Spensin James traveled to Chuuk during the week of April 8-12, 2008 and met with key staff at the Chuuk Department of Education on issues related to teacher training for Chuuk State . The two groups met on Wednesday, 4/9/08, and discussed how they can collaborate and address the training needs of over 410 teachers at Chuuk State Public School System that do not have their AS Degree to meet the FSM Teacher Certification Act. This act requires that all teachers in Public Schools Classrooms in the FSM must have their AS Degree or equivalent by the end of 2008.

The two groups agreed to gather date on exact number of teachers without AS, how many of these teachers owed money to COM-FSM, how many teachers have 10 credits or less to graduate, how many of the teachers still need to pass the COM-FSM COMET, etc. The College is collecting and compiling data and will meet with Chuuk Department of Education staff to plan for appropriate trainings for each group.

The President of the College assured Chuuk Department of Education staff that the College will work collaboratively with them on addressing teacher training needs of their State.

Collaboration Among the Pacific Postsecondary Education Council (PPEC) Institutions

The recent collaborative efforts among the PPEC institutions have resulted in good and positive things. For example, articulations of courses and programs have increased among the member institutions. Recently the University of Hawaii at Manoa has articulated courses from regional institutions that have had difficult time articulating courses and programs with them in the past. The University of Guam has also articulated good number of general education courses with regional institutions. The public four year colleges and universities have also started monitoring the number of transferred students from the regional community colleges. For example, COM-FSM now know how many of its transferred students are now attending UOG and UH at Manoa and Hilo .

The PPEC institutions have worked together on securing funds from the Department of Interior during the past three years to address challenges facing institutions seeking to acquire and maintain WASC-Accreditation. Recently PPEC also submitted a multi-year grant proposal in the amount of $2.5 million to DOI for possible funding. The grant funds will be used on addressing issues alluded to above.

COM-FSM to Manage PPEC Grant Funds from DOI

The Department of Interior is already leaning toward having the College of Micronesia-FSM to manage the newly funded one year grant for the PPEC. The one year grant is in the amount of $500,000.00. The reason why DOI is leaning toward COM-FSM managing the grant funds is because the Chairman of the PPEC is the current President of the College of Micronesia-FSM . The College has been informed that the Grant Award will be given to the COM-FSM. This is a big boost to the credibility and image of the College.

COM-FSM Founding Day Activities

I would like to express the administration’s gratitude and thanks to all faculty, staff, students, sponsors, friends, supporters, and the organizing committee for the 2008 Founding Day activities. The 2008 Founding Day activities, the fundraising and sport events were successful. I also would like to express administrations congratulatory messages to Purple Team from Pohnpei Campus for winning the sport competitions and raising highest amount of money for the fundraising part of the 2008 Founding Day activities. Congratulatory messages also goes to White Team (Chuukese Students at National Campus) for coming in as the second team as they raised $3,394.65, Green Team (Kosrae Students at National Campus) for third place as they raised $1,860, Red Team (Yapese students at National Campus) for fourth place as they raised $1,500, and Blue Team (Pohnpeian students at National Campus) for fifth place as they raised $1,136.

The total amount of money raised this year is at $19,900.95.00. Ten percent of the funds raised by the teams will go back to the teams to use for activities that they are interested in sponsoring.

Again, thanks to all the teams that participated in this year’s activities and also thanks to all sponsors for their generosities.

Thank you.