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January 24 , 2007

To:         All Concerned 

From:     President, COM-FSM 

Subject: Update #288

Status of COM-FSM Chuuk Campus Permanent Site

The College of Micronesia-FSM Board of Regents at its December 2005 meeting in Pohnpei accepted Chuuk State Government’s offer of using the current Chuuk High School Site in Weno, Chuuk as the permanent site for the COM-FSM Chuuk Campus. The Board of Regents has directed the Administration of the College to work closely with Chuuk Government on securing the site by the end of 2008. Although the College received commendations for the excellent work it has done on improving the facilities at the current site by the Accreditation Team that visited the College during April 4-7, 2006, the team issued a new recommendation to the College to secure the permanent site for the COM-FSM Chuuk Campus as soon as possible.

The College is required to submit a focused mid-term report to the Accrediting Commission by March 15, 2007. An update on the acquisition of the permanent site for the COM-FSM Chuuk Campus must be included in the focused mid-term report. President James and Vice President Jean Thoulag, Regent Graceful Enlet, and Director Joakim Peter met with Governor Wesley Simina and Director of Land Sissam on January 16, 2007, and got an update on the permanent site. According to Governor Wesley Simina and Director Sissam, the Department of Land surveyors have started surveying the site to determine the exact boundaries and size of the site. The working group established by Governor Simina through an Executive Order in November 11, 2006, will work on legal issues and hopefully turn over the site with title of ownership to the College by Summer 2007.

The College delegation also met with Speaker of Chuuk Legislature and Floor Leader of Chuuk Senate and discussed the need to secure the permanent site for the COM-FSM Chuuk Campus per Accrediting Commission’s new recommendation. The two leaders were supportive of securing the permanent site and will monitor the progress on securing the site with the Executive Branch of the Chuuk Government.

The College of Micronesia-FSM has been offering courses and programs to students as well as citizens of Chuuk in leased facilities and land for over 35 years. One of the questions raised by a staff at a meeting that President James, Vice President for Instructional Affairs Jean Thoulag, and Regent Graceful Enlet had with the faculty and staff was, “Why is it taking too long for this administration to secure the permanent site for COM-FSM Chuuk Campus?” I would like to let our readers know that the current administration is completing its second year at the helm on January 26, 2007. It has taken over 30 years and about 10 Directors and Presidents to get where we are now. I think the current Board of Regents and the administration for the college has done an excellent job in working with Chuuk State Leadership to get where we are now.

Collaborations Between COM-FSM and School System to Bridge the Gap Between High Schools and College and Elementary Schools and High Schools

The Administration gave a presentation on the remedial courses and programs being offered by the College; and the fiscal resources it is spending on assisting incoming students who are admitted into the college’s programs that need remediation in English and Math courses at the Board meeting in September 2006. The Board of Regents was very concerned with the amount of money around $900,000 spent by the College on remedial programs. The Board directed the College administration to collaborate with the school systems in the FSM to bridge the gap between High Schools and the College and Elementary Schools and High Schools.

President James, Vice President for Instructional Affairs, Regent Graceful Enlet, Director Joakim Peter met with Director Sanfio, his key staff, and members of the Chuuk State Education Board and discussed the collaborations between the College and Chuuk Education Department that may assist in bridging the gap between the college and high schools and elementary schools and high schools. Some of the things discussed with the education leaders in Chuuk included teacher training, articulation of college’s remedial courses with high school English and math courses. President James thanked the education leaders in Chuuk for their support on collaborations that might be used in bridging the gaps between the schools and COM-FSM.

President James and Director Kalwin Kephas also met with Kosrae State Leadership and discussed the collaborative initiatives between the schools in Kosrae and the College that may assist in bridging the cap between the schools and the college. President James also thanked Kosrae Leadership for their supports on collaborations.

Implementation of Nursing Program at the COM-FSM

The College of Micronesia-FSM received series of requests from the Departments of Health Services in the FSM in 2004 to develop a nursing program to address the shortages of nurses in the FSM States. The College worked with the FSM Division of Health Services in writing a planning grant and submitting it through Department of Health, Education, and Social Affairs to WHO for funding. World Health Organization (WHO) approved the grant proposal for funding and provided $37,000 for development of the nursing program. The College of Micronesia-FSM hired Ms. Anna Boliy, a graduate nurse at Yap State Hospital, as a consultant. Ms. Boliy traveled to all the FSM states to gather ideas and inputs from Health Services Personnel that can be incorporated into the nursing programs. She also traveled to the University of Guam to seek expert opinions on the development of the program.

The program was then submitted to Curriculum Committee for review and recommendation. The Curriculum Committee recommended for the approval of program to president and cabinet. Cabinet then adopted the program in May 2006. The program was given to the Board for review and action at its May 2006 meeting. The Board of Regents gave a conditional approval to the program. The condition directed the administration not to implement the program until it secures sufficient funds for the program.

President James and VPIA Jean Thoulag have started discussions to secure additional funds for the program with Chuuk Leadership during the week of January 15-17, 2007. The additional funds needed from each state of the FSM is at $35,000.00 to hire the lead instructor at each of the state campuses.

The College will submit a substantive change report on this program to the Accrediting Commission sometimes in March 2007 and plans to implement the program at the state campuses during Fall Semester 2007. The college is decentralizing the implementation of the nursing program in order to address the shortages of nurses in the FSM States quickly. The Department of Health Services will be working with the state campuses in their States to implement the program.

President James and VPIA will travel to Yap soon to discuss the funding of the programs with the Director of Health Services there. A meeting with the Director of Health Services in Pohnpei is scheduled for February 01, 2007.

Kudos to Ms. Anna Boliy and others that have worked so hard in developing the program.

Securing Supports from Governments for COM-FSM Endowment Funds

President James, VPIA Jean Thoulag, Regent Graceful Enlet, and Director Joakim Peter also lobbied for support from the Chuuk Leadership on appropriating funds to the COM-FSM Endowment Funds. The funding supports from the Governments for the Endowment Funds will stabilize the future funding supports for the College and decrease the amount of money that the college will need from the governments. Similar pitch was also discussed with the Honorable Lyndon Jackson, Acting Governor of Kosrae State. The following letter has also been sent to President Urusemal asking funding support from the FSM Government for the Endowment Fund: “This communication is to endorse and advocate a suggestion made by Regent Yatilman last year at a congressional hearing with the Committee on Ways and Means. During the hearing, he mentioned that Palau Community College receives support from Palau National Government through direct contribution to their Endowment Fund and proposed similar support from the FSM National Government to the COM-FSM Endowment Fund. His rationale is that with the step down of Compacts funds, increases in appropriation to the College are unlikely. The College cannot be content with the status quo if it is to strive for excellence in its programs and services. It would be to the best interest of our students, and the Nation, not to short change their education.

The College is looking at its Endowment Fund to secure its financial future. That can only happen when the Fund has fully mature. While the College does annual fundraising, the going is slow and maturation of the Fund is in the distant future. Therefore, the College would like to propose that while funds are available that the National Government makes annual contribution on $500,000 to the Endowment Fund. This would expedite the growth of the Endowment Fund and lessen the College’s dependence in the future on the government when funds are very tight.

We see logic in his suggestion and are making it an official request from the College. In your consideration of this request, we would also like to remind you of previous proposal that the College had brought forth on ways the government can support the Endowment Fund.”

Facts and Findings

Because data systems are so limited and inadequate, it is hard for policymakers to obtain reliable information on students’ progress through the education pipeline. Commission on Future of Higher Education.

  • Total per-student expenditures for higher education in USA averaged over $22,000 annually in 2001, almost twice the average of other major industrialized countries (Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
  • Forty percent of college students will take at least one remedial education course, at a cost of over $1 billion annually (Source: Commission on the Future of Higher Education).
  • Over 60 percent of the U.S. population between ages of 25 and 64 has no postsecondary education credentials (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2004).
  • The percentage of college graduates deemed proficient in prose literacy (able to read and extrapolate from a complex text) has declined from 40 to 31 percent in the past decade (Source: National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 2003).
  • The U.S. College attainment rate has fallen to 12 th among major industrialized countries (Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
World Park Sustainable Development Update

The College continues to assist the FSM States in consideration, development and implementation of the World Park.

I have appointed Associate Professor Howard Rice as the College of Micronesia-FSM World Park Coordinator thus enabling our College to continue working effectively with the FSM State and National governments. COM-FSM is engaged in assisting each State forward in World Park development, conceptualization of concept, public acceptance, planning and eventual implementation. International support for the World Park has been overwhelmingly positive and economic development partnerships are available to the FSM that would otherwise not be realized.

As reported by letter from Lt Governor Gerson Jackson to COM-FSM dated October 20 th, 2006 “I have the honor and pleasure of transmitting a copy of a resolution passed during the Leadership Conference, CR 06-13 which expresses our endorsement and support of the World Park concept, as we understand it is the first of its kind”.

The Pohnpei Legislature passed a similar resolution in 2006. Pohnpei is beginning formal World Park planning on February 19 th, 2007. The College is continuing to work with all the States and the FSM Congress to assist the Nation forward in economic development based on soundly founded, innovative sustainable development principals based on the “ Living Park” model. Each Governor has appointed a World Park Planning Coordinator and Planning Committee in order to accomplish the 12 month planning process assisted by COM-FSM and MSU.

In November our College co-hosted a week-long World Park conference with our fellow Land Grant institution Michigan State University. Governors, Lieutenant Governors, Senators, State Planners and other key leaders from each FSM State attended this unprecedented meeting.

These are my opening remarks presented to the meeting participants. “On behalf of the administration, staff and faculty of the College of Micronesia-FSM I welcome you to the COM-FSM-Michigan State University World Park meeting.

I would like to thank all of our many World Park partners here at Michigan State University. In particular I would like to thank MSU President Lou Anna K Simon and Dean Dr. Jeffrey Reidinger for making this important economic development initiative for our Nation an equally important priority throughout Michigan State University and at the highest level within University administration.

I would also like to recognize each of you FSM participants as men and women who by the fact of your presence here in East Lansing have shown your deep commitment to your State and our Nation. Through your presence here you have also shown that you are people of vision and that you possess the boldness to step forward, to make history and to create positive change for our Nation. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it if we choose to embrace it.

As leaders of our communities, States and Nation we are tasked with nothing short of seeking a new future based on sound ideals, careful planning and wise use of the assets we possess. The World Park concept is based on the themes of benefits emanating from precedent setting sustainable development, regeneration of traditions and cultures, environmental protection, national unity, and job creation.

We must boldly step forward and think in new and innovative ways about how we can best use what we have, of creating and prioritizing new opportunities for our citizens when we have so few viable opportunities for change available to us.

The College of Micronesia-FSM as the FSM national institution of higher education has long provided the pathway for our young people to achieve better lives and to develop a work force to create a better Nation. Around the world many institutions of higher learning fulfill this singular mission as the basis of their existence.

The other type of institution of higher learning fulfills two distinct yet intertwined missions. These missions are to offer both “educational opportunity” and to provide “service to the communities” they serve through offering advisement, technical assistance and leadership engagement in social and economic change initiatives.

The College of Micronesia-FSM has now moved solidly into the category of being a globally connected institution that prioritizes social change initiatives along side educational opportunity for our citizens. The World Park is our solid statement of priority for creating, leading and supporting needed positive change opportunities within the Nation.

The World Park fits our stated mission and a key objective of the College to assist each State and the Nation in developing a new future through outreach programs and projects. The College has played an integral role in the development and refinement of the Nations Strategic Development Plans as full participants in each of the three FSM Economic Summits.

The College of Micronesia-FSM as a land grant institution along with the original land grant institution Michigan State University have partnered in this economic and social change initiative.

MSU has a long history of international leadership and engagement in social and economic change initiatives and our World Park initiative fits their international outreach mission and our mission of assisting our citizens perfectly. In April of 2004 I instructed Associate Professor Howard Rice to seek an independent assessment of the World Park initiative after it had been written into the FSM National Strategic Development plan by delegates to the economic summit as a required output program. He was tasked with seeking a source for this assessment and to our good fortune selected the highly regarded Michigan State University CARRS Program.

The CARRS program mission is perfectly suited to the World Park and Michigan State University is one of the premier international outreach universities in the United States.

It should also be noted that the World Park initiative did not step off an airplane in the brief case of a consultant espousing the latest way to create change for our citizens. Instead it emanated from expertise we have within our College. It has been carefully and thoughtfully conceptualized over the last six years. It continues to be refined as a Micronesian lead and owned initiative and has been assessed by a number of international experts as a visionary, precedent setting development process that has immediate application for our States and Nation and holds the potential to have tremendous international impact and application far into the future.

You are key leaders who have convened together to start the planning process, prioritize needs and solutions and to further refine the elements of developing the largest park in the history of mankind.

Nations only give park status to the places they cherish the most and no greater designation for a Nation can be stated than to declare all of its lands and waters as the first in history World Park based on the “Living Park” model.

This is not only an intelligent use of the assets we have but is an important step in regeneration of one of the most bio-diverse areas on the earth. The FSM has been designated one of the world’s hotspots for biodiversity and what we do as stewards of our lands and waters will affect not only our Nation but all Pacific nations.

The declaration of the FSM World Park will create an unprecedented international media opportunity and will raise the bar for global thinking about the world’s environments and cultures in an age where degradation has reached critical levels. This will be one of the seminal sustainable development initiatives in history and will set a new standard for development thinking across the globe in this century.

I urge you not to shrink from such a task because it is bold and visionary. For in boldness there is genius and from genius there may emanate opportunities we can only imagine.

Again I welcome all of you and ask that we work together not as four States with separate agendas and needs but as four states that have elected to unify together because the strength of this unity far out weighs the difficulties in doing so. Perhaps for the first time we have a galvanizing agent beyond the words contained in our Nations constitution.

We have an opportunity to unify as a Nation utilizing the World Park strategy, which will incorporate, rely on and utilize our FSM National Strategic Development Plan, Agenda 21 principals, the important Micronesia Challenge and all conservation efforts and plans across the Nation. It is through unity that we may gain opportunities that would never come our way if we have not done so.

There is much to be done in the next week and years ahead but if not us, then Who? If not now, then when? The work you complete this week will be of great value and a mark in history. I humbly charge you with no less a task than creating a new future for your families, our lands and waters, our cultures and indeed the very Nation we so dearly love”.

This Communique, Mission, Principals and Vision statement was generated from the COM-FSM/MSU World Park meeting.

Retirement Program Open Season

January is open season for the Retirement Plan Program. Employees who are currently enrolled and wish to make changes in their plans and qualified employees who are not enrolled and would like to enroll may do so this month. The deadline for submitting the necessary forms to Human Resources Office is January 31, 2007. Payroll deduction will begin the pay period that includes January 31 st. For more information, contact the Human Resources Office.

President’s Retreat

The Planning Council is continuing planning for the President’s Retreat that is scheduled for March 19 – 23, 2007. In its meeting of January 19, 2007 discussion was held on what information needs to be complied, analyzed and presented at the retreat. The following are key areas with individuals assigned to lead the compilation, analysis and presentation development. If you have other others areas that should be included in the Retreat, please let IRPO or any Planning Council member know. The environmental scan component of the President’s Retreat is to set the stage for evidence based discussions at the retreat.

Thank you.