Kosrae Recruiting Trip Report
- 18 February 2004
- Wednesday afternoon Bastora and I
worked at the Kosrae campus. During this time we had informal
discussions with members of the Kosrae faculty and staff.
- Wednesday evening I visited a COM-FSM
alumni who was leaving the next day on a medical referral to the
Philippines. Visiting students with medical issues always reminds
me of our need to move forward on deploying a medical safety net for
our students including insurance and the availability of a doctor in
the clinic on a regular schedule.
- The third FSM economic summit health
sector documents call for the inclusion of all FSM citizens in the
National Insurance Plan (NIP). This seems to me to provide the
impetus to request inclusion of our students in NGEHI. Our students
are a basically healthy group, their insurance would simply be a
required fee. We should be an area of positive fund balance for
NGEHI – 2700 insurees in their prime of life and peak of
health. We must pursue this option vigorously.
- 19 February 2004
- Thursday morning, Reverend Benjamin,
Bastora Raymond, and Augustine met with the Governor here on Kosrae.
Sitting as a representative from Kosrae DOE was Paul Hadik. After
introductions by Rev. Benjamin and a welcoming by the Governor, I
was asked to present on behalf of our delegation. I covered two
main topics: the admissions board decision to admit only 400 in this
round of intake and general information on the performance of the
- I noted that the impact is an
effective 22% drop in intake and a consequent fall in the high
school admissions numbers. I noted that the drop was not a
reflection of a change in the performance of the high, just a result
of our changing our admissions system. I also noted that
performance at the high school was fairly flat on a year-to-year
basis and the performance level was such that many students place
into remedial courses.
- I noted that only 11 students placed
into MS 100, 45 students were above a 500 on the grammar section and
8 were above 500 on reading. In general the high school is not
producing college level students - bear in mind that 164 students
took the exam.
- The governor asked if there were state
quotas inside the 400, and I responded no, there were no such
quotas. He clearly understood that a state that placed no one in
the top 400 would not get anyone admitted to the college. The
governor expressed concern that the increased competition implied by
the drop in admissions would lead to teaching to the test. I noted
that the admissions board had said it would examine a point based
system that would value more than just a single entrance
examination. GPA would also be examined along with other factors.
This is something that the board has yet to do.
- The meeting went on for more than an
hour, or at least it seemed that way to me. The Governor asked that
we continue to share data with him as it is crucial to their own
performance based budget efforts. I noted that I felt the college
needs to do a better job of communicating with the state departments
of education, state leadership, and the community. I told the
Governor to please ask us when he needs information, and if the
college is not responsive to let me know so that I can determine
whether the information is something we can or ought to release and
to assist in that process of sharing information.
- I noted that we all must work
together, sharing and communicating, for the sake of our children.
I did apologize for talking too much.
- The team then met with the Director of
Education and covered essentially the same ground. We were asked
whether there was a plan to share this information with the other
states, with the questions carrying an implied command to do so.
Regent Robert asked that I produce a report on the information
shared for the March board meeting. This report should also be
shared and communicated in the other states.
- The regent was informed of the concept
of a category of students who would not be admitted to any program
at the college fall 2005. The regent immediately applied the term
"functionally illiterate" to them.
- The regent also asked that the
admissions board consider the financial impact of their decisions.
He appeared to be taken aback by having not been appraised of this
decision prior to its implementation. As we make decisions in
committees, we have to be careful to reflect on whether we ought to
first inform bodies such as the board of our decision prior to
implementing the decision. I also understood that the Regent was
calling on the admissions board to work closely with the finance
committee on admissions decisions.
- In the afternoon Bastora and I spoke
to the state campus students, then I joined an Upward Bound (UB)
- I learned that UB uses an "entrance"
system consisting of a test, essay, GPA, and interview. All are
rated on a 1 to 5 scale and then converted by a weighting multiplier
to points. The students are then ranked and the top 17 will be
taken into UB next summer. Parts of this mirrored the admissions
board point system proposal, hence it interested me. The GPA is
multiplied by five, the other portions are multiplied by three.
- In the evening I delivered a FAFSA
form to a parent of a student from Utwe. The student needed their
father's signature on the FAFSA. I also stopped by and visited
informally with the mayor of Utwe, Truman Waguk. Our discussion
centered primarily on the performance based budget work being done
in Kosrae at the moment. The need for numbers, data, is increasely
critical to state and community leadership. To the extent that the
College can assist with providing that data and training in
utilizing that data, the college will be serving a critical need.
- I then joined a home dedication and
prayer session for a new home in Malem. Here I had a chance to
touch base with Bruce Howell of the transportation department on
- 20 February 2004
- On Friday morning Bastora and I spoke
to the high school seniors. Bastora described student services at
the national campus and then I spoke about programs. Although my
Kosraen is broken at best, I started by talking about the three
basic admission's classifications: certificate, IEI, and regular, in
Kosraen. My usage of the local language was intended to make
comprehension easier for the certificate and IEI level students.
- Nga fwac fin kom wi certificate, kom
muhta ke Kosrae. Fin tari certificate, kom ku sulpe is admissions
test. Nga fwac fin kom wi IEI, kom muhtu year se Kosrae campus.
Tari year se, kom etuku ke national campus.
- When I came to describing the options
available to the regular admissions students, I switched to English,
which would be appropriate to this group.
- I covered a variety of programs tying
them to the local realities of a flat job market. I covered all of
our programs. I spoke about the need for someone to pursue
archaelogy through to a doctorate. I told them their dissertation
awaits them in Utwe: Menka remains unstudied and a complete mystery.
I noted that many will work abroad and that computer information
systems and business will provide a strong basis on which to compete
for jobs abroad.
- As I described the HRM program I said
that one day I would meet the one student who can take the idea and
run that an American once had of an exclusive high-end resort in
isolated Walung catering to the elite. Secure, beautiful, and away
from the madding crowd. No press, superior security. I noted that
such a student could start in the HRM program and then either
continue on to a bachelors or simply use their skills to take the
concept and develop it. A hotel was built, but the building is now
decaying back into the sands of Walung. The students were laughing
at me, but I would not find out why until later.
- After the presentation a student came
up to me. “I was planning to go to Hilo, but I want to know
more about the HRM program. My father owns that hotel in Walung and
runs a bike and hike in Hawaii. I want to develop that hotel in
Walung.” The student did not realize we had an HRM program.
I am hopeful that the student will be touch with Howard.
- Before the presentation I had picked
up three leaves, Asplenium nidus, Phymatosorus
scolopendria, and Vittaria elongata. I held up the
Asplenium nidus and said, “Mese eng?” One
student answered “sra” (leaf). “Ao, sra se. Sra
fuhka?” Another student answered “Foa?” (fern).
“Ao, foa fuhka?” No one answered. “Kom nikun?
Pwacya?” I asked. No answer. The students did not know.
“Muliklik!” I told them.
- I went on to the P. scolopendria
and they knew not what it was nor its traditional use in Kosrae.
After telling them the name, I noted that, “Fin kom kahn sra
se ma srisrihk, el ku orella kom en tiac fwok soror.”
Although my Kosraen is horrid, the students understood and laughed.
I then descibed the use of the Vittaria in Kosrae, something
the students also did not know. I noted that the Kosraen name for
the Vittaria was already lost – we are losing our
languages and with them our culture. On Pohnpei the Vittaria name
is not known to the youth, but the name itself is not yet lost. One
local appellation is Alis en Nahnsou Sed (beard of the sea
- Then I capped off with, “The
College of Micronesia is the only college at which you can learn
these things. Our Micronesian Studies program can teach you things
that no other college on the planet can teach you.”
- At the national campus there has been
occasional loose discussion of what a "local language arts"
test would be. The 60 Kosrae seniors failed my impromptu Kosraen
vocabulary/botany test above.
- Friday afternoon our itinerary called
for meeting with parents. I waited for parents, but none came. I
like suggestion of meeting the parents and community. On Kosrae it
is not the students alone who make the decisions on where to attend
school, it is often made by the parents or the parents in
consultation with the students. We need to recruit the parents. I
would, however, want to be able to give better assurances of our
ability to safeguard the health and welfare of their children than I
can at the moment.
- In the evening I attended a first year
birthday party for the niece of Kosrae State Scholarship Director
Alokoa Sigrah, Shantel Wain Nani Mongkeya. I was able to speak to
Phil Ching while at that social function, as well as briefly with
Alokoa Sigrah. Alokoa noted that an appropriation was moving
through the state for funding the Kosrae state scholarship. We also
spoke about the issue with the SEOG/CWS cash out not including FSM
citizens in stateside schools.
- My apologies for my Kosraen spelling.
A student years ago who spelled Kosraen in a non-standard manner
noted that one's spelling in Kosraen reflected one's personality.
The old saw that if everyone spelled different no one could read
anything was invented by some publisher of a dictionary looking for
a way to market their beast. Over the years I've noted that
Kosraens often choose their own personal spelling system. In this
day and age of signature-free email, the unique spelling choices of
a Kosraen assures the recipient as to the authenticity of the
identity of the sender.
- My thanks to Director Kephas, Pastor
Benjamin, Alik, Aileen, Paul, and the rest of the Kosrae crew who
handled all of the arrangements and made our visit possible. Thanks
also to the state leadership for meeting with us at length and for
allowing us to share with them. Finally I would like to thank
Ringlen and the admissions board for sending us. I would suggest
that we look at the percentage who choose the national campus this
year versus last year to determine whether we had any positive