Accreditation Update

03/09/17 WASC Senior Commission Commends NMC, Offers Recommendations

Northern Marianas College hosted a WASC Senior Commission (WSCUC) team on December 1 and 2, 2016. In February 2017, the College was notified of the commendations and recommendations from the team, which praised the College for actions it has already taken to strengthen its autonomy and business practices and recommended continuing to develop in those same areas. A copy of the WSCUC Action Letter and Team Report can be accessed here.

09/11/14 USDOE Recognizes NMC’s Change in Accreditor from ACCJC to WSCUC

Dear NMC Community:

As you all know, the Northern Marianas College underwent Initial Accreditation review with WASC Senior Commission (WSCUC) April 29 – May 2, 2014. On July 7, 2014, the College was notified in a letter by the WSCUC of its formal action to grant NMC Initial Accreditation for a period of six years (through June 2020). The letter also stated that an Interim Report is scheduled for Spring 2017 to address progress in four key areas.

More recently, we received notice from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) that it has formally recognized this transition in NMC’s primary accreditor from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to WSCUC.

Because of this change in NMC’s accreditor, we had requested a withdrawal of accreditation from ACCJC. Earlier today, we received a letter from ACCJC President Dr. Barbara Beno formally acknowledging the withdrawal and wishing the College well on this new direction. A copy of this letter will be posted to the NMC website.

As you know, a smooth and timely transition is important for students and for the flow of Title IV funds, as a significant number of our students are eligible to receive Title IV funds. Please know that students have not been impacted during this transition from one accreditor to another. Therefore, it is important that I share everything that the College has done to comply with ACCJC, WSCUC and the USDOE as it relates to this change of accreditor.

I ask that you also share this important information with students and other community members. Please know the College is also taking all necessary steps to get this information out to all stakeholders today.

Thank you for working so diligently with NMC throughout our accreditation efforts. Our success is because of our great team effort. Let’s now look forward to fully working with WSCUC in the years ahead and continuing our excellent accreditation efforts.

All the best!

Sincerely yours,

Sharon Y. Hart, PhD

President

07/09/14 NMC Granted 6-Year Initial Accreditation by WASC Senior Commission

Northern Marianas College announced today that it was granted Initial Accreditation for a period of 6 years, through June 2020, with the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

At the same time, the College also announced that its proposal to offer a second bachelor’s degree in business management was approved by the Senior Commission.

“This marks a historic milestone in the Northern Marianas College’s 33-year history,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart.

Northern Marianas College had already been accredited in good standing with the Junior Commission of WASC (i.e. the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, or ACCJC). In fact, the Junior Commission reaffirmed NMC’s accreditation earlier this year in February after ACCJC found that NMC had addressed the concerns and recommendations that were raised by the Commission and evaluation teams.

“One of the main reasons we were seeking accreditation through the Senior College and University Commission is that the College is poised for significant growth and development,” said President Hart.

“Part of this growth includes the addition of a bachelor degree program in business management, one of the priority fields that has been identified by the community as a major need for the CNMI, especially as so many of the present baccalaureate degree holders are here on CW status,” said President Hart.

The College initiated the movement from the Junior Commission to the Senior Commission of WASC as part of its effort to meet community and workforce needs. Under ACCJC, the College was allowed to offer only one bachelor’s degree program. WASC Senior Commission allows the College to expand its program offerings.

The new bachelor’s degree in business management will be offered this fall 2014 semester.

NMC Board of Regents headed by Frank Rabauliman endorsed the college plan to submit its petition to offer another bachelor program to the WASC Senior Commission. “From our students and alumni, to our faculty and staff, to our regents and stakeholders, today’s announcement reaffirms NMC’s commitment to our community.”

President Hart also took time to acknowledge the College’s former accrediting agency, ACCJC.

“The College acknowledges and is grateful for the guidance from ACCJC, its President Dr. Barbara Beno, Commissioners, and visiting team members,” said President Hart. “The College has grown to where it is today because of their support.”

“Northern Marianas College is committed to ensuring that it continues to provide high quality programs and services to students and we have worked very hard to meet or exceed the standards and eligibility requirements set by ACCJC,” said President Hart. “Our commitment to continuous quality improvement will not change now that NMC has designated WASC Senior as its primary accreditor.”

A copy of the visiting team report and WASC action letter from the review of Northern Marianas College will be available on the WASC website at www.wascsenior.org and NMC website www.marianas.edu under Resource Documents.

05/02/14 WASC Senior Commission Concludes Visit to NMC

Representatives from the WASC Senior Commission today concluded their visit to the Northern Marianas College.

The purpose of the WASC visit was twofold: the first is to evaluate the Northern Marianas College and its application for initial accreditation under the Senior Commission; the second purpose is to review the College’s substantive change proposal to offer a Bachelors in Science – Business Management program.

“The visit went well,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart. “The team’s meetings were focused not only on verifying NMC’s self-study report that we submitted earlier this year, but they also focused on providing the College insight about where improvements can be made—especially in key areas of teaching and learning.”

During the last two days, the visiting team engaged students, staff, faculty, and the members of the Board of Regents to discuss a number of issues related to academics, student services, college finances, governance, and other matters.

“It was an extremely informative visit,” said President Hart. “We are looking forward to receiving the Team’s report as well as receiving the Senior Commission’s decision, which will be made in mid-June and provided to the College in July.”

During its exit session held with the campus community, visiting team Chairperson Dr. Helen Whippy provided a verbal summary of the team’s findings: the team commended the College for 1) refining its governance processes; 2) establishing measureable student learning outcomes in Student Service areas; 3) its fiscal responsibility and unqualified audits; 4) the Board of Regents’ transformation and for its support of the president; 5) its inclusive strategic planning process; 6) implementing new policies that have helped to set new directions for the College; and 7) having made difficult decisions about and implementing new faculty qualification requirements.

Additionally, Dr. Whippy reported several recommendations to help the College in its growth and development. These recommendations include increasing the College’s capacity for institutional research; transitioning the College from course level assessment to comprehensive, program level assessment with a focus on student success; further developing the College’s general education philosophy; empowering faculty and further defining their role in teaching and assessment and establishing a comprehensive development program for them; revisiting faculty evaluation criteria to align with the aforementioned recommendation; and lastly, encouraging the Board of Regents to meet less frequently so they can better focus on key broad issues to allow the institution to focus on the implementation of board policies.

According to Dr. Whippy, the final report will be submitted to WASC Senior Commission, who will then make a decision on the College’s application for accreditation with the Senior Commission.

The Northern Marianas College is already accredited by the WASC Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC, or “Junior Commission”). In fact, the College’s accreditation was recently reaffirmed by ACCJC last February.

The College initiated the movement from the Junior Commission to the Senior Commission of WASC as part of its effort to meet community and workforce needs. Under ACCJC, the College was allowed to offer only one bachelor’s degree program. On the other hand, the WASC Senior Commission would allow the College to expand its bachelor degree offerings after necessary approvals are secured.

02/07/14 NMC's Accreditation Reaffirmed

The Northern Marianas College today announced that it has been removed from “Show Cause status” and its accreditation has been REAFFIRMED. The decision to reaffirm the College’s accreditation was made during the January 2014 meeting of the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Northern Marianas College President Dr. Sharon Hart congratulated and thanked all the students, staff and faculty of NMC for their hard work, dedication, and commitment.

She also expressed her gratitude to the NMC Board of Regents, CNMI Governor and Lt. Governor, Legislators, the CNMI Representative to the U.S. Congress, and many other community members for their unrelenting support of the College.

“This is a great day for the Northern Marianas College and for the Commonwealth,” President Hart said.

To view the letter from ACCJC President Dr. Barbara Beno, click here.

12/20/13 NMC Submits Supplemental Report

The Northern Marianas College recently submitted a supplemental report to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). The report adds to the Show Cause Report that the College submitted earlier on October 15, 2013, and provides updates to the College’s continuing accreditation efforts.

The Supplemental Report the College submitted is composed of two parts: the first part focuses on the College’s effort to sustain the progress that was reported in the October 15, 2013 Show Cause Report, and the second part addresses recommendations that were made in the 2012 External Evaluation Team Report.

“The Supplemental Report emphasizes the College’s efforts to sustain its accreditation momentum, and even goes further to describe other activities we have undertaken to address accreditation recommendations,” said Amanda Allen, NMC Distance Learning Director and Accreditation Liaison Officer.

According to Allen, the Supplemental Report discusses the College’s progress in addressing recommendations that involved the library and other learning support services; administrative capacity; and the Board of Regents.

The Report also details the actions that the College has taken to improve effectiveness in areas like access to Rota and Tinian, pursuing funds for the Facilities Master Plan, improvements to NMC’s IT infrastructure, NMC’s governance structure and the Institutional Excellence Guide, and Board of Regents policies.

“We are proud that the College community continues to make important strides in numerous areas,” added Allen. “However, our work has not ended with the submission with the Supplemental Report. We continue to work to ensure that our progress is sustained in the long term.”

NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart, in her message to the campus community, also stated that the ACCJC visit that occurred in October does not end NMC’s time on accreditation eligibility requirements and standards.

“It is imperative that we continue to build on these and demonstrate continuing progress over time,” said Hart.

In January, President Hart will be attending the meeting of the ACCJC’s Commission Meeting and will be providing additional updates with regard to the progress the College has made in meeting and exceeding accreditation standards and requirements.

11/20/13 Memo from ACCJ President Barbara A. Beno

MEMO TO: Chancellors, Superintendents, Presidents and Accreditation Liaison Officers
FROM: Barbara A. Beno, President
SUBJECT: Meeting of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to be held January 8-10, 2014; Preliminary Session Agenda

The January meeting of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) scheduled for January 8-10, 2014, is being held at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, Sacramento, California.

The Commission will meet in Closed Session to consider institutional actions, January 8-10, 2014. The Public Session will be held January 10, beginning at 1:00 p.m. It is open to members of the public; as per normal practice, there will be approximately 20 seats available.

We request you to post this to your website or otherwise publicize this information.

To view a copy of the ACCJC memo and agenda, click here.

10/25/13 NMC's Substantive Change Approved By ACCJC

The Northern Marianas College’s proposal to have its School of Education’s (SOE) four-year baccalaureate degree program included in its primary accrediting body, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), was recently APPROVED by ACCJC’s Committee on Substantive Change.

The change paves the way for the NMC to be accredited by one accreditation body (rather than two separate ones), as required by the U.S. Department of Education in determining eligibility for federal financial aid.

Northern Marianas College President Dr. Sharon Hart congratulated the School of Education faculty and staff, the Substantive Change Committee, and others who participated in the preparation of the Substantive Change Proposal.

To view a copy of the ACCJC letter, click here.

10/23/13 Accreditation Commission Concludes Visit to NMC

Representatives from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) have just concluded their visit to the Northern Marianas College on Wednesday, October 22.

The visiting team, composed of ACCJC staff as well as (active and retired) faculty members and administrators from other post-secondary institutions in Hawaii and California, arrived earlier this week to meet with various NMC employees, students, and key College governance and constituent groups.

The purpose of the visit is twofold: the first is to verify the contents of the Show Cause Report that the College submitted last week. The other is to evaluate the College’s Substantive Change Proposal that will potentially allow NMC’s bachelor’s degree in education program to be accredited by ACCJC.

(The bachelor’s program is already accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (ACSCU), which, like ACCJC, is part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). However, because this joint accreditation of NMC by both ACCJC and ACSCU is not consistent with the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations, the College has prepared and submitted the Substantive Change Proposal that would allow the bachelor’s degree in education program to be accredited by ACCJC, thus having all of NMC’s programs accredited under one accrediting body.)

The team arrived last weekend and began their meetings at NMC on Monday and Tuesday. During their visit, team members met with members of the Board of Regents, the President, managers, staff, faculty, and students.

“The members of the College community, including faculty, staff, and students, have been working in teams for the past several months to complete the Show Cause Report and to prepare for this visit,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart. “We have been looking forward to meeting with the members of the visiting team to share the great progress the College has made to address the concerns that were raised in the Commission’s Action Letter.”

“We are proud of the accomplishments that we were able to report in the Show Cause Report and the Substantive Change Proposal,” said President Hart. The Show Cause Report was submitted on October 15, 2013 and the Substantive Change Proposal was submitted on Sept. 30, 2013.

President Hart highlighted some of the College’s accomplishments that were included in the Show Cause Report:

  • To address the recommendation about administrative capacity, the College filled key vacancies at the College, including the positions for the Chief Financial Officer, the IT Director, and the Admissions Director. These positions were filled with highly capable and respected individuals: Tracy Guerrero, Jonathan Liwag, and Manny Castro (respectively).
  • To address the issue about the lack of a policy that addresses minimum qualifications for instructional faculty members, the President Hart presented to the Board of Regents a proposal that would directly respond to the recommendation made by ACCJC. The new policy on minimum instructional faculty qualifications, which was approved by the Board in August, was developed with input from an ad hoc committee consisting of instructional faculty and departmental chairpersons, as well as administrators. The College also looked at minimum faculty qualification standards that have been established for other colleges in other regions.
  • To meet the recommendation about implementing strategies to directly measure Student Learning Outcomes concerning information literacy, a minimum of two Student Learning Outcomes have been established and assessed in all Learning Support Service areas (including English Language Lab Tutoring Services, College Access Challenge Grant Tutoring Services, International Student Services, Career Center, Computer Lab, Distance Education, Media Services, Disability Support Services, and Library Programs and Services)
  • The Commission also raised a serious concern about NMC’s policy on honorary regents, who, according to the Commission, engaged in direct discussion related to policy with the Board (therefore violating the Accreditation Standard requiring board independence) and had the potential to undermine the President’s ability to meet the responsibilities which she is held accountable. To resolve this concern, the President worked with the Board in repealing the policy on honorary regents. Faculty, staff, and students are still engaged in the College’s participative governance structure.

“There are many other areas where significant work and progress has been made,” added President Hart. “And just because the visit has now concluded does not mean that this progress will slow. We still have much work to do to sustain our momentum and I believe that our team of students, staff, and faculty has the heart and energy to see us through.”

The Northern Marianas College is currently on Show Cause. The College’s accredited status remains during the show cause period.

03/14/13 NMC Submits Response to ACCJC Public Disclosure Notice

Northern Marianas College has submitted its official comments in response to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges’ Public Disclosure Notice requirement to provide the public a brief statement summarizing the reasons that the Commission placed NMC on Show-Cause.

On February 11, 2013, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, notified Northern Marianas College that the Commission acted to order Show Cause and to require the College to complete a Show Cause Report by October 15, 2013. The College has until this date to demonstrate sufficient compliance or the Commission will take action, according to the Public Disclosure Notice from the ACCJC. The Public Disclosure Notice and Action Letter are public documents and can be viewed on NMC’s and ACCJC’s websites.

The College has taken immediate action and has focused its full attention to address concerns raised in the Commission Action Letter. Show Cause does not mean Northern Marianas College has lost its accreditation. It is important to note that while on Show Cause the College remains fully accredited during this period.

The Public Disclosure Notice addresses many of the public concerns regarding NMC’s accreditation status and explains efforts the College has taken and continues to take to ensure compliance with accreditation standards.

“The recommendations cited in the Action Letter are core internal workings of the College. Since Spring 2010, NMC has continued to address these recommendations to ensure compliance with accreditation standards. The Commission recognizes that we’ve made significant progress towards compliance, but that there is still work to be done,” NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart said.

The Action Letter cited the lack of sufficient staff with appropriate preparation to support the College’s operations and also recommended that key vacancies be filled, the College should develop and consistently apply clear criteria in determining faculty qualifications, and that the Library continue build on its successful student satisfaction survey efforts by implementing strategies to directly measure Student Learning Outcomes concerning information literacy. Further, the Commission recommended the Board of Regents to come into compliance with its roles and responsibilities as an independent policy-making body.

“As a College, we continue to make significant progress to meet standards in many areas,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart. “While much has been accomplished, there is still a great deal left to do in the next several months. I want to assure everyone that work is underway to rectify these findings. NMC’s commitment to its overall mission, to its students’ success, and community all remains undiminished. We can and will resolve the deficiencies necessary to continue providing quality education and opportunities for our students and our community,” added NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart.

The College embraces the accreditation process as an opportunity to refine and improve its institutional processes. “As a result of this process, we are a much stronger College and our very best years are ahead of us,” added NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart.

NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart, administrator, faculty, staff, students, and the NMC Board of Regents are working together in a collaborative manner to resolve remaining ACCJC recommendations and to ensure that students continue to receive a high quality education.

ACCJC meets twice each year to review reports and make decisions regarding accreditation. The October 15, 2013 Show Cause Report, which demonstrates that the College has resolved noted deficiencies and addressed Commission recommendations, will be followed by a team visit of ACCJC representatives. The Commission will then meet in January 2014 and the College should receive word of any changes or decision in February 2014.

The College’s response to ACCJC’s Public Disclosure Notice will be posted on the NMC website at www.nmcnet.edu. NMC’s accreditation status can also be found and monitored on the ACCJC website at www.accjc.org.

02/14/13 NMC Placed on Show Cause

The Northern Marianas College today announced that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), Western Association for Schools and Colleges (WASC), acted to order Show Cause and to require the College to complete a Show Cause Report by October 15, 2013.

The decision was made during the Commission’s meeting held January 9-11 2013. Northern Marianas College remains accredited during the show cause period.

Show Cause is ordered when the accrediting commission finds an institution to be in substantial non-compliance with its eligibility requirements, standards, or commission policies, or when the institution has not responded to the conditions imposed by the commission.

To access a copy of the WASC-ACCJC Action Letter from from ACCJC President Dr. Barbara Beno, please visit the NMC Resource Documents Page. A copy of the external evaluation reports (visiting team reports) from ACCJC and the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities have also been posted to that page.

“Northern Marianas College has worked very hard to organize itself and to meet the required Accreditation Standards,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart. “I know this is not the news we were hoping for, as the College has now been placed on Show Cause. Yet, let me assure the NMC employees, students, and the community that we will work hard over these next nine months to be in substantial compliance.”

“Also, as most of the recommendations and findings were verbally outlined in late October by the Visiting Team at their Exit Session with the College, work is already underway to address and rectify most of these,” added President Hart. “Of extreme importance is for the Board, the College, and for all NMC employees to work together toward a common goal--that of full institutional compliance with ACCJC standards.”

“The NMC Board of Regents takes very seriously the findings outlined by The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges,” said NMC Board of Regents Chairperson Juan T. Lizama. “We will continue to work hard to address the recommendations which specifically point to areas of weaknesses that we must improve upon.”

“Our goal is to work together with the President to come into compliance with all Accreditation Standards,” Lizama added. “The Board understands that time is of the essence to correct these deficiencies. We will review the Report in full detail and begin our work at once.”

Please continue to visit NMC’s accreditation updates at www.nmcnet.edu for more information about the College’s accreditation efforts.

01/05/13 NMC Board of Regents Chair and President to Attend ACCJC Meeting

NMC Board of Regents Chairperson Juan Lizama and NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart will be traveling to California on Jan. 8, 2012 to attend the January 2013 meeting of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

On Wednesday, January 9, the Commission will host a public meeting where various accreditation-related issues will be discussed, including policies on substantive changes, award of credit, public disclosure and confidentiality, and others. Various Commission officials will also be presenting commission reports, reports on agency relations, and reports on the operations of the Commission. A copy of the public agenda is posted on the ACCJC website at www.accjc.org.

The public meeting will be followed by meetings held in closed sessions where the Commission will consider institutional actions.

Chair Lizama and President Hart will be providing information about NMC’s continuing efforts to meet and exceed accreditation standards, particularly focusing on updates to the College’s Institutional Self Evaluation Report that was submitted last August.

Members of the College community had worked in teams to prepare the Report and to ensure that its contents accurately reflect the College’s progress in meeting accreditation standards and eligibility requirements,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Y. Hart.

“When I first arrived at the College, there were eleven ACCJC recommendations and concerns that were still unresolved, and we worked hard to reduce that by half in a relatively short amount of time,” said President Hart. “Our students, staff, and faculty continue to make important progress in meeting accreditation standards and eligibility requirements, and I look forward to reporting this progress to the Commission in January,” Hart added.

We will continue to engage all stakeholders, including our legislative and executive leaders, and the members of the community to continue our momentum to accreditation reaffirmation,” said Hart.

The Northern Marianas College was placed on “Probation” status by ACCJC in January 2012. The accredited status of the institution continues during the probation period.

08/30/12 NMC Self Evaluation Report 2012

The Northern Marianas College is making its 2012 Self Evaluation Report available for all students, staff, faculty and community to review. Any comments on the report should be addressed to the Northern Marianas College’s Accreditation Liaison Officer, Amanda Allen, via email at [email protected]. To download a copy of the Self Evaluation Report or other accreditation related documents, please visit the Resource Documents page.

08/24/12 NMC Submits 2012 Self Evaluation Report to ACCJC

The Northern Marianas College has submitted in 2012 Self Evaluation Report to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

“Over the past several months, members of the College community have been working in teams to prepare the Institutional Self Evaluation Report and to ensure that its contents accurately reflect the College’s progress in meeting accreditation standards and eligibility requirements,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Y. Hart.

According to the ACCJC Manual for Self Evaluation, “The process of institutional self evaluation provides an opportunity for an institution to conduct a thorough evaluation of its educational quality and institutional effectiveness against the Accreditation Standards, including federal requirements, Commission policies, Eligibility Requirements, and the institution’s own objectives.”

It also states that “The process of self evaluation allows the institution to consider the quality of its programs and services and its institutional effectiveness in support of student success. Although the Standards are presented in four sections, the Standards relate to the institution in its entirety. The Standards should therefore be considered as a whole and the institution should present a holistic and comprehensive analysis of its compliance with the Standards.”

“Students, staff, faculty and members of the Board of Regents have contributed significantly to our accreditation efforts,” added Hart. “We will continue to engage them, our legislative and executive leaders, and the members of the community to continue our momentum to accreditation reaffirmation.”

As with previous reports submitted to ACCJC, members of the College’s Management Team and other employees continue to lead 12 different teams specifically aimed at addressing accreditation standards. The teams are composed of staff, faculty, and students.

An evaluation team from ACCJC will be visiting the Northern Marianas College in October to undertake interviews and verify the information provided in the Institutional Self Evaluation Report.

During the visit, the evaluation team will typically expect to meet with the college president, administrators, department heads/program coordinators, members of the Governing Board, students and persons with substantial responsibility for producing the Institutional Self Evaluation Report.

The Self Evaluation Report will be made publicly available after the Accrediting Commission formally acts on it during its January 2013 meeting.

02/03/12 WASC Continues NMC’s Probation Status; NMC’s Efforts to Resolve Recommendations are Recognized

The Northern Marianas College today announced that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), Western Association for Schools and Colleges (WASC), continued the College’s probation status. The decision was made during the Commission’s meeting held January 10-12, 2012 and was made known to the College’s President on Friday, February 3, 2012.

The accredited status of the institution continues during the probation period.

In the action letter from ACCJC President Dr. Barbara Beno, the College is directed to “demonstrate full resolution of Recommendations 3, 4, and 10 from the team report of 2010” and Supplemental Recommendations 1 and 2 from the Fall 2011 evaluation team at the time of the next comprehensive review in October 2012.

“Although we had hoped for an upgraded accreditation status, we are pleased to see that the accrediting commission has recognized the College’s efforts to resolve many of the issues and recommendations that had been raised in prior action letters and team reports,” NMC President Dr. Sharon Y. Hart said.

The WASC team that visited the College last November deemed that the College had met and resolved 8 out of 11 recommendations and concerns raised by ACCJC in June 2011. The team determined that Recommendations 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8 were resolved and Commission Concerns 1 and 2 were fully addressed.

The WASC team also commended the College in its report, writing, “The morale of faculty and staff were upbeat and hopeful of better times to come, as if a corner had been turned.”

It was also noted that this is the first time since NMC was initially placed on sanction in 2007 that the accrediting commission is not requiring a separate accreditation report to be submitted. Instead the College has been asked to include its response to the outstanding recommendations at the time of the next comprehensive review in October 2012.

Regarding the remaining recommendations to be met, President Hart stated, “Even before the receipt of the action letter from ACCJC, the College had begun taking concrete steps to address the issues and concerns raised in the outstanding and supplemental recommendations.”

“For instance, to address the supplemental recommendation regarding the policies and procedures, we have already developed a comprehensive five-year calendar for policy review that will be introduced at the next Board of Regents meeting scheduled for later this month,” said Hart.

With regard to the recommendation concerning financial management and internal control, President Hart also noted that the College has made several structural changes to its budget, finance, and administration offices that are helping to improve internal financial controls and provide more timely and accurate financial information to the Management Team.

The newly appointed Dean of Administration has begun streamlining workflow within these areas, which has already resulted in key financial reporting that will inform the content of the College’s forthcoming annual report to the CNMI Legislature. The reporting structure of the Budget and Finance Committee has also been modified so the governance body now serves as an advisory council to the Dean of Administration (much in the same way that the Academic Council serves as an advisory body to the Dean of Academic Programs and Services).

Dr. Hart added that the College had already started preparing for its 2012 Self-Evaluation with ACCJC before receiving the action letter. “As we work on the 2012 Self-Evaluation process with ACCJC, we look forward to resolving these issues, as well as meeting all accreditation standards and eligibility requirements.”

To download a copy of the WASC action letter and the Visiting Team Report, please visit “Resource Documents” page.

07/02/11 Message from the President: Accreditation Status of Northern Marianas College

As the new president of Northern Marianas College (NMC), I look forward to working with the entire NMC community and the community which it serves. As the only public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, NMC fulfills a critical role in the islands’ economic and social development and has the potential to be the engine for this community’s economic growth.

NMC’s logo, the Proa, is the signature sailing canoe of the islands’ indigenous Chamorros and Carolinians. At one point in history, the Proa was the fastest, most agile, and therefore, most envied vessel in the Pacific, taking ancient Chamorros and Carolinians far and wide throughout Micronesia. It is fitting that the Proa is our college’s logo, for we, too, hope to take our students far and wide in their dreams, aspirations, and hopes.

But, as with any sailing vessel, it’s not always smooth sailing. We sometimes lose our way in storms, currents sometimes lead us awry, and at times, we, in the canoe, row in competing directions until we row our way into a standstill, leaving us dead in the water.

Likewise, NMC’s accreditation history has not been smooth sailing. In the past five years, NMC has twice been placed on Show Cause sanction by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) under the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). More recently, at its June 9””11, 2010 meeting, the Commission took action to place the college on Show Cause status. At its January 11””13, 2011 meeting, the Commission took action to continue the Show Cause status. The Commission issued the Show Cause order because it determined that NMC did not comply with Commission Eligibility Requirements and did not meet Commission Standards in three key areas: institutional autonomy from outside interference, institutional financial management and integrity, and institutional governance and accountability.

It wasn’t until recently that the Commission took action to lift the Show Cause order. Based on NMC’s March 15, 2011 Show Cause Report to the Commission, NMC’s May 31, 2011 Supplemental Report to the Commission, and the report of the April 13””14, 2011 evaluation team visit of Commission representatives, at its June 8””10, 2011, the Commission took action to remove the College from Show Cause and impose Probation. The Commission also took action to require NMC to submit a Follow-Up Report by October 15, 2011 to be followed by a visit of Commission representatives.

Indeed, while much work has been done, much more work remains to be done at NMC. With a dedicated faculty and staff and a Board of Regents that has set a new, positive direction with the hiring of a new president, NMC is fully committed to complying with Commission requirements, meeting accreditation standards, and having its accreditation reaffirmed. We will do all we can to preserve our institution’s autonomy, secure financial stability, and uphold the highest standards for governance and accountability. Our Proa may have run off course, but we now sail forward, together.

Sharon Y. Hart, Ph. D.
President
Northern Marianas College
05/31/11 NMC Submits Supplemental Report

The Northern Marianas College today submitted its Supplemental Report to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). The report supplements the March 15, 2011 Show Cause Report and presents more evidence of NMC's continuing and sustainable efforts to comply with ACCJC eligibility requirements and standards. The report was developed with considerable input and participation from the College community.

The Supplemental Report, the March 15, 2011 Show Cause Report, and other accreditation documents will be made accessible on the NMC website once ACCJC indicates that it is appropriate to do so.

In the meantime, members of the community are invited to visit the NMC website at www.nmcnet.edu for accreditation news and updates, including the recently-updated FAQ section.
03/31/11 NMC Continues Accreditation Momentum

The Northern Marianas College’s momentum in resolving accreditation concerns has not slowed following the submission of the Show Cause Report to the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) earlier this month.

As earlier announced, Standard Teams composed of faculty, staff and students have been formed to focus on demonstrating that the College complies with the Commission's Eligibility Requirements and meets Commission Standards.

These Standard Teams continue to meet on a weekly basis and report their progress to the Accreditation Reaffirmation Team (ART), the steering committee formed by the Interim President to organize and lead all accreditation efforts.

The progress of these teams will be included in a Supplemental Report, which will be submitted before the June 2011 meeting of the Commission.

“Accredited colleges have the option of submitting a Supplemental Report to the ACCJC, and NMC wants to demonstrate that it is monitoring and ensuring the progress of the action items discussed in the Show Cause Report we submitted earlier,” said Galvin Deleon Guerrero, NMC’s Accreditation Liaison Officer and Director of Institutional Effectiveness.

“Our efforts in addressing accreditation concerns continue at full speed,” said Interim President Lorraine T. Cabrera. “Members of the College community are actively addressing accreditation-related issues.”

According to Cabrera, the College is working on strengthening the link between the college’s program review (self evaluation) with planning and budgeting.

The College Council, one of the College’s governance bodies with representatives from students, staff, and faculty, has tasked the Program Review and Assessment Outcome Committee (PROAC) and the Budget and Finance Committee (BAFC) to improve the process of integrating program needs and budgeting.

Cabrera added that the process would be a check and balance system that ensures that the College’s limited resources are fairly and economically distributed to the programs and services that need it most. It will also be a system of identifying what cost cutting measures need to be taken and most importantly what type of revenue generation activities need to be launched.
03/15/11 NMC Submits Show Cause Report

The Northern Marianas College today submitted its March 15, 2011, Show Cause Report to the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) - Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The Show Cause Report contains evidence that demonstrates the College’s compliance with accreditation standards, eligibility requirements, and Commission recommendations.

In a Special Board meeting held on March 14, 2011, the NMC Board of Regents voted unanimously to endorse the Report’s submission to WASC.

“I commend the staff, faculty and students of NMC for all their hard work in completing the Show Cause report,” said Interim President Lorraine Cabrera.

The composition and creation of the report engaged the efforts of the entire NMC community. As part of the college’s effort to keep the College’s stakeholders involved in the preparation of the Show Cause Report, it recently held an Accreditation Workshop where faculty, staff and students participated in reviewing and providing input on key sections of the Report. Faculty, staff and students have also served on the various standard teams that took the lead in preparing the Report.

03/07/11 NMC Faculty, Staff and Students Work to Complete Show Cause Report

The Northern Marianas College faculty, staff and students are working to complete the show cause report to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) ”“ Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) that is due on March 15, 2011.

In January 2011, the ACCJC continued the College on show cause status. Since then members of the college community have been working diligently to demonstrate that the College fully complies with ACCJC’s eligibility requirements, fully meets ACCJC standards, addresses the recommendations from the Commission, and resolves the areas of concern by the commission, which are: institutional autonomy from outside interference, institutional financial management and integrity, and institutional governance and accountability.

The College is addressing these issues by having Standard Teams composed of faculty, staff and students focus on Eligibility Requirements as well as the following Commission Standards: I.A Mission, I.B Improving Institutional Effectiveness, II.A Instructional Programs, II.B Student Support Services, III.A Human Resources, III.D Financial Resources, and IV.B Board and Administrative Organization.

Standard Teams have been using the ACCJC’s “Guide to Evaluating Institutions” to assist in answering questions specific to each Commission Standard.

As part of the college’s effort to keep the College’s stakeholders involved in the preparation of the Show Cause Report, it recently held an Accreditation Workshop for all faculty, staff and students to participate in the Standard Team’s reports.

In the workshop faculty, staff and students were divided into groups and each group was handed a section of the Standard Report. Their task was then to read and evaluate the section and provide comments or suggestions.

The results of the small group discussions were then distributed to the designated Standard Team to review and incorporate the changes and or comments made by the groups.

Interim President Lorraine Cabrera said ”I am proud of all the contributions made by the staff, faculty and students to the report as well as the work that is being done by the Standard Teams in complying with accreditation eligibility requirements and meeting accreditation standards.”

02/02/11 NMC Placed on Continued Show Cause

In a letter dated January 31, 2011, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) President Dr. Barbara Beno informed Northern Marianas College Interim President Lorraine T. Cabrera that the Commission has acted to continue the College on Show Cause status.
The accredited status of the NMC continues during the Show Cause period.

Dr. Beno indicated that the action to place NMC on continued Show Cause was made during the Commission’s meeting held January 11-13, 2011. During the meeting, the Commission reviewed the Show Cause Report submitted by the College, as well as the report of the evaluation team which visited NMC in October, 2010. The Commission also received a supplemental report from the College and heard comments from Board of Regents Chairperson Paz Younis and Interim President Lorraine Cabrera.

“While we are disappointed with the news about the recent Commission action, our resolve in meeting accreditation standards has not been shaken,” said Interim President Lorraine T. Cabrera. “The College is prepared to do whatever is necessary to gain accreditation reaffirmation during the Commission’s next meeting.”

The College is now required to submit a Show Cause Report by March 15, 2011.

“I also want to emphasize, especially to students, that the College remains accredited during the show cause period,” said Interim President Lorraine Cabrera “Academic classes, federal financial aid, and student services will not be affected.”

The College’s Show Cause status was continued, according to Dr. Beno, for the following reasons: NMC is not in compliance with Commission eligibility requirements and standards in three key areas: institutional autonomy from outside interference, institutional financial management and integrity, and institutional governance and accountability.

In a campus assembly held Wednesday morning to announce the continued show cause status, Interim President Cabrera indicated that she was proud of all the work that has already been done to comply with accreditation eligibility requirements and meet accreditation standards.

“The evaluation team that visited NMC last October noted in its report many of the accomplishments that the College has made to meet accreditation requirements,” said Interim President Lorraine T. Cabrera. “We will continue to build on the progress and report our achievements in the Show Cause Report due in March.”

“As we’ve always been done, we will continue to regularly update students, staff, faculty and community members about our accreditation efforts,” added Cabrera.

The College has posted copies of the WASC-ACCJC action letter, the Show Cause Report, and other documents to the Resource Documents page of the NMC website. The community is invited to download and review these reports.
08/31/10 Accreditation Update - August 31, 2010
08/20/10 Accreditation Update - August 20, 2010
08/12/10 Accreditation Update - August 12, 2010
08/06/10 Accreditation Update - August 06, 2010
07/30/10 Accreditation Update - July 30, 2010
07/01/10 Answers to Your Questions about NMC's Accreditation
06/30/10 The Northern Marianas College was placed on “Show Cause” status by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), which is part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). During the Show Cause period, NMC’s remains fully accredited. To view a copy of the College’s official statement, please click here. To view copies of the WASC Special Visit Report (Dated April 13-14, 2010) and the WASC ACCJC Letter (Dated June 30, 2010), please click here.
02/04/10 The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) took action to accept NMC’s October 15, 2009 Midterm Report. To view a copy of the Midterm Report, the WASC-ACCJC Action Letter (Dated Jan. 29, 2010), and the Visiting Team Report, please visit Resource Documents Page.
07/06/09 NMC's Accreditation Reaffirmed

The Northern Marianas College today announced that its accreditation has been REAFFIRMED! The decision to reaffirm the College’s accreditation was made during the June 2009 meeting of the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

President Fernandez congratulated and thanked all the students, staff and faculty of NMC for their hard work, dedication, and commitment. She also expressed her gratitude to the NMC Board of Regents, CNMI Governor and Lt. Governor, Legislators, the (former) Washington Representative’s Office, the CNMI’s Delegate to the U.S. Congress, the Office of Insular Affairs, and many other community members for their unrelenting support of the College.

Click here to view the decision letter from the WASC/ACCJC and other accreditation-related documents.
04/01/09 In its March 30, 2009 regular meeting (recessed and reconvened on April 1, 2009), the Northern Marianas College Board of Regents voted to accept the April 1, 2009 Show Cause Report prepared by NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez and her management team.

The April 1, 2009 Show Cause Report was then officially transmitted to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Because it also contains the College’s responses regarding the School of Education’s bachelor’s degree program, the report was also transmitted to the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.

The report contains evidentiary data that supports the College’s compliance with (ACCJC) Team Recommendations 1, which deals with integrating planning, program review, and budgeting, and Team Recommendation 2, which specifically involves the institutionalization of the program review process.

The accrediting commission has already acknowledged and recognized the work that the College has done to comply with accreditation requirements that dealt with student learning outcomes, employee evaluations, facility renovations and repair, and administrative capacity. As a result, the College was not required to report on these issues on the April 1, 2009 Show Cause Report.

The Commission will be sending a visiting team to the College on April 20. This team, composed of three Commission representatives, will then submit their team visit report to the full board of the Commission. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges is expected to make a decision regarding NMC’s accreditation in June 2009.

President Fernandez stressed that the College remains accredited by ACCJC/WASC during the Show Cause period; all academic credits and degrees from NMC are accredited and will be transferable to other accredited institutions.

“We are extremely proud of the work placed f! orth by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Board members to com plete the April 1, 2009 Report,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez during her presentation to the Board of Regents. “Many people worked long nights and weekends to ensure that the report contains concrete evidence of the efforts completed to meet accreditation requirements. We are especially thankful for the continued support demonstrated by Executive and Legislative Branch leaders, U.S. Representative Kilili, and many, many community members,” added President Fernandez.

The April 1, 2009 Report was also approved by College Council, which is the lead governance group at NMC that includes representatives from faculty, staff, and students.

During the meeting, the members of the Board of Regents commended the students, staff, and faculty members for their work in ensuring that the College accreditation is reaffirmed.

“Many people worked around the clock to make sure the College continues its critical role of providing higher educational an! d professional growth opportunities,” said Malua Peter, Acting Chairperson of the Board of Regents. “We commend the students, staff, and faculty for their hard work in putting the Report together.”

03/27/09 Through efforts led by the Planning, Program Review, and Outcomes Assessment Committee (PROAC), the College has begun the evaluation of first cycle of program review, a required step by ACCJC (see Visiting Team Report of Nov. 3-6, 2008, page 4, 6, and 8). PROAC will be releasing a report on the results of program review that will be based on three (3) sources: the Assessment Survey of January 06, 2009; the scoring results of December 11, 2008 updates to recommendations from the program to itself as approved by PROAC (for the first cycle of program review); and, records of dialogue with programs from the week of Mar. 23-27, 2009.

The Evaluation Report will cover the actions taken to date as a result of program review as well as the perceptions of faculty, staff, and students about those actions and the results themselves and how it ultimately impacts education and education support services of the College.

Results of program review are reviewed by campus-wide committees and, if approved, are used as part of the planning and budget process. Approved recommendations are supported by evidence.

“The evaluation results clearly show that actions taken as a result of program review are either reflected in the operational plan, the budget, or both and at all levels,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. “This is important to WASC because the Commission is looking for proof that there is a planning and assessment model here at NMC that is sustained and inclusive of faculty, staff, and students. The record will reflect that we've accomplished this.”

“About 50 percent of program level recommendations have been implemented in less than six months,” said William Castro, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and PROAC Chairperson. “Approximately 75 percent of the recommendations that were implemented have been evaluated and supported by data and evidence. These results are documented and widely communicated to faculty, staff, and students.”

03/12/09 The NMC Alumni Association will be playing a key role in the College’s accreditation efforts by helping to collect student achievement data. In its meeting on March 12, 2009, members of the NMC Alumni Association agreed to help disseminate and college an alumni survey to help track post-graduation student achievement data and to help improve current student program and services at NMC. To view a copy of the survey, click here.

03/07/09 Accreditation efforts undertaken by students, staff, and faculty are continuing on high gear at all levels at the Northern Marianas College.

“The accrediting commission has already acknowledged and recognized the work that we have done to comply with accreditation requirements that dealt with student learning outcomes, employee evaluations, facility renovations and repair, and administrative capacity,” said Dr. Carmen Fernandez, NMC President. “We are now centering our efforts on the remaining unresolved recommendations which involve integrating planning, program review, and budgeting, and institutionalizing the program review process.”

All the efforts regarding Team Recommendations 1 & 2 will be reported in the College’s report to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The report is due on April 1, 2009.

03/06/09 As evidence of ongoing program review, the second cycle (cycle 2) of the program review process at the Northern Marianas College is well underway with over 40 programs having submitted information about their missions, intended program outcomes, and means of assessment and success criteria.

The Planning, Program Review and Outcomes Assessment Committee (PROAC) adopted, at its regular meeting of March 06, 2009, the Success Criteria for Program Review First Cycle.

“The passage of the success criteria for program review is a major step for the College because it allows the College community to evaluate what it is we accomplished in the first cycle,” said Wil Castro, PROAC Chair and Director of NMC’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness. “It is what WASC requires of us, ”˜to step back and evaluate both the process and outcomes of the program review process.”

“PROAC will also act on the strategic plan year 1 operational plan update reports and the program review quarterly updates as provided by the Institutional Excellence guide. This feedback to the campus community allows all programs to evaluate any improvements made thus far.” said President Fernandez. “It will also allow us to see if we’re on course with doing what we set out to do at the beginning of the academic year.”

02/03/09 The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) notified the College that it took action to accept the Show Cause Report submitted and to continue the College on Show Cause. The Commission required the College to complete and submit a Show Cause Report by April 1, 2009, which will be followed by a visit from Commission representatives.

It is important to note that the Commission is now only requiring that the April 1, 2009 Show Cause Report address Team Recommendation 1. The Commission is no longer requiring the College to report on Team Recommendations 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, Eligibility Requirement #5 (Administrative Capacity), and the financial audit recommendations from the FY 2006 audit.

“The Commission has acknowledged and recognized the work that we have done to comply with accreditation requirements that dealt with student learning outcomes, employee evaluations, facility renovations and repair, and administrative capacity,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. “As a result, we do not have to report on this issues in the Report that is due on April 1, 2009. We will now be centering our efforts on the remaining unresolved recommendations, which involve integrating planning, program review, and budgeting, and institutionalizing the program review process.”

The College remains fully accredited during the Show Cause period.

01/29-31/09 Northern Marianas College President Dr. Carmen Fernandez and all the academic department heads attended WASC Retreat on Student Learning and Assessment, Level 1, January 29-31, 2009, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Academic heads included Pasquana Calvo, Nursing Dept Chair; Cyndi Deleon Guerrero, SOE Director; Mark Haag, Language & Humanities Chair; Glenn Keaton, Science, Math, Health & Athletics Chair; Wil Maui, Business Department; Frank Sobolewski, Social Sciences &Fine Arts Chair and Faculty Senate President.

The College’s attendance at this training is a historical first for the College and is unprecedented. The team received much reinforcement in terms of the work that has already been done and as well as new ideas that could be implemented. Most important is the team’s exposure to the “learner-centered” institution, a practice that takes “Students First” to the next level. The training sessions focused on learning-centered pedagogy, program review, assessment, rubrics, mapping, etc. The lead presenters during the training were Mary Allen and Amy Driscoll, highly respected and published experts in the field of program review and assessment.

One of the highlights of the event was when Dr. Steve Maradian, ACCJC Vice President, openly complimented NMC’s program review accomplishments.

At this final session, each College attending the retreat presented a summary of their plans for action as a result of what each college's team learned at the retreat. The NMC team presented the following plan:
  1. Meet back at NMC to discuss overview of training and to define needs for on-campus-wide training to be provided by Mary Allen and Amy Driscoll.
  2. Set up workshops to share training with all faculty and staff at NMC.
  3. Begin work to develop a learner-centered environment.
  4. Complete work on defining criteria to evaluate the program review process; evaluate the program review process using these criteria; and implement the findings in the evaluation of the process in order to improve the second cycle of program review.
  5. Have regularly scheduled meetings twice a month with the President, the Dean of Academic Programs and Services, and the six academic department heads, in order to discuss progress in developing a culture of learning (a learner-centered environment) and a culture of communication at NMC.
  6. Maintain the momentum in our program review and outcomes assessment We need dialogue involving all faculty and staff to develop a feeling of shared ownership of program review and outcomes assessment (PROA) and the improvements that are achieved as a result of these processes.


01/28/09 In its meeting held on January 28, 2009, the Northern Marianas College Board of Regents adopted the 2010 budget seeking $4.6 million from the Legislature for instructional and administrative personnel. During budgetary deliberations, the College heavily weighed accreditation requirements. Some of the positions that the College is seeking to fund are those that have been recently identified as critical during the program review and assessment process.

“The preparation of the 2010 Budget involved an in-depth and critical review of the College’s financial needs,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. “The budget that we have presented to the Board represents the bare minimum that the College needs to maintain the quality of educational services we offer and to meet accreditation requirements.”

The bulk of the budget request, 48%, is earmarked for the provision of NMC’s academic programs and services (43% for instructional faculty and an additional 5% for other academic programs and services). The other single largest component (16%) is allocated for student services, which include library services, admissions and records, counseling, and student activities.

Prior to the submission of the 2010 Budget to the NMC Board of Regents, it was reviewed and approved through the College’s shared governance process, which involves the collective input of students, faculty, and staff. The budget was also reviewed by the BOR Fiscal Committee (Chairperson Janet Han King, Regent Agnes McPhetres, and Regent Dr. Rita Hocog-Inos) on January 27, 2009.

01/07/09- 01/08/09 NMC meets with ACCJC

NMC Board of Regents Chairman Charles Cepeda and President Dr. Carmen Fernandez attended the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges meeting in San Francisco where they provided an update of the Colleges progress in meeting accreditation requirements since the December 31, 2008 supplemental report.

With regard to integrating planning, program review, and budgeting, President Fernandez informed the Commission members that NMC was in the midst of its professional development training week and that the newly published Institutional Excellence Guide, which describes NMCÕs governance structure, was disseminated to all employees. She also stated that the Strategic Plan Year 1 first quarter results have been submitted and will be reviewed by the Planning, Program Review, and Assessment Outcomes Committee (PROAC).

On the subject of program review, President Fernandez stated that a survey was conducted to assess the first cycle of program review; the results are being compiled for review by PROAC. She also mentioned that a faculty assembly was convened to discuss program review success criteria, and that NMC employees underwent training on assessment tools. Additionally, President Fernandez noted that quarterly updates for the first cycle of program review have been submitted and will be reviewed by this month, and that all course level Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) have been submitted and will be also reviewed this month.

Furthermore, President Fernandez provided an update on the Colleges efforts to invest in training and development to build capacity at all levels of NMC. She cited the recent hires of a highly qualified CFAO and other key staff; she also stressed that training for staff will also continue, as all academic department heads will be attending the WASC Student Learning & Assessment Level I training.

01/05/09- 01/07/09 Professional Development Sessions at NMC

The Northern Marianas College completed a three-day series of professional development sessions that were aimed at expanding professional and administrative capacities of all NMC employees.

The training sessions included a workshop entitled Building Research Capacity; An Overview of Assessment Tools, an advising workshop, an orientation for new employees, and a meeting of the Academic Council. There was also a general assembly meeting where students, staff, and faculty members were given an opportunity to provide their feedback on the process of assessment and program review. During the assembly, members of the Colleges management team also gave an update of accreditation efforts. An additional assembly meeting specifically for faculty members was also convened to discuss program review success criteria.

12/30/08 NMC Board of Regents Adopts Supplemental Report

At its regular meeting, the Board of Regents (BOR) voted to accept the December 31, 2008 Supplemental Report to be submitted to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

The Supplemental Report also includes the College's recently completed Institutional Excellence Guide, a comprehensive document which spells out NMC's shared governance structure, and summarizes the integrated planning, program review, and budgeting process. It includes a master calendar for the three activities and designates the responsible council/committee for each activity with an evaluation component. The Institutional Excellence Guide requires that the program review and planning activities are to be reported quarterly and conducted annually. The Year 1 Operational Plan of the PROA Strategic Plan was critically reviewed and refined to include success criteria and status reports.

The other reports that have been submitted by the College since it was placed on show cause include the March 15, 2008 Special Progress Report, the May 31, 2008 Update to the March 15, 2008 Special Progress Report, and more recently, the October 15, 2008 Show Cause Report.

12/24/08 College Council Adopts new Bylaws and Approves new Institutional Excellence Guide

College Council met in a special session on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 and, in a major step towards meeting WASC standards, unanimously approved the 1) revised College Council Articles and Bylaws, and 2) Institutional Excellence Guide,.

The revised articles and bylaws increase faculty representation on the Council. Additionally, they clarify the Council's role and scope in campus shared governance processes.

The Institutional Excellence Guide: An Organizational Guide to Shared Governance, Planning, Assessment, and Budgeting (IE Guide) provides an overview of the planning, assessment, and budgeting processes of the College in addition to articulating the shared governance structure for NMC. Further, as part of the IE Guide, the composition of governance councils, committees and groups was also unanimously approved in a subsequent motion.

These actions are a part of NMC's ongoing efforts to institutionalize and widely communicate the planning, assessment, and budgeting processes of the College and how the various shared governance bodies are involved in these processes.

11/03/08- 11/05/08 WASC Team Visits NMC

Members of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) visiting team was at NMC this week to validate the progress that the College has made in meeting accreditation requirements.

The team was composed of three individuals: Dr. Sherrill Amador, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Commissioner / Team Chair; Dr. Karen Graham, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (ACSCU); and Dr. Steve Maradian, ACCJC Vice President for Policy and Research.

To prepare for the team visit, Northern Marianas College officials continued the work it had set in motion when the College was placed on show cause status in January of 2008. Such work included linking planning, program review, and resource allocation; institutionalizing a systematic, evidence-based process for evaluating program effectiveness; developing, measuring, and analyzing student learning outcomes; enhancing employee evaluation processes; securing funding to address short and long term facilitiesÕ needs; and building administrative capacity through the recruitment of highly qualified staff and the provision of recurring professional development opportunities.

During the visit, the team met with members of the Board of Regents, NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez and other key staff, the faculty members from the School of Education, and members of the CollegeÕs governance groups, including the Staff Senate, the Faculty Senate, the Planning, Budgeting, and Evaluation Committee (PBEC), the Program Review and Outcomes Assessment Committee (PROAC), College Council, and the members of the Associated Students of NMC (ASNMC).

Additionally, the Team was able to meet with students, faculty, staff, and community members during a general assembly held on November 4. Despite the holiday (November 4 was election day), nearly 200 were in attendance.

10/29/08 On October 29, 2008, Northern Marianas College President Dr. Carmen Fernandez provided members of the 16th CNMI Legislature an update of the College’s efforts to meet accreditation standards. In her presentation to the legislators, Dr. Fernandez highlighted the College’s success in implementing the recommendations set forth by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) in its January 31, 2008 Show Cause letter.

The accreditation meeting was called by the Chairman of the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee, Representative Ralph Torres at House Chamber. The presentation was attended by Speaker Arnold Palacios, Vice-Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero, and Representatives David Apatang, Tina Sablan, Ed Salas, Ray Palacios, Diego Benavente, Ray Tebuteb, and Senators Henry San Nicolas and Felix Mendiola.

During the meeting, legislators asked President Fernandez a variety of questions that involved issues such budgetary requirements and procedural accreditation steps. The meeting concluded with legislators reaffirming their support and commitment to ensuring that the College continues to provide CNMI residents opportunities for educational and professional advancement.

The NMC Board of Regents in attendance included Chairperson Charles V. Cepeda, Vice-Chairperson Maria “Malua” Peter, Treasurer Agnes McPhetres and members Dr. Rita Hocog Inos, and Elaine Hocog Orilla.

Members of the House of Representatives had earlier passed a House Resolution commending Dr. Fernandez, the NMC Board of Regents, faculty, staff, and students for working diligently to address accreditation concerns.

10/29/08 To maintain compliance with ACCJC standard IV: Leadership and Governance, the Northern Marianas College Board of Regents today completed a two-day, regional boardsmanship training session organized by the Pacific Postsecondary Education Council (PPEC). Five of the six members of the Board of Regents attended the training.

Presented by Dr. David Wolf & Attorney Robert Henry, the training sought to maximize board members’ effectiveness, explore accreditation requirements as they relate to board responsibilities, and heighten participants’ understanding of critical and timely issues regularly confronted by governing and policy-making bodies.

The training also included a segment, entitled, “An Accreditation Essential: Evaluating Institutional Effectiveness and Program Review,” which discussed board members’ role in continuous improvement of quality in all aspects of their institutions.

Board of Regents Chairperson Charles V. Cepeda, Vice-Chairperson Maria “Malua” Peter, Treasurer Agnes McPhetres, and members Dr. Rita Hocog Inos and Elaine Hocog Orilla participated in the training. They were joined by NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez, as well as regional government and educational leaders from the Guam Legislature, Office of the Governor of Guam, Guam Community College, University of Guam, College of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, and College of Micronesia (Federated States of Micronesia). Members of the CNMI House of Representatives and the CNMI Board of Education also attended the training.

Other agenda items covered during the training session included “What is accreditation”; “What does accreditation require of a trustee”; “The relationship between board authority and that of the law”; “What is the public’s right to know regarding board businesses?”; “Ethical issues accompanying board member’s role”; “Board responsibility with the CEO”; “Current issues in U.S. higher education law”; and other topics.

The PPEC is composed of CEOs and presidents of the region’s colleges and universities. Its purpose includes encouraging and developing regional planning of postsecondary education throughout the Pacific; serving as a forum to address common educational issues and fostering cooperation in solving common problems facing Pacific people and their environment; and encouraging the sharing of resources and expertise among member institutions to promote the wise utilization of limited resources.

10/20/08 Members of the Northern Marianas College’s Management Team led accreditation update briefings for departmental staff members on Friday, October 24, 2008, and Saturday, October 26, 2008. NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez, Office of Institutional Director William Castro, and Academic Programs and Services Dean Dr. Debra Cabrera summarized the requirements set by ACCJC, the efforts undertaken to meet accreditation standards, and the next steps involved in the accreditation process. Staff members were also provided highlights from the Show Cause Report, PROA Strategic Plan, the Composite Report, the Institutional Priorities Report, and other documents.

The accreditation update briefings were made to staff members of COMPASS, Finance Office, Financial Aid, Admin. Services, Bookstore, Academic Programs and Services, Information Technology, Office of Institutional Effectiveness, and Student Services.

10/20/08 To affirm its support of the Northern Marianas College, legislative leaders have introduced a series of bills that are aimed at shoring up the College’s facilities and infrastructure.
  • House Bill 16-86, introduced by Representatives Justo S. Quitugua, David Apatang, Oscar Babauta, Joseph Camacho, Edward Salas, and Stanley Torres, reprograms $45,000 to pave the coral road on the western side of the As Terlaje campus;
  • House Bill 16-18, introduced by Representatives David Apatang and Justo Quitugua, appropriates $130,000 for building improvements and operations; and
  • House Bill 16-171, authored by Representative Oscar Babauta, identifies $25,000 for bookstore renovations and collateral improvements.
10/16/08 After submitting the Show Cause Report to the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez met with executive and legislative leaders to continue her ongoing dialogue about the College’s accreditation efforts and to provide them with highlights of the Report submitted on time to the ACCJC on October 15.

President Fernandez first met with Governor Benigno Fitial, who pledged his continued support for the College. Shortly afterward, Dr. Fernandez met with House of Representatives Speaker Arnold Palacios and Representative Ralph Torres, and joined by Representatives Joe Camacho and Tina Sablan. The legislators assured President Fernandez that they will continue to offer assistance and support to the College.

10/16/08 The Board of Regents, in its meeting held on October 15, 2008, voted to accept the Show Cause Report (the “Report”) prepared by NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez and her staff.

The Report demonstrates how the College has resolved the recommendations and concerns identified in the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College’s (ACCJC) January 31, 2008 Show Cause letter. It communicates””through the use of evidentiary data””the College’s efforts in 1) linking planning, program review, and resource allocation; 2) institutionalizing a systematic, evidence-based process for evaluating program effectiveness; 3) developing, measuring, and analyzing student learning outcomes; 4) enhancing employee evaluation processes; 5) securing funding to address short and long term facilities’ needs; and 6) building administrative capacity through the recruitment of highly qualified staff and the provision of recurring professional development opportunities.

The ACCJC will now evaluate the report. The Commission will be sending a delegation on the first week of November, 2008, to visit the NMC campus and to meet with various College officials. It will then make its decision regarding the College’s accreditation in the Commission’s January, 2009 meeting.

10/09/08 The Northern Marianas College Board of Regents, in its meeting held on October 9, 2008, voted unanimously to approve the FY2009 operations budget. The approval follows several weeks of extensive deliberations between NMC students, faculty, staff, and the members of the BOR’s Fiscal Committee, who all ensured that budget allocations were directly linked to the five-year PROA Strategic Plan, NMC’s institutional priorities, and the results program review activities.

The following comprises the complete text of BOR Resolution No. 2008-02, which formalizes the Board’s approval of the FY2009 Operations Budget:

Click here to view BOR Resolution No. 2008-02.

During the same meeting, the members of the Board of Regents also approved the Institutional Closure and Teach-Out /Transfer-Out Plan, which maps out the College’s closure plan if NMC loses its accreditation. ACCJC’s January 31, 2008 show cause letter requires the institution to prepare a closure plan as provided by the Commission’s “Policy on Closing an Institution.”

10/03/08 During the week of September 29, 2008, Dr. Alan Belcher of Key Trio met with key College personnel to help guide accreditation work, monitor progress, and evaluate completed tasks.

One of the first orders of business was to meet with the NMC Management Team to finalize the action plan for the Show Cause Report that is due to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) on October 15, 2008. In these meetings, actions to be completed by each member of the team were identified. Dr. Belcher spent time reviewing the draft closure plan required by the January 31, 2008 show cause letter and the draft FY2009 operations budget. He also made an additional critical review of the PROA Strategic Plan draft operational plan and had earlier reviewed the draft Program Review Composite Report. All of this documentation and work are to comply with the requirement to link program review and strategic planning to budgeting.

Dr. Belcher also met with Eric Plinske, Business Department chairperson, to review business program learning outcomes and assessment techniques. More specifically, they examined one course using case study methods as one form of learning/assessment, with the idea of creating a rubric usable for all business courses using case studies. Meetings were also held with Pam Buckingham, instructor from the School of Education.

In a meeting with members of the Program Review and Outcomes Assessment Committee (PROAC), the group reviewed the Composite Report. The Composite Report highlights campus-wide assessment activities and contains each department’s and administrative unit’s program review process, areas for improvement, findings and recommendations, and recommendations for the next review cycle. PROAC members identified next steps for the committee to include the development of a timeline for the implementation of recommendations. Additionally, PROAC is working to develop a spreadsheet listing all recommendations, responsi ble parties, expected timeline for addressing recommendation, and space for follow-up comments. The Committee, in close coordination with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, will act as the watchdog to ensure proper reporting and action.

Dr. Belcher also worked with staff members from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Office of Admissions and Records to refine definitions and ideas about calculating a consistent and effective retention rate and expected enrollment projections and revenue expectations.

To further discuss connecting course and program level outcomes to institutional level (general education) outcomes, Dr. Belcher also met with the General Education Committee members during his weeklong visit. They identified means of mapping curriculum to identify strengths of curriculum and any potential gaps in sufficiently covering the outcomes. They also discussed the need for the committee to gather data around the institution level outcomes for analysis of student learning.

10/03/08 After completing unprecedented efforts to link institutional priorities and the results of its program review activities to the allocation of financial resources, the Northern Marianas College anticipates the Board of Regents’ passage of the FY2009 budget at its next meeting on October 9, 2008. Such efforts directly address and comply with the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges’ Team Recommendation 1.

The carefully-structured and well-documented budget process was initiated two months ago by NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez’s appointment of the Institutional Priority Ad hoc Committee (IPAC), whose members were charged with using the results of the program review process and the College’s five-year plan to identify key institutional priorities.

To accomplish this complex task, the IPAC members used the NMC Strategic Plan 2008-2012 and the Program Review: A Composite Report of Academic Programs and Academic Support and Administrative Units (“Composite Report”) to steer their discussions.

The Strategic Plan lays out the following goals for the next five years: 1) Promote student learning and success; 2) Respond to the professional development, continuing education, and personal enrichment needs of the Commonwealth; 3) Optimize financial and human resources; and 4) Accelerate the upgrade of physical and technological infrastructure. Each goal is accompanied by specific, actionable initiative with a timeframe for implementation and execution.

The Composite Report, authored by the Program Review and Outcomes Assessment Committee (PROAC), highlights campus-wide assessment activities and contains each department’s and administrative unit’s program review process, areas for improvement, findings and recommendations, and recommendations for the next review cycle. The Composite Report is a culmination of an extensive process that involved a meticulous and painstaking review and discussion of key departments’ Form 2 and other program review documents.

Through the course of its deliberations, the IPAC singled out the following priorities: the procurement of resources to implement a state-of-the-art English language lab and equipment and the hiring of several key positions, including an academic counselor, a disabilities counselor, a database administrator, an instructional designer, and a media specialist.

These priorities are aligned with the goals specified in NMC’s Strategic Plan. For instance, the recommendation to prioritize the creation of a state-of-the-art English lab can be traced back to the Strategic Plan’s first goal of promoting student learning and success and the fourth goal of accelerating the upgrade of IT infrastructure.

The FY2009 Institutional Priorities was then officially transmitted to the Planning Budget and Evaluation Council (PBEC), which had been tasked with reviewing the recommendations from IPAC to guide the budget call process. The FY2009 Institutional Priorities document was also shared with the campus community.

All of NMC’s departments and administrative units were then asked to prepare their respective budgets, ensuring that all objectives and activities for which funds are requested are linked to the results of program review, institutional priorities, and the PROA Strategic Plan. In formulating their budgets, each department was also instructed to utilize a budget summary form that illustrated direct links between any increases in funding requests (from the previous year’s budget) to specific goals in the PROA Strategic Plan, the Institutional Priorities document, or the Program Review recommendations.

After receiving budget submittals, members of PBEC commenced the detailed review of each submission in consultation with departmental representatives. During this stage, the linkage between funding requests and institutional priorities was reinforced.

Having made all the necessary revisions to the budget, PBEC then forwarded the budget document to the College Council. The College Council serves as the mechanism for institutional input on issues of broad interest, as an internal communication system, and as a key part of the strategic planning process and WASC accreditation monitoring function for the College.

After approving the budget, members of the College Council then transmitted the budget document to NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez, who submitted it to the Board of Regent’s Fiscal Committee, which then took up the issue at its September 25, 2008 and October 3, 2008 meetings. The full membership of the Board of Regents is expected to consider the passage of the budget next week at its October 9, 2008 regular meeting.

09/26/08 At its September 25, 2008 regular meeting, the NMC Board of Regents voted unanimously to adopt the PROA Strategic Plan (PROA-SP) 2008-2012.

The Strategic Plan lays out four primary goals: 1) Promote student learning and success; 2) Respond to the professional development, continuing education, and personal enrichment needs of the Commonwealth; 2) Optimize financial and human resources; and, 4) Accelerate the upgrade of physical and technology infrastructure.

NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez and NMC’s management team are in the final stages of completing the Operations Plan that will be used to implement the activities to achieve the goals listed in the Strategic Plan. The Operations Plan contains specific, actionable initiatives with timeframes for implementation and execution.

09/08/08 Linking Program Review, PROA Strategic Plan, and the FY09 Operations Budget

The Program Review 2008: Academic Programs and Academic Support and Administrative Units "A Composite Report" (September 8, 2008) was unanimously passed by College Council on Monday, September 08, 2008. Prior to this, the Composite Report's section on recommendations for action requiring financial resource allocation was reviewed and used by the Institutional Priority Ad Hoc Committee (IPAC) to establish the FY 2009 Institutional Priorities. The FY 2009 Institutional Priorities was officially transmitted to and approved by the Planning Budget and Evaluation Council (PBEC) on Wednesday, September 3, 2008.

The draft PROA Strategic Plan 2008-2012, which updates the strategic plan 2006-2010, was shared with the entire NMC community and was approved by College Council on August 29, 2008.

The College is linking the results from Program Review (Composite Report), and the PROA Strategic Plan to the FY2009 operations budget. The Composite Report, FY 2009 Institutional Priorities, and PROA Strategic Plan will be used as primary references when justifying program budgets.

Both the draft PROA Strategic Plan and the FY09 operations budget are up for approval at the next Board of Regents meeting on September 25.

General Education

All academic programs will complete the mapping of their program outcomes to the recently established General Education Learning Outcomes by September 15, 2008. This semester, all the General Education Learning Outcomes will be assessed. The following are NMC's General Education Learning Outcomes, otherwise known as institutional outcomes:

Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Gen Ed 1: Communication

Speak, read, write, and listen with comprehension, with and without the support of technology.

Gen Ed 2: Science and Mathematics

Use the basic principles of science and mathematics to solve practical and theoretical problems.

Gen Ed 3: Citizenship and Society

Act responsibly as a member of a diverse community, and interact effectively in both local and global environments.

Gen Ed 4: Humanities

Make decisions in daily life based on creative thought and ethical principles.

Gen Ed 5: Critical Thinking

Access, interpret, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information to solve problems.

All of the activities above represent work required to comply with Team Recommendations 1, 2, and 4 from the January 31, 2008 ACCJC action letter placing NMC on show cause and will be reported in the October 15 show cause report.
08/25/08 For the past two weekends (August 16, 17, 23, and 24), NMC’s president and management team have been meeting to conduct a meticulous review and assessment of the 2006-2010 Strategic Plan and to develop an updated plan.

After dissecting and analyzing each section, the team created an updated master plan for 2008-2012. The new plan, the “ PROA Strategic Plan (PROA-SP) 2008-2012 ,” lays out four primary goals: 1) Promote student learning and success; 2) Respond to the professional development, continuing education, and personal enrichment needs of the Commonwealth; 2) Optimize financial and human resources; and, 4) Accelerate the upgrade of physical and technological infrastructure. Each goal is accompanied by specific, actionable initiative with a precise timeframe for implementation and execution.

President Fernandez stated: “This draft PROA Strategic Plan is the culmination of the NMC 2006-2010 Strategic Plan; the visioning sessions conducted by Key Trio last May; the strategic education master planning sessions with Hawaii Community College; and program review results. The management team took the 2006-2010 strategic plan further by proposing operating plans for action. As required by accreditation standards, the PROA-SP is linked to program review and budgeting. The working sessions to come up with the draft PROA-SP were intense but rewarding. The draft plan will now undergo a review and approval process overseen by NMC’s shared governance system and then presented to the Board of Regents for adoption at its next regular meeting in September.

The draft of the 2008-2012 PROA Strategic Plan can be downloaded by clicking here.
08/19/08 Northern Marianas College students can now have their financial aid awards processed more quickly and efficiently as the College launches a software module that fully automates the financial aid process.
The software, named PowerFAIDS, manages student eligibility for financial aid, verifies student information, helps manage Pell Grant disbursement, prepares award packaging, and simplifies financial aid reporting and research. PowerFAIDS also enables the College to electronically and simultaneously communicate with a large number of students to follow up””for example””any missing information in a financial aid application.

“The software also makes it possible for financial aid office staff to have online access to real-time financial award information,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. “The instant access to timely information about eligibility and award forecasts will play an important role as students and their families make important decisions about the future.”

Another advantage of PowerFAIDS is that it integrates with NMC’s main student information system, PowerCAMPUS. As such, NMC Information Technology Director Adrian Atalig anticipates that importing student academic and demographic data into PowerFAIDS will occur seamlessly.

Training sessions for the new software module took place from August 12 to August 15. They were conducted by SunGard Higher Education consultant Angelina Bryant.

“The next upgrade to the financial aid system will allow students to have the same instantaneous access as the staff have now,” President Fernandez said.

“The deployment of the software is part of NMC’s aggressive efforts to streamline and automate many tedious tasks to increase staff productivity and expand services to our students,” President Fernandez added.
08/18/08 To further channel efforts toward addressing its show cause status, the Northern Marianas College””in an unprecedented move””dedicated its entire week (Aug. 11 -15) of professional development days (PDD) to topics and sessions that dealt directly with meeting accreditation requirements.

A workshop featuring a presentation about academic advising kicked off the week and was followed by a PowerCAMPUS training conducted by the Office of Admissions and Records. PowerCAMPUS is the comprehensive student information software that better enables the College to track and report student achievement data which is required for accreditation purposes. The software also streamlines the registration process, accelerates the billing portion of registration, simplifies the preparation of lengthy financial reports, and shortens the turnaround time for the processing of transcripts.

Students, staff, and faculty assembled later on the first day for a presentation by NMC’s Program Review and Outcomes Assessment Committee (PROAC) members who provided an overview of the upcoming PDD sessions for the remainder of the week. They also gave an update of the activities and accomplishments that occurred over the last several months and some preliminary feedback on the PROAC composite reports.

The first day concluded with a presentation from the Human Resources Office, whose staff elaborated on instructions for the timely preparation and submission of faculty and staff evaluations. The evaluations are critical to assessing staff and faculty performance as well as institutional capacity.

On Tuesday, August 12, 2008, staff members from individual programs met their respective dyads (peer reviewers) to discuss the feedback they received from PROAC regarding their Form 1 and 2 documents. The Form 1 document explains how a program’s mission statement, intended program/service outcomes, means of assessment and success criteria, summary of data collected, and the use of results to improve delivery of services are linked. The Form 2 document provides information and analysis of a program’s history, specific services/activities, data/evidence used for planning and assessment purposes, human, physical, and technology resources, and recommendations for improvement.

Wednesday and Thursday were set aside to provide program staff with additional assistance and guidance with their Forms 1 and 2 in preparation for the next assessment and program review cycle, which begins in September 2008. Customized mini-workshops were designed and made available to address the following topics, which correspond to the different sections that comprise Forms 1 and 2:

  • History of Program and Program Advisory Council
  • Program Mission
  • Program Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) / Administrative Unit Outcome (AUO) and Human Resources
  • Student Achievement Data
  • Physical Resources
  • Technological Resources
  • Mapping (General Education, Program, and Course)
  • Program Recommendations


Later that Thursday evening, faculty and staff members met with Donna Lewis of Key Trio to discuss student learning outcomes (SLOs) to program courses using the Introduce, Reinforce, and Emphasize (IRE) exercise. Lewis had also met with various staff earlier in the day to discuss program review matters.

On Friday, August 15, 2008, NMC’s management team met with Ms. Lewis to discuss progress on the draft strategic plan, student learning outcomes, and work accomplished thus far.

Then, later on that day NMC’s professional development week culminated with an assembly of students, faculty and staff to wrap up the week and discuss the PROA Strategic Plan schedule and the Compliance Action Plan (CAP). In her remarks, Ms. Lewis commended the College for accomplishing a tremendous amount of work in such a short time frame.
08/07/08 To enhance the services provided to Northern Marianas College students, President Carmen Fernandez recently formed a working group””the Power Users Group””to maximize the benefits that a recently-upgraded, comprehensive student information software can provide.

The software, named the PowerCAMPUS Unified Digital Campus program, will streamline the registration process by providing students the ability to register for classes more quickly and easily. The software will also, for example, accelerate the billing portion of registration, the preparation of lengthy financial reports, and the turnaround time for the processing of transcripts.

Equally important, the software will better enable the College to track and report student achievement data which are required for accreditation purposes. Reports that had to be produced manually before now only take the push of a button.

“The Power Users Group is composed of dynamic individuals who are passionate about simplifying tasks that used to be too time consuming and cumbersome,” said Dr. Fernandez. “I have no doubt the NMC community will soon realize the practical benefits of their work through shorter registration lines, a more efficient admission process, and a quicker turnaround time on routine requests.”

President Fernandez named staff and faculty members to the Power Users Group on August 3, 2008. The Power Users Group consists of key individuals who regularly use the software to tap into the College’s database. Members also went through a two-week training session that was facilitated by the software’s vendor.

Heading the group is Joyce Taro of Academic Programs & Services, and serving as vice-chair is Leo Pangelinan from Counseling Programs & Services. Other members include Rose Cepeda (Admissions), James Santos and Eric Abragan (Information Technology), Solita Barnes (Finance), Janice Tenorio (Student Support Services), Loly Kingzio (Fine Arts Department), Cynthia Deleon Guerrero (School of Education), Colleen Villagomez (Financial Aid), Lisa Hasckaylo (Institutional Effectiveness), Bobbie Hunter (Human Resources), David Apatang (Community Programs & Services), and Wil Maui (Business Department).
08/04/08 NMC Completes Review of Program Documents Key to Accreditation Efforts

The Northern Marianas College recently completed a comprehensive review of program documents fundamental to the College’s efforts to meet accreditation requirements.

The review, led by the College’s Program Review and Outcomes Assessment Committee (PROAC), involved a meticulous and painstaking review and discussion of NMC’s key departments’ Form 2 documents. A Form 2 document provides information and analysis of a program’s history, specific services/activities; data/evidence used for planning and assessment purposes; human, physical, and technology resources, recommendations for improvement, etc.

To ensure extreme focus during the assessment, the PROAC members met over two separate weekends ”“ full day meetings were held on July 19-20 and 25-27.

PROAC is NMC’s official institutional assessment committee and is charged with facilitating the program review process. The committee reviewed submissions from all academic programs, academic support, and administrative units.

The Committee will be prepared to provide feedback to programs starting August 4 in the form of a composite report. The report covers a number of items including strengths and areas for improvement, findings and recommendations at the program and institutional levels, and next steps.

Dr. Carmen Fernandez, NMC President and ex-officio member of PROAC, participated in all the review sessions.

“The extensive deliberations that took place were so beneficial,” President Fernandez said. “It was so gratifying to see the results of the hard work from all levels of NMC and it will be more so when we begin to implement the improvements recommended by the program review process.”

“The program review process is a powerful exercise that leads to dialogue and engagement at all levels of the institution that is so healthy,” Fernandez added. “PROAC is to be commended for their sacrifice and dedication during the review period.”

The next step in the Program Review process is for PROAC to forward the Composite Report to College Council and the Planning, Budgeting, and Evaluation Committee (PBEC) for action. Results of program review will be linked to the strategic plan and budget allocation.
07/28/08 Staff of the Northern Marianas College recently completed a two-week training session to use software upgrade that is designed to enhance student experience as well as improve the services provided by the College.

The software, named PowerCAMPUS Unified Digital Campus program, will afford NMC staff access to a more secure and more user-friendly database. The upgrade is also aimed at providing students a quicker and more pleasant registration experience for the upcoming Fall ’08 semester as the software is expected to speed up the billing portion of registration. It also places NMC a step closer to providing online registration and affording students online ac cess to grades and unofficial transcripts.

“The training is part of the College’s overall efforts to continuously build staff capacity to improve the services that we provide to our students,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. “This upgrade is instrumental to the College’s efforts to regain accreditation and optimizes the college’s ability to meet data and evidence requirements for program and review assessment.”

Attendees of the training finished the sessions equipped with the knowledge and skills to operate the software upgrade, which will provide for a better records management and processing and will enhance the College’s ability to keep track of students’ portfolios and alumni career patterns and changes.

“Reports that had to be produced manually before now require only the push of a button,” President Fernandez added. “This is definitely a big plus for productivity.”

There were two parts of the training session, which was facilitated by software company SunGard Higher Education. SunGard’s Sue Tosh conducted training in the fields of admissions and records from July 16 to July 24, and Mary Grace Hendricks conducted training in the field of billing and cash receipts from July 22 to July 25.

Elizabeth Holland of the Sage Company was also available on July 24-26 for training and for implementing the integration of PowerCampus to MIPS, a software program which NMC uses for its financial transactions and reports.

All of the visiting consultants commended the staff and faculty who participated in the training for their enthusiasm and excitement. Sue Tosh indicated that the NMC participants were the friendliest and most motivated that she has ever encountered in her training career.
07/16/08 The Information Technology (IT) department successfully installed and upgraded NMC’s PowerCampus 7.1 server and training for the software commenced on this day for key departments at NMC. PowerCampus aims to enhance and streamline registration, billing, recruitment, and other processes by linking these key components seamlessly.

The training is being conducted by SunGard Higher Education from July 16-25, 2008. Ms. Sue Tosh will be conducting the PowerCampus Training for Admissions and Records from July 16-18. Ms. Mary Grace Hendricks will be conducting the PowerCampus Training for Billing/Cash Receipts from July 22-25, 2008. The implementation of the Billing/Cash Receipts module in Fall of 2008 will result in a significant improvement in registration as it will cut the lines normally created by a manual cashiering process.
07/11/08 Through the support of Guam Community College President Mary Okada, the NMC Bookstore staff received training from Ms. Joleen Evangelista, who oversees the GCC Bookstore. The purpose of the training was to bring the NMC Bookstore Team up to speed with certain procedures as well as to help resolve some of the audit findings.

Key Trio also continued their meetings with key groups at NMC, the first discussion being with the members of the Program Review, Outcomes, and Assessment Committee (PROAC). Attendees of this meeting defined the processes for PROAC’s review of reports from programs including timekeeper/documenter, note-taking, process for feedback to programs, use of the rubric; established a timeline for fe edback and preparation of a composite report; revised the Compliance Action Plan deadline; calibrated the rubric against a sample program review; identified the need for clarification of reporting lines from PROAC and other governance issues; and identified a need for a second rubric for Groups C and D.
07/10/08 Continuing its series of meetings with faculty members, Key Trio representatives met with faculty of the Nursing Department to discuss their program review and improvements to make within the department. Some of these included (1) immediately filling the department chair vacancy; (2) immediately reestablishing the advisory council; and (3) development and implementation of a student recruitment plan.

A discussion regarding validation and audit needs followed in Key Trio’s meeting with representatives from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Office of Admissions and Records. Process updates and documentation for PowerCampus operations were included in the discussion.

In a meeting with the Dean of Student Services and her staff, Key Trio helped to identify priority initiatives from the existing SEMP, discussed methods for connecting co-curricular activities to curricular ones, and identified links between student services and faculty.
07/09/08 Key Trio continued their series of meetings with various departments at NMC. On this date, they met with faculty members of the Business Department to develop a process for writing course-level student learning outcomes (SLOs) that support program-level objectives. They also discussed methods for obtaining and analyzing student work as evidence of learning.

Afterward, they met with NMC’s General Education Committee to discuss general education SLOs and connection to core course requirements. During the meeting, it was identified that there needed to be an improvement in the oversight for general education and also established priority tasks for the committee.

In other meetings on this day, Key Trio met with the Interim CFAO and her staff to discuss strategies for implementing the SEMP.

Strategic planning discussions continued with NMC’s Management Team, where it was d etermined that the 2006-2010 strategic plan should be updated and extended (2008-2013) and the current SEMP draft would become the implementation/action plan for overall strategic plan, with additional timeline, due dates, and other responsibilities to be included.
07/08/08 Key Trio met with the staff of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to discuss retention calculations. They also reviewed student satisfaction survey results, including strategies to present data and develop action plans with campus offices.

In a separate meeting with the NMC Management Team, Key Trio reviewed the draft Strategic Educational Master Plan (SEMP) and divided responsibilities for identifying additional resource needs, data input/product, and strategies for accomplishing initiatives.
07/07/08 During the week of July 7, accreditation work continued with our Key Trio partners Dr. Alan Belcher and Karen Merriman. They met with the members of the NMC Management Team to identify the agenda and objectives for the upcoming week of meetings and strategy sessions. The identified priorities include NMC’s strategic plan, program reviews, and a review of the Compliance Action Plan.
06/30/08 In a letter dated June 30, 2008, ACCJC President Dr. Barbara Beno informed Dr. Carmen Fernandez that the Commission took action to accept the March 15, 2008 Special Report submitted by the College. Further, Dr. Beno restated that the College needs to resolve the recommendations made by ACCJC before October 15, 2008. She also indicated that the College is required to include in the October 15, 2008 Show Cause Report its responses to the 2007 external audit findings.
06/19/08 During the week of June 16, Dr. Alan Belcher of Key Trio continued his working sessions with faculty, staff, and management as part of NMC's efforts to secure full accreditation in January 2009.

During the sessions, various NMC groups were given the opportunity to share their progress in attaining data and linking outcomes to unit and institutional mission statements. The groups are divided into Group A (general education, bachelor and associate degree programs); Group B (certificate programs); Group C (student services and administrative units); and Group D (special programs and services).

Several topics involving program review were also brought to the forefront during the candid discussions with Dr. Belcher. These topics included feedback/recommendations on Form 1; program and activity updates; and the ! Introduce, Reinforce, and Emphasize (IRE) system (which is a form of academic program mapping). Time was spent with management team to review the CAP (compliance action plan) and to develop a detailed task schedule to make sure that the College stays on track.
06/05/08 Accreditation Update from Dr. Carmen Fernandez, NMC President
05/30/08 From May 19-22, 2008, the Northern Marianas College worked with Dr. Alan Belcher, Managing Partner for Key Trio Consulting, to review the college’s assessment efforts to date. Dr. Belcher reviewed all assessment work submitted to and completed by the Program Review and Outcomes Assessment Committee (PROAC). He provided positive and helpful feedback to all the groups in NMC’s Assessment Taxonomy ”“ Group A: General Education, Bachelor and Associate Degree Programs, Group B: Certificate Programs, Group C: Student Services and Administrative Units, and Group D: Special Programs and Services. The faculty also benefited from Dr. Belcher’s visit by participating in a workshop where he emphasized and illustrated the mapping of student learning outcomes at the assignment, course, program, and institutional levels. During his visit, Dr. Belcher also worked with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness on aggregating and analyzing student achievement data ! for the purposes of program review. The efforts during this week were conducted to facilitate the resolution of Team Recommendations 2 and 4 as stated in ACCJC’s January 31, 2008 action letter to the college.

The Northern Marianas College took additional steps in late May to address Team Recommendation 1 as detailed in ACCJC’s January 31, 2008 action letter to the college. From May 27-30, 2008, Dr. Steven Malmberg, Dr. Meg Malmberg, and Mr. James Mulik, working under the auspices of Key Trio Consulting, conducted a series of mini visioning workshops with students, faculty, staff, administrators, and Board of Regents members at the Northern Marianas College. Each of the two-hour sessions, centered on the theme of “Working Together Towards a Shared Vision for Northern Marianas College,” provided the opportunity for everyone to share and gather information regarding the current state of NMC, future wishes and aspirations for the college, and perceptions of ! the current planning efforts utilizing the ACCJC’s Rubric for Evaluati ng Institutional Effectiveness ”“ Part II: Planning. The structure of the sessions was based on Dr. Peter Senge’s learning organization theory. Active participation was evident in all sessions, where standard brainstorming rules applied to ensure that individually generated ideas were collected and shared. This visioning exercise is one of the first steps towards NMC’s Strategic Education Master Plan (SEMP) and compliance with Team Recommendation 1.
05/06/08 Board of Regent members Elaine Orilla, Maria “Malua” Peter, and Agnes McPhetres and President Carmen Fernandez met with Representative Ralph DLG Torres, chairman of the House Health, Education, & Welfare Committee and Representative Ray Yumul, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee. They were joined by the following committee members: Speaker Arnold Palacios and Representatives Stanley Torres, Edward Salas, Diego Benavente, Victor Hocog, Joseph Camacho, Ramon Tebuteb. The President briefed the members regarding NMC’s Compliance Action Plan (CAP) and financing requirements. The legislative members present once again reiterated their strong support for the college and their interest in ensuring that accreditation reaffirmation is achieved in January 2009.
05/02/08 The NMC Board of Regents approved the emergency procurement of education consultants to facilitate NMC’s program review, assessment, student learning outcomes, and planning activities.

This support will help ensure that NMC can report compliance in the October 15, 2008 show cause report. The financial assistance of up to $150,000 is made possible by a grant through the Office of Insular Affairs’ Operations and Maintenance Improvement Program (OMIP). NMC is deeply grateful to the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs for its continued support.
04/24/08 President Fernandez attended the Pacific Post-secondary Education Council (PPEC) meeting as the organization’s vice chairperson. She provided a report about NMC’s progress in overcoming the college’s show cause accreditation status. Because the purpose of PPEC is to foster intercollegiate partnership and cooperation, Dr. Fernandez also received unsolicited offers of support and assistance from the other member organizations.

Meetings were also held with Dr. Wilson Hess, President of College of the Marshall Islands, who is continuing close collaboration with NMC during the show cause status and Ms. Mary Okada, President of Guam Community College who has offered institutional support for NMC’s required closure plan.

One of PPEC’s main objectives is to support accreditation efforts of all sister regional institutions including NMC, GCC, CMI, University of Guam, Palau Community College, College of Micronesia, Hawaii Community College, Honolulu CC, Kapiolani CC, University of Hawaii at Hilo, UH CC System Office, and American Samoa CC. PPEC has also written a multi-million dollar grant to Office of Insular Affairs for capacity building and planning.
04/21/08
  • In a series of meetings with NMC students, staff, and faculty, Dr. Barbara Beno, ACCJC President and Mr. Floyd Takeuchi, ACCJC Commissioner, answer questions about NMC’s show cause status.

  • Dr. Beno and Mr. Takeuchi also met with the Governor, members of the Saipan and Northern Islands Delegation, and members of the NMC Board of Regents.

    After their visits to the campus and meetings with various NMC stakeholders, both Dr. Beno and Mr. Takeuchi expressed their confidence that NMC was well-positioned to complete the work necessary to achieve compliance with accreditation standards.
  • 04/19/08 In a meeting initiated by Rep. Ralph Torres, Dr. Fernandez met with Speaker Arnold Palacios, Rep. David Apatang, Rep. Edwin Aldan, and Mr. Eloy Inos, Secretary of Finance, to discuss accreditation compliance funding requirements. Mr. Inos committed to $380,000 towards short term renovation and repairs and will be working closely to identify the $375,000 needed for critical administrative and faculty positions. Rep. Apatang will be introducing a Saipan House Local Bill for $1 million to cover remaining the balance needed for renovation/repairs. HB 16-54 and HB 16-33 are pending House action in upcoming session.
    04/18/08 As part of the college’s continuing effort to communicate NMC’s efforts to overcome show cause accreditation status, Dr. Fernandez gave a presentation to CNMI Pubic School System at Principals’ and Program Managers’ general monthly meeting.
    04/14/08 Continuing his series of discussions regarding his experience in dealing with accreditation challenges, Dr. Hess delivered a presentation to a general assembly of students, staff, and faculty of the Northern Marianas College.

    Dr. Fernandez met with Representative Justo Quitugua to discuss financing options for the College.

    The Board of Regents continued its special meeting to officially accept the March 15, 2008 Special Report to be submitted to ACCJC.
    04/11/08
  • NMC received $375,000 OIA grant to assist with accreditation compliance efforts.
  • 04/10/08
  • Dr. Fernandez presented the Compliance Action Plan (CAP) to the BOR Program Committee. The CAP summarizes the planned actions necessary to comply with accreditation standards. The CAP can be downloaded at the NMC website.
  • 04/04/08
  • As part of an effort to continue to raise public awareness about the College’s accreditation status and its efforts to secure accreditation reaffirmation, Dr. Fernandez met with and delivered a presentation to CNMI Government department heads at the Governor’s cabinet meeting.
  • 04/03/08
  • Dr. Fernandez met with Finance Secretary Eloy Inos regarding the $380,000 funding to pay for short-term facilities repairs.

  • Dr. Fernandez and management team members met with Cheryl Jodoin, Office of Insular Affairs OMIP Program Officer, to discuss grant assistance funding needed for consultation and facilities master planning to accelerate compliance actions and ensure that deadlines are met.
  • 03/19/08 In a special meeting, the Board of Regents adopted Resolution No: 08-01: Relative to Declaring Exigency Relative to ACCJC Show Cause Order. The declaration allows the Board of Regents and the college administration to enact””without unnecessary delay””measures that would ensure the College meets accreditation standards and requirements.
    03/17/08 Mr. David Cohen spoke with President Fernandez about the value of the College and to offer support.
    03/13/08 Dr. Wilson Hess, President of the College of the Marshall Islands, conducted his second presentation regarding accreditation issues at the invitation of Senator Jude Hofschneider at the Senate Chamber. Present were Senate President Pete Reyes, Senator Jude Hofschneider, Senator Felix Mendiola, Senator Henry San Nicolas, Representative Ralph Torres, Representative Edwin Aldan, Representative Rosemond Santos, Representative Edward Salas, and Representative David Apatang.

    Dr. Hess also presented to the Board of Regents at their special meeting to review and accept the March 15, 2008 Special Report due to ACCJC regarding progress on addressing audit findings.
    03/12/08 Dr. Wilson Hess, President of the College of the Marshall Islands, gave a presentation to the NMC management team regarding his insight and experience about addressing accreditation issues, particularly overcoming show cause status.
    03/11/08 Dr. Carmen Fernandez receives letter from the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities President Ralph A. Wolff, who praises the significant progress that the School of Education has made. Among the SOE’s accomplishments:
    • The School of Education has made curricular changes based on assessment findings and will be the first program at NMC to submit a complete assessment report.
    • The School of Education has become engaged as a partner in campus-wide assessment efforts, and in this way, has become less isolated from the rest of the campus community.
    • A new director of the School of Education has been installed and previously overwhelming workloads are being redistributed.
    • The School of Education’s relations with the CNMI Public School System have improved.

    The accreditation from the Senior College Commission for the bachelor’s program relies on the underlying institutional accreditation from ACCJC, and is therefore conditional upon an accreditation reaffirmation from ACCJC.
    03/06/08 NMC received a fax notification from the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior, that its project application for $417,166.00 was approved. The funds will be used to procure equipment that will upgrade and expand the capability of the IT infrastructure system. The funds will also pay for training of IT staff and IT work/study students to operate and maintain the IT Infrastructure System, including the DE and network systems. It is envisioned that once these activities are completed, NMC IT and the computer network system will be restored to the level of an educational asset that is capable of supporting its academic and administrative needs.
    03/06/08 Current status of legislative bills that contribute toward NMC’s accreditation reaffirmation efforts:
    • House Bill 16-54 (Introduced by Representative David Apatang), which seeks to repeal and reenact section 2 of public law 14-98 to exempt the Northern Marianas College from a rate increase of the employer contribution of the Retirement Fund, was passed by the House of Representatives. The enactment of this bill into law will resolve the audit finding regarding the retirement contribution issue.
    • House Bill 16-32 (Introduced by Representative David Apatang), which appropriates $3 million for NMC capital improvements, will be deliberated in session this week.
    • House Bill 16-33 (Introduced by Representative David Apatang), which amends 3 CMC 7831 by adding a new subsection (e) and (f) that would remove the requirement that the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation and the Northern Marianas College pay one percent of its annual budget to the Office of the Public Auditor, is being being deliberated in session in week. The passage of this bill would save NMC about $60,000.
    • House Bill 16-51 (Introduced by Representative Ray Yumul), which proposes a $6.7 funding level for NMC, was passed by the House of Representatives. The amount is above and beyond the $5.8 million proposed in the Governor’s budget and would help NMC meet compliance requirements relating to staffing.
    03/03/08 Representative David Apatang introduced HB 16-54, which aims to repeal and reenact section 2 of public law 14-98 to exempt the Northern Marianas College from a rate increase of the employer contribution to the Retirement Fund. This critical legislation will address one of NMC’s major audit findings. The accrediting commission is requiring a resolution of audit findings in a report due March 15, 2008.
    02/28/08 Dr. Fernandez traveled to Rota to present the accreditation status to the community there. The President met with Mayor Joseph Inos to discuss the show cause status; the Mayor pledged his full support to NMC in its efforts to achieve accreditation reaffirmation.

    After meeting the Mayor, the President met with parents, NMC staff, and government officials including Board of Education member Tanya King and PSS Commissioner Dr. David Borja.
    02/29/08 A campus-wide assessment workshop was facilitated by Dr. Debra Cabrera, Accreditation Liaison Officer and PROAC (program review and outcomes assessment committee) Chair. Students, faculty and staff attended the workshop.
    02/27/08 The Northern Marianas Foundation held a meeting to discuss NMC’s accreditation status and discuss other Foundation issues.

    The NMC MIS/ERP (management information system/ enterprise resource planning) working group met to continue discussions on the student information system called POWERCampus. Data entry of student records is a critical priority as the system generates the data and information needed for program review and assessment compliance. Training is being scheduled to ensure that the system is used optimally.
    02/26/08 The Board of Regents held a special meeting to discuss NMC’s accreditation status and their role in supporting the institution. The press release from this special meeting is as follows:

    Accreditation Efforts Focus of Recent Board of Regents Meeting

    As part of its heightened efforts to closely monitor the College’s compliance with accreditation requirements, the Northern Marianas College Board of Regents””at its most recent meeting””tackled key issues and concerns that have been raised by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

    “We want to ensure that we are providing the level of assistance that the College needs to overcome the Show Cause status,” said Joey San Nicolas, Acting Chairperson of the Board of Regents.

    During the meeting, the Board members received an update from NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez about the different activities that she and her staff have been undertaking to meet accreditation standards. The President also briefed them about the legislative bill that was recently introduced to infuse critically-needed funds to repair many of the school’s physical structures, as well as the approval of a federal grant in the amount of $400,000 that would upgrade the College’s information technology infrastructure.

    “The additional funds that these sources will provide directly address the concerns from the accrediting commission,” San Nicolas added. “Rest assured we will be working diligently to ensure the swift passage and processing of the availability of funds.”

    Raaj Kurapati, Chief Financial Officer and Administrative Officer, informed that Board that the College has already addressed many of the recommendations from previous audits. Other recommendations, on the other hand, will require legislative action, which the Board members promptly agreed to address by meeting with legislative leaders.

    The Board members also received a briefing about program assessment and evaluation””chief ACCJC concerns””from Dr. Debra Cabrera, Acting Dean for Academic Programs. At the conclusion of Dr. Cabrera’s report, the Board committed to undergoing an assessment training especially designed for board members.

    Members of the Board of Regents also welcomed news about the outpour of support from the community. NMC President Fernandez reported that the College has received expressions of support from the Governor, Legislature, other Commonwealth leaders, students, parents, and community members.

    “We are overwhelmed at the support that we have received in the past few days,” San Nicolas said. “We will continue to openly and publicly report our progress to meet accreditation standards in a frequent and timely manner.”

    02/25/08 February 25, 2008 Dr. Fernandez addressed students, parents, and staff and answered questions at a Tinian accreditation forum held at the NMC Tinian site. Board of Regents Acting Chairperson Joey San Nicolas and Board of Education Chairperson Lucy Blanco-Maratita were also present during the forum.

    Together with Board of Regents Acting Chairperson Joey San Nicolas, Dr. Fernandez met with and secured the support of members of the Tinian Leadership at a meeting held on Tinian. Senator Joseph Mendiola, Senator Henry San Nicolas, Representative Edwin Aldan, Board of Education Chairperson Lucy Blanco-Maratita, and representatives from the Tinian Mayor’s Office were present at this meeting.

    02/21/08 Letters to all NMC students were mailed out from the President’s Office. The letter reassures students that all efforts are being expended to overcome the Show Cause status. The letter was accompanied by a Question & Answer Sheet which responds to several frequently asked questions about NMC’s accreditation.

    Dr. Fernandez met with Representative Ralph Torres regarding financial audits, funding needs, and requested legislation to address Show Cause concerns.

    Dr. Fernandez met with Jeff Schorr, Field Representative for the Office of Insular Affairs. Mr. Schorr indicated that NMC’s $400,000 Operations, Maintenance, and Information Technology grant request was approved and is currently being processed. The grant will provide funding for an upgrade to NMC’s network hardware. It also provides financial support for specialized network training for IT staff and students. The upgrade of NMC’s information technology infrastructure is critical to the advancement of students and, ultimately, the CNMI’s local workforce.

    Dr. Fernandez presided over two accreditation forums (one at 11am and the other at 6pm to accommodate students’ and parents’ schedules) hosted by the Associated Students of NMC (ASNMC). The forums gave students, parents, faculty, staff, and media representatives an opportunity to raise questions about NMC’s accreditation status and its efforts to move toward accreditation reaffirmation.

    02/20/08 Representative David Apatang introduced H.B. 16-28, which identifies $3 million for repairs, renovations, facilities master planning, and A&E for the new NMC campus.
    02/15/08 Dr. Debra Cabrera, Acting Dean of Academic Programs, presided over a faculty assembly to address the faculty’s role and responsibility in assisting with the collection and analysis of student achievement data for use in program review. Already, faculty members have been taking an active role in addressing accreditation concerns. Many attend weekly workshops facilitated by NMC’s School of Education on issues such as developing student learning outcomes, rubrics, and other topics focused on improving teaching and learning. Faculty members also actively participate in the Program Review and Outcomes Assessment Committee (PROAC).
    02/14/08 Received a support letter from Taotao Tano CNMI President Gregorio Cruz.
    02/13/08 Dr. Fernandez led a team of students, parents, staff, and faculty to address the House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare, chaired by Representative Ralph Torres. During the meeting, Board of Regents Acting Chairperson Joey San Nicolas, Regent Elaine Orilla and Regent Malua Peter joined the NMC management team in delivering a presentation that highlighted the College’s accreditation status, priorities and budgetary needs. The discussion also covered specific details about the accrediting commission’s concerns and NMC’s progress in resolving them.
    02/12/08 NMC received a letter of support from Washington Representative Pete A. Tenorio, who pledged his support of NMC’s efforts to secure accreditation reaffirmation. Representative Tenorio also mentioned that he had spoken with representatives of the Office of Insular Affairs who are willing to deobligate federal CIP funds to make them available for NMC’s immediate needs.
    02/11/08 Discussed several pertinent issues, including the identification of capital improvement funding for NMC, with Representative Heinz Hofschneider.
    02/09/08 Dr. Fernandez met with Representative Victor Hocog to brief him about NMC’s accreditation status. Representative Hocog ensured Dr. Fernandez that his office will support NMC and its efforts to obtain accreditation reaffirmation.
    02/08/08 Dr. Fernandez presided over a general assembly meeting convened specifically to address accreditation issues. The meeting was attended by students, faculty, and staff members. Board of Regents Acting Chairperson Joey San Nicolas and Regent Charles Cepeda also delivered brief remarks.

    Dr. Fernandez, Board of Regents Acting Chairperson Joey San Nicolas, and Regent Charles Cepeda fielded questions during a press conference. Media representatives from the Marianas Variety, Saipan Tribune, and KSPN were present.

    Dr. Fernandez met with Governor Benigno Fitial, who commits the assistance of his administration in obtaining accreditation reaffirmation for NMC.

    Dr. Fernandez met with House of Representatives Speaker Arnold Palacios, who also pledges his support to the college.

    Dr. Fernandez and Board of Regents Acting Chairperson Joey San Nicolas also met with Senate President Pete Reyes to brief him about NMC’s accreditation status. President Reyes assured President that he will do what he can to help NMC.

    02/07/08 Management team met again to continue strategic discussions.

    Dr. Fernandez informed NMC Board of Regents of ACCJC’s decision to place NMC on Show Cause status (BOR Meeting February 7, 2008).

    02/06/08 The Northern Marianas College received a fax letter from ACCJC President Dr. Barbara Beno stating that the College is being placed on Show Cause status for various reasons.

    Dr. Fernandez immediately convened a meeting with the NMC management team to evaluate contents of letter and to formulate strategy for meeting ACCJC requirements.

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