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Marianas Variety: NMC’s Fernandez outlines her priorities for first 100 days (October 7, 2016)

MEETING workforce needs, accelerative facility master plans, and providing competitive wages and salaries for Northern Marianas College employees will be among the top priorities in the first 100 days for Dr. Carmen Fernandez, NMC’s newly hired president.

“Fulfilling these goals will require large-scale collaboration and partnership between the college and government leaders, the private sector, and other stakeholding partners,” she said

On Wednesday, in her first meeting with faculty, students and staff, Fernandez, who was also NMC president from 2007 to 2010, outlined her priority initiatives.

“I look forward to engaging them in the next few days and everyone else in our community to work toward completing these initiatives.”

She said NMC is filled with highly competent and skilled employees who are committed to their students.

“I have every confidence in their ability to help move the institution forward in a manner that expands educational opportunities for our students,” she added.

Her other priority initiatives include:

  • Working on providing competitive wages and salaries for all NMC employees. NMC wages have not been increased for more than 15 years. According to Dr. Fernandez, “paying competitive wages is important to attract, retain, and motivate employees.”
  • Stepping up facility master plan activities so that construction can begin on new state-of-the-art facilities for students.
  • Aggressively pursuing funding development strategies.
  • Building NMC’s workforce development training efforts to meet local labor needs.
  • Reestablishing leadership and building up activities and capacity on Rota and Tinian.
  • Recommitting the college to the “Students First” philosophy.
  • Meeting with and talking to every employee and department to understand challenges, recognize accomplishments, and discuss plans.
  • Continuing program review activities that strengthen links between planning, program review, and budgeting.
  • Updating the key performance indicators report.
  • Updating the strategic plan/operations plan report.
  • Launching the NMC branding campaign.
  • Implementing the U.S. apprenticeship program
  • Achieving specialized program accreditation in education, business, and nursing.
  • Continuing to build NMC graduation rates.
  • Implementing cancer institute and climate change program.

Concerning funding, Fernandez said the college will apply for U.S. Department of the Interior grants to help finance NMC’s facilities master plan and other large-scale projects.

She said she will also work on re-obtaining the federal TRIO program.

TRIO includes Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, and Student Support Services that help low-income individuals, first generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress academically from junior high school through a college degree.

Fernandez said the college will also apply for U.S. Department of Agriculture grants to improve distance learning capacity.

In addition, they will work to obtain the Gear Up program which is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college.

Moreover, NMC will launch YouthBuild programs, implement the AmeriCorps program, increase education tax credit donations, review the efficiency of the land grant endowment fund, strengthen the NMC Foundation, look into the feasibility of sea grant and sun grant status, build the entrepreneurial capacity of the college to contract services and increase bookstore revenues.

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