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By Aldwin R. Fajardo

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (March 27, 2000 – Saipan Tribune)--- Northern Marianas College (NMC) is close to obtaining approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) to offer its own four-year degree program in education, according to NMC acting President Jack Sablan.

Mr. Sablan disclosed that a group of education experts from the Senior Commission of the mainland United States-based WASC will be arriving on Saipan in October to conduct an assessment of the College's capability to offer a bachelor's degree program.

"We have invited them to come and see what we're doing. We want them to know that we are trying to comply with their expectations. We want to know if they are satisfied with our progress," he said.

At present, a four-year course and a master's degree program in education are offered at the NMC campus through an outreach partnership with the University of Guam (UOG).

Mr. Sablan said an application for the College to offer a bachelor's degree program in elementary education is now pending before the WASC Senior Commission.

He noted that prospects are bright for the NMC to be granted accreditation to offer its own four-year education course, citing strong hints dropped by individual members of the Senior Commission.

"As far as I know, every communication we have with each of the individual members of the Senior Commission is very positive," Mr. Sablan told an interview.

NMC earlier this year opened its doors to CNMI-based educators who want to obtain a master's degree in education through a community outreach partnership with the University of Guam.

Following yearlong planning and discussion with the UOG, the Extended Programs Department of NMC's Continuing Education Division initiated the Master of Education in Administration and Supervision program.

The 35-credit-hour program, offered in evening and Saturday classes, is designed to prepare educators for positions of leadership.

UOG has also agreed to offer its business administration courses on Saipan through NMC. The College also has begun offering a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with an accounting major.

In addition, the college has started extension courses on managerial communications, management of organization, basic business finance and applied statistics.

The agreement with UOG was reached following over six months of negotiations between Guam and Northern Marianas College officials.

NMC has also finalized plans to offer other UOG courses, including intermediate accounting, cost accounting, business law, advance income tax and computer application, at the college.

Students who complete the program will receive diplomas or certification from the University of Guam since the courses continue to be UOG programs taught by both Guam- and Saipan-based UOG instructors.

Discussions are now under way for the provision of other UOG programs that include philosophy and culture, introduction to research, qualitative research methodology and personnel management.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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