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Report addresses continuing ‘show cause’ issues

By Moneth Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 3, 2009)—After careful review, the Northern Marianas College's Board of Regents approved its final show-cause report during a meeting Wednesday and the documents were immediately submitted to the Western Association of Schools and College.

It was learned that copies of the show-cause report were provided to individual regents prior to the meeting Monday and Wednesday.

The accrediting commission expected the report last April 1, which NMC met by sending the electronic copies yesterday (Saipan time) and submitting the hard copies by mail.

The show-cause report was officially transmitted to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges and to the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities since the report also contains NMC's response on the School of Education's bachelor degree program.

Prepared by NMC president Dr. Carmen Fernandez and her management team, the report contains data that supports the college's compliance with team recommendations 1, which deals with integrating planning, program review, and budgeting; and team recommendation 2, the institutionalization of the program review process.

The accrediting body placed NMC on show-cause status in February 2008 after finding out that seven recommendations were not fully complied with. In January 2009, the commission placed the college on continued show-cause status until the two remaining recommendations are met.

The question of whether NMC will retain its accreditation will be decided during a scheduled commission assembly in June.

Areas that were resolved by NMC in the reports included student learning outcomes, employee evaluations, facility renovations and repair, and administrative capacity.

On April 20, a visiting team is expected to arrive to verify the final report. The group, composed of three commission representatives, will then submit their team visit report to the commission's full board.

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 forth by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the board members to complete the April 1, 2009, report," said Fernandez during her presentation to the regents. She said 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 Gregorio Sablan, and many, many community members," added Fernandez.

The report, she said, was approved by the college council, which is the lead governance group at NMC that includes representatives from faculty, staff, and students.

During the meeting, 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 and professional growth opportunities," said Malua Peter, acting chairperson of the Board of Regents.

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