MARIANAS COLLEGE PRESIDENT DEFENDS ACCREDITATION REPORT

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Use of consultants common practice Fernandez states

By Junhan B. Todeno SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 5, 2010) – In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Northern Marianas College (NMC) President Carmen Fernandez yesterday confirmed that NMC hired a consulting group to assist in the preparation of the midterm report to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

However, she added, the report was also "substantially developed and written by the college’s management team in [conjunction] with faculty, staff, and students."

Faculty Senate President Larry Lee told the NMC regents that the midterm report contained "false statements" and, further, was prepared by a consultant.

Fernandez said from Aug. 19 to 21, the consulting group met with employees from different NMC programs to gather and compile input for the report.

To ensure participation from various segments of the college community, input was also sought from programs and governance bodies from July through Sept. 2009, she added.

In early September, the consulting group turned over its findings to the college so that it could take the lead in drafting and finalizing the midterm report, Fernandez said.

She added that she spearheaded the preparation of the midterm report with NMC’s accreditation liaison officer, Galvin S. Leon Guerrero, who is also the college’s director of institutional effectiveness.

"Many employees sacrificed much of their weekends and holidays to ensure that the midterm report was submitted on time," Fernandez said.

"We are proud of the report because it encapsulates all the hard work and accomplishments placed forth by students, faculty, and staff in the past few months."

She said other universities and colleges, including those in the Pacific region, regularly enlist the support of academic experts and consultants in preparing important reports and submissions.

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