Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 19 Sep 2019 12am







    Wednesday, September 18, 2019-5:58:41A.M.






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BC’s Tales of the Pacific | Course offerings for NMC

I THINK the administration of Northern Marianas College does well in preparing students for careers.  It is good to keep in mind, however, that the job market is a living thing, a constantly changing landscape into which graduates are thrown and expected to not just survive but prosper.

I look over the course catalog at least once a year to see how NMC is adjusting to the job market. Overall, I like what I see but adding a few courses will go a long way in preparing students for the future. I have spent a lot of time in my career developing new courses for colleges and have a few suggestions for NMC.

History and Political Science

International Relations. Given the unrest currently engulfing the Pacific region, as well as the danger lurking in the foreseeable future, students do well to familiarize themselves with the basics of how nations interact with one another from a current events perspective. Find out why everyone argues over the South China Sea.

History of Diplomacy. This course would go hand in hand with the previous one. Students would be educated on the history of international interaction within the framework of the big three categories of politics, economics and conflict. Find out why China and Japan are such bitter rivals.

History of the Pacific Region. In the catalog I see courses on American history, Japanese history, world history and history of the Marianas. Bravo. Enhance the current offerings with a course on the Pacific as a region. Units on the Lapita period, early island migration and settlement, European explorers and cultural exchange, World War Two and the post-war period are musts. Find out why the Marshall Islands are called the Marshall Islands.

Survey of World Governments. I like that the catalog includes a course on democracy, but a survey course that compares various governing types around the world would enhance the big picture for students. Find out why a meeting between the presidents of China and the United States is not really a meeting of equals.


Filipino (Tagalog). The language department is well developed with courses in English, Chamorro, Carolinian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and ASL. Bravo again. But isn’t it time for the college to face the fact that a very large part of the island population is Filipino and will be for the future? Not teaching Filipino is a disservice to the people of the Marianas and discredits the college. Find out what half of Saipan is talking about.


Survey of World Economic Systems. This is the economics version of the survey of world governments course mentioned above. Find out why the standard of living in Hong Kong is so much higher than the rest of China. And find out why the Chinese garment factories in Saipan all shut down and left everyone stranded.

Foreign Trade. From shipping to currency to tariff wars, in the islands all trade is foreign trade. Learn the ins and outs of how foreign trade works, because let’s face it, many NMC graduates will end up working in some business related to it. Find out why it is cheaper to bring a car onto Saipan than it is to take one off.


International Law. As globalism moves irresistibly forward international law grows in relevance and complexity. Maritime law, treaties, and environmental regulations. Find out how nations agree to limit pollution of the oceans or catch human traffickers.

Issues in Immigration. From refugees and illegal aliens to the importance of citizenship, immigration promises to remain a hot topic in the Pacific for a long time. Indonesians and Indians are moving into Australia, Mexicans are moving into America, and islanders are moving to the mainland. Why, and what does it mean? Find out why Philippines has a large portion of its population living outside the country.

BC Cook, PhD taught history for over 20 years. He lived on Saipan and travels the Pacific but currently lives on the mainland U.S.