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    Sunday, February 17, 2019-10:34:33A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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A great day for the NMI

THE Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has lifted the show-cause status it imposed on Northern Marianas College and reaffirmed its accreditation.

NMC President Sharon Y. Hart announced the good news during a media conference at NMC at 11:30, Friday morning.

“We deserve what the commission has given us,” said Hart in jam-packed Room D1 at the college.

Also in the room were government officials led by Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider, Senate President Ralph DLG. Torres, acting Saipan Mayor Ramon B. Camacho and lawmakers.

Hart, who promised to restore NMC’s accreditation after she was hired as college president in July 2011, said the commission informed her of its decision on Thursday over the phone.

Northern Marianas College staffers bring out a cake to celebrate the reaffirmation of NMC’s accreditation.Northern Marianas College staffers bring out a cake to celebrate the reaffirmation of NMC’s accreditation.
She expects NMC to receive an official notification on Saturday which is Friday in California where the commission’s head office is.

Governor Inos congratulated the college for its hard work, adding that “this is a great day not just for the students, staff and faculty of NMC but for the CNMI as well.”

NMC Board of Regents Chairman Frank Rabauliman said the reaffirmation of the college’s accreditation is a huge accomplishment.

“It’s [also a] huge relief for all of us — finally we have come to this point,” he said while acknowledging the “sacrifices” made by the NMC team, government leaders, students, stakeholders, community members and the regents themselves.

Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider, for his part, commended the college and the community, saying that NMC must now pursue its new “motto” — “full speed ahead” — and work to address the needs of the commonwealth, particularly in the areas of human resources and the workforce.

Posters stating “Accreditation Reaffirmed. Full Speed Ahead” were distributed by NMC after Hart’s announcement.

Joy Lacorte, a nursing student, said she was “truly grateful” for the hard work of the NMC staff.

Accreditation makes NMC eligible for federal financial aid programs and allows its students to transfer their college credits to other accredited institutions.

For the past 10 years, Hart said, NMC had been under some form of sanction — warning, probation or show-cause.

In Feb. 2013, NMC was placed under show-cause status.

Hart said there are 26 eligibility requirements, four standards and 50 areas under those standards that the institution must fully meet to be accredited.

NMC failed to meet those requirements before due to the short period of time to comply, she added.

As the only accredited institution of higher learning in the CNMI, Hart said, “it is extremely important for us to maintain our accreditation.”

Last month, Hart said she had the opportunity to appear before the commission to answer questions regarding NMC’s compliance with standards and requirements.

She said the commission congratulated NMC for addressing all its prior deficiencies.

The commission team that visited NMC in October also noted in its report “all the hard work and commitment that the institution and the board have put forward in addressing those deficiencies,” she said as congratulated all NMC personnel and stakeholders for working hard to get the institution’s accreditation reaffirmed.

“We could not have done this unless all of you were here,” she said.

On Sunday, NMC released the official report from the accrediting commission.

Northern Marianas College President Sharon Y. Hart poses with  students after announcing the good news on Friday at NMC.  Photos by Junhan B. TodiñoNorthern Marianas College President Sharon Y. Hart poses with students after announcing the good news on Friday at NMC. Photos by Junhan B. Todiño

“The commission found that NMC has resolved the deficiencies that were identified in the Feb. 11, 2013 action letter” commission president Barbara A. Beno said in her letter to Hart.

“The commission also acted to require NMC to include in its Midterm Report, due in October 2015, information showing how the college has sustained the recent changes made to continue to meet accreditation standards,”

Beno said accreditation is reaffirmed when the commission finds that an institution substantially meets or exceeds the eligibility requirements, accreditation standards, and commission policies.

In its midterm report, she said NMC needs to demonstrate that the recently established policies, procedures and implementation activities remain in place and that compliance with accreditation standards has been sustained.

She said NMC made changes to meet the accreditation standards II.C.2, III. A.1, III.A.2, IV.A.2, IV.B.1.j. IV.B.2 and IV.V.2.c as noted in Recommendations 2,3 and 8 from the 2012 evaluation team report.

“The college reported and the team verified that in the general area of governance and decision making, NMC had changed the composition of the Board of Regents by removing honorary regents, changed its governance structure from a shared governance model to a participatory governance structure which codified the role of the president, and facilitated legislative changes that make the college mission a responsibility of the college, not the Legislature.”

Beno said the minimum qualification of faculty have also been established and utilized in the hiring process.

“The learning outcomes in information literacy have been established and assessed, and all administrative vacancies have been filled,” she noted.

NMC, she added, “has demonstrated that it currently meets the eligibility requirements…. [T]he commission therefore requests that the college midterm report provide evidence that these changes have been sustained, and provide a college analysis of how well they are working.”

Beno congratulated the college for the “successful resolution of its prior deficiencies,” and encouraged NMC to “maintain its quality through continuous self-assessment, and analysis so that the new policies and practices become institutionalized….”