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    Thursday, September 20, 2018-11:58:59P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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NMC regents approve new four-degree program

AFTER more than two hours of discussion that included comments from community members and students, the board of regents of Northern Marianas College yesterday approved a proposal that will allow students to get a bachelor’s degree in business from NMC.

Northern Marianas College board chairman Frank Rabauliman presides over yesterday’s meeting in the conference room.Northern Marianas College board chairman Frank Rabauliman presides over yesterday’s meeting in the conference room.
NMC student Leonisa Laoyan holds a sign expressing support for the proposed four-year degree program.NMC student Leonisa Laoyan holds a sign expressing support for the proposed four-year degree program.
NMC students who attended the board meeting hold signs.  Photos by Junhan B. TodinoNMC students who attended the board meeting hold signs. Photos by Junhan B. Todino
Except for board member Juan T. Lizama, who said neither “yes” nor “no,” all the other regents voted in favor of the new program: Chairman Frank Rabauliman William S.Torres, Elizabeth Rechebei, Elaine Hocog-Orilla, and Michaela U. Sanchez.

Lizama said he is not against the new degree program as it is a very important opportunity for members of the community.

But, he said, he has to look at it more deep, adding that business is a very diverse area. He also has some concerns about the timing of the program’s implementation.

“Any program developed by the college has to have its own integrity,” Lizama said. “To me that’s very significant. You want to start a program and then later you find out it’s not going to meet the minimum enrolment number.”

The program is expected to start with at least 48 students.

But Torres said even if there are only 10 students the college will continue with the program because it has the resources for it.

“We don’t want this program to fail and we don’t want students to fail — we want them to succeed,” Torres said.

“It’s not perfect, we didn’t expect perfection but we strive for it — we need to give this institution a chance to provide the best quality of education,” Torres told the board.

Rechebei said Rota and Tinian should also be provided the same program and existing ones should not be affected.

According to Torres, the college has at least three faculty members ready for the new program and there’s no problem with the existing facility but the board must acquire particular new technology.

Funding, he added, is available but there’s a legal concern that the board has to resolve. Torres did not elaborate.

After the board meeting, Associated Students of NMC president Chenglong “Alex” Chen told reporters that the regents and the college administration are doing a great deal for the CNMI.

The new degree program, he added, will increase the size of the local workforce and allow more high school graduates to enroll at NMC.

During the meeting, Leonisa Laoyan, a graduating hospitality and tourism student, told the board that most students are dependent on scholarships and grant awards and a lot can’t afford to study in the states.

The new four-year degree program, she said, “is a very good opportunity for us and will also address the lack of manpower on island.”

Vanessa Andrea Espinosa, another graduating hospitality management student, strongly appealed to the board, saying if the board approves the new program, she will remain an NMC student instead of enrolling at the University of Guam.

NMC institutional researchers Lisa Hacskaylo and Irene Tudela said the new degree program will benefit not only the students but the community too.

Tudela said it would be good for the economy if there are more educated people running businesses.

Hacskaylo, for her part, said, the business sector has been pushing for the program’s implementation for years now.

Local business executive Eric Plinske agreed, saying that the new program is a “tremendous opportunity” for the island.

Pursuing a similar four-year course abroad is costly, he said, and the chances of graduates coming back to the CNMI to work are very slim.