A 12-member team from the Western Association of School and Colleges began their first day of work yesterday by interviewing Northern Marianas College president Sharon Y. Hart, Ph.D. and three members of the Board of Regents.
Saipan Tribune leaned that the three regents who took part in the one-on-one interview with the WASC team were vice chair Elaine Orilla and regents Andrew Orsini and Frank Rabauliman.
Sources disclosed to Saipan Tribune that the accreditation team was seen yesterday morning touring the campus following a meeting with the college accreditation liaison officer and key staff.
Meetings with members of the college's individual standard teams were also conducted, along with a series of meetings with programs like the School of Education, deans, and directors of certain offices.
The 12-person WASC team is headed by Dr. Gari Browning and includes Jill Ferguson, Kathleen Mendelsohn, James Keller, Jeff Shimizu, Dr. Christopher Villa, Roger Welt, Eddie West, Chui Tsang, Clyde Sakamoto, Gilbert Rodriguez, and Dr. Patricia Prado.
The day was capped by an afternoon meeting with NMC students, faculty, and employees, which lasted an hour and drew a handful of attendees.
Sources disclosed that during this meeting, the visiting team mentioned that the commission is aware and concerned of what's happening in the Commonwealth regarding its economy and politics and how these affect the college.
The visitors, it was learned, also encouraged the crowd to come forward if there's anything they want to share or ask the commission team.
Meantime, the Saipan Tribune was told that one-on-one interviews with the remaining three board members-chair Juan Lizama, Malua Peter, and William Torres-are scheduled today as well as individual interviews with the presidents of governance councils such as faculty and staff senates and student council.
The team is scheduled to stay until Thursday and the group is expected to conduct exit interviews and provide team recommendations before leaving.
Sources disclosed that the visiting group had been on island since Monday, holding meetings outside the college while some members flew to the Tinian instructional site for inspection.
WASC placed NMC on continued probation status due to remaining standards and recommendations that have not been met. In August, NMC submitted its self-evaluation report to the commission and it is the visiting team's job to check the validity of the report.
WASC will decide the college's accreditation fate in January next year.