The Northern Marianas College described as “manageable” the issues raised by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges in its letter last month that sanctioned the college with a show-cause status.
In a statement titled “NMC response to ACCJC public disclosure notice” issued yesterday, the college said: “The issues raised in the ACCJC action letter are manageable; they can be fully addressed and the college will work diligently to do so before it submits the Show Cause Report in October 2013. Students, staff, faculty, administrators, and regents have already stepped up their collaborative efforts to face the accreditation challenges head on.”
The statement invites the CNMI community to view and track NMC's accreditation progress by visiting its website, www.nmcnet.edu.
On Feb. 11, the commission placed NMC under show-cause status and required it to submit a show-cause report by Oct. 15, 2013. The accredited status of the college continues during the period of show-cause.
In its action letter, the ACCJC cited two eligibility requirements and three recommendations for NMC.
The two eligibility requirements concerned administrative capacity and faculty. The ACCJC expressed concern about the college's lack of enough staff with appropriate preparation to support its operations. It recommended that key vacancies be filled.
The commission also noted that NMC should develop and consistently apply clear criteria in determining faculty qualifications plus the necessary performance annual evaluations on all faculty members. Further, ACCJC recommended that the library build on its successful student satisfaction survey efforts by implementing strategies to directly measure Student Learning Outcomes concerning information literacy.
The commission also recommended that the Board of Regents structure its membership properly such that the board operates as an independent policy-making body while retaining appropriate roles and responsibilities.
“The college has moved quickly to address the team's recommendations to fill the vacant positions of chief financial officer and director of information technology. These announcements have been revised and the college is optimistic that it will successfully fill these positions in the near future,” the statement reads. In addressing Recommendation 2, NMC said it is in the process of establishing and assessing meaningful Student Learning Outcomes in the library and other learning support services.
“The Board of Regents has taken immediate action to address concerns raised in the commission letter. In addressing Recommendation 8, the board has sought external advice on what it should do to come into compliance and is taking steps necessary to do so. The college has been proactively engaging standard teams composed of faculty, staff, and students to continue their focus on complying with accreditation and eligibility standards,” it added.
NMC said it will also carry on its work in building upon the successes and progress noted in the External Evaluation Report prepared by the evaluation team that visited the college in October 2012. Among these achievements include recognition of the college's financial internal controls and compliance measures as measured by annual audits and the college's commitment to its financial management process that emphasizes the linking of program and institutional planning to its financial plan.
The evaluation team also noted the extensive training of board members, the college's efforts in revising its policies to remove content that may be procedural in nature, and that the college's resources are sufficient to support learning programs and services and to improve institutional effectiveness.
The report of the special team from the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, which focused on the college's baccalaureate program in education, also noted many positive developments.
“More than ever, the college is committed to having its accreditation reaffirmed and to ensuring that the college continues in its role of helping students achieve their educational goals,” the statement adds.
Over 20K enrolled in NMC
NMC revealed that more than 20,000 people have enrolled in degree and certificate courses since its inception while over 3,000 persons have been awarded certificates and/or degrees.
Additionally, the college said it generally serves over 20,000 individuals per year through such non-credit programs like Adult Basic Education, the Community Development Institute, and the Cooperative, Research, Extensions, and Education Service.
“To ensure that its students receive high-caliber instruction and student services, NMC places the highest priority on meeting accreditation standards and eligibility requirements. After all, accreditation is a process that assures the quality of an institution and its commitment to continuous improvement,” it added.