State of Northern Marianas College
Editor’s Note: The following is the transcript of Northern Marianas College president Galvin Deleon Guerrero’s speech that was delivered at the State of Education Address on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, at the Saipan World Resort.
Second of a three-part series
This past summer, as part of our many law enforcement academies, 29 new officers were also sworn in under the Division of Customs and Biosecurity after completing the 9th cycle of the Customs and Biosecurity Academy facilitated by NMC’s Criminal Justice program. As the recipient of the cycle’s Leadership Award, Kane Ybanez, said, “The instructors from Customs and Northern Marianas College have taught us a lot, and I feel very prepared to take on the role of Customs officer, and protect the community.”
And earlier this year, 50 researchers, made up of students and faculty, presented at the 2nd Annual Research Symposium that was sponsored by NMC’s Science Mathematics Health and Athletics department and Project PROA. As Dr. Beylul Solomon from NMC’s School of Education noted about the symposium, it provided an important platform to showcase research from Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who are one of the most underrepresented groups in research.”
In addition to empowering our students to succeed, we must also cultivate our employees. We can do that by offering competitive compensation and benefits, embracing a growth mindset in personal and professional development, and facilitating collaboration and engagement across the institution.
In the past year, we have launched several initiatives to support the holistic wellness of our employees. This includes the launch of a Health Squad that has coordinated health-related activities and explored policies and practices that support employee health. As a result of the squad’s work, we have redesigned our sick leave procedure into a more encompassing health leave procedure, and we have secured an institutional subscription for the Calm App, an award-winning app that gives employees access to hundreds of sleep, meditation, and relaxation features.
As just one example of our commitment to supporting the growth of our employees, recently, the college’s Finance Team completed 13 rigorous online courses in auditing and finance from the Annual Association of Pacific Islands Public Auditors. They’re a busy team, but they found the time to grow professionally.
And as evidence of how much we have cultivated our employees, our very own vice president for Administration and Advancement, Frankie Eliptico, was awarded by University of Guam president Dr. Thomas W. Krise The President’s Medal—the highest award given by the UOG president to individuals outside the university who demonstrated distinguished services to enlighten, to discover and to serve. His achievement reflects how NMC as a whole supports the personal and professional growth of our employees.
In addition to taking care of our people, it is vital that we also take care of our resources. This begins by building start-of-the-art facilities. These facilities will include a robust and secure information technology infrastructure, resilience against future natural disasters, and an atmosphere that welcomes all stakeholders with open, accessible, and appealing designs.
With funding primarily from the U.S. Department of Education, Phase 1 of our new facilities will be the construction of the Student Center, the flagship building of the new campus. The three-story building will house student services offices, the CNMI Archives, the library, study rooms, a cafeteria, and many more spaces. With funding from the Economic Development Authority, Phase 2 involves the construction of a three-story workforce development and training center building and the new Center for Research, Extension, and Development, or CRED building. The workforce development building will house the School of Nursing, School of Business, the Community Development Institute, and the Small Business Development Center. With funding from the HUD’s CDBG-DR program, Phase 3 will be the construction of two two-story multi-use classroom and services buildings, with each building housing 16 classrooms. With funding from FEMA, Phase 4 will see the construction of the facilities maintenance warehouse and procurement services to include exterior storage space and construction of a new gymnasium. Future phases will develop facilities on Rota and Tinian, and remove existing structures on the As Terlaje site to allow us to complete the campus quad and make space for future expansions on campus. When we’re done, we will finally have a beautiful main campus that will not only meet the needs of our stakeholders and our community, but will be the envy of the Pacific, including this building, a rendering of the upcoming Student Center, which will be the first building that goes up.
It will also be incumbent upon us to secure the financial vitality of our college. To do this, we must increase and diversify revenue streams, expand philanthropic contributions, and solidify more consistent funding.
To that effect, the college has done remarkably well in taking care of its financial resources. The college recently received—for the 15th consecutive year—a favorable, unqualified audition opinion on its financial statements and was thus designated as a low-risk auditee by independent auditors. We have also reconstituted our foundation, which is taking aggressive steps toward raising more funds for the college. And, building off the success of our golf tournament, we will expand the annual fundraising event into a two-day tournament that will bring in top golfers—and donors—from across the Pacific.
As a testament to the college’s responsible stewardship of its financial resources, in its recent review, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Seniors Commission on Colleges and Universities commended the college for “effective management of limited financial resources reflected by low debt, stable financial reserves, and growing enrollment”.
As we take care of our people and take care of our resources, we must also take care of our community. This begins by recognizing the role that Northern Marianas College plays when it comes to investing in our economy. We do that by meeting workforce needs, promoting more entrepreneurship, and cultivating problem-solving skills.
To be continued
Galvin DeLeon Guerrero (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero is the president of Northern Marianas College.