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NMC highlights degree/certificate in public administration in partnership with Rio Salado (May 29, 2014)

Commonwealth government employees and others interested in pursuing their education can now earn an associate degree or a certificate in public administration without leaving the CNMI.

The program is made possible through a partnership that Northern Marianas College recently forged with Rio Salado College, the largest online public community college in the United States.

According to NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart, the partnership with Rio Salado allows students to take their general education or core classes at NMC and then transfer to Rio Salado if they would like to pursue degrees that NMC does not currently offer, like an associate degree in public administration, law enforcement, addictions and substance abuse, paralegal, dental office management, and more,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart. “It is a win-win situation for NMC, for our students, and for the commonwealth.”

To complete the degree requirements for the associate degree in public administration, students need to complete a total of 64 credits of coursework. Most of these courses — 43 credits of them — can be taken at NMC. The other remaining 21 course credits can be completed online through Rio Salado, reported Barbara Merfalen, NMC Dean of Academic Programs and Services. The certificate in public administration is 18 credits.

Northern Marianas Collge recently formed a partnership with Rio Salado College, the largest online public community college in the United States. Seated, from left Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado, and NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart. Standing, from left, Josh Sasamoto and Lt. Gov. Jude Hofchneider. This photo was taken at a recent meeting of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. A public administration degree or certificate is ideal for government employees and those who are seeking to advance their professional growth in public service agencies. The courses include topics on finance, communication, organizational behavior, teamwork, and management styles.

“The degree is also ideal for those positions currently filled by guest workers,” said President Hart. “These positions include managers, chief executives, administrative service managers, and other related positions.”

In addition to an associate in public administration, students can also earn the following certificate and degrees as a result of NMC’s partnership with Rio Salado College: AAS Degree in Law Enforcement; AAS Degree in Addictions and Substance Abuse; Certificate in Professional Addiction; AAS Degree in Paralegal; Certificate in Computer Usage Applications; Certificate in Networking; Certificate in Digital Design; Certificate in Web Design; Certificate in Adult Development and Aging; Certificate in E Learning; AAS Degree in Dental Office Mgt; Certificate in Creative Writing; Certificate in K-12 eLearning Design; and Certificate in STEM for K-12.

According to President Hart, Rio Salado College is so successful with its online offerings that all degree and certificate programs begin every Monday morning, in lieu of the traditional start date of 2-3 times per year.

“What makes this an even greater benefit for our residents is now that the CNMI is a member of WICHE, they can enroll at Rio Salado at a significant savings,” said President Hart.

The CNMI’s membership in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education or WICHE allows residents to be qualified for discounted tuition rates at colleges and universities in 15 western U.S. states. Rio Salado’s tuition rate for WICHE students is $121.50 per semester hour, which makes the courses very affordable for CNMI students. Prior to membership in WICHE, the cost was over $300 per credit.

Rio Salado College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. The Northern Marianas College is currently accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is currently seeking accreditation through the Senior Commission of WASC.

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