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Saipan Tribune: NMC working with HI universities to become a sea grant institution (January 6, 2015)

A major step in helping the Northern Marianas College become a full-fledged sea grant institution entailed visiting colleges in Hawaii recently, according to college president Dr. Sharon Hart, who joined other college officials on a trip to the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University.

Both have colleges volunteered their assistance in helping NMC meet its goals, according to Hart.

The college visited UH and witnessed their formal evaluation as a sea grant institution, Hart said. She said the college was able to meet with key officials leading the formal review process of UH there.

“It was real learning lesson,” she said, adding that UH has volunteered to review NMC’s proposal in becoming a seed grant institution.

A project proposal is targeted for submission in February, according to Hart. The college has been asked, she said, to work with the University of Guam, its closest regional partner, who is currently approved under “level three” to become a sea grant institution, according to Hart. There are “four levels” in becoming a full-fledged sea grant institution.

“We’ve already started talking with [UOG]. We will be getting together with them real soon to start our proposal.”

Hart, who was accompanied by members of the college’s Cooperative Research Extension and Education Service to Hawaii, told regents of some of Hawaii Pacific University’s new projects.

“They are building dorms right on the edge of the waters there in Honolulu. It’s going to be very interesting, what they are looking at for their international students,” she said.

The college has been aiming to build a residence hall for international and inter-island students.

Hart learned of a plan of the university to have a third of its students come from abroad, a third from Hawaii, and the other third from the U.S. mainland.

“They have a very interesting approach for what they look at for the types of students they want to bring to their institution,” she said.

“They want to work closely with us…especially with our goal in becoming a sea grant institution,” she added.

The National Sea Grant College Program is a program of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. It is a national network of colleges and universities involved in scientific research, education, training, and extension projects geared toward the conservation and practical use of the coast, Great Lakes, and other marine areas.

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