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Marianas Variety: Fernandez's first 100 days focus on NMC's facilities, student programs (January 20, 2017)

THE improvement of facilities and student programs at Northern Marianas College were some of the priorities of Dr. Carmen Fernandez in her first 100 days as NMC president.

When she assumed the presidency on Oct. 4, 2016, Fernandez said her leadership, “which continues to be guided by a ‘Students First’ philosophy, would undertake key priorities that included accelerating the facilities master plan, jumpstarting program review and evaluation activities, expanding workforce development initiatives, providing competitive wages for NMC faculty and staff, and implementing fund-development strategies.”

She said “the first 100 days of my presidency at NMC have been very exciting and busy, and I am proud of the significant accomplishments we have been able to achieve as a college community.”

She added, “We have a lot of momentum going and we are looking forward to doing much more for our students.”

The recent improvements of facilities include the renovation of the student cafeteria and of the School of Education faculty offices, relocation and expansion of NMC’s testing center, renovation of the Enrollment Services offices and of Building J which includes a new roof, waterproofing of Building N’s roof, and renovation of the NMC Bookstore, which now has a new glass store front.

In addition to these facility improvements, Fernandez said she is also working aggressively on master plan activities for a new state of the art, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED-certified building.

The new building will include technology-equipped classrooms, efficient student service offices, and an architecturally elegant student center that NMC students very much deserve, she said, adding that the college will break ground sometime in 2017 for the new facility.

“I have also taken considerable time to meet with members of the student government, the faculty senate, and the staff senate to understand their concerns and implement their suggestions,” Fernandez said.

“They have been instrumental in the great progress that we have made in just a short amount of time, and I will continue to partner with them as we move forward with the facilities master plan.

“We continue to be guided by a ‘Students First’ philosophy, which in turn guides the priorities that we are pursuing at NMC.”

She said her key accomplishments in the first 100 days also include the hosting of a very successful visit by a team from the WASC-Senior College and University Commission.

Although the final report has not yet been provided, the team commended the college for its work in a number of areas, Variety was told.

Other accomplishments include the establishment of faculty ranking, continuing professional development initiatives for all employees, working with Gov. Ralph Torres and the Legislature to secure $1 million in appropriations, hiring of enrollment services director Manny Castro, hiring of new human resources director Jack Kiyoshi, the consolidation of the external relations office and the operations of the NMC Foundation under the leadership of Frankie Eliptico, the hiring of executive directors for the Rota and Tinian NMC campuses, the hosting of NMC’s Climb Higher Summit for 200 civil servants in relation to the college’s prior learning assessment program, the initiation of the college program review processes, and attendance at the recent Pacific Postsecondary Education Council meeting on Guam.

Fernandez likewise assisted Tan Holdings Corporation president Jerry Tan in the presentation of Tan Siu Lin Foundation scholarships to 10 NMC students.

During her first 100 days, moreover, Fernandez said she was able to implement the renovation and completion of the NMC-CREES Aquaculture Center.

Because of NMC’s commitment to fiscal management and responsibility over the last eight years, the college was designated as a low-risk auditee in December 2016, Variety was told.

NMC is now working on a partnership with the University of Guam to offer a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Fernandez also worked with Saipan Comfort Homes to ensure that NMC students were given priority for some of the apartments in the housing facility.

The NMC president has also recruited volunteers Tee Abraham and Canice Rabauliman to assist the college, and enlisted the mayor of Saipan staff’s assistance in campus beautification activities.

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