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WASC Approval Required to Reactivate Academic Programs on Tinian and Rota (March 18, 2010)

In order for Northern Marianas College to reactivate suspended academic programs at Rota and Tinian instructional sites, NMC must first seek approval from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

“We recognize the intense desire and need to reestablish academic programs on Rota and Tinian, and in doing so, we must be sure to comply with all accreditation standards and policies,” said NMC’s Interim President, Lorraine T. Cabrera.

ACCJC’s Substantive Change Policy states, “Should the college wish to reopen a” site [at which programs have been suspended], a”Substantive Change Proposal and visit will occur prior to reopening to verify that the institution has the personnel, facilities, and resources reported in the proposal.”

According to Galvin Deleon Guerrero, NMC’s Accreditation Liaison Officer, “There is no doubt that reactivating suspended academic programs on Rota and Tinian would require a significant amount of human and financial resources.” Deleon Guerrero referred to the ACCJC Substantive Change Policy requirement that any proposal must present evidence of institutional quality consistent with accreditation standards.

“Meeting these standards means,” Deleon Guerrero noted, “ensuring that Rota and Tinian have more than just faculty and academic courses, but also services such as library, counseling, and information technology services.” Furthermore, the quality of such services, according to ACCJC policy, must be “equivalent to [that of] the home campus.”

Deleon Guerrero added that it can take up to one year before a Substantive Change Proposal is approved by ACCJC.

One of the first steps towards developing a Substantive Change Proposal for ACCJC is to conduct a community needs assessment to ascertain what programs are needed in the community affected. Both the Rota and Tinian instructional sites have begun their respective community needs assessments.

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