The process of developing a new Strategic Plan to guide the College of the Marshall Islands' decision-making, budgeting and day-to-day operations for the next five years has been ongoing since March 2011. While the plan that is in-process has been designed to support the college's mission, philosophy, vision, and values, it is not and will not be a static document. Once it is fully reviewed by all of the college's stakeholders, finalized, and approved and adopted by the members of the college's Board of Regents, the college's upcoming 2012-17 Strategic Plan will be a living, breathing blueprint for the future.
To view the current draft of the College of the Marshall Islands' 2012-17 Strategic Plan, please click here.
In February the First Year Residential Experience (FYRE) program operating at CMI’s Arrak Campus was selected as one of three additional “models of success” to be included as part of Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) research effort happening across the US and affiliate states. CMI becomes one of only 11 institutions identified to be part of the $1.3 million dollar effort, representing institutions with large AAPI (Alaskan, Asian, and Pacific Islander) student populations. The selection also comes with a $50,000 grant award to build capacity for the FYRE program this year.
In April, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Clifton Conrad, visited CMI for 5 days to conduct research for the MSI project. He interviewed several students, faculty and staff from the FYRE program as well as participants in CMI’s former ABC Toolbox program; the FYRE program was partly modeled on the positive characteristics from CMI’s Toolbox initiative. The project and grant has a strong emphasis on communicating program successes with major media, policymakers, funders and members of the higher education community. Representatives for CMI are expected to share the FYRE success story at the National Convening of Minority Serving Institutions hosted at the University of Pennsylvania in November of 2013; this year the conference also serves as opening ceremony for a new Center for Minority Serving Institutions. In addition, we can expect that understandings from the research at CMI (alongside other MSI’s) will be published in a scholarly book sometime in the next year.
The application for the grant was submitted by CMI in partnership with the Friends of the College of Marshall Islands (FCMI) organization and was selected for the positive outcomes in the first year of the unique “residential and intensive” FYRE program. As compared to peers at CMI from the same semester, these FYRE participants showed; a) higher grades in English, math and computer courses taken that first semester; b) greater first semester completion rates and fewer withdrawals; c) improved retention through the first year of college and; d) a greater percentage of students persisting for two consecutive years (or four semesters).
While I and a handful of administrators drafted the proposal for this award, the real work from the small team of faculty and staff both living and working atCMI Arrak is the source for the program’s success and for CMI’s selection into this MSI project. These exemplary educators deserve praise for fostering the positive experience of students. Their work has given CMI (and the RMI) an opportunity to gain significant exposure to, ongoing connection with, and potential resources from national higher education leaders in the US. I’ve been proud to support these dedicated and caring employees at CMI Arrak , thank you all past and present FYRE team members and supporters!
Joshua Farr, M.Ed.\
Interim Dean of Arrak Campus
College of the Marshall Islands
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