We have an exciting year ahead of us here at the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI)! Many new Faculty and Staff members have joined the CMI family.
We have the new CMI Bujen Kallejar (Strategic Plan) 2016-2018 in its implementation phase. We also have the first college-wide Performance Management System in place and training is well underway. The revised CMI Integrated Plan has been confirmed and the Master Planning Framework should also be available soon. All of these initiatives and activities are driven by and in alignment with the CMI Mission (see below):
The mission of the College of the Marshall Islands is to provide quality, student-centered educational services to Marshallese people who desire access to a post-secondary education.
1. As a community college, we provide access to students from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and help them acquire the skills necessary to succeed in higher education, work, and in life.
2. As part of the larger Pacific community, we provide selective higher education programming to regional audiences.
3. As the national college of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the College serves as a research and intellectual resource to the nation and prepares students in our island nation to succeed in a global community.
Keeping abreast of the rapid changes in 21st century education and ensuring that we serve the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the regional community and those from further afield in the best ways possible, require CMI to be acutely responsive, effective and relevant. In her keynote address at the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) 23rd Commencement Exercises, May 24, 2016, Her Excellency, the President of the RMI, Dr. Hilda Heine shared her vision for education as follows, “My vision is for every one of our families to have at least one family member with a college degree.” President Heine’s vision resonates very strongly with CMI’s Mission. Furthermore, the President posed the following four challenges to CMI:
Provide “upskilling” certificate programs that take no longer than 12 months, “in partnership with the private sector”;
“Establish a fully functioning campus on Ebeye within the next four years”;
“Upgrade the distance-learning center on Jaluit so that it is fully functioning and capable of serving more students in this sub-center, which services our communities in the southern atolls”; and
To establish no later than this coming year, a second distance-learning center on Wotje.
In relation to President Heine’s vision and the four challenges, CMI has continued to grow from strength to strength since it was first established in 1993. Responding to the educational needs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), particularly in general and developmental education and awarding associate degrees in Arts, Science, Education and Nursing, CMI is driven by its mission “to provide quality, student-centered educational services“ to the Marshallese and the wider regional communities that we serve.
The first four-year degree program will be submitted for approval to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) as soon as we meet the relevant Commission requirements. Discussions with the relevant entities about the Ebeye expansion project are in progress. After meeting with the Kwajalein Command and contractors, the urgent need for technical skills’ training must be met so that more Marshallese are appropriately qualified to fill vacancies on Kwajalein. On Majuro and across to the outer islands, vocational and technical education is also in demand so CMI is required to respond with effective and sustainable training programs.
Graduation rates began showing promising trends in the last three years with the highest
numbers of certificates awarded and degrees conferred to graduates on record. While enrollments since 2011 - 2016 have shown a slightly fluctuating pattern, they are higher than in any other period accounting for an 8% increase in enrollments in the same time frame.
The singular commitment by CMI administrators, faculty and staff to reduce substantial deficits in past years has resulted in a strong and promising financial position to support continued growth in the CMI Bujen Kallejar (Strategic Plan) 2016-2018. Significant progress has also been made to consolidate all CMI policies and procedures so that the Bujen Kallejar is built on the most robust platform possible to ensure the successful and sustainable achievement of its goals.
The College is actively engaging with the Government and all education providers in the RMI community to address entrenched challenges in our education system that have resulted in performances below expectation in critical areas like college-readiness.
The vision that underscores the Bujen Kallejar is based predominantly on relevant and quality learning experiences and support, sustainable strategies and practices, collaborative and innovative partnerships, and leveraging education-driven technology. In continuing to build CMI as the college of the future for the Republic of the Marshall Islands, focused and data-driven dialogue and research-based innovation must inform our strategies, plans and actions.
Theresa Koroivulaono (Ph. D)
College of the Marshall Islands
Republic of the Marshall Islands.