• By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

College of Micronesia identifies challenges; search for new president continues


While continuing its search for a new president, the College of Micronesia-Federated States of Micronesia has identified accreditation and future funding as the main challenges besetting the institution this year.

The COM-FSM Presidential Search Committee announced the vacancy for the president's seat on April 1 and is still accepting applications from potential candidates until May 31. Initial screening will take place in June with interviews currently scheduled to take place this summer, the college stated in its announcement.

On May 5, the Board of Regents named Karen Simion interim president pending official selection of a candidate to replace Joseph M. Daisy, who stepped down on Jan. 30 after accepting another job in Hawaii.

“I am honored to be selected by the Board of Regents to serve as interim president during this unusual and trying time. I will do my best to promote quality education while keeping students, faculty, and staff safe and healthy,” said Simion, who has been with the college for 32 years.

She began working at the Chuuk campus in 1988 before moving to the national campus in 2005. She has served in a variety of positions such as an administrative assistant, faculty of English, instructional coordinator, dean of Academic Programs and vice president for Instructional Affairs. Simion also currently serves as the Accreditation Liaison Officer for the college.

After serving as the college president for eight years, Daisy resigned to become the chancellor of Kaua’i Community College in Hawaii.

In a statement following Daisy’s resignation, the Board of Regents said the former college president “has served as the focal point in translating the COM-FSM’s values into a reality that he articulated and brought to life. He has demonstrated the critical importance of having a clear understanding of the values of the FSM nation as well as the values of COM-FSM."

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In March, the Presidential Search Committee and Office of Institutional Effectiveness surveyed the COM-FSM community to determine what people consider to be the most important challenges confronting COM-FSM and what the next president should prioritize.

Respondents selected three challenges facing COM-FSM “Accreditation (quality of education and Pell eligibility) and future funding are broadly considered to be the two most important challenges facing COM-FSM in 2020.

Classrooms, equipment and facilities are next in importance to students, whereas faculty and staff are more concerned with enrollment,” the college said in its press release.

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Results of the stakeholder group’s survey are as follows:

  • 68 percent of respondents believe the next president of COM-FSM should prioritize students’ success.

  • Regarding personal qualities, a majority of the respondents said the next president “should demonstrate, working effectively with board, faculty, staff and students.”

  • Respondents also favor a president wo has “appreciation of cultural diversity, aspiration to improve the college’s visibility and standards, and leadership experience in an institution of comparable size and complexity were all considered approximately equal in importance.”

Responders also listed the following qualities:

  • Quality, philosophy, and value connected to Pacific Islanders’ culture and traditions

  • Someone who will let students have their voice heard and will listen

  • A reflective practitioner

  • One who will ensure there is communication and transparency at all levels.

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