Hart vows to restore NMC’s full accreditation

Saipan Tribune – Saturday, July 09, 2011

By Moneth Deposa


On her first day of work yesterday, Northern Marianas College president Sharon Hart promised the college community and the Board of Regents that she would work to restore the institution’s full accreditation on her first year.

Hart made the pronouncement yesterday as she was welcomed by NMC employees and students alike during an open forum at the college’s campus in As Terlaje. The new president said she was thrilled upon seeing a large number of people in the open session showing their enthusiasm and support for the new leadership.

Hart, in a press briefing yesterday, said she also had an informal meeting with the board to mainly discuss accreditation issues.

The Accrediting Commission for Junior Community Colleges lifted NMC’s show-cause status on Friday, placing it under the less severe “probation status.” NMC has until Oct. 15 to submit a report.

Hart said the key focus of her next three months is to prepare this probation report and for the ACJCC team visit that is slated sometime in October or November this year.

Because of her strong accreditation background, the new president is confident that she can achieve her goal of getting the college out of probation. She claimed credit for restoring the full status of her former college and helping prepare the self-study of other colleges.

Among NMC’s deficiencies is its program review, which Hart said she will work on to make the college compliant. She said she spent five years in charge of program review at one of her former colleges and was asked to do the same for eighth other institutions simultaneously.

Hart said she will make sure that NMC’s programs are aligned with what the local community needs. “I believe that the real goal of a public community college is to be serving the need of the local community. And I believe in looking at statistics, working on facts, talking with the community, and making sure that each of our graduates will come out equipped,” she told reporters, adding that she will also ensure that standards are built across its curriculum and programs.

By restoring and maintaining full accreditation, NMC can save energy and resources that it can utilize in other areas, Hart added.

‘I love challenges’

Hart, who has been a president of a number of colleges and universities in the U.S. mainland, said that facing challenges is her prime motivation for accepting the NMC job.

“I love the challenge and this institution does have challenges.but these challenges I feel can absolutely be addressed appropriately and I know I can help the institution move forward,” she said.

Additionally, Hart said she loves the island environment.

Hart had applied for the same position four years ago but was accepted to another post. At that time, Dr. Carmen Fernandez was chosen to become NMC president.

“So when the opportunity opened, I said.maybe this is the time,” she said.

Hart obtained her bachelor’s degree in vocational home economics and agriculture/natural resources education in 1978 at the Michigan State University. She earned a master’s degree in family and consumer economics in 1983 from the Indiana State University.

In 1993, she completed leadership studies through the Institute for the Management of Lifelong Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She obtained her doctoral degree in education at the University of Illinois in 1995.

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