The College of the Marshall Islands Board of Regents chair, Kathryn Relang, is both nervous and excited to soon welcome Commissioners of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges to the CMI campus. Nervous because this will be her first WASC visit as chair; excited “because their visit gives us an opportunity to see how we are doing and it’s also an opportunity to get an idea on how we can improve.”
The key virtual visit, which will take place from March 15-18, was one of the main topics at a retreat attended by nearly 100 CMI board members, faculty, staff and students at the Marshall Islands Resort on Saturday, January 30. The program for the day was to discuss the main goals for the year, with one of the most important of these being to host a successful virtual visit by the WASC accrediting team, which will be led by Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas of the University of Hawaii.
During the day the team analyzed the college’s revised Mission, Vision and Philosophy Statements and the Institutional Self Evaluation Report that has already been submitted to the accrediting team. Another focus was understanding and guiding the process for a Participatory Governance, which ensures inclusive decision-making from the students all the way to the board. CMI’s Finance Key Performance Indicators were also presented, with the figures showing an upward trend in growth in financial stability. The group discussed how this trend can be maintained through strategy and performance.
In the afternoon, the focus shifted to the standards the college must meet for the WASC visit. “The visit will be made through apps such as Zoom,” Kathryn said. “It’s likely we will gather in the boardroom for some of these, but the WASC team will no doubt have calls with various members of the faculty, staff and a range of students.”
CMI has successfully met WASC’s accreditation standards for many years, which is vital for students wanting to attend college or university in the US — and also a requirement for continued US government funding.
WASC is one of six official academic bodies in the US responsible for the accreditation of public and private universities, colleges, secondary and elementary schools. The maximum accreditation term a school can receive is six years.