Dr. Irene Taafaki took over as the new President of the College of the Marshall Islands June 1 in an inauguration ceremony at the Uliga campus.
Taafaki, who has led the University of the South Pacific program and now campus in Majuro for decades, praised her predecessor, outgoing CMI President Dr. Theresa Koroivulaono, for leaving the college with “structures and processes in place as a firm foundation” for continued growth and improvement.
Taafaki talked about the challenges presented by the global coronavirus pandemic that has necessitated changes in the methods of delivery of education around the world.
She also stressed CMI’s role in education opportunities for people living outside Majuro and the importance of ensuring a strong Marshallese studies program at the local college.
“In this era of rapidly burgeoning knowledge in science and technology, the vital task of building and nurturing the Marshallese character of the College can easily become elusive or, indeed, relegated to the wayside,” she said. “This should not happen. Indeed, new opportunities are coming forward: one is to grow a vibrant Marshallese Institute and to link this with an elevated and expanded Marshallese Studies department, a center of excellence in cultural studies.”
CMI is also gearing for a major US accreditation review in 2021. Taafaki said this will be a focus of the college’s work this year leading up to the accreditation assessment early next year.