ASCC President speaks at faculty convocation
Fine Arts Department instructor Mr. Poe Mageo, chairman of the Faculty Senate at the American Samoa Community College, described a Convocation as an occasion for instructors to hear presentations on how they can better serve their students. For the College’s spring 2017 Faculty Convocation last week, the Senate asked recently-appointed President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato to share the insights she has gleaned during her many years in the field of education, a journey which has taken her from an elementary school teacher to the President of ASCC.
Before an audience representing the diverse spectrum of ASCC faculty, Dr. Pato began her talk by sharing how she found it challenging to prepare a presentation for her fellow instructors, because she considers the majority of them to already be experts in their chosen areas. Rather than try to instill a particular methodology, she explained, she opted instead to offer a philosophical approach to the “big picture” of education. Using the well-known example of the blind men feeling different parts of an elephant, and subsequently disagreeing on its exact nature, Dr. Pato said this parallels how different educators have their own views, styles, and areas of expertise, and no matter how accomplished any one instructor or administrator may become, their own approach to education is never all there is.
“Until we can see the big picture,” said Dr. Pato, “there will always be disagreement over what we need to accomplish and how it should be done. So I urge you to try and take a broader view, and to have respect for other perspectives. Always try to fit the different parts of the picture together to find the essence of what we’re trying to do, which to give our students the knowledge and skills to improve their lives.” The ASCC President asked the audience to concentrate on two key words, “whole” and “dash.” The word “whole” summarizes the practice of trying to see the whole picture, as well as enabling students to make the necessary connections that give them a broader perspective on life.
The word “dash,” as Dr. Pato asked the audience to reflect on it, represents the period of time between the “sunrise” of a person’s life and its “sunset.” “We see a person’s life summarized in print by their birth date and the date they pass away, with everything in between represented by a simple dash,” she explained. “The time students spend with us at ASCC may seem like a very small part of that dash, but it makes an immeasurable difference in the quality of their life. Therefore, we should strive to be a part of that dash which they will never forget. Never under-estimate your own impact, and strive to be the inspiring person that your students need you to be.”
Dr. Pato also shared how her current goals include placing a renewed emphasis on re-classification and professional development. “For many years now, we have focused on our accreditation,” she said, “and its recent re-affirmation illustrates what we can accomplish when we all pull together. More recently, we have had to practice cost containment measures due to budget restraints, but we will be working on the re-classification of our faculty wherever it is appropriate. Closely related to this is professional development. While we may not currently have the budget to send faculty and staff off-island to attend needed trainings, seminars and conferences, we hope to take a different approach to this challenge b making greater use of professional development resources already within the College or here on island.”
The Convocation concluded with Faculty Senate President Mr. Mageo thanking Dr. Pato for sharing her time and her thoughts, and wishing the assembled faculty an inspired and rewarding spring 2017 semester. For more information on ASCC, visit the College’s website at: www.amsamoa.edu.