New plan aims to split two colleges

Florida A&M University Provost Debra Austin recently released plans proposing the restructuring of colleges and schools throughout the university.

“I have found that it is time for FAMU to adapt to the changing environment and public debate about the purpose of higher education,” Austin said in her “Message from the Provost” memorandum.

The College of Arts and Science, the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture and the Environmental Sciences Institute are some of the colleges and institute that will be most affected by the proposed changes.

New plans indicate that The College of Arts and Science will split into two colleges-the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technology.

“I’m excited. I think it will be a good step and provide more resources for different majors, allowing administration to focus closely on their programs,” said Mario Henderson, 18, a first-year political science student from Daytona Beach.

CESTA and the ESI will no longer exist. The engineering sciences and technology part of CESTA will become part of the College of Arts and proposed science, math and engineering technology school that Austin calls SMET.

The agriculture entity of CESTA will become a part of another new college Austin proposed, the College of Agricultural and Environment Sciences.

The College of Arts and Science currently has 13 degree-granting programs and the Department of Army ROTC. The College of Liberal Arts will only have 11 degree-granting programs and the Department of Army ROTC.

Similar to the current mission, Austin believes the change “would allow us to strengthen our students’ educational experiences in the liberal arts and produce a well-educated citizenry.”

The need for the separating of arts and sciences stemmed from calculated plans to increase the number of graduates in science, mathematics and engineering technology.

These areas of matriculation are often seen as critical. The new changes comply with the tactics set in place by the Florida Board of Governors and the FAMU Board of Trustees.

“Highlighting the proposed School of SMET publicly announces that this University’s commitment to the sciences and other critically needed areas,” Austin said.

Therefore SMET will exclusively concentrate on educating students in these areas through its six degree-granting programs.

“The new changes will help the smaller majors like Physics to grow more,” said Gregory Woodall, 20, a second-year physics student from Atlanta.

The third college under the new restructuring program, CAES, will combine the extension and outreach missions from CESTA and progressive research in environmental science, Austin said in the memorandum. This new combination will offer four degree-granting programs.

There will be three task forces enacted to research and evaluate the proposed plans for restructuring. Mary Diallo, president of the faculty senate, and Bill Tucker, president of the faculty union, have been asked to serve as staffers for each task force.

The task forces, responsible for reporting any major affects of the proposal, will have five to eight constituents that will consist of students and faculty most affected by the areas of concentration.

“The cost of re-structuring is negligible since departments are allocated monies, irrespective of the college or school in which they are housed. In other words, the total amount of funds available will be unchanged, although they may be shifted as the departments shift,” Austin said. 

The proposal also creates more dean vacancies at the university, adding to the list of six current vacancies. Austin expects for a dean search to begin after the proposed plans have been completed.

“I think its smart to advertise for deans now since there is no dean for the College of Arts and Science,” Henderson said.

The recent resignation of Larry Rivers has left Ralph Turner to serve as the interim dean for the College of Arts and Science.

The implementation date of the restructuring is scheduled for July 1.

Contact Constance Rush at