Florida A&M moves forward with in their search of finding a new Vice President of Student Affairs with an open forum with candidate Timothy Beard. Beard answered questions about how he would fulfill the role in Lee Hall on Monday in front of a small group of faculty, staff and students.
Beard currently serves as the Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Management at Pasco-Hernando Community College and has nearly 25 years of experience in higher education as an administrator, assistant professor and instructor.
“There was a level of hope that was instilled in me when I attended FAMU” said Beard. “I knew I would come back. Timing is everything.”
Concerns were presented and questions were asked on topics ranging from budgeting to leadership style.
Michael Jefferson, 19, SGA secretary of academic affairs, said they collected several questions from the student body and those are the questions that are given to the candidate.
“The selection of the next VP of student affairs is paramount to the future of student life,” said Jefferson.
One of the only questions asked by a student in the audience was in regards to how Beards would simplify and speed up the financial aid process.
“We need more bodies to serve the students,” said Beard. “ Personnel increase is linked with student increase. I’m the number one advocate of getting more staff, but first I would assess the system in place. Human processing and technology processing, we need to make sure those systems are efficient. We can’t wait for problems to occur.”
As he fielded questions, Beard said that as a leader, you are only as good as the people that surround you and that former president Fredrick Humphries and even current President James Ammons’ success is contingent on the people they hire.
In 2001, Beard was chosen as ” Teacher of the Year” at FAMU and was appointed by the governor of Florida to serve on the State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Beard’s perspective on student engagement and involvement directly correlates with faculty and staff.
” It takes positive energy, said Beard. “If you want results you have to possess positive energy yourself. It will stem from me and we are hoping it will have a domino effect. If we can get student and faculty together, we can work wonders.”
With the unemployment rate at almost 10 percent, Beard said he recognizes the challenges ahead with job placement of FAMU students.
“We’ve never seen anything like this since the great depression, said Beard. “Everyone wants to hear good news about his or her situation, but we have to challenge ourselves to tell it like it is. These are hard times. I will ensure our students have career opportunities and financial assistance if they want to extend their education.”
Beard’s overall vision for student affairs and his hope for his legacy are to help create, perpetuate and sustain student success.