The Florida university chancellor challenged Florida A&M to step back and evaluate itself.
“FAMU needs to decide what kind of university it wants to be,” said Frank T. Brogan, State University System of Florida chancellor, during a question and answer session at Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting in Lee Hall Auditorium.
Brogan addressed the recent difficult period in FAMU’s history and how it has shaped public perception of the university.
“It took its toll on the Legislature; it took its toll on the board of governors and it certainly took its toll, not only at Florida A&M, it took its toll on those who ever thought of attending Florida A&M University,” said Brogan, who is the former president of Florida Atlantic University and former lieutenant governor under Governor Jeb Bush.
Brogan said the perception of FAMU could have impacted its recent enrollment increase and what faculty is facing in the classroom. According to Brogan, the quality of students has been affected by some of the university’s past problems.
“We just took in about an eight percent increase in Florida A&M, about 80 percent of those are alternative profile admits,” said Brogan. “Meaning those students did not meet the basic state university system profile for a university student. I’m one of the biggest fans of alternative admits there is. But, I think most would agree that as we get our back numbers up, there has been an impact on the volume of alternative admits students, which sees an impact played out in the classroom.”
Brogan said that FAMU has to get better organized, especially in the jumbled, overcrowded university system.
“I believe that we need some of those community colleges, junior colleges, state colleges to pick up some of the slack that we’re not. Eleven universities, we’re running out of room in our state universities fast. We need to figure out who’s going to be the 12th university, 13th university, 14th university in the state university system.”
A faculty member asked how educators can get the governor and Legislature to understand that investing in education is a long term benefit for the state.
“The faculty members said they were promised that the enhance education,” said the faculty member. “Instead what we see is they cut back on regular funding and used those lottery dollars in its place.”
Brogan suggested approaching the Legislature as a group rather than as individuals to aid changing the minds of lawmakers. Brogan said that state Legislature’s refusal to give more money may be due to the performance of the state universities.
“Why would I give you more money when I know there is a massive amount of unwarranted duplication of effort from this system,” asked Brogan. “All we want is more money to continue to pay for that.”
Brogan criticized Florida for having the fourth-largest higher educational system but no top 10 public schools. He called it unacceptable.
Brogan will be back on campus Thursday at the School of Business and Industry forum.