Florida A&M officials held a cabinet meeting in the President’s conference room to discuss their progress with the university’s plans on restructuring the university and how they will move forward.
President James H. Ammons opened the meeting by saying that FAMU is in the company of almost all colleges and universities that are looking at ways they can become more efficient and effective. “Budget cuts and restructuring are not just happening to FAMU- it’s a national phenomenon,” said Ammons. “We want the best thinking in each department.”
The restructuring committee has developed a methodology on how it will determine what and who needs to be cut and what programs need to be strengthened. Chief Communications Officer Sharon Saunders said the administration plans to look closely and carefully into all schools and programs to ensure that each department is working efficiently.
Many faculty and staff are concerned about whether or not they will be returning next school year due to the discussions of the university’s plans for restructuring.
Saunders said that many employees were notified last year that they would not be returning after their contract is up June 30, so that they can make proper arrangements for their future. “If we have numerous people that do the same function. We will try to eliminate the duplication of those positions and drop that number down significantly,” said Saunders. “We are also investing in technology and, through technology, we will be able to function more efficiently and save cost.”
However, this methodology hasn’t been applied across the board as of yet. The committee’s next step will be to apply the formula as it gets prepared for the April meeting. “We will know something in April and decisions would be made thereafter. We are actively working with Workforce Plus to establish workshops and a career fair to help those displaced employees,” said Saunders.
“We have hired a consultant to go over the methodology to ensure that the methods we are using are fair and efficient in determining the information we need,” said Saunders.
Ammons said that 2011 is not the only concern, but the many years to follow.
“If we are going to position the university for the future, then there are so many things that we must let go,” said Ammons. “We have to position FAMU for the future. We are looking well beyond 2011, way into 2020 and 2050 so that FAMU is relevant today and tomorrow.”
University Faculty Senate President and University Trustee Maurice Holder agreed with Ammons and said that the restructuring of FAMU is something that needed to happen regardless of budget cuts.
“We must continue to make the best decisions for FAMU to ensure that our students and university are receiving the best quality,” said Holder.