With the recent revamping of university personnel, Brenda C. Spencer is bringing hope to FAMU while serving as the new director of retention.
She holds herself to a high standard and views serving her alma mater as an honor. Having the opportunity to improve the lives of students is something that Spencer holds close to her heart.
“I look forward to helping students successfully matriculate through college to graduation and achieve their academic and career goals,” said Spencer.
As someone who has authority of the overall success of students there are issues that Spencer said deserve some attention. There are some inconsistencies as it relates to FAMU’s academic policies and, in some cases, a lack of adherence to those policies, she said.
Spencer suggests the university enhance its technological infrastructure and move towards a paperless environment that would assist with noticing inconsistencies more frequently.
Damion Hunt, junior education student, expressed his thoughts on the need to update technology on FAMU’s campus. “I believe it is very crucial that our student technology services be upgraded to compete with other top universities,” Hunt said.
Spencer agreed with students. “We need to utilize technology to streamline business processes and offer more efficient services for our students,” said Spencer.
Another major concern is the number of students who are not achieving their maximum potential and are falling behind, taking breaks, or dropping out of college.
Many of these students need initialized counseling and additional support programs to address their special needs or circumstances.
Spencer hopes to implement that plan during her tenure as the new Director of Retention. She stresses the importance of viewing the area of retention as a university-wide initiative to unite the campus and provide services that promote lasting accomplishments.
Senior criminal justice student, Whitney Shivers agrees that some changes must be done in order to ensure student enrollment does not suffer.
“Over the years, I’ve seen many friends leave college due to crippling circumstances. Whether it is suffering with money or struggling to pass classes, if there was certain support programs, they may still be here and have the opportunity to graduate,” Shivers said.
“I have already met with various campus representatives to determine how we can collaborate together to address the needs of our students and help them to overcome barriers within the educational process,” said Spencer.
A strength Spencer continued to visit was the university’s outreach service to the community.
However, she gave a list of possibilities that would be in the university’s best interest to capitalize on, including new online education programs, STEM programs, articulation agreements with Florida’s state and community colleges and advanced research initiatives.
“FAMU has a strong brand name and is poised for continued success,” said Spencer
Spencer said retention will remain the key focus and it is important to set high expectations for students, think globally and adhere to accreditation standards while improving matriculation and graduation rates.
“I wanted to return to FAMU to assist the institution in achieving its retention and graduation goals, help students to better understand their purpose for being in college and provide them with the tools and resources needed to achieve their academic and career goals,” said Spencer.