Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees (BOT) met to discuss ways to improve low graduation and retention rates last Tuesday.
The BOT asked those over academic affairs to come up with creative ways to ensure students excel and return to the university.
Officials feel that problems presented in the meetings can be solved by a stronger presence of students in the BOT meetings.
Dr. Bettye Grable, president of the FAMU Faculty Senate and BOT member, stated what she thinks will be the main element for FAMU’s positive turn around.
“For us to deal with the lack of higher performance by students, we must ask them,” said Grable. “We must ask. We need to get the students’ perspective. We are coming from a faculty’s perspective and in order for us to meet higher expectations we must hear from the students.”
According to the Board of Governors (BOG) website, FAMU’s work plan shows the FTIC (first time in college) four-year graduation rate at a low 12 percent among students. The data refers to students who entered the university in 2010 and expected to graduate in 2014. The six-year graduation rate was at 39 percent from 2008-2014.
These percentages are significantly low for the university that is ranked No. 1 among public Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU).
The BOT wants to improve on the freshmen retention rate, which was at 81 percent in 2013-2014.
Student Body President Tonette S. Graham is the representative for students at the board meetings. She also expressed her concern that the faculty should reach out more to students and keep lines of communication open to help with improvements to the school.
“We need to make sure that we find an innovative and creative way to educate students on performance-based funding. Let them know what their resources are, look at the different models in the SUS (State University System) from other universities,” said Graham.
Graham stated that she is looking forward to working with the trustees so they can come up with ways to inform the students.
School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC) Dean Ann Wead Kimbrough agrees with Grable and Graham when it comes to students’ attendance at BOT meetings. She also commends professors for their creative assignments that involve students becoming more informed about university affairs.
“I appreciate BOT member Dr. Bettye Grable for encouraging her students to attend meetings and Tonnette Graham for always asking students to remain involved,” said Kimbrough. “I also applaud SJGC instructors for providing assignments to their students as it allows students opportunities to demonstrate good reporting and writing skills.”
For more information on Florida A&M University’s work plan you can visit http://www.flbog.edu/resources/publications/workplan.php