Florida A&M University and Florida State University established a joint engineering program more than 35 years ago, but many FAMU students don’t believe it’s an even playing field at the college in Innovation Park.
According to the 2018 FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Annual Report, 19.4 percent of undergraduate students in the program were black, while 19.8 percent were Hispanic and 51.2 percent were white.
Marc Griffiths, a fifth-year mechanical engineering FAMU student in the engineering school said, “I remember being enrolled into classes where I was the only black student in my class.”
Corey Ritchie, a fourth year former civil engineering major at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is now a construction technology student at Florida A&M University. “I felt like a statistic. I had to work 10 times harder to not only be on the same playing field as my FSU classmates, but just to be noticed as a student.”
He claims the student-professor relationships in the program were not as welcoming compared to on FAMU’s main campus.
“I was enrolled in a class last spring semester where my professor knew none of our names, but gave the students numbers and that is how we were assessed,” Ritchie said.
Ritchie told the Famuan that he felt left in the dark about a lot of conditions regarding the curriculum and was sometimes not told until it was too late.
“While at the school, it was always hard to contact faculty. However, they were quick to res
pond to my needs when it came to booting me out of the program,” Ritchie said. “Now that I am at FAMU, I am taking the same curriculum as the college of engineering, but not only am I now understanding my work but my grades have drastically increased as well.”
Ritchie was not the only FAMU student who felt unaccounted for during their time in the program.
Javar Pascoe, a fourth year civil engineering student at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering said, “Don’t get me wrong, the college of engineering is a great school and the professors are excellent but most times I feel like an outsider. I was very confused as to why I was enrolled in a partnering program between FAMU and FSU but in order to access the resources in the school I had to obtain an FSU ID card and Florida State log-in account.”
“When it comes to the interests, needs, and concerns of FAMU students, it seems as though we always take the back seat. In the future, I would love to see more FAMU representation among faculty and staff at the college of engineering in hopes to help the FAMU students to feel more welcomed and excel,” Pascoe added.