FAMU should better promote its grad programs’ to students

Photo courtesy: news.wfsu.org

“4 and out the door” is one of the many slogans used here at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Personally, I heard it almost every day for a month during my first semester on the hill.

Graduation is the highlight and end-goal for every student, but for some, four years of undergrad is not the end to their educational journey; this is why FAMU should publicize its graduate programs to students more.

According to FAMU’s School of Graduate Studies and Research, FAMU graduate school offers 15 doctoral graduate programs, 42 master programs, 3 online programs and 3 professional programs. The most popular programs are pharmacy studies, law, and business.

For some schools on campus, graduate programs are offered and encouraged. For example, The School of Business and Industry does a great job providing information on their 1-year master’s program and highly suggests all of their students to take that pathway. When I was in SBI my first semester of freshman year, they were providing information and highly encouraging their graduate program. Unfortunately, this was the only time FAMU’s graduate programs were spoken about to me.

Business administration major and graduating senior Christian Miley recalls FAMU’s SBI program advertising their graduate program.

“They’ve been advertising their 1-year MBA program to me since I was a freshman,” Miley said.

Because only a certain number of the schools at FAMU offer a graduate program, many of the students in other majors must attend other universities to continue their education.

Recent FAMU graduate, Tazjhani Baker, earned her B.S in Public Relations in the Fall of 2021 and plans to continue her education at Florida State University for their Integrated Marketing Communications program since it is not offered on the hill.

“I found out about the IMC program at FSU through one of my professors in J-school,” Baker said. “It was actually the first time I was presented with an option as far as grad school, since being at FAMU.”

Baker continued to share that she doesn’t feel that FAMU’s graduate program is highlighted to undergraduate students and that SGSR should find better ways to communicate with students interested in grad school.

“I think in order to do better, those over the graduate studies should do more to engage the student body,” Baker said. “There should be more events that allow students to explore different options when it comes to grad school.”

The School of Graduate Studies and Research claims that their mission is to work collaboratively with all academic units to educate and train future scholars and professionals and to produce knowledge and research in the fields and areas in which they will work. According to their website, SGSR also serves as the chief academic advocate for graduate education at FAMU.

Interim Dean Dr. Reginald K. Ellis says that many students have a misconception about the feeder program, believing the feeder program is used solely to connect current FAMU students with other universities for grad school, when that is actually not the case.

“Most students don’t realize that most feeder scholars still attend FAMU for their graduate studies,” Ellis said. “The program presents both opportunities at FAMU, as well as other universities. Additionally, Feeder is designed for programs that aren’t offered at FAMU.”

Dr. Ellis says that SGSR is continuously finding ways to communicate with students and keep them up-to-date with the programs and opportunities they have available for Graduate studies. Talking to classes, hosting graduate feeder program workshops and on-campus recruitment fairs are the most common ways SGSR provides information about programs to students.

Due to the emerging use of digital communication during Covid-19, SGSR has also begun to grow their social media presence in order to reach more students. The School of Graduate Studies uses platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to relay information and also sends newsletters to student emails.

I believe that for SGSR to have more engaging communication and access to students, they must increase their presence on campus and online. Many students, including myself, get informed about most events and opportunities through posts and accounts on Instagram. It is also necessary to host more engaging and prevalent in-person events. Nothing is more effective than being hands-on and face-to face. Having in-person events would allow information and resources to be more attainable for students and staff more approachable for additional counsel.

The School of Graduate Studies and Research offers many great and necessary resources intended to help students thrive during and after their time here on the Hill. It must be a two-way street to finding and accessing this information. SGSR and FAMU as a whole should make their students more aware about all these amazing opportunities that could help them be successful in all professional advancements.