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Interim Deans Say They Will Build Strong New Colleges

FAMU Groups Programs Together to Boost Efficiency

Staff Writer

Published: Friday, August 17, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 17, 2012 15:08

Valencia Matthews

Natalie Johnson

Valencia Matthews is interim dean of the FAMU College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

Maurice Edington

Natalie Johnson

Maurice Edington is the interim dean of FAMU's College of Science and Technology

Florida A&M split its largest college into two smaller ones this summer to, as the university hopes, better administer similar programs.

On July 1, the former College of Arts and Sciences became the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities and the College of Science and Technology. As the names suggest, one will house humanities programs and the other will house many of the university’s science programs.

Valencia Matthews will serves as interim dean for CSSAH. She had been until last month assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Matthews said she looks forward to establishing her college’s identity at FAMU.

“As a new college, that we have a sense of collaborating and knowing where we want to go as a college,” said Matthews, adding that she plans to communicate often with students, staff and faculty. 

“It does require your looking at the entire college and saying ‘OK, what are we really about?’ and so the good thing about that it has happened and it gives you the opportunity to start from ground zero in sense.”

CSSAH includes, among other programs, political science, geography, music, psychology, and foreign languages (which includes now includes the English department).

Former director of FAMU’s Quality Enhancement Program Maurice Edington will serve as interim dean for CST.

Edington said he plans to spend much time building a core of programs and services to better educate students.

“As interim of a new college, the primary goal is to really get the college up and running. We want to get the college staffed and get our office situation finalized and begin to offer those focused set of services to the students,” said Edington. “As we begin to do that, we want to start at least laying down the foundation or plan to have FAMU have a focus concentration on enhancing teaching and research on the STEM areas.”

CST includes physics, chemistry, biology, computer information systems and mathematics.

Jasmine Green, a fourth-year biology student from Chicago, said she believes the split was necessary but that she is not yet sure what effect it would have on the program.

“As a student of biology, going into my fourth year, I don’t feel as if the sciences at FAMU are focused on enough,” Green said. “As far as the teachers we have and the curriculum, I just feel like there needs to be more structure and maybe the divide will help with that.”

Edington said his University Common’s office is a temporary location, but the university administration will work on relocating him to a permanent space on campus.

Matthews said former FAMU President James Ammons’ resignation last month would not affect the division because the split was decided over a year ago. Ammons quit in July, and Provost Larry Robinson has since been appointed interim president. 

She said, however, that his leaving might affect recruitment.

“As Florida A&M University, we are facing challenging times, but we tend to be resilient,” Matthews said.

Both She and Edington said they are interested in becoming the permanent deans of their respective colleges.


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1 comments Log in to Comment

Sat Sep 1 2012 16:27
Thank goodness! Please start with the school of Science and Technology. Like Jasmine Green mentioned in the article, the sciences are not merely given enough attention. The chemistry department is horrible, few professors are actually are effective and even enjoy what they are doing . FAMU has become too comfortable with some of their professors, and refuses to listen to the students.

They wont take notice in failure rates, Dr. Edwards told us the pass rate for Chemsitry II was 15%, so out of 300 students 45 continue to the next class and 255 are retaking the course. That isnt right at all, and I dont know how it continues without anyone taking charge. I know I am ready to go to the next person on the totem pole, because no one seems to care that the professors are not teaching effectively. I really want to take this to the news station so everyone becomes aware, "dont come to FAMU if you plan on pursing science". Chemistry II is a highly failed class, and not because no one cares, many students complain and nothing is done. Professor Edwards isnt professional, cursing constantly at the students, he once told us that we did not give a F*ck about the class. Yes, he really did say that, and that is just beginning. I signed up for Edwards, which is a Chemistry 2 lecture and he told us he wont be in class for two weeks so he attempted to teach using this online skype-like program, however, two weeks turned into a month, then turned into "ill be back after spring break". It was so unfair, half the time we could not hear him speaking, or the program would start having issues. When the test came around the average grade was a 30% from what we were told, and he acted surprised.

Chemistry needs to be taught in a classroom not on skype. I didnt believe that the class that semester was fair at all, I paid over 500 dollars because I had to retake the class for the third time, and then he wasnt even in class to teach. When I emailed him about the issue he did not respond, then I called the chemistry department and their phone kept going to voice mail which the mail box was full. Again, I was swindled by FAMU.

There are not enough professors teaching the chemistry and biology courses at all. Being a prime example I have been set so far back because I havent been able to successfully get into classes . I am a senior and I am just now getting into classes from my sophomore year, Ive had to take my classes so out of order. Senior classes my sophomore year , sophomore classes my senior year, which caused me to get out of sync when the professors refer back to freshman and sophomore class inormation. I dont understand why nothing has been done about chemistry though, its a HUGE problem, Ive had to retake one chemistry class repeatedly , I went to another university took it once passed it with easily. However, now Im so far back, I will not graduate in four years. Instead probably 5 in a half. The Biology department also needs some assistance, I believe a lot of those professors actually love their jobs but there are not enough of them to teach the classes, I had to take freshman year Bio II Lab, my senior year because it was unavailable all of the years in between. Also, I believe some of the advisors are not fully qualified, not to mention many of them are professors too so its nearly impossible to get a hold of them to actually discuss classes.

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