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FAMU’s strides towards academic excellence

By Jamoni Arnold | Staff Writer
On November 21, 2017

CAFS students at commencement services | Photo credit: FAMUCAFS via Facebook

Known for its legendary homecomings and exciting Set Fridays, FAMU strives to be an influential contributor in the standard of academic excellence.

According to the 2015-16 Annual Accountability Report, FAMU’s six-year graduation rate was 41 percent for students enrolled from 2010-16.

During a Board of Governors panel held on June 21 it was discussed what steps needed to be taken to ensure students could graduate within six years. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, BOG member Wayne Huizenga told FAMU’s interim president Larry Robinson that, “you have a small amount doing very well, but a large percentage not graduating on time and with excess debt.” 

Since then, Robinson has implied that the university has plans to rectify this trend. Robinson is projecting a 48 percent graduation rate for students attending between 2012-2018 and a 55 percent increase between 2014-2020.

According to Dr. Jamie Davis, the Director of Student Support for FAMU’s College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, incentives have been introduced as a way to ensure students are in a position to graduate within four years.

Each semester CAFS awards scholarships to its students. These scholarships are based on merit. Students with high GPA’s are awarded the most and students with lower GPA’s still can access these scholarships based on their academic gains.

“Our students are performing well, but we do identify the ones who are underperforming and those are the ones that we try to target and give support [to]. One such support was financial aid, but [for] others it’s tutoring. [For other students] it’s counseling, making sure they don’t have any issues outside of the classroom,” Davis said.

Like CAFS, this strive for academic success is reflected throughout the university’s campus.

CAFS students at commencement services | Photo credit: FAMUCAFS via Facebook

For instance, graduates of FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences displayed a notable improvement with the number of students who passed the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination on the first try.

This year 83.8 percent of pharmacy graduates passed the national exam as opposed to last year’s 62.81 percent passing rate, which was the lowest for any pharmacy school in the national rankings.

FAMU will be going through the process of re-accreditation in February of 2018 and these are the advancements the university needs.

While administration and faculty across the campus are striving to improve the graduation rate of FAMU students, some students feel there are still some areas that can be improved.

Students like Zedrina Jackson and Mathew Walker believe that students also play a role in assisting the faculty and administration in advancing the university and that through efficient time manage students can enhance themselves with their homework and other responsibilities.

Jackson is a junior English education student from Miami, Florida that said the administration could better assist students in their education and make themselves “more available and approachable.” Matthew is a senior from Orlando, Florida who also said that students play a role in assisting the faculty and administration to improve FAMU.

With faculty, administration, and students all dedicated to improving themselves and the university and graduation rates increasing, the university is on its way to a better FAMU. However, Davis concluded by saying that, “there’s always room for improvement.” 

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