Provost selection process nears end

Rattlers will have to wait a while longer before the top three candidates for provost are revealed.

A special committee has been selected to perform thorough background checks on the finalists before presenting the names to President Gainous or releasing them to the public.

“The selection will not be official until we’ve completed the background checks,” said Margaret Lewis, the chairperson of the provost search committee and the dean of the School of Nursing.

Lewis said, in the event that one of the top three candidates are not eligible due to the background checks, one of the two candidates remaining will be selected.

“None of the candidates will be informed until the background checks have been completed,” Lewis said. “We will not give the names in any ranked order either. We must be fair in this process.”

The five candidates for provost were Judith Plawecki, Johnnie Early, George Cooper, Tennyson Wright and Ada Burnette.

“The search committee anticipates the results of the background checks within two days,” Lewis said. “If the committee isn’t finished by then, then we will extend their time.”

According to the committee, the candidates were chosen by the scores they received through a series of evaluations from the provost search committee, the academic deans council, students, faculty and department chairs and heads.

The scores were based on their resumes and a question and answer period with each evaluating group. The questions were based on previous academic and administrative experience and knowledge, communication skills and diversity.

“No (evaluating) group was put above another,” said Lewis, “Each was given equal weight in the scoring process.”

However, members of the student body say there should have been more participation from students at the evaluation sessions.

“Our sessions haven’t been good,” said Keneshia Grant, 19, a sophomore political science student from Fort Lauderdale.

The Student Government Association member was one of the few students who took part in the evaluation session and said she was disappointed with the lack of initiative from the student population.

“We should take a more active role because our comments are being considered by the search committees,” Grant said.

“I’m getting to know the next leading officials of FAMU. It’s very important just to get a feel for the candidates and how they work.”

But students like Audrey Hughes, 20, and LaNedra Gaines, 22, said a lack of information may have kept the student body from the evaluations.

“If I had known in a decent time frame that the candidates for provost and vice presidents were on campus and that students could ask them questions, then yes I would have participated in the forums,” said Hughes, 20, an accounting and French student from Jacksonville.

Gaines, a senior elementary education student from Fort Lauderdale agreed.

“I don’t know who exactly to blame for this but I am upset that I didn’t know that they (the candidates) would be on campus,” Gaines said.

“Students should at least know they had the opportunity to see the candidates for the various positions,” Hughes said. “This is an important issue.”

SGA President, Andre Hammel said he hopes the administration will communicate with SGA better next time so the information can get to the students in a more timely fashion.

“President Gainous had promised us a student forum with the candidates early in the semester and we thank him for that,” said Hammel, “but we just found out when they would take place last Tuesday.”

Hammel said as soon as SGA was informed about the sessions, fliers were put up around campus, an ad was put in The Famuan and the place and times of the sessions were announced on SGA’s radio talk show.

“A lot more students showed up toward the end but it could have been better,” Hammel said.