President visits provost candidates

The search committee is still working to fill the position for a university provost.

On Monday, President Gainous announced in a press release that the search would focus on five candidates. “The search committee has done an outstanding job in narrowing the field to five candidates,” Gainous said.

The list includes individuals from FAMU and from across the nation. Most candidates hold collegiate positions such as Ada Puryear Burnette, president of the FAMU faculty Senate and professor of educational leadership. Johnnie L. Early, is a professor of pharmachology at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio, Judith A Plawecki, who is associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school at Spalding University in Louisville, KY, and Tennyson J. Wright, is University of South Florida’s vice provost and an associate professor. The fifth candidate, George Everett Cooper, is deputy administrator for Science and Education Resources Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington.

“The next provost will be someone who understands that at Florida A&M University, our students are our customers and deserve nothing but the best when it comes to the curriculum and the services that we provide,” Gainous said.

To ensure that goal’s achievement the search panel chose five finalists instead of three. “The president wanted more people to make sure that all VP and provost spots were filled,” said FAMU spokeswoman LaNedra Carroll.

Carroll said the president has visited the candidates to observe their interactions in their work environment,

Margaret Lewis, dean of nursing and head of the search committee said it is unknown as to when a decision will be made. “Our job is done, and anything further depends on the president,” Lewis said.

Some students blame the disorganization of the office of academic affairs on the vacancies.

“It’s frustrating because once you’re directed to someone for help, they turn around and tell you to speak to someone else,” said Tanya Peterson, a 19-year-old sophomore health care management student from Chicago.

Ricardo Walsh, a third year architecture student from Dallas, patiently waits. “I just hope that something happens soon so that FAMU can get back on track, and continue to help the students out.”

Gainous said hiring a top-notch provost is the priority at this time. “This is a big step in our search for the right person who will help this administration take our academic program to even greater heights.”

Aricka Foreman can be reached at