New dean focuses on progress

The School of Graduate Studies and Research is in the process of restructuringthe program and its new dean has narrowed down the areas in which she willfocus.

Chanta Haywood, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research, said shewill be giving a lot of attention to the assistantship program, the feederprogram and enrollment management and retention.

Haywood replaced Anna Vaughn-Cooke, who resigned late last year to becomeprovost at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, in August of this year.Provost and vice president for academic affairs Larry Robinson said Haywood isthe best person for the job.

“She rose to top of the list of all applicants who applied for the position,because of strong dedication to FAMU and higher education. She also has theexperience necessary to change the program.”

One of the first changes that Haywood will make is to the graduateassistantships program.  The revised program will require students to doresearch and teaching instead of office duties.

” In the past a large number of students who received assistantships were doingclerical work,” Haywood said. “Now, if they receive money through theuniversity’s graduate assistantship program, they are doing research andteaching.”

Students feel that the changes in the program will be beneficial in the future.”It is good that graduate assistants should have to do research, because ingraduate school you are supposed to become a professional in your field,” saidLaQuiche Butler, 22, a graduate physical education student from Fort Washington,Md.

“Research helps you broaden your horizons. Therefore causing students to becomemore sagacious in their field of study,” said Tuere Dunton, a counseloreducation graduate student from Atlanta.

The Graduate Feeder program, which involves 47 doctoral degree-grantinginstitutions, is becoming more competitive in seeking out candidates.In the past students who applied automatically became feeder scholars. Now uponapplying, students are considered Feeder Graduate Research and AcademicPreparation applicants until they meet the requirements necessary for theprogram.

“We found that in the past our students had difficulty adjusting to grad schooland the demands of it,” Haywood said. “We also want to strengthen enrollment,management and retention,” Haywood also said. “We have been devising acomprehensive enrollment management plan that will involve a number of officesaround campus.”

Haywood said she thinks the number of students enrolled in her program is goodbut the number graduating could be better.

“Some (graduate) programs have excellent graduation rates, but I want to see itall around,” she said.

According to Haywood, the changes to the program will help students developprofessionally and establish a more respected name for the university’s graduateprogram. Robinson said the university’s responsibility is to help studentsgraduate.

“Our first priority is to get our students involved in activities that willenhance their effort to matriculate in their respective program and enhance thescholarly output of the university as a whole.”