Faculty must strive for merit

The University has weathered one wave of public embarrassment and should be the better because of this ordeal. It sometimes takes a crisis before flaws in our system are corrected. Blaming the previous employees who are now retired is not the answer or remedy. We’ve known for months that come June 30, there was going to be a serious brain drain at the university. We had ample time to prepare for the loss of talent and skill.

Tuesday, President Fred Gainous assured the Faculty Senate that this fiasco will never happen again. I believe him. One storm has passed, and we are poised to weather other ones before this University is at the level it needs to be. It takes time to correct years, even decades, of inefficiency, mismanagement and incompetence.

Gone should be the mentality that employees get paid just for showing up to the job but not necessarily working or even performing at a competent level.

I am amazed at how employees can make as low as a 40 on their performance evaluations and are rated as “achieves performance standards,” being interpreted as “employee fully meets standards of performance for the position.” Students need only make below a 70 to fail most classes. How can we expect and receive less from employees?

This clean up will take time, and the example must be set by every employee at the University. It is good that we asked Florida State University to assist us in getting our financial reports in order. The relationship with our neighbor should not be adversarial. But we have on-campus resources of a first-class business school with very capable faculty and even corporate sponsors who could have assisted us. We must not let pride cause us to continue to wallow in this cesspool of mediocrity.

The University can only be excellent if we are excellent. The finance office’s shortcomings were publicized, but those employees are not the only ones experiencing challenges.

Some faculty say morale is low, but I am not discouraged. I know of no other place I would rather be than at FAMU. I am excited about being a part of the new, improved University.

It’s quite evident that we are “caring.” Now we must work on the “excellence” part. I am up for the challenge. Are you?

Valerie D. White is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. She can be reached at valwhite@blackvoices.com.