Committment to change

President Fred Gainous extended a “challenge for change” during Thursday’s State of the University Address.

He expressed the necessity of commitment on behalf of the faculty to transitions the University is making, highlighting the use of new technology and overcoming past mistakes.

The president informed the audience that the Enterprise Resource Program has been fully implemented and has already begun to increase productivity at the University.

ERP, which was incorporated during the fall, has helped to limit conflicting feedback to administrative problems.

“ERP has allowed for there to be one answer to every question,” Gainous said.

Throughout his address, Gainous commended the faculty for their brilliance and knowledge. He admitted that such talent amongst the teaching staff is intimidating and has forced him to improve himself.

In addition to recognizing the faculty’s skills, Gainous also credited them for attracting the best students. FAMU, which tied Princeton for seventh place in recruitment of National Merit Scholars in 2003, has successfully challenged major universities for welcoming scholars from high schools throughout the nation.

“Outstanding faculty and their commitment to every student will continue to attract such students,” Gainous said.

The president also spoke of his plans of continuing the University’s tradition of accepting students who have not performed well on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. He explained that because of failing high schools in many areas, students deserve an opportunity to achieve their goals and have an opportunity to “access the American Dream.”

Some members of the faculty took issue with this plan, saying that by taking in such students, class size and competency issues will persist.

Both Gainous and University Provost Larry Robinson, who delivered the welcoming address, stressed the importance of maintaining a strong relationship between faculty and administrators.

“I am hopeful and I’m optimistic that we will dispel the myth that there has to be an adversarial relationship between faculty and administrators,” Robinson said.

Gainous said by doing away with such relationships, the University could focus on some of the problems present at FAMU.

He cited the University’s 1,700 unfulfilled contracts and grants – some dating back as far as 1984 – as one of those problems. Gainous said the contracts, a “cloud over the University”, must be dealt with and that the University must be accountable for past errors.

“We must clean up our past performance so that we don’t limit our future,” he said.

Gainous received praise from the audience and was recognized by Mary B. Diallo, president of the Faculty Senate. “President Gainous has been driven by offering a quality education to all students at FAMU.”

In closing, Gainous re-affirmed the school’s need for change. He said the University has never been afraid of challenges and growth, and that tradition must be maintained.

“We don’t have the right to deny this University its greatness and its place in history,” he said.

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