Interim search underway

With current University President Fred Gainous officially on the outs as of Jan. 1, 2005, Florida A&M University has officially began working toward selecting an interim president.

The application deadline for the position was Tuesday. The Board of Trustees expects to have the position filled by Dec. 14.

Student Government Association president and Trustee Virgil Miller, who also serves on the interim president selection committee, said the interim president will serve from six to 18 months and will not be considered for the permanent presidency.

The final list of applicants and nominees consists of a litany of leaders including a past University president and alumni who hold high-ranking positions elsewhere.

Nominees are people whose resumes have been presented by others to the Office of the Chancellor at the Divison of Colleges and Universities through the Florida Department of Education. Applicants are those who sought out the interim presidency and have submitted their own materials to be considered for the position.

The list also includes three University employees: nominee Barbara K. Barnes, chairperson and professor in the Department of Secondary Education and Foundations in the College of Education, nominee Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Larry Robinson and nominated applicant Professor and Speech Program Coordinator Adeline Evans.

Evans, who said she has workedon just about every committee on campus, also served as the president of the faculty senate and worked in the provost’s office. She said as interim president she would strive to increase the relations between various groups within the FAMU family as well as help improve the University’s retention rate.

“I really believe that if we had a strong alliance between faculty and administration this university would soar,” Evans said.

As one of few women being considered for the position, Evans said she understands the realities of her prospects of being selected.

“I know this is a long shot,” Evans said, “because usually members of a board or a selection committee have their own ideas about who they want to select. I don’t know how they feel about, one, a woman, and two, someone on campus.”

Barnes said that if chosen she would bring a new perspective to Florida A&M.

“A lot of FAMU’s problems aren’t new, Barnes said. “We can’t keep applying yesterday’s remedies to today’s problems.”

Barnes, who was made aware of her nomination for the position Tuesday afternoon, said as interim president she would try to boost the morale of the students, faculty and alumni as well as address the concerns of the board of trustees, whatever they maybe.

“I’m about the business of the University and doing what needs to be done,” Barnes said. “I want to put FAMU back on the nation’s map.”

Re-establishing and elevating FAMU’s appeal on a national level was also at the forefront of the concerns of another potential interim president, applicant Shawn H. Robinson. Robinson a student at FAMU College of Law and Dean of Social Sciences and Physical Education at Valencia Community College in Orlando, said he would primarily address issues that Gainous may not have continued with such as financial aid and the move to Division 1-A, among other things.

“I would like to leave the University in a sound fiscal position, so it will not have to worry about money,” Robinson said. “I want to get FAMU back on the cover of “Newsweek”, or at least on that track.”

Board of Trustees Chairman, James Corbin, said the criteria for selecting the interim president is the same one that will be used to select the permanent president. And it’s quite simple.

He said, “We want someone who has a sense of FAMU and know what’s going on.”

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