Dean vancancies impact schools

The School of Business and Industry, along with the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, are both in search of deans to lead the schools.

SBI and COPPS are two of the four largest colleges at Florida A&M University.

Robert L. Thomas is currently the interim dean for COPPS, and SBI Interim Dean Amos Bradford resigned from his post two weeks ago. Both schools have been without permanent deans for four years. 

Henry Lewis III, former COPPS dean, became the interim university president from January to July 2002 before Fred Gainous took over. He returned to COPPS as a professor and continues to teach at the school.

Sybil Mobley, founder of SBI and the school’s only dean, retired from the post in 2001.

Roscoe Hightower Jr., associate professor of marketing, is part of the search committee for a dean at SBI. He said there is a good process in place for the search for a dean. Hightower said they (committee) are taking care of all the necessary details.

“We are going to be successful to provide the provost (Debra Austin) with what she laid out for us,” Hightower said.

Upper class students of the two programs have varying opinions on the schools’ lack of permanent leadership.

Some students believe the lack of a permanent dean does not greatly affect the school.

Khalilah Haynes, 21, a senior biology student from Tallahassee, believes having a dean is not that important.

The former pharmacy student said students have to be on top of their own needs. She said deans serve no purpose except to bring money to the school and contacts for internships.  

Alwinter Walker, 23, a fourth-year pharmacy student from Thomasville, said the difference at the school since Henry Lewis III left in 2001, is a lack of recruitment.

A decrease in recruiting in the pharmacy program has upset Walker.

Walker said the dean is supposed to recruit pharmaceutical companies to tell the students about their companies. Walker said there has been a lack of recruitment at forums and career fairs.

Recruitment has also upset Ledarius Smith, 22, a fifth-year pharmacy student from Rockledge, Fla.

Smith said the school is not at the same level it was when Lewis was the dean. Smith said forum would regularly have companies come in to recruit students, which has not been the case this year.

Smith said it is important that students are exposed to different exponents of pharmacy through forum.

But besides recruitment, Smith has no complaints. “The teaching is still good, they are on the ball with everything.”

“Our pharmacy program will always be the best,” Walker said.

Jonathan Hill, 20, a third-year business administration student from Jonesburg, Ga., said he thinks it’s terrible that there is no dean at the school. Hill said that every school needs a dean and that the position should not be vacant for a long time.

“We pay for school, so we should be provided everything that we need,” Hill said. “We deserve the best.”

Scott Chapman, 21, a fourth-year business administration student from Chicago, said the dean is supposed to lay down the foundation for the school.

“It’s good that (former dean) Mobley left a good foundation,” Chapman said.

He believes SBI needs some stability if they want the best and brightest students.

“How are you going to do that without a dean?” he said.

Hightower agreed. He said without a dean the school is “not being as sufficient as we would like to be.”

Chapman said if SBI and COPPS both do not have deans and are two of the top schools at the university, it affects the university as a whole.

“We are losing money and students, and professors who want to teach at the school,” Chapman said.

Chapman said the next dean of SBI should be someone who has teaching experience, a master’s degree of business administration, and someone who knows the students.

He added that they should know corporate America and know how to run a business productively.

“(They should be) a good role model to the students.”

Smith said for COPPS he wants a dean that can bring the school back to how it used to be. Smith wants someone who is committed to that goal.

Walker said the school needs a dean who will make improvements and be there for the students to “help us to make a difference.”

Contact Emanuel Nicholson