College of Education dean reassigned

Last week faculty, staff and students of the College of Education heard about the removal of Robert L. Lemons Jr. from his position as the dean of education.

Lemons had been serving as dean of the college since Aug. 8, 2003. Although the faculty and staff were taken aback at the removal of Lemons, it did not come as a complete shock.

Willis Walter Jr., assistant dean of the College of Education, said “We’ve all been understanding that with the new interim president that it was one of her goals to restructure the university, including the college of education. We knew there were some changes on the horizon.”

Many students believed the COE was being run smoothly and were surprised at the removal of Lemons.

“I never had any one on one interaction with the dean, but as far as the college is concerned, everything ran smoothly. He must have been doing something right,” said Erin Forde, 22, a senior elementary education student from Pompano Beach.

Deanda Ewers, 21, a senior elementary education student from Rammstein, Germany said “There’s probably always problems. In my opinion there was nothing that big that the dean would have to be reassigned.”

But all students did not share that sentiment on the current curriculum of the COE. Students such as Stephanie Tolbert, 41, a junior special education student, found themselves disconcerted over the non-existent programs that they said should have already been in place.

“My concern is the special education curriculum. They’ve been working on it for awhile, and we may be taking classes we don’t need. My patience is short because we’re needed in the classroom, and I don’t want to prolong my stay here,” Tolbert said.

Faculty of COE felt that Lemons was doing very well in keeping up with the demands of graduating future educators in the state of Florida. Walter said most colleges of education have had difficulty in carrying out the objective in educating and preparing teachers.

“Still, over the past few semesters FAMU has had 100 percent of our students passing the Florida Teachers Certification Examination,” he said.

Although Walter had many positive things to say about the leadership of the COE, he also admitted that some aspects needed improvement.

“There’s a lot of things we’d like to improve on, such as making FAMU DRS an ‘A’ school. The dean has been very concerned with things of that nature, but he has not had the opportunity to make all the changes he’d like to make,” Walter said.

The exact details of what led to Lemons’ removal were not specified. COE faculty assured students that although there is no longer a permanent dean, things should continue to run smoothly.

“With three assistant deans, constant contact with the State Department of Education, and good quality enrollment, there’s nothing to stop the working of the school,” Walter said.

Lemon, who was granted tenure from Florida A&M University in 1991, has been reassigned to a new position that has not been disclosed to the public at this time.

Several attempts were made to contact University Provost Debra Austin about this matter. She was unavailable for comment. In addition, Lemons refused to comment on the situation.

Contact Gheni Plantenburg at