FAMU’s rank drops from number one

The September 2008 issue of Black Enterprise magazine is on stands and Spelman College took Florida A&M University’s number one spot in the magazine’s list of Top 50 Colleges for African-Americans.

In two years, FAMU’s rank dropped from the number one spot in 2006 to 18 on the list. FAMU recently released a press release stating probation issues may be the reason for the decline.

However, the 17 schools beating FAMU are all private institutions, making FAMU the top public university for African-Americans.

In a press release issued by the university on Friday, probationary status with the Southern Association of College and Schools, contributed to the drop. FAMU was removed from probation on June 26 of this year.

With a 3.7 percent enrollment increase amounting to 12,000 students this semester from fall 2007 and other initiatives to enhance the university, President Dr. James H. Ammons said he believes that students are still choosing FAMU as their choice of higher education.

“FAMU remains a consistent choice for the best and brightest,” Ammons said. “Students from all over the nation are still making FAMU their No. 1 choice.”

According to Black Enterprise magazine, more than 700 higher education professionals that were interviewed to rank the institutions were African-American. The magazine based ranks on the professional’s evaluation of “social and academic environments for African-American students.”

Sanquaneice Hankerson, 20, a junior political science pre-law student from Fort Lauderdale, said making FAMU number one again is possible.

“It’s disappointing because it was so fast,” Hankerson said.

If the university focuses on fixing financial problems, FAMU will reclaim their number one spot, she said.

Oswald Reid, 22, a recent transfer student from Florida State University said the ranking is “bias and unjust” because data was collected during the period of time where FAMU was going through accreditation issues.

“When you look at other universities, they don’t have the caliber of programs nor are there program the same quality as us,” he said. “A lot of schools, it’s not about their rank but their legacy, like Spelman and Howard.”

Howard ranks number two on the list this year, the same spot as the 2006 list.

The list not only includes Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but Ivy League universities like Brown, ranking 20 and Cornell, ranking 25.

Reid said the ranking is a “wake-up” call for FAMU and being more selective in the admission process and hardening curriculums in every college and school can help the university regain its spot.

“I was once accepted to Howard, that was my original school of choice,” Reid said. “But FAMU has so much to offer.”

The university press release stated curriculums are being re-adjusted and some university services will be re-implemented.

Students can now receive a doctorate degree in physical therapy under the School of Allied Health, according to the press release. The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals has revamped their curriculum to meet with accreditation standards.

The Division of Academic Affairs established the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, which will organize academic programs with quality, planning, accreditation, assessment and budgeting.

The university’s press release stated, in addition to new improvements within the university, the Division of Audit and Compliance will re-implement the FAMU Compliance and Ethics hotline. If faculty or students are concerned about violations of policies and laws the university has made, concerns can be voiced through the confidential system.

People can now report allegations 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

More information about the hotline can be found at www.compliance-helpline.com/famu.jsp. The direct hotline number is 866-445-4YOU.