Business school dean loses position

After nearly three years on the job, the dean of Florida A & M University’s School of Business and Industry has been relieved from her duties effective immediately. Lydia McKinley-Floyd was told her services were no longer needed by Provost Cynthia Hughes-Harris. In a SBI faculty meeting held Wednesday an announcement was made that Shawnta Friday-Stroud, professor of management, would serve as interim dean.

“We can not forget the contributions Dr. McKinley-Floyd made, “but we’ve come to the point where we would benefit from different leadership,” Hughes-Harris said

McKinley-Floyd was SBI’s third dean since the retirement of founding dean Sybil Mobley. She will be staying on as a professor in marketing.

“SBI has been the top business school in the [United States] and beyond….and the changes of today are requiring us to make changes,” Hughes-Harris said. “A search committee will be formed in about two weeks which will have student representation.  The committee will be charged with having a new dean in place by August.”

Hughes-Harris and Friday- Stroud held an emergency forum Thursday with students to answer questions and explain the new direction of SBI.

“If we want to change our future we have to change our leadership,” said Hughes-Harris. “It’s simple and it works. We need leadership that will take us to the cutting edge of business.”

The room was filled with mixed emotions as some students were still confused about why McKinley-Floyd was let go.

“I was so shocked, it came without warning…I left school and everything was ok and showed up Wednesday morning and there was no dean,” said Natasha Britton, 22, a senior accounting student from Sunrise. “I hope this new direction will change SBI for the better.”

Other students applauded the change in leadership.

“Some promises have failed to be delivered,” said Marcelle Smith, 23, a graduate MBA student from Saginaw, Mich. “We must get back to the glory days of SBI…when I came to forum as a freshman I had to sit in the balcony at Lee Hall because downstairs was packed.  The foundation of Mobley is deteriorating…enrollment is down, morale is low and we no longer have a strong point of differentiation amongst other business schools,” said Smith.

Friday-Stroud presented her short-term priorities, which included getting back to the basics of professional development with a “21st Century Twist.”

“We need to improve our competitive advantage so that we can recruit more top notch students,” said Friday-Stroud. “I am here to push you like a personal trainer…you may not like it now but in the end you will love the results. It’s going to take all of us working as a team to get SBI to a place above and beyond where we are now.”

“I agree with Dr. Friday-Stroud, we need to focus on revitalizing the professional development program,” said JaNiece Ford, 22, a graduate MBA student from Washington, D.C. “The soft skills learned in that program provided a solid academic experience. The program also required students to help with recruitment under the SBI Connection program which allowed us [to] develop relationships with potential business students.”

Friday-Stroud, a graduate of SBI said she remembers the day when academics was a given.

“Everyone in SBI was in good academic standing that was our foundation for an over the top program,” said Friday-Stroud. “We will get there again.”