Ammons will reduce forums this school year

The president of Florida A&M plans to communicate with the university with fewer forums this academic year compared to the monthly forums he had last year.

For the 2009-2010 school year, James Ammons will have one forum per semester. 

“We plan to have two forums this academic year, one in November and the other in March,” Ammons said.

However, though lacking in number, Gallop Franklin, 22, a pharmacy student and student body president from Tallahassee, ensures the university there are other ways to communicate with the president due to his visibility around campus.

Franklin said it makes more sense to have fewer forums because president Ammons must ensure that he is being effective. He communicates through his communications office very well, which makes it easy to find out what’s going on.

“Students with specific concerns can use his open door policy via email to ask questions or go through student government,” Franklin said.

Ammons said the forums were designed to provide faculty, staff, students and administrators with pertinent information about the university. It also provided the campus community with an opportunity to discuss their issues and concerns.

The monthly forums were important because there were so many issues that needed to be addressed during the first year of his administration.

“The monthly forums were critical in the first and second year of my administration as we worked to resolve many of the challenges facing the university,” Ammons said.
He thinks the discussions led to improved processes, which enhanced campus life.

“We believe that the forums were critical in helping to keep the campus informed.   Issues were discussed that provided insight into campus operations,” Ammons said.

Maurice Holder, faculty senate president, said he was never able to make it to any of the forums held last year because of time conflictions.

“It [the forums] was always held at a time when I had class and I don’t like to miss class, for that reason it should have been distributed at different times, however, it still served its purpose,” Holder said.

This year Ammons devised a new system to conduct the forums so that it is accessible to an increased number of students and faculty members. The new plan of action will be online forums.

“We have opted to have online forums to provide more students, faculty and staff with an opportunity to participate,” Ammons said.

JoHanna Hawkins, 24, a fourth-year English student from Lake Wales, said placing the forums online would be a way for students to access technology.

“It’s a more effective means of communication,” Hawkins said. “It helped Obama during his campaign when he was running for president so it will certainly be effective for President Ammons.”

Holder, also offered a variety of ideas to help the president communicate with the university.

“Ammons can hold the forums in the evenings or it can be a sit-down round table discussion for those that tend to take over the dialogue during the forums,” Holder said.

“Ammons can also have special discussions in units, by breaking it down and meeting with different schools programs at different times.

Once the details have been finalized, students, faculty and staff will be notified of the forums via their FAMU email accounts.