Trustees plan for FAMU’s future

The Florida A&M Board of Trustees met last Thursday and Friday to discuss recruitment and enrollment on campus.

The board approved a strategic plan for the university, with a goal to ensure the university achieves international recognition as a premiere land grant and research institution committed to exemplary teaching, research and service, as stated in the vision statement in the Strategic Plan handbook.

Rev. R. B. Holmes, a board of trustees’ member, said the university was on life support last year and the approval of the Strategic Plan set the university up for a dynamic and transformational future.

President James Ammons acknowledged the hard work of the board.

“I want to salute them for their commitment to excellence,” Ammons said. He also added the university still has a long way to go, but a lot of progress has been made.

During Ammons’ university report, he briefed the board on the recent accomplishments and recruitment efforts of the university. This semester, the university gave $1.5 million in scholarships in Atlanta and $600,000 in Miami. Ammons also told the board about the efforts his administration is enacting to raise money for the university. The university relation’s has scheduled 18 corporate cultivation meetings since the last board meeting in June.

The issues of enrollment and recruitment were pertinent topics during the meeting.

Last year, FAMU boasted the recruitment of 12 national achievement scholars and placed second in the nation to Howard, in recruiting these scholars. This year, the university only recruited six. Trustee Holmes expressed concern in regards to the decline and wanted to know what actions are being taken to get more scholars in the future.

Roland Gaines, vice president of student affairs, said the university gets a list of National Achievement Scholar finalists and actively follow up with them throughout the selection process. Gaines also said it has been difficult to recruit these scholars because the requirements have changed. If the university offered a finalist a scholarship, they would become a national achievement scholar.

“We can’t do that anymore,” Gaines said.

Gaines presented the board with enrollment statistics. Out-of-state enrollment declined this year. He said the cost of attendance for out-of-state students is $26,000 a year.

Gaines also informed the board of the gender disparities in this year’s freshman class. Females make up just over 59 percent of the freshman class while males make up about 38 percent.

Gaines said if this rate continues, the male population would decline.

William Hudson, director of the office of retention, gave a presentation to the board about the plans his office has to boost retention rates.

Currently, FAMU has an 83 percent retention rate, meaning that 83 percent of the students enrolled in the fall, return the next year. This percentage does not show the degree progress of students, just the return rate.Hudson shared that a freshman year experience course should be mandatory for all incoming freshmen.

“This was a course tool when I was a FAMU student,” Hudson said. “If etiquette is established for students early, the university will see a culture change because the students will hold each other accountable.”

Ammons ended his presentation to the board with expressing his excitement about homecoming week.

“Everybody get your rest and take your vitamins…because next week, it’s on,” Ammons said.