Board discusses future of the university

The first meeting of the Florida A&M Board of Trustees will be today and tomorrow to discuss the fiscal and academic future of the university. Specific matters up for discussion include approval of new degree programs, budget requests for the upcoming legislative session and an analysis of the incoming freshman class.

Today’s meeting, held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., will be for the various committees on the board, including academic affairs, budget and finance, facilities planning and trustee-student affairs. Thursday will be a general meeting beginning at 8 a.m.

The major concern for the Board of Trustees is planning financially for the current legislative session.

“We were told the current budget for the year would be reduced by somewhere around five to 15 percent,” said Gallop Franklin, SGA president and board member. Franklin is a member of the academic affairs, trustee-student affairs and facilities planning committees.

According to the agenda, the budget and finance committee plans to discuss the fiscal year 2011-2012 legislative budget request, audit findings from fiscal year 2009-2010 and contracts for the university valued over $100,000,

among other things.

The academic affairs committee will raise the issue of the Tom Joyner Online Education (TJOE) distance learning initiative, which would allow the university to offer online degree programs. This is a part of FAMU’s 2010-2020 strategic plan, which identifies the “development and implementation of a comprehensive distance learning program.” While no agreement has been made with TJOE at this time, the university would offer distance learning for the master’s in business administration, public health and science of nursing programs.

The academic affairs committee also plans to submit a list of eight new degree programs as a part of the strategic plan, including information technology, sport management, health informatics and biomedical science.

Other issues that plague students will be addressed and an action plan will be drawn up.

“We’re looking at on-campus housing and discussing a project to accommodate the increased student enrollment,” said Franklin.

Both sessions will be open to the public and are held in the Grand Ballroom.