Peters brings something new to FAMU, but is it enough?

The first candidate seeking FAMU’s vice president of student affairs position, currently held by interim appointee William Hudson, visited campus on Monday.

Cherese Peters, an administrator in the division of student affairs at Georgia State University met with students in a public forum Monday morning to make her case for why she should be the next vice president of student affairs.

Peters talked at length about the reform she brought to GSU and how she would implement those same reforms at FAMU.

Specifically, Peters highlighted the need for FAMU to have an overhaul in the area of customer service and customer relations. She said her top priority as vice president would be building relationships with students from day one. Peters made it clear that as vice president she would always share the truth with students and the university community.

There was no question that Peters was very well versed when it came to important history, tradition, facts and statistics about FAMU.  It was clear she had done her research on issues such as retention and graduation rates and policies enacted by both the FAMU board of trustees and the Florida Board of Governors.

Peters could have been more engaging when discussing the university’s strategic plan: 20/20 Vision with Courage.  While she spoke about some of the immediate fixes needed in the division, her long-term plans weren’t clear. This is especially critical, since Peters would be entering the unique atmosphere of an HBCU, quite a shift from her current school.  Since 2006, FAMU has been through two vice presidents of student affairs and the current interim.  With the university looking to increase enrollment to 15,000, addressing how to accommodate those students and put the best practices in place to ensure their success will be critical to this selection process. Mrs. Peters never really made clear why she would be the best to lead that charge.

She made a point to take a slight dig at the other candidates that will be interviewing for the position.  When asked what separated her from the other candidates, she was quick to point out that both of them had long histories with the university and that she brought a new “breadth and depth” to the role.  This may or may not be an important factor in the selection of the next vice president of student affairs, but that all depends on where the university wants to go.

On the whole, Peters was an impressive candidate.  She was very personable and was willing to answer every question asked of her.  With the next two candidates’ interviews fast approaching, it will be interesting to see how this process plays out and who leads the pack before the candidates’ names end up on the president’s desk.