CESTA Dean Leaves for FMU

After nearly 15 years at the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology, and Agriculture Dean Makola Abdullah clears his desk and heads for a new work space at Florida Memorial University.

Abdullah was recruited by new FMU President Henry Lewis to be the university’s provost and vice president of academic affairs.

According to a CESTA newsletter, he is scheduled to start his new job on March 7. Samuel Donald, who has served as director of CESTA’s land grant programs, will take over as interim dean.

Abdullah is the second key FAMU employee to be recruited by Lewis, who quit as the dean of the college of pharmacy last fall to lead the HBCU located in Miami Gardens. Adriene Wright, director of development of university affairs at FAMU for over three years, became vice president of institutional advancement at FMU on Feb 11.

Abdullah’s departure means that at least four dean positions are vacant. The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, the school of nursing and the college of pharmacy are led by interim deans. Earlier this month, Dean Ching-Jen Chen of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering announced his retirement. John Collier, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineer, has been named interim dean.

During his tenure at FAMU, Abdullah served as the associate vice president of research prior to being appointed to the $160,000 a year position as dean of CESTA. Before that, he was a faculty member out of the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering, where he taught courses in research and civil engineering. Abdullah is credited with promoting a positive environment at CESTA.

“From the first day he arrived as dean, he created an atmosphere of openness,” Community Resource Development Specialist Sandra Thompson said. “He always had an open-door policy and never made you feel like your job wasn’t important no matter what your position was.”

According to the CESTA newsletter, under Abdullah’s leadership, the college increased enrollment by 20 percent with 445 students joining the program, increased external research dollars to fund research and academic programs to $9.5 million and contributed $75,000 to the FAMU faculty staff endowment.

“At FAMU, of the $50 million that the university does in external funding about 20 percent of that comes from CESTA and I’m very proud of that,” Abdullah said.

Abdullah has also been able to involve more undergraduate students in research and extension activities in the college through CESTA’s scholars program, one student said.

Jamesa Marshall, 22, a senior civil engineering tech student from Chicago, said Abdullah organized CESTA’s “Industry Day.”

“We’ll definitely have something to recognize his service to FAMU during Industry Day this year,” Marshall said.