Only ‘The Best’ Need Apply

Florida A&M is losing deans and administrators almost as quickly as it hires new ones.

But university officials said they will not settle for less than the best possible candidates to head the various schools, colleges and departments.

Five schools and colleges are without permanent deans, according to information from FAMU’s Office of Communication. Departments, including Enterprise Information Technology and the Office of International Education and Development, are also without top administrators.

FAMU hopes to fill at least half the vacancies by the end of the spring 2012 semester.

Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Cynthia Hughes-Harris said the committee members expect to fill at least one vacancy – likely in the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering – by the end of this semester. She said she doubts there will be any delays in the process.

“I do not foresee any challenges… We’re looking for the best [people in these jobs] to execute the university’s goals,” said Hughes-Harris, who oversees several search committees. “We will not settle for less.”

Already the university has assembled search committees to find replacements for the deans of the School of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Engineering, School of the Environment (former Environmental Sciences Institute) and the former College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture.

FAMU is also looking for a chief fundraiser.

Former University Relations Director Carla Willis was that person until recently.

She left the university in April for a job running Ohio State University’s healthcare management department.

The university credited her for raising $175,000 for the “Marching 100” to perform for President Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

FAMU’s Chief of Communications, Sharon Saunders, has been interim director. Saunders also chairs the search committee for the new vice president of universityrelations and said the university hopes to find a new vice president very soon. She is not one of the five men and women vying for the job.

The new head of university relations will have to sell FAMU’s development goals as part of a $50,000,000-fundraising campaign, one of Willis’ projects in her years as VP.

“We’re hoping for someone who can tell our story well,” Saunders said.

Over the summer, FAMU hired long-time employees Marvin Green and William Hudson Jr., as Director of Student Activities and Vice President of Student Affairs, respectively. Both men have promised to improve campus life by being more accessible and providing more integrated activities.

While searching for permanent deans and administrators, FAMU has appointed several men and women as temporary leaders. The provost credits these interim heads to ensuring that the university functions well and serves its students.

“The good part is that we’ve had a lot of really good people as interim deans,” Hughes-Harris said.

The longest-serving interim dean is Ruena Norman, who has been in charge of the School of Nursing since 2008.

School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Dean James Hawkins is scheduled to leave next year.