Change is inevitable

Over the years, Florida A&M University has prepared thousands of students for jobs, careers and opportunities throughout the world. A degree from FAMU holds significant value in the global marketplace, and it should continue to do so.

The rapid growth and development of technological advances is changing the world in ways that were unimaginable decades ago. Industries and institutions across the globe are trying hard to stay ahead of the curve while others struggle to keep up.  

“The Web is changing many important functions of modern society-how we transfer money, communicate, purchase products, and more-but has been slow to transform the critical task of educating the next generation of citizens and leaders,” according to an article in Forbes.

With new ways of doing things, old ways become obsolete. The world of academia isn’t immune to these changes and should do its best to adapt.

With the current evolution of the workforce, students are in need of hands-on experience that will allow them to thrive.  A 2013 Accenture report found that two-thirds of the expecting graduates felt that they needed further training and instruction before entering the workforce.

The theories learned while obtaining an undergraduate degree set a great foundation to build upon, but it’s real world experience that is most valuable to potential employers.

FAMU should seek more ways to offer hands on experiences to its students. Tuskegee University, an HBCU located in Alabama, at one time practiced an economic model that allowed the institution to thrive in a time when opportunities for blacks were extremely limited. The general concept of the Tuskegee model was to produce finished products that were eventually sold.

An example of how the Tuskegee model could be applied to FAMU is as follows.

An up-and-coming Hip Hop artist who is an alumnus of the University needs help gaining exposure. Music industry students could produce his album using their facilities and equipment while managing any of his contractual agreements. The School of Business and Industry could draft an integrated marketing campaign.

The School of Journalism & Graphic Communication could facilitate his PR and graphic design needs and offer his music exposure through the Universities radio, television and print medias.

Through the convergence of departments and University resources, students could gain valuable experience while grasping the theoretical concepts needed to succeed. An alumni is helped in the process and the University could gain from the collaboration financially if done right.

“Because we have all student media available here, its about how you work the situation for your favor. It’s about how creative you want to get to make those resources work for you and your future,” said Eric Winkfield a graduating PR major from Miami.

FAMU isn’t completely behind in making such progressive changes.

“BTNC’s [Black Television News Channel] management and FAMU administrators and faculty have been meeting to explore ways to get students involved in the creation of the network’s original music scores, interior designs, virtual reality newsroom environments, marketing and promotions,” said  Ann Kimbrough, the dean of the SJGC, in a recent Black Television News Channel update to the FAMU Board of Trustees.  

FAMU is an excellent University for emerging professionals, however its full potential has yet to be seen.