FAMU-FSU College of Engineering stays whole

The Florida board of governors met Thursday at Tallahassee Community College and decided to keep the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering as a joint school.

“I am very thankful we have reached this point and look forward to continuing to work towards the best advantage for our students,” FAMU President Elmira Mangum said.

The initial purpose of the joint school was to expand the educational and social livelihood of engineering students at FAMU and FSU.

According to a press release on the BOG website, State Sen. John Thrasher suggested otherwise when he proposed splitting up the school in exchange for money to create a separate engineering school for FSU April 2 of last year.  

Moving forward, the legislature proposed that Collaborative Brain Trust, a nine member team, go on the school site and interview students, faculty, administrators and alumni.

CBT was appointed to work with BOG to collect data, including history on the 31-year joint college.

The Legislature granted $500,000 to BOG to do a thorough study of the college, which would include analyzing the pros and cons of either maintaining the status quo collaboration of the two universities, or developing the engineering programs at both schools.

While FSU administrators have supported the idea to split up the college, saying that FSU needs a separate engineering program to be eligible for membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, FAMU officials, including President Mangum, strongly opposed the proposal, saying FAMU would need more than $100 million to build a new engineering school on the university's campus.

According to the final report of the study, members of CBT said they were impressed with the school, but they feel it is not achieving its potential because of development of resources and management.  

William P. Tucker, a member of the FAMU National Alumni Association, supports keeping the joint college together.

“We do agree that whatever measurement issues that exist should and can be worked out going forward with a joint program,” Tucker said.

He said that NAA requests that the board that is being proposed perform the study augmented by two people instead of 13 or 14 people, with one member from each of the two alumni associations from both universities selected by their respective committees.

Mangum and Thrasher both spoke on the report, saying they both support the final decision and are willing to work together to achieve sustainability, even during unexpected challenges.  

“I think these principles and guidelines that are set out, the transparency and accountability we will provide to you,” Thrasher said. “I think will go a long way in making that a successful story for the college of engineering, and I’m happy to endorse it.”