FAMU aims to amp up graduate school numbers


The push is on to lure more college graduates to Florida A&M University.

David Jackson, associate provost and dean of the School of Graduate Studies, says increasing the numbers in his unit is his top priority.

“I travel all over the country to try and reach students,” Jackson said. “We have certain niche markets of HBCUs that are close by.”

The graduate school hones in on HBCUs like Bethune-Cookman, Albany State, Alabama State, Florida Memorial and others in hopes that it will provide a smooth transition for those continuing in the HBCU collegiate tract.

The graduate school at FAMU with over 60 master’s, doctorate and professional degree programs, has brown to 2,400 students.

The most similar-sized school in Florida’s State University System, the University of West Florida, has more than 2,500 students in its graduate school. North Carolina A&T with almost 1,500, is in the same ballpark with the number of graduate students.

These two schools are comparable in overall student enrollment as FAMU.

Florida A&M offers more than 44 master’s, 15 doctorates and 2 professional degrees in its graduate school. Of those enrolled in the program, about 50 percent earned their undergraduate degree at FAMU.

Much of the recruitment efforts made by FAMU comes through visiting other schools and the annual graduate student recruitment fair, Jackson said.

The majority of graduate students are in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, Jackson said.

“About half of our graduate students already have a degree from FAMU,” Jackson said. “They decide to stay at FAMU longer because they are comfortable with the environment. They appreciate those experiences that they’ve had at the university and the quality of the academic programs that they’ve participated in.”

Another pipeline used to bring more students into the school is the Graduate Feeder Program.

Reginald Ellis, graduate student liaison, said that the feeder program is a successful recruitment tool for the school.

The setup allows for students to be matched with their ideal program and if FAMU does not house that program, the student then has a plethora of partner feeder university fellowships to choose from, with more than 20 to choose from. Ellis said prestigious institutions like Harvard, Notre Dame and Northwestern  as selections for students.

Graduate feeder scholars are fully funded by their university after being accepted into the fellowship. That appeal brings in more potential graduate students.

“It creates interest in graduate education and many students who apply into the feeder program find out that their program of choice is offered at FAMU,” Ellis said.

Even current graduate students are onboard with trying to bring in numbers for the graduate school.

Nicole Moltimore, president of the graduate student association, said one key component for recruitment in the GSA is grabbing people during social outings to inform them of the program.

“We do the Rattler recruitment where we go to The Set and recruit students here at FAMU,” Moltimore said. “(Students) need a master’s degree. I’m not downplaying bachelor’s degrees, but they are not paying you your potential with just (a bachelor’s) and that’s why recruiting is important.”

Moltimore said attending nationwide conferences is another form of recruitment for the program.

Following a trip to the American Public Health Association conference, she found that speaking to students from other universities gave her another platform to spread the word about FAMUs graduate school.

“We’re marketing the entire university just by marketing the graduate programs,” Moltimore said. “By marketing the graduate program we may spark interest in those curious about our undergraduate programs.”

The graduate school is putting one of its recruitment tactics to use this week during “graduate student appreciation” week. The graduate recruitment fair is 11 a.m. today in the Grand Ballroom.

Below is the weekly calendar of events for the grad appreciation week, courtesy of FAMUinfo: