Florida A&M hosted a virtual town hall Monday to discuss an administrative reorganization for the future of FAMU. The zoom session was moderated by Keith Miles, director of communications.
President Larry Robinson and other faculty members discussed the restructuring of FAMU’s administration.
Six months have passed since the implementation of the new five-year strategic plan. During the reorganization that was announced initially during homecoming week, the administration intends to keep FAMU’s ranking as the top public HBCU in the nation.
The university’s goal is to be included in the top 100 public universities in the nation, based on rankings by US News & World Report. It was ranked No. 103 earlier this year.
A new position of chief operating officer has been created. The new COO is Maurice Edington, who had been serving as provost and vice president of academic affairs. His responsibilities will include directing leadership to execute innovative ideas, encouraging responsibility throughout the university and providing leadership to support effective decision-making.
The COO works with department heads to plan initiatives and oversee internal company operations.
“This will give us an opportunity through the COO role, in particular, to drill down in more detail on issues but also to explore opportunities to move the university forward,” Robinson said.
Academic advisement is an essential component of the restructuring process. Measures have been put in place to deal with the present student population, Robinson said.
The number of first-time college students has increased by 125%. A team is conducting thorough research on how to improve academic advising. Overall, the emphasis is gathering feedback from faculty, staff and particularly students. Some improvements have been made with academic advisement, Robinson said.
Tiffany Sykes, the new athletic director, will begin her work in January and join administrators this weekend in Orlando for the Florida Blue Classic.
Edington said he is determined to define excellence. He believes examining all elements of campus organizations and services is critical to the success of the reorganization.
William Hudson, vice president for the Office of Student Affairs, plans to work alongside Edington to make this restructuring as effective as possible.
“Our main goal is to improve service excellence to our students,” Hudson said.
Edington added, “When the graduate programs are prospering, FAMU is thriving.”
Graduate enrollment in various programs has declined in recent years. However, while admissions are being reviewed on a weekly basis, there has been a surge in graduate program applications.
The dean of the College of Education, Allyson Watson, has been promoted to interim provost and is collaborating with graduate research programs to improve student experiences. Also, the College of Law will have events surrounding its 20th anniversary going into the Florida Classic. Robinson will be in attendance at some of those events.
A timeline has been developed to keep track of the beneficial outcomes of the reorganization and benchmarks to measure progress. They went into effect a week and were designed to track how students are doing in their studies and identify any issues with prerequisite courses.
More fundraising opportunities have been implemented immediately, and the emphasis will be on lowering operating expenses to enhance performance outcomes. The budget will remain the same because of this restructuring. However, the more productive the administration, the larger the financial support will be for the university.
Robinson said he is concerned about the outcome of FAMU’s future and is very focused on being open with students, teachers and staff. Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting will continue the discussion from the town hall meeting, directly addressing the faculty on the restructuring. The town hall meeting was recorded and will be available at famu.edu/virtualtownhall.