Sunday, September 04, 2016

David hasn’t displayed skills that are needed to reverse FAMU enrollment decline

On Friday, a Tallahassee Democrat article reported that FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman Kelvin Lawson said there’s a good chance that Provost Marcella David could be chosen as a temporary replacement for President Elmira Mangum.

The BOT Special Committee on Presidential Leadership unanimously approved a proposed exit plan on Friday that could lead to Mangum going on administrative by September 15, the date when the full BOT will discuss the recommendation.

The Democrat reported that if the BOT approves the plan, “trustees would likely name Provost Marcella David to the position of acting president, trustees chairman Kelvin Lawson said. That is spelled out in the university’s operating procedures, he said.”

FAMU BOT members should scratch David’s name off of the list of potential replacements for Mangum. The university has a big enrollment crisis and David hasn’t shown the skills that are needed to fix it.

FAMU is on track to reach $19.5M in total tuition and fee losses since Mangum’s first full year in office.

The university’s enrollment in Fall 2015 dropped to 9,920 (down from 10,233 in Fall 2014) under Mangum. That decline cost FAMU $9M+ from tuition and fee losses. FAMU expects to lose about another $10.5M due to its projected loss of 920 students in 2016-2017.

Historically black universities like North Carolina A&T University and North Carolina Central University have succeeding in reversing their enrollment declines and bringing in freshman classes with 3.0+ GPAs at the same time.

FAMU also had growth in enrollment (up until the 2011 federal financial aid program overhaul) and freshman classes with 3.0+ GPAs under former President James H. Ammons.

FAMU must get its recruitment program in gear right now during the fall semester in order to compete for the best high school students. David hasn’t displayed strong leadership on recruitment as the #2 official in the Mangum administration. Her comments at the June 22 meeting of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) showed that she still doesn’t even understand how FAMU was able to grow its enrollment with top flight student scholars in the past. 

During that BOG meeting, David spoke about FAMU’s efforts to recruit more transfer students who’ve finished associates of arts (A.A.) degrees. She told the BOG that she’d heard a good idea from some other higher education leaders.

“I’ve heard other presidents and provosts talking about recruiting students the way you recruit athletes and that’s one of the ways that we’re going to focus on, in particular, our transfer students, is recruiting them in the way that we recruit athletes as well,” David said.

David is 31 years late in realizing the need for FAMU to recruit student scholars like athletes. Back when Frederick S. Humphries became the president of FAMU in 1985, he did just that. His top targets were the best performing high school students. Humphries’ recruitment strategy was key to his success in taking FAMU to #1 in the recruitment of National Achievement Scholars and boosting overall enrollment numbers by more than 100 percent over his 16 years in office.

FAMU needs a better recruiter in the presidency than David. Or else the university will probably face another $9M+ loss in tuition and fees from declining enrollment again this time next year.

No comments: