Friday, November 04, 2016

BOG “confirms” Robinson’s appointment

Yesterday afternoon, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) voted to approve Larry Robinson’s appointment as interim president of Florida A&M University.

The BOG’s policy of “confirming” the presidential selections of public university boards of trustees has a controversial past. Back in 2009, state Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) introduced a bill that clarified the fact that only university trustees had power to appoint and supervise the chief executives of their respective schools. It was widely seen as a rebuff of the BOG’s attempt to gain more control over presidential hiring and evaluation decisions.

Gaetz’s bill passed in both the Florida Senate and House of Representatives. It had the support of FAMU advocates such as then-Sen. Al Lawson. Gov. Charlie Crist signed it into law on June 23, 2009.

But the Florida Legislature did a large-scale rewrite of the state’s higher education laws during the 2010 session and declined to keep the rule in place. The BOG then reintroduced the presidential “confirmation” policy.

During his remarks to members of the BOG, Robinson outlined his strategy for addressing key elements of the ten performance metrics established by the Board to evaluate state universities.

Robinson said, “I enthusiastically accept the responsibility of this job, fully realizing our challenges, along with the opportunity to serve our awesome students, and become even better stewards of the resources invested in us by the State, federal agencies, donors, alumni, and friends.”

He continued, “I hope it is clear that student success will be the primary focus during my tenure. And, at the same time we will keep our attention focused upon additional priorities such as student safety; our ten-year SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) reaffirmation; and the recruitment of college-ready students.”

Before the confirmation vote, FAMU Board of Trustees Chair Kevin Lawson lauded Robinson when he introduced him to the BOG.

“Dr. Robinson has demonstrated a vast amount of experience in several areas which we believe would provide invaluable leadership to FAMU as interim president,” said Lawson. “Among those critical areas include his strong leadership skills and proven devotion to the growth and development of students and the University employees who serve them. Additionally, his dedication to strengthening various areas, such as, donor development and stakeholder relationship building is critical.”

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