Showing posts with label SACS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SACS. Show all posts

Monday, December 19, 2016

FAMU working to prevent enrollment financial losses from becoming SACS problem

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has continued to show that it isn’t interested in hearing any excuses from institutions that are going through financial struggles due to enrollment declines.

Earlier this month, Bennett College announced that SACS had placed it on probation due, in large part, to financial problems. According to the Greensboro News & Record, “the financial struggles at Bennett, a private women’s college, have been closely linked with a decline in enrollment. Enrollment has fallen by nearly half since it peaked in 2010 at 780 students. This fall, enrollment stood at 403 students.”

The newspaper added that Bennett had a $2M deficit in 2014 and a deficit of about $1.25M in 2015. SACS cited Bennett for not complying with standards on the “Governing Board,” “Financial resources and stability,” and “Financial stability.”

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Financial problems caused by enrollment decline shake Bennett College

Back in 2007, Bennett College was thriving. Its president was none other than the legendary Johnnetta Cole, whom had led it out from the enrollment-related financial problems that prompted the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to place the school on probation. 

Cole took Bennett from a $3.8M deficit, mainly caused by a 37 percent drop in enrollment over the four years before she arrived, to a $300,000 surplus by the end of her first fiscal year in 2003. By the time she retired in 2007, she had taken enrollment up to about 600.

Enrollment at Bennett later reached an all-time record of 780 in 2010 under President Julianne Malveaux.

But earlier this fall, Bennett President Rosalind Fuse-Hall resigned in the midst of severe budget cuts caused by a continuing decline in enrollment. She had been appointed to the presidency in 2013 after having served as FAMU’s chief of staff and executive director of Title III programs.

Friday, August 21, 2015

SACS: Removing FAMU chairman mainly because of lawmakers’ request would raise red flag

Yesterday, FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Rufus Montgomery rebuffed a group of state lawmakers who made a public request that he either resign or be voted out of his leadership position. He hinted that those legislators might hurt FAMU’s ability to abide by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Standard 3.2.4, which says university boards must stay free from political interference.

“For the good of the institution and to prevent charges of undue political interference, I hope that our elected officials will allow our Board to do the job we were appointed to do,” he said.

WCTV-6 contacted the SACS headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. and asked it about the issue. The television station reported that: “A representative with SACS says if the FAMU Board of Trustees remove Montgomery as chair solely or largely because the legislators asked them to -- that would raise concerns. SACS is not looking into the matter at this time, but, FAMU could get a warning, probation, or lose accreditation.”

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rufus rebuffs lawmakers’ calls for him to resign, hints at SACS rule against political meddling

Back in 2011, Rufus Montgomery was quiet after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) scolded Gov. Rick Scott for interfering in the FAMU Board of Trustees’ duties by trying to pressure it to suspend then-President James H. Ammons. SACS told the governor that his actions could jeopardize FAMU’s accreditation.

SACS Standard 3.2.4 states that each member’s governing board must be “free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and [protect] the institution from such influence.”

Rufus had called for Ammons to be placed on administrative leave only seven days before the governor made his statement in support of the same proposal. He declined to criticize Scott for placing FAMU’s accreditation in danger. But yesterday, Rufus appeared to be very anxious to remind a group of FAMU alumni lawmakers about SACS Standard 3.2.4.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

McKnight placed in the middle of Mangum, BOT leadership dispute over SACS rules

The dispute between FAMU President Elmira Mangum and the Board of Trustees leadership over the rules of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has put Avery McKnight between a rock and a hard place.

Back on August 5, the chairman and vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees challenged Mangum’s claim that the shift of the $12,996,539 core operating budget of the College of Engineering (COE) to Florida State University (FSU) was a “management decision.”

The Joint College of Engineering Governance Council unanimously passed a resolution to make that change during a meeting on May 20. The decision was made without a vote of approval by the FAMU Board of Trustees.

Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson said that “Section 3: Comprehensive Standards” of the SACS rules could give the Board of Trustees a way to challenge what the Joint Council did.  “Section 3” includes a rule that says the policy-making job of the board of a school must remain distinct from the job of the administration to oversee the execution of policies.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chair, vice-chair challenge Mangum’s claim that COE budget shift was a “management decision”

Last week, the chairman and vice-chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees challenged President Elmira Mangum’s claim that the shift of the $12,996,539 core operating budget of the College of Engineering (COE) to Florida State University (FSU) was a “management decision.”

Back on May 20, the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council unanimously passed a resolution to shift the COE fiscal agent duties from FAMU to FSU. The FAMU voting representatives on the Council are Mangum (or her designee), Provost Marcella David, Vice-President for Research Timothy E. Moore, and Chief Financial Officer Dale Cassidy. FAMU had served as the fiscal agent for the COE for 28 years.

That change was made with a vote of approval from the FAMU Board of Trustees.

Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson brought the issue up during a meeting of the Special Committee on Governance on August 5. He gave the other trustees a set of pages from the rules of the Commission on Colleges for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and asked them to look at “Section 3: Comprehensive Standards.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rufus placing FAMU in danger with his disrespectful attitude toward SACS

Out of all the complaints Rufus Montgomery has brought up against Elmira Mangum since her hiring, one of his biggest has been about her decision to seek advisement from the Southern Association of Colleges of Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) before a major university decision last year. His disrespectful attitude toward FAMU’s regional accrediting organization is placing the university in danger.

Back on November 7, 2014, the FAMU Board of Trustees Athletics Oversight Committee voted to recommend that the full Board of Trustees pass a policy requiring two trustees to be appointed to the advisory committee. The motion did not state any intention to restrict the two trustees from being voting members.

Mangum told the committee she thought that proposal was inappropriate. She then went to SACSCOC President Belle Wheelan and asked if what the committee had requested was consistent with the accrediting organization’s rules. Wheelan informed her that trustees may only serve as nonvoting members of search committees for positions that work under the president.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

SACS satisfied with FAMU’s progress, lifts university’s probationary status

Earlier today, at its annual meeting in Atlanta, Ga., the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) lifted the 12-month probation status placed upon FAMU in December 2012. No further reports are required from the university.

“We are extremely pleased with the decision by SACSCOC to remove the probation sanction, which signifies that Florida A&M University is in compliance with the standards of the regional accrediting body,” said FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson. “As a member institution of SACSCOC, we fully appreciate the peer review process and we are committed to continuing the work needed to maintain the high standards of the commission.”  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Robinson agrees to lead FAMU through Jan. 1, 2014

Yesterday, Interim President Larry Robinson answered affirmatively when the FAMU Board of Trustees unanimously asked him to lead the university through January 1, 2014.

“I just want to let you know that I really appreciate this vote of confidence,” Robinson said. “I will do what is needed to serve the legacy of Florida A&M University.”

Trustees Chairman Chuck Badger suspended the presidential search on March 15. The decision cleared the way for FAMU to focus on addressing the problems that led the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to place it on a one-year probation back in December of 2012.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rattlers remain divided over decision to reopen band director search

Back when he was a college student, Shelby Chipman dedicated himself to carrying the torch of legendary Marching 100 Director William P. Foster. He highstepped in the band as a Rattler student and then went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees, as Foster did.

For ten years, he led the Miami Central Rocket Marching Band and modeled its drills on Foster’s examples. He then returned to FAMU as a music professor and worked his way up to become the second-in-command behind Marching 100 Director Julian White, the man who had succeeded Foster.

So when FAMU’s interim administration turned Chipman down for the band directorship this year and opted to reopen the search, many Rattlers were outraged.

FAMU alumnus and former state senator Alfred “Al” Lawson directed very strong criticism against Interim President Larry Robinson. He suggested that the interim administration might be bending to outside pressures that are suspicious of Chipman simply because he was on the Marching 100's staff when the hazing death of band member Robert Champion took place in 2011.

“You should not let the politics of the band situation prevent a person of his caliber from getting the job,” Lawson told reporter Tampa Bay Times reporter Tia Mitchell.

But former FAMU President Frederick S. Humphries disagrees with Lawson. He thinks that Robinson made the right decision when he chose to reopen the search.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Brogan lacks backbone to protect SUS from Scott

More than a year ago, Chancellor Frank Brogan should have told Gov. Rick Scott to stay in his lane and stop trying to control presidential employment decisions in the State University System of Florida (SUS). But Brogan continues to look the other way as Scott persists with his power grab at public universities.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is right to step in and do the hard work of fighting Scott. Brogan has zero commitment to protecting SUS schools from the political interference of the governor’s office.

Brogan was hired back in 2009 to help the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) repair its credibility problem with the state legislature. The BOG became a joke in Tallahassee after it sued the legislature for control of tuition-rates in 2007. The Florida Senate introduced a constitutional amendment to place the BOG under the lawmakers’ supervision. When Chancellor Mark Rosenberg appeared before a senate committee to speak against the measure, senators publicly ridiculed him. Rosenburg resigned soon after the embarrassing incident.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

SACS investigating Scott’s involvement in UF presidential search

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has placed some of the South's biggest research universities under closer scrutiny this year. The University of Virginia is currently on warning status. Now, SACS is investigating whether Gov. Rick Scott went too far in his recent involvement with a presidential decision at the University of Florida (UF).

Scott led the way in pleading for UF President Bernie Machen to rescind his resignation. Just four days before it was expected to hire a new leader, the UF Board of Trustees aborted a presidential search that is estimated to cost no less than $41,000. Machen will remain in charge.

Some UF faculty members are worried that Scott might have improperly interfered with the search process. According to Tampa Bay Times reporter Tia Mitchell: “UF faculty members have expressed concern that Scott was overstepping his authority and interfering in a decision that should be beyond his control.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SACS decision serious, but no cause for panic

Any time the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) puts a university on notice, it is serious business. But FAMU is already more than 50 percent finished fixing the key problems that SACS flagged as areas of concern. The decision to place FAMU on a one-year probation simply means that the university will need to provide thorough updates to the accrediting body as it completes its corrective plans.

Even though SACS did not name any specific university programs when it sanctioned FAMU, Interim President Larry Robinson told the Orlando Sentinel that he thinks the Marching 100 is a big concern for the accrediting body. FAMU will need to report back to SACS about what it’s doing to make sure that students are as safe as possible. It will also need to explain how it’s enforcing rules governing student eligibility for university events.

FAMU has already placed the Marching 100 on an indefinite suspension following the Nov. 19, 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion. The university is also expanding the number of staffers who will work to fight hazing across the campus. They will include an anti-hazing special assistant to the president and additional personnel in the Office of Judicial Affairs who will adjudicate cases of alleged hazing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

SACS places FAMU on one-year probation

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) announced today that it will continue FAMU's accreditation and place the university on probation for a one-year period.

“It is important to emphasize that FAMU remains an accredited institution, even while under the probation sanction from SACSCOC,” said FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson. “We are committed to addressing the areas of concern, and ensuring that FAMU is compliant with all SACSCOC accreditation standards.  Our students will continue to receive a first-class education from FAMU.”

The decision from SACSCOC comes after a series of correspondence between SACSCOC and the university.  On June 25, 2012, SACSCOC sent a letter to FAMU seeking information regarding issues surfacing as a result of the November 19, 2011, hazing incident in Orlando. The areas of concern cited by SACSCOC were academic policies, student rights, control of finances, and institutional environment.

Friday, March 30, 2012

FAMU trustees run scared from Scott, reverse vote on committee

Today, FAMU trustees reversed one of their previous votes just days after Gov. Rick Scott pressured them to do so.

The FAMU board announced the appointment of an Anti-Hazing Committee on Feb. 9. The committee’s mission was to come up with “findings and recommendations to be presented to the FAMU Board of Trustees for consideration and approval.”

On March 23, trustees approved the committee’s request to change its mission from a policy recommendation committee to a fact-finding committee. The vote permitted the committee to operate without the public notice requirements of Florida’s Sunshine Law. Committee members asked for the change in order to help them work more quickly and meet the board’s deadline for its report.

Scott asked FAMU trustees to change their vote on March 27. He said he personally wanted the committee to do all of its work at open meetings.

"It is my hope that the Board of Trustees reconsiders its decision and reverses it,” Scott said in a letter to FAMU’s trustees.

FAMU Trustee Torey Alston introduced a motion at a conference call this afternoon that did exactly what the governor wanted. The motion passed with an 8-2 vote.

FAMU should expect no mercy from SACS if trustees cave to Scott

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) already told FAMU’s Board of Trustees in December that if they let Gov. Rick Scott boss them around, the university could lose its accreditation. That warning should have been enough. But obviously it wasn’t.

On Tuesday, Scott started strong-arming FAMU’s board to reverse its vote to let the newly-formed Anti-Hazing Committee meet in private. FAMU Chairman Solomon L. Badger, III has now scheduled a special board meeting to consider the governor’s request this afternoon.

"It is my hope that the Board of Trustees reconsiders its decision and reverses it,” Scott said in a letter to FAMU’s trustees.

SACS Comprehensive Standard 3.2.4 states that each member institution’s governing board must be “free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and [protect] the institution from such influence.”

SACS previously scolded Scott for trying to pressure FAMU trustees to suspend President James H. Ammons.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Scott’s interference might cost FAMU its accreditation

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools says Gov. Rick Scott’s push to place FAMU President James H. Ammons on suspension could violate accreditation standards.

FAMU Chief of Staff Rosalind Fuse-Hall told the Tallahassee Democrat that SACS President Belle Wheelan communicated this message to the university on Friday morning. Wheelan will also write a letter to the Florida governor’s office with this same information.

SACS Standard 3.2.4 states that each member institution’s governing board must be “free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and [protect] the institution from such influence.”

The governor’s chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, defended his boss’ actions in the newspaper.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Ammons team teaches others how to fix an accreditation mess

FAMU administrators were key presenters at the 2009 Atlanta conference this week on surviving a perfect storm and best practices for reaffirming accreditation.

The presentations took place at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), where FAMU accreditation’s was reaffirmed for another ten years.

On Sunday, December 6, FAMU President James H. Ammons; Chief of Staff Rosalind Fuse-Hall; Vice President for Administrative and Financial Services Teresa Hardee; and Vice President for Enterprise Information Technology Robert Seniors were asked to present on “Surviving a Perfect Storm.”

The session reviewed the steps taken by FAMU’s leadership team after arriving in July 2007. In describing the session, the conference materials noted, “…University Leadership team arrived in the middle of a perfect storm: dramatic board turnover, declining enrollment, huge fiscal challenges, and an impending SACSCOC visit, as well as an unexpected twister. Learn strategies employed to survive each challenge and lead the university to calm waters.”

The unexpected twister was being placed on probation for a year while completing the reaffirmation process.

Another session on Monday titled, “The Impact of Leadership and Teamwork During Reaffirmation” was presented by Shawnta Friday-Stroud, SACS Accreditation Liaison and interim dean of the School of Business and Industry; and Cynthia Hughes Harris, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. They discussed how the daunting task of coordinating, editing and submitting the compliance certification could be accomplished through “committed and passionate leadership and teamwork.”

“This was extraordinary progress, given that FAMU was on probation in March 2008,” the materials noted.

Maurice Edington, FAMU QEP director and associate professor of chemistry; Friday-Stroud; and Dreamal Worthen, associate professor in College of Engineering Science, Technology and Agriculture, presented a workshop on “Strategies for Achieving True Campuswide Engagement and Buy-in During the Development and Implementation of the QEP.” During this session, there was discussion on strategies used during QEP development. The team designed and implemented an aggressive marketing and publicity campaign directed toward key university stakeholders.

Valencia Matthews, assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences; Uche Ohia, director of university assessment; and Gita Pitter, associate vice president for institutional effectiveness, presented on “Faculty as Change Agents in Reengineering an Institution’s General Education Outcomes and Assessment.” The presentations addressed how to change the institutional culture and identify outcomes and instituting a new assessment system for general education.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

SACS reaffirms FAMU’s accreditation

The Florida A&M University’s accreditation has been reaffirmed for 10 more years by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) today. The reaffirmation came with no strings attached --- no further reports required and no recommendations.

“We are proud of the work of our accrediting team and the campus community,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons.

FAMU's re-accreditation was pushed back a year while the university addressed issues left over from the previous interim administration. With those issues fully addressed, the FAMU leadership team focused on preparing for the reaffirmation of accreditation from the SACSCOC.

“We had a very competent staff and we are pleased with the outcome,” said Bill Jennings, chair of the FAMU Board of Trustees. “This is yet another great milestone achieved under Dr. Ammons’ administration.”

FAMU has been accredited by the SACSCOC since 1935. FAMU achieved a significant first by becoming the first historically black institution to become a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Friday, March 13, 2009

FAMU impresses SACS site team

Excitement was in the air as members of the visiting team for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC), applauded FAMU’s work in its effort to reaffirm its accreditation.

“In terms of the report, you should be very, very proud,” said Carol Z. Garrison, chair of the visiting team and president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “You knew what this process was all about — creating a stronger and better university.”

“I am very proud of your QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan),” she went on to say. “Overall the plan was well thought out and developed. I could feel all of the excitement around campus about it, even from the students. The biggest challenge will be channeling all of this excitement and making sure you remain focused.”

While the visiting team had two recommendations — one regarding the standards and one regarding QEP — the decision regarding whether FAMU’s accreditation will be reaffirmed will be made at the Commission’s December meeting in Atlanta, Ga., noted Joseph H. Silver, vice president of SACS-COC. He also pointed out that one out of a possible 77 compliance standards was not bad.

“I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “To be here with two recommendations is truly phenomenal.”

The recommendations were related to Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1 and the QEP. Standard 3.7.1 deals with the “employment of competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution.”

The visiting committee found a relatively small number of professors who were not in compliance with Standard 3.7.1. But, the members expressed full confidence in FAMU’s ability to address the issue.

“You will have from now until December to address this,” Garrison said. “It may be a case of providing more information or evaluating the teaching assignments of a few individuals. I’m sure you will have your arms around it soon.”

Regarding the QEP, J. Patrick O’Brien, president of West Texas A&M University, said that the university needed to develop an annual program of assessment to measure the outcomes. O’Brien said this would provide the university with a mechanism to determine if changes need to be made and the overall impact of the QEP. He noted that the findings of the assessment should be communicated with the campus.

The five-year QEP, entitled "Enhancing Performance in Critical Thinking," was developed under the leadership of FAMU Chemistry Professor Maurice Edington. It grew out of a broad-based institutional process that identified key issues emerging from the campus assessment of the institution.

“We were able to work as a team and complete this process,” Ammons said. “We are here with only two recommendations because of a lot of sleepless nights and the dedication of faculty and staff. I am proud of this campus.”