Showing posts with label opinions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label opinions. Show all posts

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Magnum-Thrasher have become quite a team

FAMU President Elmira Mangum helped FSU President John Thrasher put an end to the 28 years of FAMU budget control of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) in 2015. Despite having favorable legislative language and favorable BOG study.

Last year, with Mangum's approval, the legislature moved the $12.9M for the COE from the FAMU  line to a new budget entity called “FAMU/FSU College of Engineering.”  

Following the transfer, a new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council was created calling the shots on the operating budget. This has made it possible for the FSU representatives and Board of Governors (BOG) Chancellor Marshall Criser, III to out vote FAMU on nearly all budget decisions since its creation.

At a July 21, 2015 BOT committee meeting, Mangum tried to downplay the seriousness of the loss of the $12.9M COE budget by claiming that FAMU didn’t have control over that money during the years that those operating dollars were at the university. But Kelvin Lawson disagreed because he actually understands what happened. He said that FAMU had the “responsibility for managing the budget” in the past. He added that the management responsibility wasn’t limited to executing “joint decisions.”

“I think it’s also important to have the perspective to have that there’s a lot more involved in the responsibility of the fiscal agent other than just managing the money and making joint decisions, because if it wasn’t so important, why would year after year after year, various leaders make an attempt to move the responsibility from its original home?” Kelvin Lawson said.

“I would like to see us make an active pitch to regain budget authority for the College of Engineering,” Lawson said at the meeting.

“I would ask that the administration take that as a ‘To Do’ moving forward,” he added.

Mangum hasn’t reported any progress in addressing the COE budget shift problem since that time.

Kelvin Lawson isn’t letting the issue go. He raised the COE budget shift in Mangum’s 2015-2016 evaluation.

“The decision on the Joint Engineering School was a major decision that had no Board engagement; this discussion will have fall-out for years to come,” he wrote.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

FAMU BOT didn’t approve $19.5M in tuition and fee losses as an enrollment strategy

Yesterday, FAMU President Elmira Mangum defended her administration’s recruitment and enrollment management practices in a guest column for HBCU Digest. She claimed that the continuing enrollment decline is a “byproduct of success.”

“Unlike other universities with declining enrollment, FAMU does not have a problem with student recruitment,” Mangum wrote. “Instead, our decline is the byproduct of success in graduating students and in the University’s policy change to recruit more college-ready students.”

An increase in the number of students who are graduating doesn't mean that an enrollment decline has to happen. A university can recruit more students to replace the ones who are graduating. An effort to recruit a bigger number of college-ready students doesn't mean that enrollment has to decline, either. A university can recruit college-ready students and grow its enrollment at the same time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

FAMU SGA elections sink into further reality TV-style dysfunction

The 1st District Court of Appeal found that the FAMU administration didn’t break any laws when it backed a decision to redo the entire Student Government Association (SGA) presidential election during the spring. An article in the Tallahassee Democrat reported that “the panel did give support to [a circuit court] recommendation to limit the re-election to the Orlando campus” where the only voting-day problems were reported. It said that recommendation was “reasonable.”

But now that the lawsuit against the redo of the entire election redo has been thrown out, there isn’t much of a chance of the “reasonable” happening in the FAMU SGA mess, which is starting to look more like a second-rate reality TV show.

A former reality TV cast member is actually at the center of the drama. Kyle Washington, who appeared on the BET series “College Hill” in 2009, has had a big part in many negative headlines over FAMU SGA issues for years.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mangum administration not giving SBI credit it deserves for raising at least $6M of FAMU’s $12.3M since 2014

Back in June, FAMU School of Business and Industry Professor (SBI) Annette Singleton Jackson wrote an open letter that said President Elmira Mangum’s administration was “constantly taking credit for the accomplishments of others who came before, and those who continue to work for the betterment of FAMU.”

Another example of the problem Jackson pointed out could be seen in a July 22nd FAMU press release that announced that that the university finished the 2015-2016 year with a total of $6.5 million in contributions.

The press release stated that “this is the largest single-year fundraising total in Florida A&M University’s 128-year history, only exceeding the $5.8 million raised in 2014-2015 after a renewed focus was placed on fundraising under the leadership of President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D.”

That press release didn’t include one word about SBI even though that school is responsible for raising at least $6 million of the total $12.3 million that FAMU received in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. But Mangum’s name was mentioned seven times.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Martin achieving better enrollment results than Mangum while being paid $65,000 less

North Carolina A&T University Chancellor Harold Martin, who leads the largest single campus historically black college or university (HBCU) in the nation, earns $360,000 per year.

He is continuing to grow enrollment at his alma mater with strong classes of freshmen students. The NCA&T Institutional Research freshman profile data shows that the freshman classes in Fall 2014 and Fall 2015 both had an average high school GPA of 3.28.

The NCA&T freshman class in Fall 2014 also had an average ACT score of 18.71. That was higher than the national average for black students, which was 17.1.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Budget control decides how much money goes to diversity efforts at FAMU-FSU engineering

New FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) Dean J. Murray Gibson is continuing to say the right things about bringing more diversity to the school.

WCTV-6 reported yesterday that Gibson “plans to invest time in recruiting and retaining FAMU students. Right now, the school has roughly 2,200 students, but only about three to four hundred are FAMU students. There are about 100 staff members, yet only about a third are FAMU faculty members.”

Those things are all good. But the choice of how much money will actually be designated for diversity efforts at the COE is out of his hands.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Reinstating Cummings-Martin good, but doesn’t fix damage Mangum and Cotton caused in OAA

At long last there is some good news about the top leadership of the Florida A&M University Office of Alumni Affairs (OAA) after an embarrassing 13 months.

Back in May 2015, President Elmira Mangum replaced Carmen Cummings-Martin with John Michael Lee as the “New Head of Alumni Affairs.” But last month, Lee began a “special assistant” job in the Office of President. Cummings-Martin is back to being the leading administrator in OAA. Her new title is “Senior Executive Director of University Engagement and Alumni Affairs.” She had previously held the title “Executive Director” since her initial hiring in 2007.

Reinstating Cummings-Martin is good, but it doesn’t come close to fixing what Mangum and Cotton have done to OAA.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kyle Washington is the last person who should be lecturing Rattlers about TV-style drama

One of the most comical moments at the June 10 FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) took place when Kyle Washington went to the microphone during public comments to lecture FAMUans about TV-style drama.

“The world has turned FAMU into the World’s Greatest live television show,” he said. “Shonda Rhimes couldn't write a better episode of drama. It’s filled with cliffhangers and ‘stay tuned for next week," but the drama has become a runaway train; a train that we no longer control…Let's stop contributing to the problem. In fact, let’s turn the television off.”

Washington is the last person who should be trying to scold anyone on this topic.
Back in 2009, Washington was a cast member of the BET reality TV show College Hill South Beach. It was the sixth season of the series.

A two part-episode called “Ribgate” featured a dispute between him and Kathryn “Kay” Barlow over a plate of ribs. Barlow ate some ribs that Washington had cooked without asking and he later let her know how angry he was.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Job performance, not politics, should be basis for decisions on deans

Concerns about whether four FAMU deans will soon be shown the door for reasons that have nothing to do with the university’s best interests have grown on campus in the wake of the questionable exits of two other deans in 2015.

At the June meeting of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT), School of Business and Industry (SBI) Professor Clyde Ashley warned that four current deans might be targeted. He said those individuals were School of Architecture and Engineering Technology Dean Rodner B. Wright, SBI Dean Shawnta Friday-Stroud, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean Michael D. Thompson, and School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Dean Ann L. Wead Kimbrough.

Ashley’s comments come at a time when a growing number of FAMU professors are speaking out about the way President Elmira Mangum and Provost Marcella David are running the Division of Academic Affairs. There have also been faculty complaints accusing the administration of trying to harm the tenure system, toss aside shared governance, and bully student reporters at The FAMUan.

The abrupt resignations of College of Law Dean LeRoy Pernell and FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) Dean Yaw D. Yeboah last year have only added to doubts about whether Mangum and David are committed to the fair treatment of professors.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Martin expanding NCA&T’s enrollment with freshman classes that have 3.0+ average GPAs

NCA&T Chancellor Harold Martin shakes hands with U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham in 2015
North Carolina A&T University (NCA&T) Chancellor Harold Martin hasn’t placed quality aside as he has expanded enrollment. He reversed the school’s decline in students in Fall 2014 after two straight years of falling enrollment caused by the federal financial aid program overhaul. The freshman, first-time student classes that Martin enrolled in Fall 2014 and Fall 2015 both had 3.0+ average GPAs in high school.

The NCA&T Institutional Research freshman profile data shows that the freshman classes in Fall 2014 and Fall 2015 both had an average high school GPA of 3.28.

The freshman, first-time student classes at FAMU had slightly higher average GPAs at 3.34 in Fall 2014 and 3.40 in Fall 2015. That’s a difference of 0.06 and a 0.12 with NCA&T for those two years.

But the biggest difference is in the effect on the financial condition of the two universities.

Monday, July 18, 2016

1998: Humphries enrolls nearly 11,000 students, freshmen SAT scores above national average

General Motors ad that ran between 1989 and 1990
Back in 1998, Florida A&M University had nearly 11,000 students. That’s more than any historically black college or university (HBCU) today. North Carolina A&T University (NCA&T) was the largest single campus HBCU in Fall 2015 with 10,852 students.

NCA&T Chancellor Harold Martin boosted his school’s enrollment in Fall 2015 and expects more enrollment growth in Fall 2016.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Frontrunner to replace Joyner likely to be just as weak in defending FAMU

Over the past two legislative sessions, no one in the current Florida Legislative Black Caucus (FLBC) has made an attempt to defend FAMU with the level of boldness and leadership that Carrie Meek demonstrated while she was in the state House and Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, the highest ranking FAMU graduate in the legislature, will leave in November due to term limits. She’s done a poor job of looking out for FAMU since 2015 and it doesn’t appear that the frontrunner to replace her has any intention of doing a better job.

Joyner has endorsed state Rep. Ed Narain for the District 19 Senate seat she currently holds. He is leading all of his Democratic primary opponents in fundraising. The SaintPetersBlog reported yesterday that Narain “led the money race through June 24 with about $100,000 in his campaign account, followed by fellow Democratic Rep. Darryl Rouson with about $41,000 and former Democratic Rep. Betty Reed with about $16,000.”

Monday, July 11, 2016

FAMU alumni lawmakers signal they’re preparing for future without Mangum

The Florida A&M University alumni in the state legislature have gone from being among the most vocal supporters of President Elmira Mangum to making no public defense of her now that the Board of Trustees (BOT) has set the course for her exit. This signals that the alumni lawmakers are preparing for a near future that won’t include her as the head of their alma mater.

Back on August 20, 2015, a number of FAMU alumni lawmakers sent a letter to the BOT that asked Chairman Rufus Montgomery, Mangum’s biggest critic on the board, to step down from his leadership position. The group included Rep. Alan Williams, Sen. Arthenia L. Joyner, Sen. Dwight Bullard, Rep. Mia Jones, Rep. Shevrin Jones, and Rep. Bobby Powell. They urged the BOT to remove him from the chairmanship if he refused to voluntarily resign.

Two months later, Trustees Kelvin Lawson and Robert Woody moved to terminate Mangum’s contract during an October 22, 2015 BOT meeting. Both motions narrowly failed and Montgomery resigned from the chairmanship the next day under pressure from FAMU students.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Enrollment management effectiveness a big difference between NCA&T, FAMU's top leaders

Harold Martin’s success in building North Carolina A&T into the largest single campus historically black college or university (HBCU) in the nation shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. He is one the best experienced enrollment managers among all of today’s HBCU leaders and came to his alma mater with a big vision for the future.

Martin held a number of administrative roles at NCA&T early in his career that helped him learn how to be effective in recruiting students and meeting enrollment goals. According to his official biography, his “earlier positions at NC A&T [included] vice chancellor of academic affairs (1994–99); dean of the college of engineering (1989–1994); chair and acting chair of electrical engineering (1985–87 and 1984–85, respectively) and acting chair (1984-85) of electrical engineering.”

He later served as senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina, General Administration and chancellor of Winston-Salem State University. WSSU had the fastest rate of enrollment growth in the entire UNC while he was its top administrator.

Monday, June 20, 2016

FAMU professors become targets for personal insults in “FAMU Alumni” Facebook group

Two Florida A&M faculty members who publicly shared opinions about the university administration recently became targets for personal insults in the “FAMU Alumni” Facebook group.

Back on June 7, Rattler Nation posted an open letter that School of Business and Industry (SBI) Professor Annette Singleton Jackson wrote about what she sees as the poor treatment that the FAMU faculty is receiving under the current administration. On that same day, the Tallahassee Democrat uploaded an op-ed by FAMU United Faculty of Florida President Elizabeth K. Davenport entitled: “Anonymous petition doesn’t help Mangum’s administration.”

Davenport criticized an anonymous online petition that asked the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) to grant a contract extension to President Elmira Mangum. The petition, which was filled with misinformation, received support from many members of the “FAMU Alumni” Facebook group.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Agnew fought hard to keep engineering college budget control at FAMU in 2007

FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s claim that the university didn’t previously control the budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) has placed her in conflict with the Rattlers who know that isn’t true.

One FAMUan who understands that FAMU really did have budget control of the COE is Umi Selah (a.k.a. Phillip Agnew). He helped fight off an attempt to remove that budget control from FAMU when he was the student body president in 2007. 

On January 15, 2015, Mangum welcomed Agnew to campus as the keynote speaker for the FAMU Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation. She complimented him on his commitment to justice through his leadership of the activist group Dream Defenders.

But just four months later, Mangum gave her backing to a move that brought FAMU’s budget control at the COE to an end. Agnew announced last week that he doesn’t think the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) should renew Mangum’s contract, which is set to expire in 2017.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

BOT must protect FAMU tenure system

FAMU became an “R2” (higher research activity) university in the Carnegie classifications mainly because of the work done by professors who are tenured or on the tenure-track. The tenure system is essential to FAMU’s ability to compete for professors who are capable of R2-level research and Ph.D. education activities.

That’s why the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) needs to give serious attention to a point that School of Business and Industry Professor Annette Singleton Jackson raised in her open letter to the faculty last week.

She told FAMU United Faculty of Florida President Elizabeth Davenport that:

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

SBI professor speaks out about Mangum administration’s treatment of FAMU faculty

Late last week, FAMU School of Business and Industry Professor Annette Singleton Jackson wrote an open letter about what she sees as the poor treatment that the faculty is receiving under the current administration.

Jackson addressed the letter to FAMU United Faculty of Florida President Elizabeth Davenport in order to support the views that Davenport shared in the chapter’s May 2016 newsletter.  

June 3, 2016

Dear Liz,

Thank you for your efforts with the newsletter and keeping us informed. Kudos for your honesty and your dedication to obtaining fair dealings for those whom you represent. Though you are protecting the privacy of the many faculty members who have contacted you by not disclosing their personal struggles, I know firsthand how the rights of faculty and staff have been disregarded by this administration at levels unprecedented in my 13 years on the FAMU plus my years as an undergraduate.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Petition wrongly claims that Mangum was responsible for moving FAMU to R2

A petition started by a poster named “Rattlers4FAMU Real Rattlers” is filled with misinformation. The online page, which asks the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) to grant President Elmira Mangum a contract extension, wrongly claims that she was responsible for moving FAMU to “R2.”

“Her leadership was also responsible for the elevation of FAMU to an R-2 (high research activity) Carnegie classification,” the petition says.

But if the petitioners took some time to read the information on the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education website and, they might be able to see why that claim isn’t true.

The Carnegie Classification webpage, which is hosted by Indiana University, states that “these data represent the time period of 2013-14.”

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Online petitioners even more misinformed about FAMU-FSU engineering than Mangum

FAMU currently has a president who showed last July that she didn’t understand FAMU controlled the budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) for 28 years.

Now, there are online petitioners who appear to know even less about the COE than she does.

A petition started by a poster named “Rattlers4FAMU Real Rattlers” is asking the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) to grant President Elmira Mangum a contract extension. The petition attempts to support that request with a number of misinformed claims about the COE.

The petition claims that some individuals “are using what we call the ‘South Carolina Strategy’ to attempt to destroy FAMU. The SC Strategy includes…2. Closing high-impact programs in STEM (e.g. joint engineering school).”