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FAMU announces 100-day plan
By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER
Published July 12, 2007
» Fast Facts
The first 100 days
Over the next three months, the new president of Florida A&M University plans to focus on the school's most pressing problems:
• Filling vacant positions in key administrative and financial positions, including the inspector general and provost offices, and the pharmacy college and law school.
• Training personnel who deal with university finances, including payroll.
• Reviewing and strengthening policies dealing with purchases, contracts, financial transactions, payroll, cell phone use and the tracking of inventory.
• Improving FAMU's F-rated K-12 lab school.
• Planning for the pharmacy college's building expansion.
• Making program and faculty improvements necessary to secure accreditation for the law school and business school, and to get the pharmacy college in good standing with its accreditors.
TALLAHASSEE – Less than two weeks after taking the helm of Florida's most troubled university, Florida A&M president James H. Ammons on Wednesday unveiled a 100-day plan for resuscitating the college and easing the concerns of national accreditors.
Ammons told FAMU's board of trustees that he and his administrators will spend the next three months working on the historically black school's most pressing problems, including poor financial management and shortfalls in major programs like business, pharmacy and law. Even FAMU's F-rated K-12 lab school will get his attention.
Ammons goal: To get a clean state audit after several years of problem-riddled reviews. And to save FAMU from losing its national accreditation, a seal of approval that is vital to the 120-year-old university's future.
"We have an aggressive agenda," Ammons told trustees. "But I feel confident that with the team we have put in place and with your support, we can accomplish this in the time frame set out."
Ammons announced a number of actions intended to address accreditors' concerns. He plans to fill vacant positions and set up training for departments that deal with finances. He wants to closely track the campus inventory and strengthen policies for everything from vendor contracts to cell phone use.
He said he will take necessary action, including termination, against anyone who violates campus purchasing and hiring practices.
"We must identify the root causes of these problems," Ammons said. "We must restore fiscal accountability, integrity and responsibility."
His 100-day plan also emphasizes academic and leadership improvements.
He wants to establish new programs for increasing student enrollment and retention. He promised to fill vacant posts for the provost, human resources director, university relations vice president, law school dean and pharmacy college dean.
He said he also will focus on improving FAMU's F-rated lab school, a pledge that drew applause from several of the school's instructors and parents.
"As a faculty member and a parent, I am excited to see that we have made the 100-day priority list," said faculty member Hope Williams. "Thank you."
Wednesday's trustees meeting was the first since Ammons became FAMU's 10th president, and the first since national accreditors signaled their concern over FAMU's long-running problems.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Universities' Commission on Colleges put FAMU on probation last month, concluding the school is not complying with 10 accrediting standards for financial accountability, leadership, and controls over areas including sponsored research and inventory.
SACS gave FAMU until December to fix the problems or risk losing its accreditation, a designation that gives a student's degree its value and qualifies students for federal financial aid.
As somber and divisive as things have been at FAMU in recent months, the mood Wednesday was more hopeful.
"I appreciate the spirit in this room," said the Rev. R.B. Holmes, a FAMU trustee. "It's a new day, a new order. We have a new leader."