As former leaders of Florida A&M University, we oppose the move to decouple the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and consider this a sudden and unplanned act, devoid of discussion and input from the current leadership of the two universities, the university boards of trustees and the Florida Board of Governors. This action sends the wrong message to the citizens of Florida and other interested parties about how the Legislature and academic institutions should interact.
The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is a strong program that represents a successful collaboration for the state of Florida between two research institutions with elements of their student populations woefully underrepresented in engineering disciplines. Through this long-term collaborative effort the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering has received high praise for addressing this nationwide dilemma.
A second program in Tallahassee would compromise the integrity of what is already a very successful venture. Furthermore, one can only look to our sister university, Florida Polytechnic University, to see how expensive it is to support a stand-alone engineering program in today’s economy. In fact, a major focus of the Florida Board of Governors over the past few years has been a concerted effort to reduce duplication of academic programs throughout the State University System.
Proposing such a drastic change without any obvious consideration or discussion of these factors is surprising and not in the best interest of our State University System or Floridians. As an alternative, we request that the Legislature provide additional support to our existing program, which has produced successful graduates for both Florida A&M University and Florida State University since 1982.
With all due respect to the power and authority of the Legislature to appropriate funding, we request engagement in a collaborative process to include both academic institutions and our governing bodies to determine how such funding will be used to build on our past successes. We are pleased to work transparently within appropriate guidelines and authorities to create life-changing opportunities for students in Florida to pursue a quality education in engineering through the joint engineering program.
Walter Smith, president, 1977-1985
Frederick Humphries, president, 1985-2001
Fred Gainous, president, 2002-2004
James Ammons, president, 2007-2012
Larry Robinson, interim president, 2012-2014
Florida A&M University, Tallahassee