Thursday, September 27, 2007

RW News: FAMU’s School of Architecture Participated in a Design Charrette

Florida A&M University’s School of Architecture (SOA) hosted a five-day design charrette focusing on Tallahassee’s Midtown district. The charrette was coordinated by Design Workshop, a landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm.

“One of the most important aspects of this school and this charrette, is that we do not focus on hypothetical situations,” said Rodner B. Wright, dean of the SOA.

Students from the SOA worked with the guest and faculty to address the design issues, challenges and opportunities in the Midtown district and presented a final exhibition of their work to demonstrate the contribution of a design program to stakeholders.

“I’ve never been a part of something like this,” said Delesia Hill a 23-year-old landscape architecture student. “Working with other people, learning to cooperate and getting to know other people that are passionate about the same interest was the best part.”

RW News: FAMU Prepapres for SACS Monitoring Team

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Commission on Colleges Monitoring Team will visit the campus of Florida A&M University (FAMU) October 3-5, 2007, to see first hand the progress made regarding the issues of concern cited by SACS when FAMU was placed on probation.

The University was placed on probation in June 2007 for six months by SACS for non-compliance with 10 core requirements related to financial-management issues, governance and administration. Some of the SACS concerns are linked to issues outlined in the operational audit that included 35 findings.

For the past three months the university has been implementing its action plan regarding the SACS concerns. In July, the leadership team developed a matrix which outlined the operational audit issues, the audit findings, recommendations of the Auditor General, and corrective actions taken and planned. The matrix identified the units responsible for correcting the issues, and sets timeframes for completion. To ensure that the action plan was comprehensive, the SACS issues were cross-referenced and linked to the pertinent operational audit findings.

In addition, the university submitted its First Monitoring Report on September 7, 2007, responding to the SACS Commission on Colleges notification of probation. This report addresses each of the ten core requirements and outlines what has been done to comply with each requirement.

“We are ready for this visit,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “I believe we have presented a compelling reason why FAMU should be removed from probation.”

The SACS team will meet with the president, members of the leadership team, deans, directors, staff and students to gathering data to make a recommendation. A decision regarding FAMU’s probationary status will be made during the SACS meeting December 8-11.

To review the “First Monitoring Report” submitted to SACS by FAMU, log onto

Alumni Strike: Kathy Times

Florida A&M University alumni seem to be making news everyday.

FAMU grad Kathy Times was elected the new vice president of broadcast for the National Association of Black Journalist.

“I’m excited about serving an organization with an incredible history,” said Times. “This is a dream come true. I look forward to enriching the lives of professional journalists and aspiring journalists and making a positive impact on the communities that we serve.”

With more than 3,300 members, NABJ members gathered in Las Vegas for the organization’s 32nd Annual Convention and Career Fair and in an election in August elected Times to serve a two-year term.

Times, an investigative reporter with WVTM in Birmingham, Ala., obtained her undergraduate degree in journalism and computer information systems at FAMU and earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She serves as the treasurer of the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists, an affiliate chapter of NABJ.

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation and provides educational, career development and support to black journalists worldwide. NABJ is based on the University of Maryland campus in Adelphi, Maryland.

Alumni Strike: Eunice Cofie

A Florida A&M University (FAMU) graduate has clinched the title of Miss Black Florida and will be competing for the title of Miss Black USA in Gambia, West Africa in May 2008.

Eunice Cofie was crowned Miss Black Florida after an extensive interview process in July and believes that being a FAMU graduate will give her a competitive edge.

“I believe FAMU prepared me to be a leader, a business woman and to think outside of the box,” she said. “As well as, develop a strong sense of loyalty to my community; locally, nationally, and globally. All traits Miss Black USA should possess.”

Cofie graduated in the Class of 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry/molecular biology. As a student, she was the president of the Student National Medical Association for two years, and spent her summers in Ghana, West Africa, implementing the Save a Million Lives HIV/AIDS Prevention program.

Besides winning the title of Miss Black USA Cofie hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Currently, she is hard at work conducting research and coordinating a childhood obesity and diabetes prevention program called Project H.E.A.L.T.H. (Health Education and Life Transforming Habits).

Cofie has been so inspired by her experience that she is currently writing a book on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa entitled If AIDS Could Talk.

Cofie has some big shoes to fill, but it is nothing she cannot handle.

“I am assured that no matter where I am in life, I will succeed because of the training I received from FAMU,” she said.

Keep on striking Eunice!

Alumni Strike: Constance Rush

It's no surprise that another Florida A&M University graduate has hit it big.

Constance Rush, a St. Louis native, was announced the winner of the Taylor Public Relations' Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Public Relations Challenge open to HBCU seniors across the country.

Rush won a full time position as an assistant account executive at Taylor, the leader in lifestyle and sports public relations, in its New York office.

"Building diversity in our industry is a key initiative for Taylor," said Tony Signore, CEO and managing partner for Taylor. "We are thrilled to welcome this exceptional individual 00to the Taylor family. Constance embodies Taylor's core values and has demonstrated throughout this challenge the qualities needed to become a successful public relations professional."

Students were nominated by faculty and administrators at their respective colleges based on a structured set of criteria. The chosen participants were tasked with creating and implementing a three-month campaign to generate positive awareness of the exceptional efforts of local Boys & Girls Club volunteers.

In addition to the position offered to Rush, Taylor awarded the communications program at FAMU $5,000 for an undergraduate scholarship in her name.

Bravo Constance!

RW News: Another Newscast for FAMU-TV 20…HOORAY!

News anchors Jessica Larché, Shari Loftley, Brittany Prince, Driadonna Roland, students in the TV news and advanced TV news classes at Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication have astonished us with their twice a week live newscast—and there’s more to come.

In addition to the “Live at Five,” newscast, which reaches more than 80,000 households on Comcast Cable, the “Week in Review Show,” will debut Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

The first anchor will be Kenneth Johnson II, a senior broadcast journalism major from Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Congrats Mr. Johnson!

“This is an opportunity to recap important news stories covered during the week as well as give all of our students an opportunity to anchor a newscast,” said William Jiles, a FAMU broadcast journalism instructor who oversees the advanced TV news class.

Student anchors will rotate each week on the show, which will air on Fridays at 7 p.m. through the fall semester.

RW News: SBI Students WIN National Competition!

I don’t know why people continue to doubt students at Florida A&M University? When will they learn?

Four students in FAMU’s School of Business and Industry won first place at the 13th Annual National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Case Competition defeating teams from Columbia, University of Chicago, New York University, Penn State and Purdue—and this was the first time FAMU has entered the NBMBAA case competition!

FAMU was the only university in the state of Florida that competed in the national competition. The competition featured 30 teams from across the country, including Case Western Reserve, Brandeis, Emory, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins, NYU, Penn State, Univ. of Southern California and Ohio State University.

Now if that’s not something to be proud about I don’t know what is!

Each member received $5,000 and a crystal award. FAMU team members included Dominique Drake, Davida Jones, and Mitch Brooks. The team advisors were Drs. Joycelyn Finley-Hervey and Shawnta Friday-Stroud. The team spent quite a bit of time preparing for the competition.

“We spent about 20 hours a week for three weeks preparing for the competition,” said Brooks. “It felt great to showcase FAMU to the country.”

Dominique Drake, team leader, stressed that during the first two weeks it was a little complicated preparing for the competition.

“For the first two weeks of practice, we had to prepare over the telephone because Davida was in California, Mitch was in Washington, D.C. and I was in Panama,” said Drake. “The hard work paid off. We showed others that FAMU produces top qualify students.

Team member Jones echoed Drake.

“Our win truly proves that hard work and dedication does paid off,” said Jones. “I was happy and thrilled when we were one of the 6 finalists of 30 teams. This proves the caliber of students that are in SBI.”

RW News: Oh, Oh, Oh! It’s the Tom Joyner Morning Show!

The Tom Joyner Foundation has announced that Florida A&M University will be the School of the Month for January 2008. What does that mean? Next January, the Tom Joyner Foundation, a major driving force in raising money for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) since 1998, will host an aggressive fundraising campaign for FAMU.

“The foundation is really happy to work with FAMU,” said Tom Joyner, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute and the foundation chairman. “The college has a wonderful history and this foundation is all about making sure students are able to stay in school.”

Throughout the month, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, which airs in 115 markets around the country reaching nearly eight million listeners every week, will promote the university and award scholarships to deserving students. Now, isn’t that special!

The foundation was formed by the nationally syndicated radio personality, Tom Joyner. According to the foundation, FAMU was chosen as part of their efforts to assist the university in broadening and strengthening its efforts to raise money to help keep students attending FAMU.

The Tom Joyner Foundation has raised more than $25 million over the past seven years to help thousands of students at some 80 colleges. The foundation has assisted every HBCU, which is defined as any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was and is the education of black Americans.

Donations are now being accepted. All donations received through the end of January 2008 will count towards the campaign. To make a donation to FAMU checks should be payable to the FAMU Foundation, Inc., Post Office Box 6562,Tallahassee, Florida, 32314 and in the memo line put Tom Joyner School of the Month.

“We are extremely excited about our selection as a school of the month,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “We want to set a new record for this campaign and we are confident that our alumni, friends and supporters will make it happen. Increasing the number of scholarships for our students is a high priority.”

RW News: William H. Gray to speak at FAMU’s Founders’ Day Convocation

It’s only fitting that William H. Gray III be the speaker this year at Florida A&M University’s Founders’ Day convocation—that is, this year’s 120th Founder’s Day anniversary convocation.

Although Gray isn’t FAMU alum, the blood of a Rattler runs through his veins. Gray is the founder and chairman of the Amani Group, a business advisory firm, and son of former FAMU President William H. Gray, who served from 1944 to 1949.

Prior to founding the firm, Gray was the president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the nation’s largest and oldest minority education assistance organization.

Before joining UNCF, he represented the Second District of Pennsylvania as a Congressman from 1979 to 1991. During his tenure, he was secretary and vice-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was also the first African American to serve as Majority Whip of the House of Representatives, chair of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, and chair of the Democratic Caucus. After leaving Congress, he served as the special advisor to the President and to the Secretary of State on Haiti during the Clinton Administration.

Gray has served as an active Baptist minister of churches in Montclair, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He recently retired after 35 years as pastor of the Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College. He earned a master’s degree in divinity from Drew Theological Seminary and a master’s degree in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Founders’ Day Convocation is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 10:10 a.m., in Lee Hall auditorium and is open to the public.

RW News: FAMU Gets Grants

U.S. Senator Mel Martinez announced Florida A&M University will get $237,348 in grants for math and science programs.

“We are grateful and applaud the efforts of U.S. Senator Martinez in helping FAMU to assist our students in math and science,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “These are two critical areas of need. This grant will give us the opportunity to prepare them for rewarding careers in areas where minorities are underrepresented.”

This funding is made available through the U.S. Department of Education's Upward Bound Math and Science program for educational programs that lead to careers in the fields of math and science.

"These investments will help encourage and train our young people for careers in math and science," said Martinez. "The future of our nation depends on these kinds of critical investments that ensure we remain competitive in the global economy."

The Upward Bound Math and Science programs provide summer intensive math and science training, year-round counseling and advisement, contact with mathematics and science research faculty members, computer training, and mentor-guided/participant-conducted scientific research.

RW News: Tavis Smiley Visits "The Hill"

A packed Lee Hall auditorium listened in anticipation, as renowned radio and TV broadcaster, political activist and author, Tavis Smiley spoke on taking advantage of life and becoming a leader.

"The distance between the womb and the tomb isn't that long," Smiley said. "What does that mean? It means that everyone here is sitting on death row and we need to take advantage of this gift called life."

Smiley's visit to FAMU was the first stop on his Talented TENth Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Tour.

"I created this tour to enlighten, encourage, and empower students to think about what their own leadership legacy will be," said Smiley. "That is what they can do today that will echo throughout their communities, careers, and ultimately throughout history. I'm convinced that the students who attend these institutions of higher learning are the scholars, the exceptional – the leaders of the future. They possess the courage and talent to set the standard for the next generation of leadership for our country."

The name of the tour comes from W.E.B. DuBois' theory concerning the amount of African-American leaders in the U.S. According to DuBois, only one-tenth of the African-American community can and will obtain the knowledge to uplift and lead the race. Smiley's discussion focused on the characteristics of successful role models in the areas of business, public service, religion and academia.

The other four stops Smiley will make on his tour are at North Carolina A&T University, Morehouse College, Prairie View A&M University and Tennessee State University.

Smiley's definition of a leader is one he borrows from, who he considers to be the most intellectual black man in the U.S., Cornel West.

"You can't lead people if you don't love the people," Smiley said. " You can't save people if you don't serve the people. So you have to ask, what's the depth of your love and what's the quality of your service."

FAMU is Back...or should I say never left!

" of the nation's premier institutions..."

RW News: The Man With the Plan

Speaking of superheroes, sometimes I can't help but to think that Florida A&M University President James H. Ammons has an orange and green cape stashed away on the fourth floor of Lee Hall.

"I guarantee to you today, when you graduate from this institution, you will be proud of your degree from Florida A&M University — a document of dignity, achievement and excellence, and a glowing letter of introduction to a successful and meaningful life," Ammons said. "I pledge to you my students, my faculty and staff, the Board of Trustees, people of this great state of Florida, the Task Force for FAMU Finance and Operational Control Issues, Board of Governors and members of the Florida Legislature, that I know the value of a dollar. On our campus, we will account for each dollar spent, follow established policies and procedures and operate efficiently and effectively."

Spoken like a true hero. Ammons has a plan. A ten-step plan to ensure that FAMU maintains its fiscal integrity, strengthen ethical behavior, increase enrollment and the intellectual climate of the university. Over the next five years Ammons said he will:

1. Restore the university's fiscal integrity and accountability.

2. Maintain and expand FAMU's accreditations

3. Refine and strengthen personal and professional ethical standards governing the behavior of students, faculty and staff.

4. Become a national leader in the recruitment of National Achievement Scholars.

5. Solidify FAMU's position as a leader in producing African-American baccalaureate and Ph.D. degree holders by boosting recruitment efforts and retention and graduation rates.

6. Increase faculty and staff salaries across the board to ensure they remain competitive.

7. Embark on a capital campaign to increase FAMU's endowment to levels in the upper echelon of peer institutions.

8. Increase research dollars to have FAMU ranked in the top quartile among peer institutions.

9. Promote global experiences and greater exposure of students and faculty to enhance the image of the university.

10. Strengthen the role of the university in the local community.

"As we move forward, we walk with the confidence that our ancestors forged a bright path," said Ammons. "Each step that we take in this chapter of our history must contribute and sustain this institution's legacy of greatness because the future generations will hold us accountable."

Wow! I can see those dark clouds on the horizon clearing up already.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane—No It’s FAMU’s Public Relations!

Sometimes I feel like we’re suppose to be a team of superheroes—only instead of being faster than a locomotive and able to jump buildings in a single bound, we disseminate information to thousands of students quicker than a blink of an eye.

By we, I mean the media relations team at Florida A&M University’s Office of Public Affairs: Sharon Saunders, chief of communications; Pamela Tolson, director of media relations and Angel Suri, information and communication specialist.

I remember a little story Saunders told me a story on my first day on the job.

“At the president’s first student forum a young lady stood up,” Saunders probed. “She said students aren’t aware of what’s going on. That young lady told us she didn’t know about the forum until the last minute.”

That’s we’re we come in.

The Office of Public Affairs has recognized that communication between administration and students needs improvement, and we’re doing something about it. The RattlerWIRE News Blog is here to save the day! This blog was designed to keep YOU, the student, informed on what’s going on at FAMU.

We’ll be covering every nook and cranny of the institution: daily FAMU news, sports and culture coverage, answers to your questions on things from academic life, student government, Greek life, financial aid and alumni will ALL be on RattlerWIRE.

Oh, and by the way, if you happen to be a rattled Rattler, we have your solutions.
If there happens to be ANY inquiries, just leave us a comment. We’ll be sure to answer it. While we’re at it, we might just even blog about the subject itself!