Thursday, August 4, 2011

FAMU Board of Trustees Meeting

During the Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees Committee and Board meetings, there were two important items that were discussed and presented.

Item One

President Ammons Provided Update regarding Budget Cutting Exercise

During a Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees Committee meeting Wednesday, FAMU President James H. Ammons provided an update on how the university would account for a 10 percent reduction if implemented for the 2012-2013 academic year.

According to Ammons, the Governor’s Office and Legislature has asked state agencies and universities to identify recurring budget reductions that can be made for the fiscal year 2012-2013 in an event that budget reductions are necessary. 

“The reduction should total at least 10 percent of the 2011-2012 recurring revenues which is $7,858,247 and 10 percent for recurring trust funds or lottery which amounts to $1,195,588,” said Ammons. “All reductions should be recurring, program/issue specific and cannot be across-the-board percentage reductions. All programs must be fully evaluated. As you are well aware, any reductions to our budget will require looking even closer at each and every unit on campus.”

Ammons also told Board members that reductions of this magnitude would again require a layoff of personnel. The other possibilities, he said, include looking at combining or eliminating functional areas, reviewing non-academic/non-credit generating units, analyzing the next level of low productivity programs with the goal of cutting total programs and seeking alternative arrangements for students to complete their degrees at other institutions. 

“Such cuts may have to be “deep” and would also interfere with enrollment goals,” said Ammons. “Nothing is off the table. However, any potential reduction will harm recruitment of the best and brightest students and the retention of great faculty. We would eliminate current less than critical vacancies within each administrative and academic unit, and consider additional administrative cuts, across the university, with an accompanying increase in shared resources.”

FAMU has been asked to send this information to the Board of Governors by August 19, 2011.

Item Two

Board of Trustees Approves of the Proposal to Establish at Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree Program at FAMU

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees unanimously approved the proposal to offer a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at FAMU. This proposal now goes before the Florida Board of Governors for consideration.

The proposal addresses the need for a new college of dental medicine in Florida and addresses the disparities regarding access to dental services, workforce diversity, dental education models, including operating and capital costs, and plans for creating a College of Dental Medicine. On Wednesday, the committee head from President James H. Ammons, FAMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Hughes Harris; Donald Palm, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs at FAMU; and Howard Bailit, the consultant for the project who is professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and former chair of the Department of Health Administration and Policy at Columbia University.

Bailit noted during his presentation the community-based model would place students in community clinics and in real care systems, where the students would gain more clinical experience. The faculty would teach and practice in the clinics. According to Bailit, this model is less expensive than the traditional model, where students gain experience in teaching labs.

Balit emphasized that this model will have a positive impact on providing dental services, especially in the rural communities. The proposal envisions that a large number of potential students would be from disadvantaged, low-income families, rural communities and underrepresented minorities. The proposal also addresses estimated costs of the College and potential funding opportunities.

Because of its innovative, community-based clinical education model, the College of Dental Medicine will require much less State support than traditional schools. An annual operating subsidy of about $10.3 million will be needed. This is substantially less than state support for dental schools of this size nationally and in Florida.

The next step in the approval process is the submission of the proposal to the Florida Board of Governors at its next meeting in September 2011.

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