December 20, 2014

Higher Education in Florida

Higher Ed: Non-Profits, For-Profits and Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Cynthia Barnett | 6/29/2011

Historically Black Colleges

Sharper Focus

Florida A&M has record enrollment just as it's forced to cut its budget and many programs.

James Ammons
A&M President James Ammons announced plans this year to reorganize two colleges and cut 157 positions and 24 academic programs.
[Photo: Florida A&M University]

This year, the University of Florida's prestigious M.D.-Ph.D. Scholars program accepted Brittney Newby, the first African-American woman to receive the fully paid fellowship.

UF College of Medicine officials credit Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University with preparing Newby well. The state's public historically black university "is a resource for excellent students, particularly underrepresented minorities," says Donna Parker, a pediatrics professor and assistant dean for minority affairs at UF's medical school.

The National Academy of Sciences reports that FAMU is among the best universities in the nation at readying African-Americans for science careers. The academy ranked FAMU

No. 1 among U.S. undergraduate universities for sending black graduates on to doctorates in natural sciences and engineering. The top 10 were all historically black universities; the only other Florida school in the top 25 was UF.

The statistics underscore the assertion by the black colleges and universities that their institutions remain relevant. But even as FAMU sees its highest enrollment in history, the school is having to deal with both $45 million in budget cuts in the past three years and its own well-documented legacy of financial mismanagement.

President James H. Ammons is trying to restructure the school to focus on its areas of strength, including science, technology and mathematics. In April, he announced a plan to reorganize two colleges, reduce staff by 157 and cut 24 academic programs, including a master's in journalism; bachelor's in jazz studies; bachelor's in landscape design; teaching degrees with specialization in art and business; master's of education with specializations in English, social sciences and other disciplines; a master's in school psychology; and a bachelor's in Spanish and French.

While the plan has caused anxiety on the red-brick campus of FAMU in Tallahassee, Ammons believes the university can't fulfill its historic mission without it. From science to environmental studies, "African-Americans are seriously under-represented," Ammons says. "With signature programs, we can help change that. But we really have to focus our efforts and focus our resources."

Florida's Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Public
Florida A&M University, Tallahassee
Enrollment: 13,274
Tuition/fees: $3,760
Private
Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach
Enrollment: 3,577
Tuition/fees: $13,990
Edward Waters College, Jacksonville
Enrollment: 769
Tuition/fees: $10,470
Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens
Enrollment: 1,980
Tuition/fees: $16,104

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