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FAMU has really good engineering technology programs and their own facilities for engineering technology, plus land nearby that would allow for expansion. (It was land and facilities that FAMU had set aside for their own engineering school that they hoped to get before the legislature forced them to operate the joint college with FSU, which FAMU has always hated.) So, FAMU could actually run their own college of engineering with their own professors and facilities easily. They could have it up and going very quickly and get it accredited within a few years. 

So why don't they do so? Simple: it would be an undergraduate only engineering school. At the very most, they would only be able to offer master's degree programs in electrical, mechanical and civil engineering, but that is it. There is no way that the legislature would fund Ph.D. or research programs. And they wouldn't be able to raise the outside funds either, because the money that was available when Fred Humphries was able to get all of those government and corporate grants for FAMU no longer exists. So, FAMU has two choices:

1) Stay in an agreement with FSU for the engineering school which it hates and doesn't really benefit FAMU (who suffers from comparisons to other HBCUs that actually run their own engineering schools like Hampton, Tuskegee, Howard, North Carolina A&T, Tennessee State, Morgan State, Southern) but retain their ability to offer Ph.D. and research programs in engineering.

2) Splitting from FSU and gaining autonomy for their own engineering school (which they may not even get incidentally ... lots of folks would see 2 engineering schools in Tallahassee as a thoroughly horrible idea ... recall the only way that FAMU got their law school back was to open it in Orlando) but wouldn't offer the graduate programs that would allow them to compete with Howard, NC A&T etc. even if they were allowed to open it. 

They really are in a tough spot, because the ability to offer engineering is vital to FAMU. Without it, wow ... pretty much all they would have left is allied health and architecture. It is just one of those situations where what is bad for FSU is absolutely necessary for FAMU. Don't know if there is any way to resolve it other than, well, shutting FAMU down. And the problem there is that you would need a reason to shut FAMU down. The notion that Florida - and particularly the region of Florida that FAMU and FSU are in - have too many colleges won't sell. And no, you also can't just shut them down because they are a predominantly black college either. (How would you like to be the lawyer who defends the state of Florida in THAT civil rights lawsuit? Incidentally, a precedent has already been set. Twice. Georgia and Mississippi tried to shut down their black colleges in the 80s and 90s and both lost. And not only did the federal judge prevent the state of Mississippi from closing down their black colleges, but he actually made the state fund them at higher levels!)

Maybe a situation could be created where FAMU and FSU would be separate with undergraduate programs. FAMU students would get to earn B.S. degrees in engineering on their own campus where they already have the facilities and space. FSU students would stay at the Innovation Park site for their undergrad. And then, some way would be worked out where both schools would still share - to some degree and in some fashion - graduate and research programs. That is probably the best deal that FSU is going to get, because anything less really isn't in FAMU's interests, and FAMU has to look out for FAMU. 
12/2 12:00 AM | IP: Logged
I think the programs could operate successfully if FAMU stopped demanding to be in control of the joint school monies.  If all FAMU wanted were stellar engineering programs then I suggest they let FSU run the school with a certain number of slots for FAMU students - graduate and undergraduate engineering.  FAMU then could claim shared ownership and compete with whomever.  The administrative details become invisible, especially with increased e-school success and acclaim.

No mess, no fuss.  Each school gets what they want and the State of Florida benefits.

Honestly, FSU outperforms FAMU in graduating black scholars.  FSU actually graduates black students at a rate higher than non-black students.  If the goal is to graduate black scholars then what claim to fame does a FAMU actually have?  I would also argue that HBCUs are no longer really needed, regardless of previous court decisions.  HBCUs were created to compensate black Americans for the lack of access to so-called white schools under the decades extinct laws and norms of a segregated American society.  That environment no longer exists and black Americans are hardly an oppressed minority with no access to the corridors of governmental power.
12/2 4:14 AM | IP: Logged
Thanks for explaining the FAMU perspective. I remember some years ago the college was almost split, but FAMU voted against it. I assumed it was mostly due to money.

FAMU will never shut down. I wonder if the two schools could be merged though. Both schools would need to be renamed in the process to appease FAMU. Maybe University of Tallahassee? A lot of FSU people probably wouldn't go for that, but I wouldn't mind. Someone in another thread also suggested making a college of agriculture to honor FAMU. Of course, there are a ton of other logistical issues besides the name that would need to be worked out.

It'd be best for both schools in the long run. FSU would get a pharmacy and architecture school. I'm sure FAMU wants some of FSU's programs, but will never be able to get them. The engineering situation would be resolved.
12/2 2:48 PM | IP: Logged
"And the problem there is that you would need a reason
to shut FAMU down. The notion that Florida - and particularly the
region of Florida that FAMU and FSU are in - have too many colleges
won't sell. And no, you also can't just shut them down because they are a
predominantly black college either. (How would you like to be the
lawyer who defends the state of Florida in THAT civil
rights lawsuit? Incidentally, a precedent has already been set. Twice.
Georgia and Mississippi tried to shut down their black colleges in the
80s and 90s and both lost. And not only did the federal judge prevent
the state of Mississippi from closing down their black colleges, but he
actually made the state fund them at higher levels!)"


The main reason to merge FAMU with FSU is that FAMU is a financial burden on the Florida taxpayers, pure and simple.  If there were still a civil rights issue at play, then many people would not mind that that the University loses money.  But, the students that FAMU serves still have opportunities elsewhere in Florida, and even elsewhere in this city.  I do suggest that Florida State University open a Florida Agriculture and Mechanical College within in the new merged University to honor the traditions and history of FAMU.
12/3 9:50 AM | IP: Logged
I wish someone making the decisions at FAMU would tell this to the BOG and to the legislature.
12/3 8:13 PM | IP: Logged
I also want to clarify that I refer to taxpayer-supported HBCUs, the only one I can think of being FAMU.  There may well be others.  Another idea I have posited from time to time is that FAMU go off the public dole, become a private university and be whatever its supporters want it to be.

Were FAMU private I'd even send them funds if they cleaned up their act and started taking care of the basics like they should.  Competing with FSU and UF or other research giants is just out of the relevant range for this school.  There is no reason for a separate, but equal taxpayer-supported operation like the current FAMU configuration today and for the foreseeable future.  This is a good thing.  It means black Americans may now be ignored as a special focus group because they have arrived in American society like anyone else.

Progress.  Get with it or be run over by it and left in the dust by the road.  
12/3 10:42 PM | IP: Logged

I predict most HBCUs will be closed down, merged, or go private within the next 20-30 years.  State treasuries can no longer justify supporting institutions that only serve a super-minority of society, especially when the more racially comprehensive institutions are graduating blacks at higher rates than the HBCUs.  The end won't come based on some court deciding that racism is sufficiently gone, thereby justifying closure of the schools.  The simple fact of the matter is that our governments are going broke, and less efficient governmental institutions are going to get the axe.  This is especially the case when the programs are almost completely mimicked at a more-inclusive institution in the same city.

12/7 12:29 AM | IP: Logged
The problem is that the college is a dumpster-fire.

We are constantly bickering about the relationship between the two universities, when there are opportunities passing the college by. Problems are often blamed on the other party, meaning nothing get's resolved. We can keep going back and forth on this, but the issue is both these universities view each other as "in-the-way" when one has the colleges the other doesn't. That is a sentiment that has been expressed on this board, and have no doubt engendered itself within the administrations.

Neither of the universities seem committed to what a College of Engineering NEEDS to be. It needs to be one where academic standards are upheld, viewed as a strength for the university to bring in new funding opportunities for other disciplines, and something to BRAG about, not hide off campus and rarely spoken of. The life-support, and I mean LITERALLY BARELY KEEPING THE COLLEGE ALIVE, funding and commitment from each university is deplorable. Professors are leaving to seek opportunities abroad while getting paid more for being happier! Meanwhile back at FAMU-FSU, national initiatives go relatively unnoticed, has failed to position itself in an areas of strengths, and the mission of diversity is meaningless when you don't have the number of graduates to be comparable with other universities. No one wants to go there because the education sucks because the pay sucks because the leadership sucks, and is not recognized in Tallahassee, Florida, the Southeast, or the Nation.

Dr. Yaw Yeboah has recognized this clash, and is honestly trying to rectify this situation. His mission statement "Two universities, one college, twice the opportunities," is in itself a recognition of the challenges and attitudes it is facing right now. But right now, culture change at either University would be asking for a Christmas miracle. Both are too stuck in their ways, despite leadership change at both Universities over the past couple of years. And it's this attitude that is really killing the college. Graduate enrollment or any other statistic is just a symptom of underlying problems, sorry to burst your bubble.

One can only hope the situation improves. I wish I could see progress with my alma-mater, but quite honestly it's not looking like it's coming anytime soon. In fact, the death of the college is much more a reality than any other alternative, to be quite honest. If neither can commit, then both Universities can perform a service to their financial departments by closing the college down and working on their other strengths. I have been a proponent for keeping the college alive, and touting the relationship as healthy and improving, but honestly I don't know if I can say that anymore.

This is just ridiculous.
12/10 10:00 AM | IP: Logged



Originally posted by CrazedNole:
Thanks for explaining the FAMU perspective. I remember some years ago the college was almost split, but FAMU voted against it. I assumed it was mostly due to money.

FAMU will never shut down. I wonder if the two schools could be merged though. Both schools would need to be renamed in the process to appease FAMU. Maybe University of Tallahassee? A lot of FSU people probably wouldn't go for that, but I wouldn't mind. Someone in another thread also suggested making a college of agriculture to honor FAMU. Of course, there are a ton of other logistical issues besides the name that would need to be worked out.

It'd be best for both schools in the long run. FSU would get a pharmacy and architecture school. I'm sure FAMU wants some of FSU's programs, but will never be able to get them. The engineering situation would be resolved.


Makes a lot of sense, but I'm sure that the naming issue alone would be a deal killer, at least from the FSU side.
3/8 6:02 AM | IP: Logged

Originally posted by Helluvanengineer:
The problem is that the college is a dumpster-fire.

We are constantly bickering about the relationship between the two universities, when there are opportunities passing the college by. Problems are often blamed on the other party, meaning nothing get's resolved. We can keep going back and forth on this, but the issue is both these universities view each other as "in-the-way" when one has the colleges the other doesn't. That is a sentiment that has been expressed on this board, and have no doubt engendered itself within the administrations.

Neither of the universities seem committed to what a College of Engineering NEEDS to be. It needs to be one where academic standards are upheld, viewed as a strength for the university to bring in new funding opportunities for other disciplines, and something to BRAG about, not hide off campus and rarely spoken of. The life-support, and I mean LITERALLY BARELY KEEPING THE COLLEGE ALIVE, funding and commitment from each university is deplorable. Professors are leaving to seek opportunities abroad while getting paid more for being happier! Meanwhile back at FAMU-FSU, national initiatives go relatively unnoticed, has failed to position itself in an areas of strengths, and the mission of diversity is meaningless when you don't have the number of graduates to be comparable with other universities. No one wants to go there because the education sucks because the pay sucks because the leadership sucks, and is not recognized in Tallahassee, Florida, the Southeast, or the Nation.

Dr. Yaw Yeboah has recognized this clash, and is honestly trying to rectify this situation. His mission statement "Two universities, one college, twice the opportunities," is in itself a recognition of the challenges and attitudes it is facing right now. But right now, culture change at either University would be asking for a Christmas miracle. Both are too stuck in their ways, despite leadership change at both Universities over the past couple of years. And it's this attitude that is really killing the college. Graduate enrollment or any other statistic is just a symptom of underlying problems, sorry to burst your bubble.

One can only hope the situation improves. I wish I could see progress with my alma-mater, but quite honestly it's not looking like it's coming anytime soon. In fact, the death of the college is much more a reality than any other alternative, to be quite honest. If neither can commit, then both Universities can perform a service to their financial departments by closing the college down and working on their other strengths. I have been a proponent for keeping the college alive, and touting the relationship as healthy and improving, but honestly I don't know if I can say that anymore.

This is just ridiculous.
HE, may I say I appreciate your obvious concern for this issue but as a contributing FSU alumnus I would advise Dr. Barron to never, ever, give up engineering.  We have given up too much as the senior university in Florida in the past and it has hurt us greatly.

The issue is FAMU wants to be both an HBCU and deal exclusively with a small (not even all Floridian) student population and still compete with big state universities.  It cannot do both.  If it wants to be an HBCU we have many options to make it the best HBCU around.  If FAMU wants to be FSU, then we need to merge it into FSU and move on.
3/8 10:21 AM | IP: Logged

Originally posted by Mac_Nole:

Originally posted by Helluvanengineer:
The problem is that the college is a dumpster-fire.

We are constantly bickering about the relationship between the two universities, when there are opportunities passing the college by. Problems are often blamed on the other party, meaning nothing get's resolved. We can keep going back and forth on this, but the issue is both these universities view each other as "in-the-way" when one has the colleges the other doesn't. That is a sentiment that has been expressed on this board, and have no doubt engendered itself within the administrations.

Neither of the universities seem committed to what a College of Engineering NEEDS to be. It needs to be one where academic standards are upheld, viewed as a strength for the university to bring in new funding opportunities for other disciplines, and something to BRAG about, not hide off campus and rarely spoken of. The life-support, and I mean LITERALLY BARELY KEEPING THE COLLEGE ALIVE, funding and commitment from each university is deplorable. Professors are leaving to seek opportunities abroad while getting paid more for being happier! Meanwhile back at FAMU-FSU, national initiatives go relatively unnoticed, has failed to position itself in an areas of strengths, and the mission of diversity is meaningless when you don't have the number of graduates to be comparable with other universities. No one wants to go there because the education sucks because the pay sucks because the leadership sucks, and is not recognized in Tallahassee, Florida, the Southeast, or the Nation.

Dr. Yaw Yeboah has recognized this clash, and is honestly trying to rectify this situation. His mission statement "Two universities, one college, twice the opportunities," is in itself a recognition of the challenges and attitudes it is facing right now. But right now, culture change at either University would be asking for a Christmas miracle. Both are too stuck in their ways, despite leadership change at both Universities over the past couple of years. And it's this attitude that is really killing the college. Graduate enrollment or any other statistic is just a symptom of underlying problems, sorry to burst your bubble.

One can only hope the situation improves. I wish I could see progress with my alma-mater, but quite honestly it's not looking like it's coming anytime soon. In fact, the death of the college is much more a reality than any other alternative, to be quite honest. If neither can commit, then both Universities can perform a service to their financial departments by closing the college down and working on their other strengths. I have been a proponent for keeping the college alive, and touting the relationship as healthy and improving, but honestly I don't know if I can say that anymore.

This is just ridiculous.
HE, may I say I appreciate your obvious concern for this issue but as a contributing FSU alumnus I would advise Dr. Barron to never, ever, give up engineering.  We have given up too much as the senior university in Florida in the past and it has hurt us greatly.

The issue is FAMU wants to be both an HBCU and deal exclusively with a small (not even all Floridian) student population and still compete with big state universities.  It cannot do both.  If it wants to be an HBCU we have many options to make it the best HBCU around.  If FAMU wants to be FSU, then we need to merge it into FSU and move on.

I was being a little overdramatic, which can either infuriate people, (sending them into denial) or force them to self-reflection and spur some sort of action. Thank you for not being the former!

Additionally, there seems to be some progress in the recent proposal for FSU to hire 8 tenure or tenure-track faculty in the area of Energy and Materials Science (see link below). That is REALLY encouraging! This can greatly improve the image of FSU's commitment to having a world class College of Engineering.

However, the issue of improving the relationship between both schools is still a priority. Some may view this act as simply FSU circumventing the situation, as it has with it's other independent indeavors with NHMFL, ORNL, HPMI, CAPS, etc. This also means that they are deemphasizing funding to the CoE in order to generate revenue from research dollars and patents first. And I think that is the clear line here: FSU is looking for ways to generate funding while maintaining some form of academic quality.

A word of caution.

The last line of the below linked news-article reads: "FSU boasts a proud tradition of attracting talented people who are not
afraid to step outside of their expertise in order to test new ideas and
approach problems from unlikely angles." The underlying reason for this is to fund FSU's endeavors by generating patents and IP. For those unfamiliar with TRIZ, jumping outside of expertise to solve a different set of problems can yield a great number of new understandings (Biologically Inspired Design, for instance) and may seem counter-productive to what training an expert (PhD) entails. This philosophy works best when you have deep access to expertise (academic or practitioner) outside of the core person mediating interactions (FSU entity, as I understand it) that you can regularly consult. Under this plan, FSU will regularly need to partner with other universities and industries in order to access other talent pools sustaining this model, potentially generating conflict and risking losing control of revenue (see CoE).

We will see how this plays out in the end. My hunch is that FSU is going to announce more out-of-state partnerships soon.

Link: FSU Heading Towards a "Material" World3/8 1:36 PM | IP: Logged
This whole thing is a mess.

Helluvanengineer is right, FAMU is a mess and that is a huge part of the problem. If their ship was in order, there'd still be issues, but that's the main one.

Other issues...

The legislature (and I hate to say it, but UF backers largely) use the presence of two schools in Tallahassee as a way to keep both from having dual programs. Thus, FAMU has a COJ, but not FSU. FSU and FAM have to share a COE.

The thing is, FAMU's mission is COMPLETELY separate from FSU's. Their mission is as an HBCU, and that is actually something that I am ok with...AS LONG AS THEY ARE SEEN AS THAT. In other words, it wouldn't be a duplication of programs because both schools serve completely different missions.

Unfortunately, the powers that be refuse to see it as thus.

And so we are in a marriage which neither side wants, that no one likes (except UF backers), and that keeps both schools from becoming better.

I'll say this....I would love for my kids to follow in my footsteps and attend FSU....but if either wants to get in to engineering, I'll have major second thoughts about sending them there. Maybe Dr. Barron needs to hear more of that.
3/8 7:42 PM | IP: Logged
We have a solution here.  Designate FAMU an HBCU and therefore exempt from any duplication of programs concerns.  FSU should not be hamstrung because the Legislature cannot reckon with getting rid of the last of the Jim Crow edifices.

Think about it.  FAMU is a 97% single race school (per the CDS for UG enrollment) and is probably the least effective university of all.  FAMU struggles with accreditation issues even today.  Yet they still command millions and millions every year in state funds and the Legislature is spineless to say the era of racial spoils has passed and we just don't need to have a FAMU any more.

This is why I think FAMU should be sold off to private owners who can operate it as whatever they want.  Then it can compete with the other HBCUs and not have to suffer the concerns of the taxpayers for not taking care of state business.
3/8 10:10 PM | IP: Logged
"FAMU has to look out for FAMU"

So surely the OP understands that FSU must do the same.  

3/9 4:28 PM | IP: Logged
If FAMU loses their accreditation (they are already under probation) what happens to the FAMU-FSU COE? Shouldn't we be concerned about this possibility?
3/15 7:55 PM | IP: Logged
FAMU will eventually die a slow, natural death. Or at least become entirely irrelevant, non-inclusive and outdated. Maybe it will take a few decades but it will happen.

This post was edited on 3/26 9:17 PM by PoseidoNole

3/26 9:13 PM | IP: Logged
"Both schools would need to be renamed in the process to appease FAMU. Maybe University of Tallahassee?"

No offense but this is a terrible, terrible idea

This post was edited on 3/26 9:26 PM by PoseidoNole

3/26 9:22 PM | IP: Logged
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