My View| Elmira Mangum, Ph.D.| Tallahassee Democrat
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University has a rich 128-year legacy of providing access and enhancing opportunities for many who, but for the university, would never have had the opportunity to obtain a college degree.
While we must celebrate and embrace that proud legacy and the giants who helped to shape it, it’s imperative that we adopt new methods to remain competitive in an ever-changing academic environment. We have to accept the necessity of change, and see it as an opportunity, not as a threat.
According to Dean and Linda Anderson, best-selling authors and leading authorities on organizational transformation, there are three types of change: developmental, transitional and transformational.
Developmental change improves what you are presently doing. Transitional change exchanges “what is” with something new. Transformational change, however, is more challenging. It requires new mindsets and behaviors.
In order for FAMU to move forward, the university must undergo transformational change. Yes, there may be bumps and bruises along the way, but the end result will position FAMU as a high-performing, globally recognized leader in higher education.
The university has developed a revised 2015 Work Plan for review and, hopefully, approval by the State University System Board of Governors. The revised plan calls for FAMU to make transformational changes so that our performance metrics will be comparable to those of the other 11 state universities by 2021.
The university hired me to be a transformational leader and change agent. As such, I plan to work collaboratively with the Board of Trustees and all our stakeholders to bring about the transformation needed to achieve the lofty objectives outlined in our revised 2015 Work Plan.
To do so, we have to deal with the issues of the moment by excelling at today’s best practices while developing next practices that will enable us to adjust to the ever-changing collegiate landscape. Disturbance and conflict are critical to transformational change, but for FAMU, this change has to be productive rather than destructive.
Last week, I announced the launch of a strategic planning process that will not only build on these successes, but will also help to stimulate an environment for fostering transformational solutions to our needs. The process will include, but not be limited to, administrators, students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters. The process will give us a chance to look at who we are now and what we want to be in the future. Moreover, it will enable us to develop a shared vision collaboratively. We cannot develop transformational solutions without having a shared vision of what we want FAMU to be.
Integrity, transparency, internal controls, high-value education and outstanding customer service are the core values that guide my administration. To help guide our transformational strategic planning process, I have added the core values of trust, access, affordability and quality, or TAAQ.
I am wholly optimistic that the strategic planning process will enable us to not only develop transformational solutions that will make FAMU a best-in-class “brand that matters in the 21st century and beyond,” but will also provide us with a greater platform to educate the next generation of the global leaders the world needs and deserves.
Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., is President of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.