By Jina Gilliam | FAMUan Staff Reporter
FAMU’s research efforts are front and center during the Inaugural Research Symposium which signaled the start of a series of events to honor Florida A&M University’s 12th President, Larry Robinson, Ph.D. The symposium’s theme, “Excellence Rising,” was reflected as faculty and friends of Robinson recalled their personal and professional encounters with the scientist, who was named permanent president in November 2017.
The event highlighted Robinson’s love of FAMU and research, and it featured a performance by the “FAMU Connection,” remarks from Robinson’s colleagues, a scholarly panel discussion as well as a video presentation that served as a visual biography of Robinson’s academic and personal achievements.
Moderated by Atlanta’s Turner Broadcasting Senior Producer Denise Hendricks, a FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication alumna, the panel discussion afforded an opportunity to talk with Robinson as well as the panelists.
The question was posed: “Is FAMU creating experiences for students to thrive in the area of research?”
Robinson said, “We have procured more than $45 million of research funding. We have the faculty and the expertise to do the research in the right areas that allows you (the students) to go out and do great work; the opportunity for collaboration with national laboratories and private sectors. There are so many possibilities out there to do research.
All of those things are what make FAMU the ideal place to do research.”
Among the other issues discussed were graduation rates, student preparedness and on campus resources.
Senior sociology major Nehemiah Nash was able to directly ask President Robinson if he believed that there were more suitable metrics to evaluate student’s four-year graduation rates. Robinson suggested that a better graduation metric would be “looking at the total number of years a student is actually enrolled in school vs. four consecutive years.”
Nash found the symposium insightful. “Not only did he answer my question, but he also broke down how the faculty views it. He gave very applicable information, which is to apply more funding and ourselves and expand the gauge of metrics that we do use.”