Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., has announced the launch of the FAMU Forward Think Tank. The volunteer-based group is comprised of former, retired, and current faculty members and focuses on designing ways to further institutional excellence at FAMU and enhance outreach and engagement with stakeholder communities.
Commenting on the creation of the organization, Mangum said, “During my tenure as president, I have discovered that there is an enormous reservoir of professional expertise, institutional knowledge, and commitment to FAMU among retired and current faculty members that my administration could draw from or tap into as valuable resources.”
Barbara K. Barnes, Ph.D., professor emerita, former dean, and former interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at FAMU, will chair the group and called the opportunity exciting, challenging, and rewarding.
“I am honored that President Mangum has entrusted me to lead this groundbreaking think tank,” Barnes said. “I look forward to collaborations with this top-notch team of problem solvers and staunch supporters of FAMU, all of whom have rendered noteworthy service to FAMU in a variety of academic and administrative roles.”
The charter members of the group are Osiefield Anderson, Ph.D.; Malcolm Barnes; Vivian Hobbs, Ph.D.; David Jackson, Ph.D.; Col. (Ret.) Ronald Joe; Ray Mobley, Ph.D.; Joseph Roache; Vivian Royster, Ph.D.; and William Tucker, Ph.D.
According to Barnes, the think tank, which held its first meeting in late April, will engage a broad spectrum of FAMU supporters including faculty and staff, retirees, alumni, students, and various business and education thought leaders to help support the administration’s efforts to move FAMU forward. The group will offer briefings, workshops, colloquia, forums and conferences, as well as conduct action research and special studies, and occasionally produce publications of interest to the HBCU community and the higher education community in general.
Mangum expressed her deep gratitude to each member of the group for volunteering their time and talents to help move FAMU forward. She explained that while the voluntary organization will not add to the administrative structure of the University, it will play an integral role in the success of several key initiatives.
“I firmly believe that the FAMU Forward Think Tank can make significant contributions to the advancement of FAMU. This group will focus on helping to solve institutional problems that are priorities for the University. Also, the think tank will provide an efficient channel of communication between the University and its myriad of external communities,” Mangum said.
According to Barnes, students will also have a special opportunity to participate in think tank projects.
“Given the University’s mandate to prepare students for workplace successes, one of the major thrusts of the FAMU Forward Think Tank will be to focus on student academic progression and success. Therefore, we plan to engage students in our deliberations on academic success possibly as early as this summer to better understand the impediments to academic progression and timely graduation from students’ perspectives. We also plan to parallel these deliberations on student success with faculty as well,” Barnes said.
For more information about the FAMU Forward Think Tank, contact Barbara Barnes, Ph.D., via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.