New education laws won’t change FAMU’s focus

FAMU president Larry Robinson, Ph.D., (left) delivered a message of hope at the National Alumni Association Convention in Schaumburg, Ill.
Photo by Glenn Beil/FAMU Office of Communications

Special to the Outlook

Despite a slew of bills that were passed during this year’s legislative session that will impact education in Florida, FAMU is expecting to continue achieving.

That’s the assurance that FAMU president Larry Robinson, Ph.D., gave attendees at the National Alumni Association Convention in Schaumburg, Ill.

“Our vision for the future has not changed. Yes, there are more than 30 pieces of legislation passed this legislative session that have some impact on educational institutions in Florida, including FAMU, and we take them all seriously,” Robinson said, “but our commitment to “Excellence With Caring” remains strong, and remains unchanged.”    

Robinson spoke during the President’s Breakfast at the convention in Schaumburg, Illinois, last Friday. In addressing alumni gathered for the four-day event, Robinson highlighted a list of faculty and student accomplishments that should remind stakeholders that the university is heading in the right direction. 

Academically, the FAMU School of Allied Health Sciences achieved a 100 percent pass rate over a three-year average in cardiopulmonary science.  The occupational therapy program has a first-time pass rate of 88 percent, while physical therapy has a 91 percent overall two-year pass rate. 

“The dedication from our students has allowed us to develop the new Hospital Corporation of America, or HCA, Florida Healthcare School of Allied Health Sciences Multidisciplinary Simulation Lab, a top-class facility that provides hands-on experience to our students,” said Robinson, who also praised the faculty for its groundbreaking and record-breaking research. 

FAMU faculty and staff garnered a record $75 million in research funding in 2021-2022 and led the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) community in non-medical school research funding expenditures exceeding $59 million during the same period as the university strives to move from a Research 2 to a Research 1 institution, Robinson said. 

“We have already exceeded last year’s record $75 million as we move to the $80 million mark,” he said. 

In addition to research, FAMU achieved another record-breaking year in fundraising, with more than $24.6 million raised. 

“We have already surpassed the goal of $15 million for this year, eclipsing the $24 million mark with less than a month to go before the end of the fiscal year,” Robinson said. 

Student success reflected is higher licensure pass rates. FAMU’s Doctor of Pharmacy class of 2022 earned an 85 percent first-time pass rate on the NAPLEX licensure exam. 

“These NAPLEX results surpassed the current state average of 83 percent and the national average of 80 percent for first-time test takers,” Robinson told the audience. 

In addition, the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering has seen a 350 percent increase in Black doctorate student production over the last five years. The new Summer Bridge Fellowship will encourage timely degree production, as will the Materials Science and Engineering doctorate program.  

The university’s rise is reflected in FAMU’s scoring on the State University System of Florida Performance-Based Funding (PBF) Model, Robinson added. 

“FAMU has performed well in the model, receiving an average of $12 million each of the past few years,” he explained. “We have made student success a priority and aspire to perform within the top tier of institutions in this model.” 

Robinson said FAMU continues to attract many academically strong students. 

“We are experiencing unprecedented interest with 21,422 First-Time-In College (FTIC) applications for fall 2023 compared to 11,383 for fall of 2022, as of May 12, 2023.  Ladies and gentlemen, that’s an 88.2 percent increase,” said Robinson, who touted the academic profile of the freshman class. “Students admitted for this fall have an average high-school grade point average of 3.94, 1,140 total SAT score, and a 24 composite ACT score.” 

Not only are students excelling in the classroom, but student-athletes have done well on the field. 

This year, FAMU won Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships in women’s volleyball and tennis, and baseball.  

“I cannot say it too often,” Robinson said. “It’s a great time to be Rattler.” 

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