Alabama A&M University faculty and staff returned for their mid-year conference January 4 in the Wellness Center, where they were welcomed by administrators and senate representatives, and received various reports.
Dr. Jeanette Jones, president of the Faculty Senate, stated that work was continuing on the faculty handbook, and the organization was also making some headway on faculty evaluation forms. She also noted that the faculty to comprise the first class of the faculty mentoring program had been named. Jones praised the administration of Andrew Hugine, Jr., for working consistently toward providing needed pay increases for faculty and staff.
Staff Senate President Eugene Tasie stressed the importance of team building and working together to advance the institution. He also urged continued professionalism in the treatment of all faculty and staff.
General Counsel Angela Debro explained her office's new contract intake system and procedures that must be followed to make the system effective and efficient.
While the nation's economic future remains uncertain, AAMU must nonetheless prepare for it, surmised Clayton Gibson, vice president for business and finance. Such preparations could include, and not be limited to, the methodical weening off of AAMU from certain forms of federal funding. Gibson also noted the implementation of a $30,000 salary cap for retirees returning to work. The vice president concluded his remarks with an introduction of retirement planning representatives.
The namesake of the Virginia Caples Lifelong Learning Institute (VCLLI) discussed the upcoming successful aging and intergenerational initiatives of the Center. Spring offerings are being fine-tuned, a director will be selected, and groundwork is being done to raise the estimated $6 million needed for renovations to the Councill Training Building, which will house the Center.
In his mid-year address, President Hugine said 2017 presents an opportunity to "begin anew" with the benefit of "learning" from the mistakes of 2016.
"We can move forward with hope to take on the challenges of the day," Hugine said.
Hope was the operative word throughout Hugine's address, and that word was buttressed by such institutional pluses as a record-breaking freshman enrollment, SACSCOC reaffirmation, college rankings, the partnership with Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Ala., and AAMU's online offerings, the faculty mentoring program, student leadership development program, image building efforts, connect centers, robust fundraising, upgrades to the campus transportation system, as well as progress toward the implementation of the University's master plan.
Hugine also praised the efforts of admissions staff, VCLLI and the Freshman Academy.
- Jerome Saintjones