AAMU Board Holds Summer 2022 Meeting
Board Approves $217M Operating Budget, 5th Doctorate
Huntsville, Ala. ---- The Alabama A&M University Board of Trustees on Friday, June 24, held tight reins on fall tuition, only allowing a modest $60 increase to a student meal plan, while launching its fifth doctoral program. A doctoral program in curriculum and instruction was approved earlier this year.
In his report to the Board, AAMU President Daniel K. Wims noted that searches are ongoing to fill cabinet-level vacancies, including for the slots of provost, chief information officer, government relations officer and athletics director. Positions have been filled, however, for vice president for marketing, communication and advancement (Jamal Ali, an AAMU alumnus); vice president for student affairs (Dr. Braque Talley, a master’s alumnus); dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs (Dr. Charles W. Richardson, Jr.); and head men’s basketball coach (Otis Hughley, Jr.).
The University’s summer enrollment reflects a substantial increase over previous summer sessions due in part to the availability of hybrid and online course options, said Wims, adding his expectation of a slight increase for fall, as well. While AAMU will purchase 68.2 acres of land behind Hillcrest (a former President’s hilltop home) to boost overall campus assets and access, the Board will hold off for now on the sale of lots owned in the Chase Road vicinity.
The President also focused on increased support from the North Alabama legislative delegation via more substantive governmental relations efforts; the success of the April investiture ceremony; and an upcoming trip (July 1-8) of select HBCU presidents to Israel to establish partnerships with their institutions.
President Pro Tem
Board President Pro Tempore Jerome B. Williams praised the Business and Finance unit for its increased support of faculty and staff. Such support, he stated, will assist in AAMU being “as competitive as possible.” Dr. Williams inferred optimal competitiveness stems from increased retention, higher graduation rates, and an ability to attract the best employees.
“I want initiatives, chairs, and professorships to attract thought-leaders, said Williams. He concluded that the University also should set in place a five-year plan to become more “green” and energy conservative.
In addition to addressing tuition, which remains flat with only a $60 increase in a meal plan, Dr. Lynda Batiste, interim vice president for business and finance, sought and received approval to rescind the sale of lots on Chase Road to allow exploration of additional options and to accept a $217 million operating budget.
Under Academic Affairs and Research, Dr. Lena Walton, interim provost, received approval to create four associate dean positions. AAMU’s academic offerings are listed under four distinct colleges. Walton also received approval to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between AAMU and Dominica State College, Roseau, in the Commonwealth of Dominica, and an MOU between AAMU and the Teachers College, Columbia University.
Additionally, the degree program currently listed as Business Management and Administration will now be listed simply as Business Administration. Meanwhile, the current Department of Social Work, Psychology and Counseling will be restructured into two programs: the (1) Department of Psychology and Counseling and the (2) Department of Social Work.
After nearly 20 years, AAMU requested approval from the Board to establish its fifth doctoral program, the Ph.D. in social work. The University’s fourth Ph.D. program in reading/literacy was formed in 2003.
Faculty Senate Report
Faculty Senate President Jeanette Jones called the relationship between President Wims and Faculty Senate “harmonious and productive.” She reported that faculty members have been involved in the selection of the administrative team and participate on all major university standing and ad hoc committees, as well as provided input on the selection of new faculty. Besides Jones, Faculty Senate officers include Dr. Joshua Herring, vice president; Dr. Tonya Davis, secretary; and Dr. Elicia Moss, assistant secretary.
Jones added that ongoing activities for 2022-23 will include the Faculty Mentoring Program; round table discussions with the President; faculty handbook review; and a Faculty Senate retreat. The Faculty Senate presented a Citation of Commendation to President Wims for his role in faculty development during his investiture ceremony on April 29.
Jaila Green-Mascotti, executive president of the Student Government Association wants to give students a needed voice on campus. She will encourage more town halls to help bring about quality advisement and increased retention and graduation rates.
Green-Mascotti lists among likely upcoming projects a student-faculty basketball game during homecoming, Spirit Week prior to the Louis Crews Classic; promotion of registered student organizations (RSOs); and mental health awareness efforts
Councill Training Building
The Board granted its executive committee authority to approve an MOU between the University and alumni of the Councill Training School, once housed in the campus building of the same name, following additional talks.
Trustees received a special visit from Gordon Stone, executive director, and staff members of the Higher Education Partnership, a decades-old advocacy organization for Alabama’s 14 public four-year institutions of higher learning.
The Board acknowledged the stellar service and departures of key administrative team members, including Atty. Angela Debro, general counsel; Dr. Allen P. Vital, executive director, University Foundation; Bryan Hicks, athletics director; and Dr. Malinda Swoope, special assistant to the president. The next meeting of the Board will be held in Birmingham, Ala., on Friday, October 28, 2022.