It’s Homecoming 2017 at Florida Agriculture & Mechanical University (FAMU). Time to reflect …
There have been many considerations of the FAMU eco-system, the FAMU Family or FAMUly. The university is a fine model for what the Caribbean needs to do to elevate our society, to facilitate social mobility. This is an ENCORE of a previous blog-commentary from March 6, 2015 highlighting the school’s contribution to American society.
FAMU was established as an educational institution in 1887, so this Homecoming is the 130th anniversary for the school. Over the years, there have been some excellent individual contributors; consider the following 2 obituaries of impactful influencers:
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=12542||Dr. Thomas W. Mason – FAMU Professor & STEM Influencer – RIPA computer scientist, who happened to be Black, he worked on the networking efforts that became today’s Internet. He passed on this vision and his passion to his students and the whole FAMUly.|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6593||Dr. Sybil Mobley – FAMU’s Business School Dean – RIPThis Dean’s impact was that societal elevation with her mission to embed Black Americans in the conference rooms and board rooms of major corporations. She molded, prepared, energized and guided the best-of-the-best of Black America (many of Caribbean heritage as well; this writer included) and sent them off to impact the corporate world.|
With the participation of these FAMU advocates – and others – the university has assumed it position at the pinnacle of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU). But the university considers itself more than just an educational institution, but rather a family, the FAMUly. Keep in mind that the FAMU life is not only hard work, it is fun too. See the VIDEO here depicting the commitment, dedication, love and joyality of the FAMUly:
VIDEO – A FAMUly Reunion – Homecoming 2017 – https://youtu.be/J32plKqmqK8
Published on October 3, 2017
The FAMU experience is demonstrative to the Caribbean on how to optimize the effort to live, work, learn and play. Our Caribbean needs this role model example. See this portrayed in the ENCORE of the original blog-commentary here:
Go Lean Commentary – FAMU is No. 3 for Facilitating Economic Opportunity
This commentary is a big proponent of a college education for Caribbean citizens.
This commentary is a big opponent of a college education for Caribbean citizens in American colleges and universities. The reason for the ambivalence on college education is consistent: the benefit of social mobility; facilitating new economic opportunities. We need this upward mobility for Caribbean citizens but in the Caribbean.
In the interest of full disclosure, this writer is a Rattler, an alumnus of FAMU. (The mascot for FAMU athletics is ‘Rattlers’).
The chief goal of the Social Mobility Index (SMI), according to their website, is to stimulate policy changes within US higher education to help arrest the dangerous and growing economic divergence between rich and poor in the country. The gap in the US between rich and poor grew since the Great Recession, reaching proportions not seen since the period leading to and contributing to the onset of the Great Depression and two world wars. The common attributes include crumbling infrastructure, destroying asset values, and forcing high taxation to pay for war efforts.
If we learned anything from the global fallout of the Great Recession (in 2008 and beyond), it was that getting economic policy right in the US may be necessary for long-term world stability. So while the much publicized student debt overhang, now in excess of $1 trillion, imposes distress and financial burden on millions of students and families, it is a symptom of the much greater problem of economic and social divergence in the country. The good news is that colleges and universities carry great potential to powerfully address this problem.
Economist Thomas Piketty stated: “the principal force for convergence [reduction of inequality] – the diffusion of knowledge – …depends in large part on educational policies, access to training and to the acquisition of appropriate skills, and associated institutions.” – Capital in the 21st Century, pp. 21-2. The SMI asserts that if colleges can begin aggressively shifting policy towards increasing access to higher education, particularly for economically disadvantaged students and families, they will establish themselves as a key force for economic and social convergence.
FAMU has accomplished this feat; placing #3 on a ranking of universities pursuing this endeavor.
The full article of the recognition of FAMU’s SMI is provided here:
Title: Social Mobility Index Ranks FAMU as No. 3 Institution in the Nation for Facilitating Economic Opportunity for Underserved Students
(Source: FAMU News and Events Site – Official Communications – Posted 11-01-2014; retrieved 03-05-2015 from http://www.famunews.com/?p=2153)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Social Mobility Index (SMI) has ranked Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) the No. 3 institution in the nation for facilitating economic opportunity for underserved students. The University outpaced the nation’s leading Ivy League institutions such as Princeton, Harvard and Yale, which placed 360th, 438th and 440th, respectively, on the rankings list.
The SMI is a new, data-driven ranking system, focused on the problem of economic mobility in the United States. Rankings are based upon an institution’s tuition rate, student economic profile, graduation rate, average early career salary, and endowment.
According to SMI data analyses, FAMU ranks high in its contributions toward narrowing socio-economic gaps by admitting and graduating more low-income students at lower tuition rates, yet with better economic outcomes following graduation. The University is noted on the SMI as having one of the lowest annual tuition rates in the nation.
“We are excited about the SMI recognition,” said President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D. “This new ranking speaks to FAMU’s 127-year legacy of providing access and opportunity to low-wealth citizens across the nation.”
“This ranking also speaks to our strong and unwavering commitment to economic empowerment. Many of our students come to FAMU with the odds stacked against them; however, they leave our institution with a high-quality education, a promising future, and the ability to be effective contributors to society, and, more specifically, to their families,” Dr. Mangum added.
Nearly 92 percent of FAMU students are considered low-income, according to SMI data. However, graduates are leaving the University earning an average salary of nearly $45,000 a year.
For more information on the SMI ranking, visit: www.socialmobilityindex.org.
The book Go Lean…Caribbean posits, along with most economists, that education elevates individuals and entire communities. The book quotes that every year of additional community education raises GDP by 1 percent. Go Lean stakes the claim further that traditional college educated career paths have been disastrous policies for the Caribbean in whole, and for each specific country in particular, for the primary reason that so many students do not return home; or expatriate after returning for a short period. In fact, the World Bank has reported that the Caribbean has a 70% abandonment rate.
In line with the SMI ranking, the Go Lean book promotes education among the strategies to elevate Caribbean society. But this commentary previously asserted that college education has been a bad investment for the Caribbean.
From a strictly micro perspective, college education is great for the individual. The Go Lean book quotes proven economic studies showing the impact that every year of college education improves an individual’s earning power (Page 258). But from the macro perspective – the community – is different for the Caribbean; the region loses out because of an incontrovertible brain drain. Previously, the proverb was introduced of “fattening frogs for snake” referring to the preponderance for Caribbean college educated citizens to abandon their tropical homelands for foreign shores in the US, Canada and Europe, and take their Caribbean-funded education and skill-sets with them.
Change has now come. The driver of this change is technology and globalization. Under the tenants of globalization, institutions like FAMU are competing globally, and can rightly provide e-Learning and Distant Learning schemes. This ties to the other agent of change of technology. The internet allows for deliveries of education services anywhere around the world. The Go Lean book posits that small institutions and big institutions can complete equally on a global basis. If the regional education administrations could invest in more technological deliveries, it would be a win-win for all stakeholders. This type of impact would be more for the Greater Good.
The Go Lean roadmap provides turn-by-turn directions on how to reform the Caribbean tertiary education systems, economy, governance and Caribbean society as a whole. The roadmap commences with a Declaration of Interdependence, pronouncing the approach of regional integration (Page 12 & 14) as a viable solution to elevate the region’s educational opportunities:
xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores …
xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.
xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.
This book Go Lean… Caribbean, serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This represents change for the region. The CU/Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
- Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.
The Go Lean book details how education is a vital consideration for Caribbean economic empowerment, but with lessons-learned from all the flawed decision-making in the past, both individually and community-wise. The vision of the CU is a confederation of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean to do the heavy-lifting of championing better educational policies. No more government scholarships; forgive-able loans only from now on. The book details the policies; and other ethos to adopt, plus the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to deploy online education in the region:
|Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification||Page 21|
|Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives||Page 21|
|Community Ethos – Job Multiplier||Page 22|
|Community Ethos – Lean Operations||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Return on Investments (ROI)||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future||Page 26|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius||Page 27|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship||Page 28|
|Strategy – Mission – Facilitate Education without Risk of Abandonment||Page 45|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Education Department||Page 85|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Labor Department – Job Training||Page 89|
|Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008||Page 136|
|Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy||Page 151|
|Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs||Page 152|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Education||Page 159|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Student Loans||Page 160|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance||Page 168|
|Advocacy – Ways to Better Managed the Social Contract – Education Optimizations||Page 170|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Libraries||Page 187|
|Appendix – Education and Economic Growth||Page 258|
|Appendix – Measuring Education||Page 266|
|Appendix – Student Loan Crisis – Ripping Off America||Page 286|
FAMU is a model for the Caribbean tertiary educational endeavors.
FAMU has quite a reputation for other accomplishments as well – they are a great destination to live, work, learn and play. Their world famous band, the Marching 100 has been recognized as the “playingest band in the land”. They even shared the field with Prince as the Halftime performance for Super Bowl XLI in 2007 in Miami, Florida. See News–VIDEO of their renown here; and also their 2011 Florida Classic Football Game Halftime Show in Orlando, Florida in the Appendix below.
VIDEO – FAMU 2008 Segment on “CBS Evening News” – https://youtu.be/XqGvUg_rLNs
Posted November 27, 2008 – 2008 edition of the Marching 100… interview on Thanksgiving Night 2008 on CBS News… 11/27/08
Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in for the changes described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. We welcome universities like FAMU in their desire to empower minorities in society; we only want that to be done in the Caribbean so as to mitigate societal abandonment. Suggestion: FAMU should develop a global campus presence, with satellite campuses and online matriculations.
With the tune set by the Marching 100 band: “I’m so glad, I’m from FAMU”.
This is the win-win the Go Lean roadmap campaigns for. But it’s more than just talk; this is action too. The body part to focus on is not just the mouth; it is the heart – the seat of motivation. Without a doubt, the complete delivery for the Caribbean educational options would help to make the homeland a better place to live, work, learn and play. 🙂
Appendix VIDEO – FAMU Marching 100 Halftime Show @ Florida Classic 2011 – http://youtu.be/FrviGJ1Dvvk
Uploaded on Nov 21, 2011 – The FAMU Marching 100 Halftime Performance at The 2011 Florida Classic. Definitely the best band in the land.