FLORENCE – The 31st year in the history of Francis Marion University will see some exciting changes on campus.
By the time fall 2000 classes start Aug. 23, all 346 residence hall rooms will be wired for Internet access. There will be two connections in each room, one for each resident. The connections will allow students to access the Internet through their personal computers without having to use their telephone lines. This service is provided to students living in the residence halls at no additional cost.
Returning students will notice a refurbished commons area in the Smith University Center. Renovations were completed this summer to make the commons more attractive and functional. A 1,400-square-foot ceramic tile floor was installed, along with 9,000 square feet of new carpet. New furniture was added, including oak and upholstered chairs and sofas, as well as tables.
This fall also marks the return of Richard Chapman as the school’s new provost, the chief academic officer on campus. Chapman first came to FMU as the A.R. Avent Professor of History in 1989, serving as department chairman until 1996 when he was appointed director of the Honors Program. He left in 1999 to become chairman of the Department of History at the State University of West Georgia.
In July, the FMU Board of Trustees adopted an administrative organization plan presented by President Fred Carter. The major change would split some of the responsibilities of the business affairs division with some functions being placed in a new administration division.
Also this summer, sanctions placed against the university by the American Association of University Professors were lifted. FMU was placed on AAUP’s governance sanctions list in 1997. To get off AAUP’s blacklist, institutions must convince the association that they have rectified the situation that got them into trouble in the first place. The association concluded that Carter has worked with the faculty to restore shared governance, academic freedom and due process.
FMU students now have the opportunity to pursue a degree in international studies, which was recently added to the curriculum. The university awarded its first degree in international studies in May.
Both of FMU’s professional schools are now nationally accredited. In April, the School of Business was re-accredited by AACSB – International Association for Management Education for the next 10 years. Last fall, the teacher education program at Francis Marion was accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Both accreditations are among the most prestigious that the respective programs can receive.
Francis Marion graduates have a placement rate of approximately 90 percent into medical, dental and veterinary schools, and the placement rate for graduates of FMU’s School of Education is 100 percent.
The university was recently awarded a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to train teachers to use technology in the classroom.
FMU students are taught by regular faculty – not graduate students or teaching assistants – 86 percent of whom hold terminal degrees. The student-faculty ratio is 16-1 and the average class size is 21. Francis Marion also has one of the most diverse student bodies in the South with 30 percent minority enrollment.
In April, the trustees approved a fee increase for students. During the 2000-2001 academic year, basic fees will increase to $1,705 per semester from $1,630. For the year, fees will now be $3,410, still below the 1999-2000 state average of $3,613.
This fall’s incoming freshman class is expected to be larger than last year’s, with both applications and admissions up. There is still time for those who have been accepted to FMU to enroll.
Open registration for the fall semester will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21. The first day of classes is Wednesday, Aug. 23, and late registration and drop/add will take place on Aug. 23-25 and Aug. 28-29.
For more information on enrollment, contact the FMU Admissions Office at 843-661-1231 or visit the university’s web site at www.fmarion.edu.
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