November 16, 2017

Carter touts FMU’s financial health, numerous initiatives   

Carter touts FMU’s financial health, numerous initiatives  

Francis Marion University President Dr. Fred Carter told the University’s trustees Thursday that the University’s fiscal health has “never been better,” and that it is well-positioned for the future.

Carter’s remarks came at the board’s regular quarterly meeting on the FMU campus.

“We’ve never really been in better shape financially,” Carter said. “This board made the decision long ago that we weren’t going to borrow money to build buildings. We were going to raise money privately, look for (funding) matches and try to get state appropriations and get all of that money together before we broke ground… That’s a wise policy because when our kids pay tuition, their tuition isn’t saddled with debt service related to buildings that we’ll be paying off into the future.”

Carter also credited the work of the school’s academic deans and vice presidents, and the school’s unusually lean administrative organization for the the bright financial picture

In his report to the board, Carter noted that the next big program in the University’s pipeline will be Mechanical Engineering. It will serve to augment the already burgeoning Industrial Engineering program within the University’s Department of Physics. A feasibility study for Mechanical Engineering is currently underway.

“We’ve been hiring Industrial Engineering faculty with some Mechanical Engineering capabilities,” Carter says. “We’ve already started segueing toward Mechanical Engineering.”

No precise date has been set for the start of the program, which will require board and regulatory approval.

At Thursday’s meeting, the board approved a new quality enhancement program called Professional Experience And Knowledge (PEAK), which will provide students with experiential learning opportunities.

The board also unanimously approved a new Bachelor of Science Degree in Healthcare Informatics, which will be available in both Management and Information Technology tracks through the University’s School of Business. The new program is an interdisciplinary major, with extensive components from the School of Health Science and the College of Liberal Arts.

The Healthcare Informatics degree will provide a new and valuable resource for the region’s healthcare industry by producing professionals capable of managing and interpreting the ever-increasing flow of data in the fast-growing healthcare sector. In that regard, it is, at least in part, a response by the university to a need identified by regional health care providers. As such, it continues FMU’s ongoing support for improving health care in the Pee Dee Region and the state.

The need for Healthcare Informatics graduates has intensified as the healthcare field has become more and more data-driven, focusing on analytics and shared information throughout various institutions.

Healthcare Informatics also adds yet another meaningful career path for FMU students. In the past three years FMU has added new programs in Industrial Engineering, Advanced Practice Nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator) and Physicians Assistant.

Speech Language Pathology and FMU’s first doctoral program, a Doctorate in Nursing Practice, are set to begin next year. The Speech Language Pathology Program is in the pending phase of Candidacy and Accreditation from the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Carter also took time to praise a number of University groups and programs that are proving their mettle. He applauded the University’s Student Government Association and SGA President Marcedes Smith for their continued efforts to support a broad range of initiatives across campus, and noted a number of overseas trips planned for students in the spring.