Zachary Smith didn’t start his higher-education journey at Ferris State University, but he will earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from its College of Business.
Smith attended Schoolcraft College in Livonia before transferring to Ferris in 2008. It was a choice he made after supportive staff helped make the move a seamless one.
“Attending a university was always a part of my long-term plan,” said Smith, of Pinckney. “I was choosing between Ferris and another university, and a large part of that decision was the outstanding help and support I received from Ferris.”
Since Smith transferred to Ferris, the university has centralized its efforts to offer support and services for college transfer and high school students under the umbrella of the Transfer Services Center. The center was created in December by the Office of Academic Affairs to foster student success and promote access to higher education and degree attainment by facilitating the transfer of college and articulated credit.
“The university saw a need right away in finding ways we can increase transfer student numbers and ensure students aren’t retaking previous courses,” said director DeeDee Stakely, who spent 17 years at Benton Harbor-based Lake Michigan College, most recently as the director of Early College. She joined Ferris in December 2011.
Hundreds of students transfer from other universities and community colleges to Ferris each year. Between the Summer 2010 and Spring 2011 semesters, more than 2,100 students transferred.
The center is a growing university resource, Stakely said. It serves as the hub for collaborations with high schools, career and technical education centers, and post-secondary institutions, and also facilitates relationships between K-12 and post-secondary partners and Ferris faculty and staff.
“Our partnerships with high schools and colleges have made the development of a central department to facilitate policies used institution-wide necessary,” Stakely said.
Ferris’ efforts to help high school students get a start on their college education include a dual enrollment program, which has 116 students registered for the fall semester. The program allows secondary students to take college classes while still in high school and earn college credit.
“Taking college courses while still in high school may shorten the student’s time to degree and decrease the student’s debt when he or she enrolls full-time at a post-secondary institution,” said Leah Goode, the center’s high school transfer credit specialist.
“Ferris is already recognized for providing the opportunity for students to earn a quality, affordable college education. Through our pre-college programs, students are able to challenge themselves academically while preparing for their futures,” she added.
Ferris also has more than 1,700 articulation agreements with high schools and career technical centers in Michigan. The colleges of Business, Engineering Technology, Health Professions, and Education and Human Services offer students articulated credit after completing approved courses. This allows students to begin their studies at Ferris beyond entry-level coursework.
This fall, the Transfer Services Center will be moved to the first floor of Helen Ferris Hall.