Ferris State University’s Board of Trustees approved three new academic degree programs at its regular meeting on Friday, Dec. 13 on the Big Rapids campus.
Trustees approved a new Master of Architecture for Kendall College of Art and Design, a Master of Social Work and an Associate of Applied Science, Pre-Digital Media. Fritz Erickson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, is excited about the new programs and the opportunities that these new degrees will create for faculty and students.
“We are delighted that our faculty continues to develop innovative degree programs that are responsive to the needs of the employers and communities we serve,” Erickson said.
KCAD President David Rosen noted that the plan for the Master of Architecture is to harness the college’s new leadership role in the development of West Michigan’s design ecology and economy; utilize the emergence of West Michigan as a regional center for sustainability in the built environment; take advantage of the success of Ferris’ pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Sustainability; and fill a need architectural education to prepare professionals for leadership roles in a globally urbanized world.
“It is the right time, the right place and the right program,” Rosen said. “The Master of Architecture announces the maturity of KCAD as school of design and provides a needed, excellent local resource for a growing region.”
He added that the new program will prepare graduates for professional registration and emerging practices. To accommodate the new degree, KCAD designated studio space in the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts-adjacent storefront on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. The facilities include the necessary digital and analog fabrication shops in addition to the printing and plotting equipment. Current Ferris and KCAD faculty, individuals holding academic degrees in professional architecture, will lead the program’s launch.
The Master of Social Work, a College of Arts and Sciences program, is designed to meet the needs of students with limited in-class education opportunities within a 90-mile radius of Big Rapids. The new program was approved with a Clinical Practice Specialty. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that employment for social workers is expected to increase 25 percent by 2020. The department also projects that employment for social workers in health care, mental health and substance abuse is expected to increase by 34 percent during that same period.
Trustees approved the College of Education and Human Services’ new Associate of Science, Pre-Digital Media to give students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in either Digital Animation and Game Design or Digital Media Software Engineering, an opportunity for a traditional campus experience in Big Rapids. The degree is a ladder into the Grand Rapids-based Bachelor of Science program.
The new academic programs are expected to begin enrolling students during the Fall 2014 semester.
In other news, trustees approved:
- an additional two-year extension to the Barnes and Noble agreement, following the
automatic five-year renewal period, providing for an end date of June 30, 2023;
- an agreement for the relocation of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame to Ferris State
University’s Katke Golf Course;
- an updated request for funding to perform a diversity audit of the university;
- five new members to the board directors of Ferris State University-authorized charter schools; and
- the closure of the Bachelor of Arts, Mathematics degree.
The next regular full meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 21 in Big Rapids. Board of Trustees committee meetings commence at 10 a.m.