President's Message to Campus - October 19, 2018

Strategic Planning

A year ago we began University-wide efforts to develop a new strategic plan for 2019- 2024. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members have participated in listening sessions focused on what Ferris State University has done well, the challenges we face, and thoughts on our collective future. David Pilgrim, vice president for Diversity and Inclusion, and Spence Tower, professor, are co-chairing these efforts and working with a 13-person Steering Committee.

The Guiding Principles subcommittee has reviewed and sought input on the University’s core values, vision and mission. This group is led by Suzanne Miller and Lisa vonReichbauer, who presented an update on their work to the Strategic Planning and Resource Council last Tuesday. Their work on our guiding principles was led by these understandings:

  • Ferris State University Vision Statement - What we aspire to be
  • Ferris State University Mission Statement - What we do and how we meet objectives that will allow us to achieve that aspiration
  • Core Values - What is fundamentally important to guide our actions?

The committee has provided a Development Summary that documents the data gathering process. With input solicited from various constituencies throughout the spring and summer, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee is pleased to share what they consider final drafts of the revised core values, mission and vision.

The Committee recommends we retain the current University’s core values, but with refined descriptors for them –

  • Collaboration: Ferris builds partnerships within the university and the global community that promote shared goals and success.
  • Diversity: Ferris strives to be an inclusive university community that respects the dignity of the individual and promotes the acceptance of all.
  • Ethical Community: Ferris policies, procedures, and actions promote transparency, advancing our mission and fostering integrity, civility, and respect within and beyond the university.
  • Excellence: Through the use of best practices and benchmarking, Ferris commits to innovation and quality execution
  • Learning: Ferris promotes hands-on, transformative learning, balancing theory and practice, encouraging teamwork and innovation, and stressing critical thinking, all of which are fundamental elements of career success.
  • Opportunity: Honoring the legacy of our founders, the university community encourages and supports all who wish to acquire the knowledge, leadership, and communication skills that are the foundations of personal success.

The Committee is recommending new mission and vision statements -

By embracing our Core Values, Ferris State University offers transformative experiences and personal guidance for our students, impacting the university community and society.

  • Student: We provide an integrative, academically comprehensive educational foundation for in-demand and emerging professions, fusing in-depth disciplinary knowledge with discovery and practical application
  • University Community: We build on a university culture that is responsive to its constituents, partners, and our world
  • Society: We seek meaningful and strategic engagement with regional, national, and global communities

Building on the vision of our founders, Ferris State University will be an agile and transformational university. By integrating theory into practice, we will foster opportunity, discovery, and professional preparation for a rapidly changing global society.

Please take a few minutes to review these proposed statements.  The Strategic Planning Steering Committee welcomes your questions and comments on these values, mission and vision statements through an online feedback page.

The strategic planning process has identified five strategic themes, along with draft statements describing each of them. Each theme has a subcommittee working to define it and identify potential initiatives and measurements.

  • Academic Programs/Offerings - All decision-making processes regarding academic programs and offerings and program lifecycles are conducted in a rigorous, deliberate and responsive manner with a keen eye for fostering innovation.
  • Branding/Reputation/Image/Community - Identify target areas that will strengthen university pride, reputation, and community engagement through brand development efforts and strategic initiatives in support of the university’s mission and vision.
  • Enhancing Resources - We aim to empower university stakeholders to discover and implement innovative and creative strategies to enhance university resources.
  • Maximizing Institutional Effectiveness - Promote a University-wide culture of effectiveness and connectedness, led by transparency, innovation and accountability, to advance the University's mission.
  • Student Success/Enrollment/Retention - Create opportunities for each student to thrive through focused recruitment, high-quality instruction, and comprehensive student support services.

More information about the strategic planning process, progress and opportunities for comment are available on the Strategic Planning webpage. Thank you to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and the more than 60 people serving on the theme subcommittees for all of your hard work preparing our next strategic plan. They join me in thanking you for taking time to review and provide your feedback and comments on their efforts. Your assistance, engagement and input are very much appreciated. Also, special thanks to Franklin Hughes for designing and developing the new strategic planning webpages.

Family and Friends Weekend

Our third annual Friends and Family event is this weekend. More than 2,200 special guests will be on campus and visiting the Big Rapids community. Students, their families and friends, will take part in a host of activities throughout the weekend, with many downtown businesses providing special activities and discounts for our Bulldog family and friends. A complete list of activities is available on the Friends and Family webpage.

This is a wonderful opportunity to bring our students and their family and friends together to experience campus life and the Big Rapids community. Thank you to Melanie Mulder and the entire Parents Committee for organizing this weekend’s events, and the Big Rapids community for welcoming our guests.

The Inclusion Wall Project

Our founder, Woodbridge N. Ferris, once said, “The world is one big family. Time and distance have been annihilated. National isolation is a thing of the past.” To commemorate this sentiment and value held by our founders, Woodbridge and Helen Ferris, the Office of International Education has commissioned photography artist Al Wildey to construct portraits of Woodbridge and Helen. These portraits will be made using collages of individual portraits of people across the University in the form of a selfie. From a distance, this collage of selfies will form the images of our founders.

If you would like to be a part of this special project honoring our founders and the promise of a more inclusive and global future –

  1. Complete the online submission form
  2. Take a selfie-style photo of yourself
  3. Email your photo in JPG format to [email protected]
  4. In the subject line of the email write Inclusion Wall Photo and your first and last name.

Center for [email protected] Studies Staff Recognized

Center for [email protected] Studies Executive Director Kaylee Moreno and Program Coordinator Jessica Ledesma were recently recognized as members of the inaugural class of Top 50 Latinas in Michigan. Both were honored by the Hispanic Latino Commission of Michigan at a ceremony last Friday in Saginaw to recognize women who have distinguished themselves in their organization, profession and community. More information is available on the University News webpage. Please help me congratulate Kaylee and Jessica, as this is a wonderful testament to the work they are doing for our students and our University community.


Last weekend, our women’s soccer team defeated Northwood to push their unbeaten streak to 14 games. This is the best in our history, and the team’s ranking at 12th in the nation is their highest. The women are now 12-1-2 and play Grand Valley, the top ranked team in the nation, today at 4 p.m., and Davenport at noon on Sunday. Both games are at home.

The women’s volleyball team won two of three matches at the Midwest Region Crossover Tournament, defeating Findlay and Indianapolis, but falling to Drury 3-2. They are now 18-4, ranked ninth in the nation and return home this weekend for a match against Northwood Saturday at 3 p.m.

The men's golf team produced another individual medalist this fall as senior Andrew Hammett captured the 2018 Titans Motown Collegiate Championship this week at Prestwick Village Golf Club in Highland, Mich. He led our team to its third-place finish, shooting six-under for the tournament at 210 overall with a round of 72 followed by a 66 and another 72 score for a two-shot victory. Andrew is the third senior golfer to take home medalist honors this year, joining both Seth Terpstra and Jack Weller. The golf team will return to the links with the first spring competition slated for March 7-8 in St. Cloud, Fla.

This past weekend included a memorable come from behind football victory over Grand Valley in Allendale. Both teams were undefeated and ranked either 2 nd or 3 rd in the nation depending on the poll. The winning play came on 4th down and three with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter. On this play, our quarterback flipped the ball back to the slot receiver, who then threw it back to the quarterback for a 31-yard touchdown. This play is featured on the NCAA Division II website as the top play of the week. The defense then intercepted Grand Valley when they were driving at the end of the game to clinch the victory with a final score of Ferris 35 - Grand Valley 31. This was a great game. The team is now 7-0, and we are ranked #2 in the nation. You can view highlights from the game on the Athletics website. Football is on the road this week against Saginaw Valley.

Also this weekend the men’s basketball team begins its season with exhibition games against Grand Rapids Community College tonight at 7 p.m. and against an alumni squad Sunday at 3 p.m. Hockey is also at home inside Ewigleben Ice Arena this weekend against nonconference opponent Mercyhurst University Friday and Saturday night. The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. both nights.

David L. Eisler, president