President's Message to Campus - January 21, 2019

Last Thursday was the 4th day enrollment count for spring semester 2019. We continue to experience a decrease in student enrollment and credit hours. University-wide headcount this spring is 12,545 students, compared to 13,165 last spring (620 students or -4.7%). Enrollments are down in Big Rapids, (291 students or -3.1%); statewide (150 students or -8.8%); online (94 students or -9.8%); and at Kendall College of Art and Design (85 students or -8.3%). University-wide SCH are down 6,277 (-4.4%). Student credit hours are down in Big Rapids (3,873 or - 3.7%); statewide (1,298 or -11.1%); online (133 or -0.9%); and at Kendall (973 or -9.2%).

Positive areas to note include the 6.6% growth of SCH in the College of Pharmacy, and perhaps the highest fall to spring first-year retention in history, with 92% of full-time bachelor’s degree and 86% of full-time associate degree seeking students returning for spring semester at Ferris. This combines for an overall 88% first-year retention rate.

We will continue to focus our efforts on recruitment, retention and promotion. I believe strongly that the unique education we provide at Ferris will change this pattern of enrollment decline. I very much appreciate the strong efforts being made by many people across our University to recruit and retain our students. For a more in-depth look at the numbers, you can view the entire Spring 2019 enrollment summary online.

Anti-Violence Coalition

Ferris State University was one of 22 Michigan institutions to receive funding from the Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program founded by former First Lady of Michigan Sue Snyder. With this funding, Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life Joy Pufhal are coordinating efforts to build an anti-violence coalition aimed at providing ongoing awareness and education opportunities to prevent violence on campus.

The mission of this coalition is to educate, train and empower a multidisciplinary composition of faculty, staff, students and community members who are committed to adapting, expanding and developing new approaches to sexual violence prevention efforts at Ferris State University. Members of the coalition include Leo Almanza, Rena Bernardi, Sandy Britton, Paul Claringbold, Kristin Conley, Erin Davis, Sarah Doherty, Sidney Edmonds, Jocelyn Goheen, Danyelle Gregory, Kim Hancock, Justin Harden, Garrett Johnson, Andrea Kitomary, Charnice LaGrone, Deanna Landis, Kaylee Moreno, Nicole Munger, Angie Palmer, Adam Petrowitz, Kylie Piette, Julie Rowan, Karen Royster-James, Ashley Schulte, Eric Simone, Andrew Slater, Jessica Smith, Heidi Stauffer, Darcy Storms, Da’meea Taylor, Kristen Verrill, Quinton Williams, Tami Wolverton, Abigail Wood and Kaitlin Zies.

I would like to thank Vice President Jeanine Ward-Roof, Joy Pufhal and the members of the coalition for working to make our campus safer for everyone.

Center for Virtual Learning

During the legislature’s session in December we were fortunate to receive planning authorization for our capital outlay proposal, the Center for Virtual Learning. This Center will replace Bishop Hall and together, with associated projects, provide a new home for programs housed there. It will also create a physical location that brings together the University’s online education efforts, providing program development support and preparation for faculty engaged in virtual education. The replacement of Bishop Hall and the creation of this Center has been a priority in the campus master plan.

With planning authorization being the first step in capital outlay approval, we will work to complete project planning and then seek final funding authorization from the legislature. Support for this project stemmed from the extraordinary efforts of Sen. Darwin Booher who chaired the joint capital outlay committee. This is wonderful news for our University.

Spathelf Lecture Series

The sixth-annual Spathelf Lecture Series, sponsored by the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Health Professions, Optometry and Pharmacy, and the Office of the Provost is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 24. Dr. Barbara Brandt will present this year’s Annual Victor F. Spathelf Lecture on Thursday, January 24, at 6:30 p.m. in Williams Auditorium.

Dr. Brandt is renowned for her work in health profession education and specifically, inter-professional education and continuing education. Dr. Brandt serves as the associate vice president of the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center and as the director of the National Center for Inter-professional Practice and Education, a public-private partnership and cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration. Dr. Brandt’s keynote address will be followed by a student-led panel discussion. Light refreshments will be served following the program.


Our women’s basketball team defeated Purdue Northwest 94-78 Thursday and Wisconsin Parkside 74-60 on Saturday. The men’s team also had two dominating victories, defeating Purdue Northwest 99-77 and Wisconsin Parkside 98-81. The men are now in a tie for first place with Lake Superior State in the GLIAC North Division. The men’s and women’s teams play Lake Superior State Saturday inside Wink Arena. The women play at 1 p.m. with the men at 3 p.m.

David L. Eisler, president