President's Message to Campus - August 16, 2019


It is a pleasure to welcome faculty, staff and students back to our campuses as we prepare for the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year. It is easy to feel the pace and level of activity steadily increasing as we move closer to the first day of classes.

Sunday evening our football team met to begin fall practice. Monday we welcomed new faculty as part of the weeklong activities planned by the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. This week over 140 students who work in our residential hall facilities are on campus preparing for their year ahead. Thursday, Provost Paul Blake and I visited with the faculty and staff in Retention and Student Success. We look forward to visiting with faculty and staff throughout the Big Rapids campus next week in college-wide meetings.

Faculty Kickoff Week begins on Monday, Aug. 19, and continues through Friday.  Academic Affairs has organized a series of sessions to engage all faculty, and staff are also invited and encouraged to attend. A few highlights include –

  • On Monday an update on the University’s 33 quality initiative projects and their connection to the Academic Literacies Center, in addition to how these projects fit within our Higher Learning Commission accreditation process;
  • A reception on Wednesday to honor the late Ray Dickinson who dedicated 38 years of his life to Ferris. As a librarian, he held a variety of positions at FLITE library, and was actively involved with Honors and other numerous efforts across the University. He had a special commitment to develop and maintain a listing of every employee who had worked at Ferris, and it was easy to become a great admirer of his needlepoint artistry. Ray’s family has donated one of his pieces to the FLITE library. The reception will be a special remembrance of Ray and a dedication of this needlepoint piece;
  • The student research fellowship symposium on Thursday; and
  • Several presentations by University Advancement and Marketing on our new branding and advertising campaign on Thursday and Friday.

More information, including a full list of the various sessions offered, can be found on the Academic Affairs website. I encourage you to attend those of particular interest to you.

New Faculty/Appointments

It is a pleasure to welcome these new full-time faculty to Ferris State University:

- Lucas Hedman, College of Engineering Technology
- Karyn Kiio, College of Business
- Shannon Love, College of Health Professions  
- Benjamin Pontefract, College of Pharmacy
- Lindsey Stoetzel, College of Education and Human Services
- Pamela Smyth, College of Health Professions
- Evan Watts, College of Arts and Sciences
- Marie Yowtz, Counseling and Disability Services, Kendall College of Art and Design

It takes the efforts of many people to screen, interview and hire new faculty. Thank you to everyone who participated in the search processes. Please take time to welcome our new faculty and staff to Ferris State University as they prepare for their first semester at Ferris.

In addition to these new members of our campus communities, Jim Bachmeier began as Vice President of Administration and Finance in July. He joins us from Grand Valley State University and brings with him more than 30 years of experience in higher education to Ferris.  Tara McCrackin began as interim president for Kendall College of Art and Design in July. She is a member of our Interior Design faculty and has served as program director for the department. Stephen Halko is interim dean of Academic Affairs at Kendall. He is a member of the drawing faculty and was serving as program director for that area. Please help me welcome Jim, Tara and Stephen to these leadership roles at the College.

Closing Thoughts

The majority of our students will be arriving on campus next week, with residence hall move-in set for next Thursday, Friday and throughout the weekend. While this can be an exciting time for our students, it can also be stressful. We have two initiatives aimed at helping our students and their families feel at home – First Impressions and Operation Move-In.

First Impressions tents are strategically placed in high-traffic areas on campus so we can lend a hand, answer a question or maybe just offer a friendly smile. If you would like to greet and assist our new students and their families, there are several time slots still available. Please contact Angela Palmer at [email protected] or at x2612.

Operation Move-In is another way in which you can be involved in assisting students and making their move onto campus a little easier. Faculty and staff are needed throughout the two days to drive golf carts, coordinate volunteers and assist our new students as they move around campus. If this interests you, please register for the training luncheon on Tuesday, Aug. 20 from noon to 1 p.m. in IRC 115 and then reserve your time slot online.

If you have ever moved a son or daughter into college, you understand how this assistance can ease the stress and uncertainty that may develop in an unfamiliar environment. For our University, this is a critical point in student retention. We want each and every student to know we are delighted they have chosen Ferris State University and that they are very welcome here. Thank you to Angela Palmer and Gheretta Harris for organizing these initiatives, and to you for volunteering to help make our students feel welcome and at home.

The Physical Plant and Grounds Crew have been working extremely hard over the summer and during the last few weeks to ensure our residence halls, grounds and facilities look their best for our students and their families. Thank you for all of your efforts to beautify our campus and help make a great first impression for our new students.

I look forward to seeing you on campus, to welcoming our students and to the opportunities ahead for Ferris State University.

David L. Eisler, president