President's Message to Campus - Dec. 6, 2019

End of the Semester Activities

It was wonderful to visit with faculty, staff, alumni, donors and community friends at this week’s holiday receptions in Grand Rapids and Big Rapids. Thank you for taking time to attend and share in the holiday spirit.

On Sunday the Ferris and Big Rapids community can enjoy “A Symphonic Santa Sunday” family holiday concert. Performed in Williams Auditorium under the direction of Scott Cohen and Dale Skornia, the concert features the FSU Symphony Band, the FSU West Central Concert Band, and the FSU West Central Chamber Orchestra, and will showcase a selection of classic holiday tunes. Special guest performances include the Treble Makers Choir of Canadian Lakes, the Canadian Lakes Men’s Chorus and the Holiday Chamber Ensembles. A charity drive will also take place for Our Brother’s Keeper homeless shelter in Big Rapids. Donations will be accepted in the lobby. The concert begins at 4 p.m. and is a great way to kick-off the holiday season with friends and family.

Monday night is Pancakes with the President at the Rock Café from 10 p.m. to midnight. This is an enjoyable way to interact with our students and to wish our students well on their exams. If you have a few moments, stop by and join in the fun.

With the end of the semester in sight, our students will be busy studying and preparing final assignments and projects, and taking exams. Thank you for making an extra effort to help our students during what can be a stressful time.

Ubuntu Mural Dedication/Fulbright Scholar Update

On Friday, Dec. 13, the Office of International Education will be unveiling the new Ubuntu Mural in the IRC. Created from the Inclusion Wall Project in 2018, this began with the collection of over 800 selfies of students, faculty and staff. These pictures, when combined in a collage, now form the images of our founders, Woodbridge and Helen Ferris. The program will begin at 10 a.m. with light refreshments provided.

Immediately following the mural unveiling, a recognition will be held of our Fulbright Scholar program, the international exchange program that operates in cooperation with more than 150 countries. This year we are proud to have the Dean of the College of Health Professions Lincoln Gibbs inducted as our newest Fulbright Scholar. He will travel to Ghana under the auspices of the Fulbright program. Please join me in congratulating Dean Gibbs on being chosen for this very selective and competitive honor.

Good News

There is much good work by our faculty, staff and students to share. This month’s Good News contains a wide list of accomplishments that span academic and community outreach/giving. I am very proud of you, your engagement, and your achievements. Please take a few moments to view the Good News in its entirety.

  • The Charter Schools Office is involved in the development of national resources for Alternative Charter Schools. Now in its second year, the workgroup has recently published the first of several documents on alternative school accountability.
  • Chris Vonder Haar and Debbie Courtright-Nash accompanied nine English Education program students to the Michigan Council of Teachers of English conference in Lansing.
  • Deirdre Fagan’s poem “Notre Amour, Comme une Pomme, Vient de la Terre” was published in The 3288 Review and "Everything I hate about you, I love about you, Dear" was published in Picaroon Poetry.
  • Janet Vizina-Roubal presented “Comparing Late Work Policies and their Impact with fellow DSW students,” Carrie Thompson presented “Creating Awareness of Social Justice Issues through Inter-professional Poverty Simulations,” and Kathryn Woods and Michael Berghoef presented “Using Genocide Testimony in Social Work Education: The Shoah Visual History Archive” at the Council on Social Work Education’s annual program meeting in Denver.
  • Dale Skornia served as the conductor of the Central States Activities Association 2019 Honor Band which welcomed 109 students from 14 area high schools to campus.
  • Scott Cohen served as a musical adjudicator for the 2019 Calvin University Concerto Competition.
  • PGA Golf Management students Isabella Flack and Matt Reglin attended the 2019 PGA Golf Management University Program Leadership Session in conjunction with the Annual PGA meeting in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
  • Digital Animation and Game Design faculty Jacob Pollak and David Baker presented on careers in game design at the Mosaic Film Experience event.
  • The School of Education received accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation for seven years, the maximum number of years a program can receive accreditation.
  • The College of Pharmacy has become the home of the 75th Student Chapter of the Industry Pharmacists Organization.
  • Kali VanLangen, Katie Axford and colleagues from Mercy Health Saint Mary’s were featured in the Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology Podcast to discuss their published article “Evaluation of a multifaceted approach to antimicrobial stewardship education methods for medical residents.”
  • Allison Bernknopf and Tom Dowling published a chapter about randomized-controlled trials in Principles of Research Design and Drug Literature Evaluation, 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education; 2020: Chap 4.
  • Allison Bernknopf published an online module, Healthcare Information Technology Certificate. Winchester, VA: Shenandoah University; October 2020.
  • Stacy Anderson was appointed by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact to represent 4-year state universities on the MI Open Educational Resources task force.
  • The ACRL Health Sciences Interest Group has selected Alison Konieczny’s published article “Experiences as an embedded librarian in online courses” for their “Resources” guide.
  • David Damari was appointed chair of the Leadership Development Institute Task Force by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry Board of Trustees
  • Fall 2019 FerrisNow enrollment is 952 students, tied with an all-time high from Fall 2018.
  • Leah Melichar presented “Financial Implications of Concurrent and Dual Enrollment” and Leah and Deedee Stakley facilitated a mini-workshop “Incorporating Concurrent and Dual Enrollment into Strategic Enrollment Management” at the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships conference.
  • Karen Royster-James and tutors presented “The Art of Studying” at Morley-Stanwood High School College 101 night in November.
  • Kristin Conley presented “Beginning with the Why: Cultivating Critical and Digital Literacy” at the Michigan Developmental Education Consortium Conference in Lansing.
  • Kendall College received a grant from the Michigan Corporate Relations Network’s Small Company Innovation Program for the development of a financial literacy app aimed at children ages 10-14.
  • Karen Carter presented her paper “Maximilien Luce’s La Rue Mouffetard: Paris as Spectacle and Disenchantment” at the 45th annual Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium in Sarasota, Fla.
  • Lori Faulkner presented at the Grand Rapids Art Museum as part of the museum’s Storytelling Beyond Words event series on how fashion designers—including her students—tap into the power of narrative to bring their unique ideas to life.
  • Diane Zeeuw was featured in Red, a national juried exhibition at Arts Iliana Gallery in Indiana and the 2019 Greater Michigan Art Exhibition at the Alden B. Dow Museum of Art in Midland, Mich., where her oil painting “Indexing Schizophrenia: Fear of the Hospital” won third prize.
  • Cinematographer Adam J. Minnick screened his latest movie, Chained for Life (2019), and participated in a Q & A session with UICA audience members in November.
  • Students Marina Harrison and Noelle Kruas, with support from CLACS and several other departments, held the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Summit on campus.
  • Since July 1, 2016, The Ferris Futures Scholarship Challenge has received 5,510 gifts and pledges to new and existing endowments, with more than $8.74 million of new gift commitments from Ferris benefactors.
  • Athletics and University Advancement and Marketing teamed up to launch the Move Ferris Forward recognition program this fall to promote the successes of faculty, staff and students.
  • Keeping in theme with the University’s new marketing campaign, “Ferris Forward,” Ted Halm, Paul Hobart and Dale Hobart are working with Beacon Technologies to create a new homepage that is recruitment-focused, highlights academic programs, and shows the distinctiveness of the University.


Next Saturday, Dec. 14 more than 900 students will graduate from Ferris State University and become the newest alumni of Ferris State University. Commencement ceremonies for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Services, and Engineering Technology begin at 10 a.m., with ceremonies for the Colleges of Business and Health Professions at 1:30 p.m. inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex.

At each commencement ceremony, I share stories of our students. These stories describe the perseverance, dedication and excellence of our graduates in their pursuit of a Ferris degree. Often times they reflect hardships, personal struggles and triumph over challenging circumstances. They are a powerful reminder of how exceptional our students are and the critical role faculty and staff play in helping them achieve their dream of an education. Thank you for helping our students succeed and attain their degree. If you want to attend next Saturday, please contact us at ext. 2500 for a ticket. The success of our students results from your help and support.  You are always encouraged and welcome to attend.


Last weekend our football team decisively defeated Central Missouri 37-10 at home in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. We now host the national quarterfinal round tomorrow against Northwest Missouri State with kick-off at 1 p.m. at Top Taggart Field. With a victory, our team will advance to the semifinals as they continue their quest for the national championship. Best wishes for continued success to head coach Tony Annese, his coaching staff and student-athletes on this remarkable, memorable season.  

In the NCAA Midwest Regional Quarterfinals last night, the women’s volleyball team came up just short in a tough five set match against Rockhurst (Mo.) (18-25, 25-21, 25-16, 9-25, 13-15), ending their post-season play. This year’s seniors had a four-year overall record of 96-25, including an amazing 55-6 at home in Ewigleben Arena.  The coaches and student-athletes are to be commended for capturing their sixth straight GLIAC conference regular and post-season championship.  

Last evening the men’s basketball team defeated Wayne State 96-86. The women dropped a close game to Wayne State 78-75.  Saturday the men will take on Ashland at 5:30 p.m. inside Wink Arena with the women’s team immediately following at 7:30 p.m. The Ashland men are currently 10th in the nation and the women 6th.  Both teams are undefeated.

After a 4-1 win and a 4-4 tie last weekend on the road against Alaska Anchorage, the men’s ice hockey team has a bye this weekend and will face off at home against Alabama-Huntsville on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, with game times of 7:07 p.m. and 6:07 p.m. respectively. Saturday’s game features a special on tickets, buy one get one free, and the annual Salvation Army Teddy Bear Toss. Fans are encouraged to bring a new teddy bear to toss onto the ice to be collected and distributed by the Salvation Army to children in need this holiday season.

Several of our student-athletes received national recognition this week. Soccer junior Mackenzie Dawes was named to the 2019 College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America First Team. She was the only representative from a GLIAC school named to the Academic All-America First Team for her performances on the field and in the classroom.

Volleyball senior Allyson Cappel has been chosen as the GLIAC Player of the Year for the third-straight season and is the first player in conference history to win the award three consecutive seasons. This week Allyson was also named the 2019 Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (D2CCA) Midwest Region Volleyball Player of the Year in voting conducted by the region's sports information directors. This was the fourth consecutive year in which she was named to the D2CCA All-Region Team.

Football senior defensive end Austin Edwards was named the 2019 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award, the first Bulldog to receive this national recognition.  This is presented annually to the top NCAA Division II senior offensive or defensive lineman in the nation. Austin was also named to the American Football Coaches Association All-America First Team along with senior offensive guard Tyler Allison, who was named to the AFCA All-American Second Team. This marks the third consecutive year Ferris State University has had two representatives on the coaches' All-America listing and the sixth consecutive year the Bulldogs have had at least one selection, which is the longest active streak in the country.

Congratulations to each of these student-athletes for this recognition of their outstanding performance.  We are proud of the success of our athletic teams, coaches and student-athletes. We are truly fortunate to have the opportunity to watch these examples of athletic excellence.

David L. Eisler, president