President's Message to Campus - October 11, 2019

On Tuesday Provost Paul Blake announced his plans to retire at the end of this Spring semester.  Paul has led Ferris State University as provost with distinction since May 2014.  Dr. Blake joined the Ferris faculty in 1989 and earned promotions from assistant professor to a tenured full professor of English. Prior to his appointment as Provost he ably served our University as associate provost, associate dean of the College of Education and Human Services, program coordinator of English education, and as an extraordinary teacher in the then Languages and Literature department.

In his over 30 years of commitment to Ferris, Provost Blake has made an indelible impression on our university, on the faculty and staff who work here, and on the thousands of students he taught, guided and mentored.  Paul has a special passion and commitment to helping students overcome learning challenges.  The Academic Literacies Center created on the Big Rapids campus is an embodiment of this work.

Over the months ahead I look forward to continuing our work together.  It has been a distinct honor and privilege to work with Provost Blake and I will deeply miss his wise counsel and commitment to others. Please join me in thanking Paul for his many contributions to our university.

It is important we begin the search for a new provost immediately.  Gayle Lopez, Professor and Department Chair for Management, and David Pilgrim, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, have agreed to serve as co-chairs for this search committee.  If you have interest in serving on this committee, please contact Gayle, David or me.

Good News

It is a pleasure to learn about some of the great works of our faculty, staff and students, and to share this information with the campus community. Thank you for your many accomplishments both on campus and in our communities. Your work is greatly appreciated. Below is a small selection; when time permits, please take a moment to review the entire Good News list.

  • Zac Wendler’s article “How Does Rhetoric Drive New Graduate Nurse Performance?” (co-written with Andrew J. Wendler and M. Cecilia Wendler) was published in Journal for Nurses in Professional Development.
  • Deirdre Fagan had seven poems published in Eunoia Review and one poem published in Riggwelter.
  • Christian Peterson presented "Why Deliberation and Debate Matter in the United States" at the Political Engagement Project’s Constitution Day Celebration, with student Brett Cooper receiving the 1st Annual PEP Constitutional Scholar Award.
  • Christian Peterson won the Visegrad Scholarship to conduct research at the Open Society Archives of Central European University in Budapest, Hungary in 2020.
  • Cami Sanderson was selected to be a Community Educator for the Alzheimer Association.
  • The Social Work Program sponsored “Social Work Education in Changing Times: Supporting Student Success” at the Michigan Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Educator’s conference hosted at the University Center. Wendy Samuels served on the planning committee and Kathryn Woods, Michael Berghoef, Dana Holcomb, Joanie Hazelton, and Carrie Thompson presented.
  • Luis Rivera received a $55,000 grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund to support undergraduate research.
  • The College of Business Committee on Inclusion hosted the 4th Annual Conversation on Inclusion: The Multigenerational Workforce to discuss changing social attitudes toward different age groups in the work force.
  • The Information Security and Intelligence program is among the first in the U.S. to receive accreditation in Cybersecurity from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
  • Heavy Equipment Maintenance senior Ryan Meppelink competed in the WorldSkills Kazan (Russia) competition and earned a Bronze medal.
  • Kimberly Beistle was accepted to the American Dental Hygiene Association Continuing Education Review Ad Hoc Group
  • Gary Wendlowsky is serving on the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight board.
  • FLITE librarian Ann Breitenwischer celebrated her 50th anniversary with Ferris State University.
  • Sarah Hinkley received the Northern Lights Award from the Mecosta County Community Foundation in recognition of her part in creating the Students in Need of Eyecare program.
  • Emily Aslakson and Paula McDowell presented “Vision and Academic Performance:  More than Meets the Eye” to the Mecosta-Osceola ISD.
  • Liz Burbatt and Jody Maloney, in collaboration with the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, launched "First Among Equals: Creating a Supportive First Generation-Focused College Experience" learning community.
  • Julie Rowan and Todd Stanislav led the daylong workshop “Residents as Teachers” for Illinois College of Optometry residents and facilitated two sessions “Using Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL)” and “Advancing Learning in Clinical Settings.”
  • Deedee Stakley was appointed as a member of the MCAN College Access Alliance.
  • The TIP Office hosted the TIP Emerging Scholars Program for 80 incoming TIP Scholars and coordinated events aimed to connect students to campus resources, create a sense of belonging/community, and increase college knowledge.
  • Ferris State University was recognized as a National Association of Student Personnel Administrators First Forward institution for efforts aimed at engaging first-generation faculty, staff and students.
  • Bryan Marquardt, Laura Herron and Kim Young presented “How to move your Student Housing Contract Needle” at the Adirondack Solutions conference in Phoenix.
  • Classroom readiness preparations resulted in a 99% success rate, with computer technicians checking lecture computers in labs and classrooms for proper operation before the start of the fall semester.
  • The Ferris Youth Initiative (FYI) program has expanded to 28 students and 13 new faculty and staff members added as mentors.
  • Welding Engineering Technology and FYI student Kingsley Anacheluniwa hosted a basketball camp in Nigeria last summer.
  • The Center for [email protected] Studies Promesa Scholars Program received a 2019 Examples of Excelencia finalist award by Excelencia in Education, a national organization dedicated to accelerating Latino student success in higher education.
  • The Governmental Relations and General Counsel office hosted the inaugural Rockford Bulldog Luncheon for Rockford High School graduates who now attend Ferris.
  • Steve Stratton co-presented on the topic of collective bargaining agreements at the Michigan Public Employer Labor Relations Association conference.
  • Kendall was awarded over $74,000 in grant funding through the Small Business Innovation Program. Under the direction of Joan Sechrist and John Koziatek, students and faculty will have the opportunity to work with Th3rd Coast Media Solutions on research, experimentation, prototyping and testing.
  • The Kendall Interior Design program has received reaffirmed accreditation after a recent interim visit by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.
  • UICA opened SPECTRA, an interdisciplinary group exhibition that explores theories of abstract art through multiple mediums, curated by Juana Williams. Student artists from UICA’s Composite exhibition and the public joined panelists Miranda Krajniak, Michele Bosak and Stefanie Snider to discuss the business of art and the behind-the-scenes process that goes into curation at a gallery or museum.
  • In the first 18 business days of August, Financial Aid staff answered 4,710 phone calls and met with 994 students and their families regarding financial aid for the fall semester.
  • Admissions and Kendall staff attended Promoting the Publics to provide information and updates on Ferris to more than 600 high school counselors.
  • Within the last year, the Testing Office has proctored 179 CLEP exams with 277 CLEP score reports being sent to Ferris, indicating students are looking at ways to reduce their college debt by using CLEP to earn credit.
  • Christopher Richmond was named the newest executive board member for the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Association of North America.
  • Student Caitlin St. Clair was selected to represent Ferris and the CLACS office on the Secretary of State Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force regarding voter registration and the voting process.
  • Ashley Schulte is a panelist for the Young Professionals in Higher Education conference and will lead a discussion in Critical Issues in Higher Education: Identity.
  • Since July 1, 2016, The Ferris Futures Scholarship Challenge has received 5,214 gifts and pledges to new and existing endowments, with more than $7.77 million of new gift commitments from Ferris benefactors. With the match, this creates more than $15.54 million of new endowed funds for the support of Ferris students.
  • The Ferris Grand Rapids Council hosted their inaugural Dawg Catcher event at Millennium Park in Grand Rapids. More than 38 volunteers helped with picking up trash, landscaping, checking trails and harvesting Native Prairie seeds.
  • The Alumni Association awarded $31,000 to 28 recipients of the Ferris Alumni Legacy Scholarship.
  • The Student Alumni Gold Club held their annual “Cover the Seal” event on the quad and raised more than $1,000 in support of Helen Devos Children’s Hospital and a former SAGC alumnus who battled childhood cancer.
  • An analysis of website traffic in August 2019 revealed that the website has achieved 886 Top 10 rankings in the Google search engine across the University’s seven academic colleges and Retention and Student Success pages.  During the month of August, the Ferris website logged 1,131,341 total page views from 491,718 user visits – including 218,219 unique visitors.


This was another great weekend for Ferris athletics.  Our football team defeated Davenport 35-7, a team previously undefeated on the season.  Our volleyball and soccer teams both defeated Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech over the weekend.  Volleyball did so by identical 3-0 scores and is now 12-3 overall, 9-0 at home, and 6-1 in the conference.  The win over Michigan Tech moved the team into a first place tie for the GLIAC North.   Soccer won 5-0 over Northern and 3-1 over Tech.  They are now 8-1-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference. Women’s tennis defeated Purdue Northwest and Davenport by identical 7-0 scores.

The hockey season began this week.  In exhibition games our team skated to a 2-2 tie with the University of Waterloo from Canada and a 5-0 victory over the USA National team Development Program Under 18 squad.  Last evening they opened their regular season with a  3-1 win over Colgate University.

David L. Eisler, president