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Ferris Board of Trustees approve exchange agreements, grant program

BIG RAPIDS -- The Ferris State University Board of Trustees approved renewal of four international articulation agreements during the board's regular meeting Friday afternoon.

The University will continue its agreements for educational cooperation with Fachhochschule Stralsund Germany - University of Applied Science; Saxion Hogescholen in Enschede, Netherlands; Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand; and HAMK University of Applied Science in Valeakoski, Finland.

Educational agreements such as the programs between Ferris and these institutions offer students and faculty opportunities to participate in exchange programs. To date, 32 students have come to Michigan to study at Ferris while 12 Ferris students traveled abroad to earn college credit in those universities. Various study abroad programs also have taken place.

"Renewing these articulation agreements is part of a comprehensive effort taking place at Ferris State University to prepare our students for a global economy," said Michael Harris, vice president for Academic Affairs.

In other business, the board also approved participation by the University in the Improving Teacher Quality Grant program. The grant provides Ferris $184,102 between Aug. 1, 2006, and June 30, 2008, to partner with Mesick Consolidated Schools by providing professional development for alternative education teachers within the district and surrounding intermediate school districts.

Ferris' College of Education and Human Services, and College of Arts, Sciences and Education will be involved in providing professional development options such as site-based instruction, online and mixed-delivery coursework, and summer institutes.

State of Michigan study of alternative education reveals students in these programs exhibit poor reading and math skills, and a need for special education assistance. The grant program will provide extended professional development opportunities for teachers on how to best assist special needs student.

"We at Ferris State University are committed to the economic and social well being of the State," Harris added. "Enhancing the quality of alternative education teachers is a key element in that endeavor."