Ferris State University’s Bachelor of Integrative Studies program has been honored by BestColleges.com as being among the nation’s finest multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary degree programs.
The program was ranked 29th in a report released by the online resource that gathers information on more than 7,000 colleges.
BIS Coordinator Roxanne Cullen said that interest continues to grow in this degree path that began as a program for working adults. The BIS program had 20 graduates in 2007. Now, there are approximately 100 students on the Big Rapids campus with around 50 degrees awarded each year.
Ferris’ BIS curriculum has just one required class, allowing the student to shape specific learning outcomes related to their planned program of study. Students on any Ferris campus, or those participating online, can maximize the program’s flexibility, which is supported by all of Ferris’ colleges.
”Especially the online program, because they were able to build what they want,” Cullen said. “Oftentimes, working adults know what they need. They will pick certificates or a concentration of their own that they know will help them in their current workplace.”
The program has also helped Ferris retain students who find their chosen major does not align with their career goals. Cullen said one BIS success story involved a young man who wanted to work in the film industry after starting in Music Industry Management program.
“We had him take all the film classes he could, then he ended up doing an internship with the Michigan Film Association, then was hired there,” she said. “It allowed him to tailor the degree.”
Cullen said that the BIS program is invested in helping students gain a degree and succeed in the workplace.
“I’ve heard from alums, I try to keep in contact with them with to see that the degree actually did do what they wanted,” she said. “Overwhelmingly, the response has been ‘Yes.’”
There are 37 colleges and universities listed in the Best Integrative Studies Programs ranking. Other Michigan schools joining Ferris on the list include Grand Valley State University, Oakland University and Michigan State University.
The BestColleges.com rankings were developed with support from faculty at the Johnson Center for Integrative Studies at The University of the Redlands in Redlands, Calif.
PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured is Roxanne Cullen, coordinator of the Bachelor of Integrative Studies program.