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Trustees Approve New Academic Program and Housing Projects

Ferris State UniversityThe Ferris State University Board of Trustees approved a new master’s program, expanded delivery of a doctoral program and advanced housing projects that align with the university’s master plan during its regular meeting, Friday, Dec. 18, on Ferris’ main campus in Big Rapids.

The College of Health Professions’ new Master in Healthcare Administration is designed to prepare students for management positions in an expanding and diverse career field. Its focus is healthcare management and leadership with an emphasis on quality improvement, resource efficiency and inter-professional collaboration. Initial program enrollment is expected to start at approximately 15 students with an anticipated increase to 45 students by the end of year three. Curriculum for the program was reviewed and recommended for approval by the university-wide Curriculum Committee, Academic Senate, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Blake and President David Eisler. The first students will enroll in the program for the Fall 2016 semester.

“The master’s degree in Healthcare Administration is a welcome addition to the College of Health Professions’ curriculum,” Blake said. “It will provide online course delivery, content concentration options, and will prepare students for healthcare management positions.”

The trustees also approved a three-year agreement to offer on-site delivery of the Doctorate in Community College Leadership program at Harper College of Palatine, Ill. beginning in January.  The Ferris doctoral degree was selected through a competitive process from programs across the country and has also received approval from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.

“Offering the DCCL program at Harper College is a significant opportunity for Ferris State University as well as a significant validation both of the quality of the program and the recognition of that quality on a national level,” Blake said.

The Doctorate in Community College Leadership is designed to empower graduates to advance community colleges toward excellence and community responsiveness through exemplary leadership. Currently, DCCL graduates hold positions that include the president of Muscatine Community College; dean of Academic Services at Parkland College; and executive director of the Foundation at Monroe County Community College.

The trustees’ actions included work on the future of student housing. The board gave final approval for expansion of the West Campus Apartments of the Finch Court neighborhood, with construction designed to accommodate single students. The university’s master plan envisions major investment in housing upgrades over the next several years, as the last traditional residence halls were built on the Ferris campus in the late 1960s.

In addition to expansion of West Campus Apartments, the trustees also gave the authorization needed for the university to proceed with the retention of pre-construction services for the new north campus residence hall project. The university’s goal, in response to student feedback, is to add modern housing options on the northern end of campus near the FLITE library and University Center. The plan is for a building that would be consistent with the architecture of that area of campus with approximately 350 to 400 semi-suite beds. The university’s master plan envisions students benefiting from such intentionally structured residential life programing designed to acclimate them to Ferris and become engaged in campus life. The trustees’ action moves this project forward at a pace to have students living in the new housing facility in August of 2017.

In recognition of Ferris student-athletes, the trustees issued citations of merit to the Ferris volleyball and football teams, and to NCAA record-setting senior quarterback Jason Vander Laan. Both the volleyball and football teams won Great lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles for the past two years, with the volleyball team also winning the GLIAC conference tournament for the past two seasons. In volleyball, the seniors amassed a four-year overall record of 106-16 and a GLIAC record of 65-7; the football team has been undefeated in the regular season for the past two years, and the senior class compiled a record over the last four years of 37-9.

Vander Laan has had one of the most accomplished college careers of any Ferris student-athlete. Last year, he won the Harlon Hill Trophy as the best player in NCAA Division II football. On Friday, Dec. 18, Vander Laan won his second consecutive Harlon Hill Trophy. He set the record for rushing yards by a quarterback in any NCAA division while becoming the first player in NCAA history to gain 1,000 yards both rushing and passing for four consecutive seasons. This year, he was a finalist for the Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the top football student-athlete at any college level in the United States.

In other action, the board approved eight appointments and reappointments to the boards of directors of Ferris charter school academies. Trustees also approved reauthorization of Bridge Academy, in Hamtramck, and Huron Academy, in Sterling Heights. The board approved a contract extension for Hope Academy of West Michigan, in Grand Rapids, and cancellation of a charter contract with Great Lakes Explorations Academy.

The trustees are chair Paul E. Boyer, of Ada; vice chair Erin R. Brown, of East Lansing; secretary Lori Gwizdala, of Bay City; immediate past chair Gary L. Granger, of Byron Center; Alisha M. Baker, of Mount Clemens; Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Rockford; Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; and Arthur L. Tebo, of Walloon Lake.

The next regular meeting of the trustees is Friday, Feb. 12 in Big Rapids. Committee meetings begin at 10 a.m. followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m.