Board of Trustees Extends Partnership with GRCC, Elects Officers

Ferris State UniversityFerris State University’s Board of Trustees approved an extended joint-use partnership with Grand Rapids Community College at their regular meeting on Friday, Dec. 16, held at the University Center on the Big Rapids campus. The Trustees recognized the University’s football and volleyball teams for their successful fall seasons, and also awarded three pre-construction services budget approvals for projects on the Big Rapids campus at Friday’s regular meeting. On this same date the trustees also conducted their biennial meeting electing board officers.

As part of a longstanding partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, the administration’s request to combine its lease and joint-use maintenance partnership into one agreement, was also approved at Friday’s meeting. Ferris and GRCC have had a lease agreement in place for space at the Applied Technology Center since 1989. The initial 20-year lease commenced as the building was completed in July 1991, and was extended by the Ferris trustees in February 2011. The new agreement provides for an initial term of 10 years, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and runs through, Dec. 31, 2026. The University expects to continue using GRCC’s Applied Technology Center for offices and instructional facilities for the Extended and International Operations for an indefinite period into the future. The leased space currently houses approximately 35 full-time and part-time Ferris employees and includes instructional space for approximately 1,000 Ferris students.

“Our partnership with GRCC is a best practice example of how community colleges and public universities can collaborate to provide students access to high-quality education where they live and work,” said David Eisler, president of Ferris State University. “Earlier this year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our partnership.  This is a relationship where together we place students first.  With this agreement we know our combined work helping students will continue long into the future.”

Citations of Merit were awarded to the Ferris State University football and volleyball teams in recognition of their outstanding seasons. The football team, for two of the past three seasons has won Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season championships, and have a four-year overall record of 42-8 and a GLIAC record of 37-4; and, during the past three years the team has reached the NCAA Division II playoffs, including a Super Region Four Championship and this year a trip to the national semifinals. The volleyball team, for the past three seasons, has won both the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season championship and conference tournament; and Tia Brandel-Wilhelm has served 21 years as head coach, leading the team to 20 out of 21 winning seasons, an overall record of 469-196 and conference record of 275-102, and was named 2016 GLIAC Coach of the Year.

During the election of officers, Paul Boyer was re-elected chair of the board of trustees. Lori Gwizdala was elected vice chair and Ana Ramirez-Saenz was elected secretary. These appointments are effective Jan. 1, 2017 and extend through Dec. 31, 2018.

Trustees approved a variety of pre-construction service contracts which include the renovation of a portion of the Hagerman Pharmacy Building, a facility that originally opened in 1972; professional pre-construction design and construction management services for renovation of the Student Recreation Center, a building that originally opened in 1969 and that was renovated for its current purpose in 1999; and pre-construction services for the demolition of Merrill and Travis halls, built in 1961, and for the design of new Southeast Campus Apartments.

“As we continue to make progress on our Master Plan, the ability to move forward and begin the pre-construction phase on these projects is part of our continuation of enhancing the student experience at Ferris State University, both academically and socially,” said Jerry Scoby, vice president for Administration and Finance. “We have made great progress on North Hall, our new residential facility opening in Fall 2017, and look forward to continuing our ability to strengthen the quality of education and the student experience at Ferris.”

Among other actions, the board also approved:

  • Funding for professional services to facilitate a senior-level leadership development program; and
  • Funding for professional services for Professional Golf Management and College of Pharmacy fundraising initiatives; and
  • The appointments of two new members of the boards of directors of FSU-authorized charter school academies;
  • Closed two academic programs, an Associate of Arts in Pre-Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Quality Engineering Technology; and
  • The board meetings calendar, for calendar years 2017-18.

In addition to the officers, members of the board include Alisha M. Baker, of Mount Clemens; Erin Brown, of East Lansing; immediate past chair Gary L. Granger, of Byron Center; Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; and Arthur L. Tebo, of Walloon Lake.

The next regular meeting of the Ferris State University Board of Trustees is Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, in Big Rapids. Committee meetings start at 10 a.m. followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m.