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Faculty and Staff Make Ready, Facilities Prepared Ahead of Academic Year's Start

Ferris State UniversityBuildings and offices that operate year-round on the Ferris State University campus are seeing increased activity at this time, ahead of the first day of the Fall 2017 semester, Monday, Aug. 28.

The University Center has been active this summer with orientation sessions and other gatherings, but Director Mark Schuelke said their student staff numbers and room reservation requests are ramping up, with the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

“New faculty orientation began on Monday, Aug. 14, and there will be informational sessions for all faculty in the days before students return to campus,” Schuelke said. “We anticipate a late evening on Thursday, Aug. 24, with the Honors Picnic, then a steady flow of students up to, and beyond the first day of fall classes.”

Schuelke said the UC had operated with five students during most of their summer schedule, but his staff of 30 will be at the ready, to handle room preparation, answer questions at the information desk and more.

“There are 4,400 reservations made in a typical year as registered student organizations and other groups seek spaces in the UC for their meetings and events,” Schuelke said. “We will reconfigure those rooms, as necessary, to meet their needs.”

Schuelke added that Information Technology staff will be on hand in the UC, to help new and returning students sync up their laptop computers to the campus Wi-Fi system, to facilitate their studies and communications.

Ferris State University Bookstore Manager Karen Bohren said they also ramp up staffing in the days before and after the start of the academic year.

“There are many, many books in stock for ‘back-to-school,’” Bohren said. “We offer extended hours of operation during the ‘move-in period,’ and throughout the first week of classes. There is also a great deal of new Ferris apparel and gift wear in stock. This is easily our busiest time of year, and it is a lot of fun.”

Bohren said the bookstore’s student jobs are filled for fall semester. Any necessary hiring for the Spring 2018 semester would begin in November.

Housing and Residence Life Director Bryan Marquardt said while there has been considerable focus on the opening of North Hall, other residence facilities and apartment buildings are also ready to go.

“We are at 95-percent occupancy, across our system, so it is not too late to make a choice and spend the coming semester with us,” Marquardt said. “We tell all our residents ‘Welcome Home’ as they arrive, because they do spend the majority of the year living with us.”

Some students began moving into campus apartment buildings and residence halls in the week prior to official “move-in day,” which begins at 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 25.

Associate Provost of Academic Operations Leonard Johnson said the Academic Affairs division encourages faculty to review and participate in the Welcome Back Week schedule, beginning at 8:00 a.m. Monday, Aug. 21, in the University Center Ballroom.

“There will be a presentation on the new General Education program, an informational session on MyDegree, along with an important review of the Quality Initiative, a key component of the university’s re-accreditation process through the Higher Learning Commission,” Johnson said. “With the Shoah Visual History Archive now available, in the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education, there will be a presentation from Barry Mehler that afternoon, to explain how that resource might be implemented in various classes."

Johnson continued, “Tuesday evening, Aug. 22, there will be an All-Faculty Picnic, in the atrium of the Granger Building. College, school and departmental meetings will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 23, along with our Student Research Fellowship symposium, detailing the work done in collaboration by our students and professors over the summer."

Johnson added, “Finally, a panel of faculty and administrators will speak about development opportunities for women in higher education the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 24.”

The Big Rapids Industrial School, the forerunner of Ferris State University opened on Monday, Sept. 1, 1884. The academic year ahead will mark the 134th year of instruction and learning for the institution.


PHOTO CAPTION: Shown here is a scene in the bookstore, on main campus. The University Center will see more meetings, with groups small and large, as the 2017-18 academic year gets underway at Ferris State University.