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Ferris State University Board of Trustees Approves New Academic Majors, Seven New Directors for The Ferris Foundation

PhotoFerris State University's conducted its regular Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, Dec. 17.

Ferris State University’s Board of Trustees approved three new academic majors, a slate of new members of The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors and more at its regular meeting on Friday, Dec. 17 hosted online.

Focused on creating opportunities that align with market needs and student interest, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Bobby Fleischman presented three new academic degrees that the trustees approved. The new degrees include an Associate of Arts in Community Leadership, an Associate in Applied Science in Computer Information Technology and a Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics. After recently approving a Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence, this new master’s program aligns with the current construction of the new Center for Virtual Learning, scheduled for completion in December 2022.

“This exciting interdisciplinary Master of Science degree-level program builds upon an existing certificate in Data Analytics, and will be offered both in an online format and on campus,” Fleischman said. “Graduates of the program will have outstanding job prospects and excellent starting salaries as corporate partners continue to express the need for graduates with a background in programming, data understanding, data preparation, and segmentations or clustering using the most relevant programming skills and best existing software.”

Fleischman also shared his enthusiasm for the new associate degree programs.

“The Associate of Arts in Community Leadership offers students an opportunity to pursue an intentional career path working with social and community service agencies, and focuses on learning, practicing and implementing research, inquiry and leadership skills,” the provost said. “We’re very excited about this program, which is not available at other institutions.”

The Associate in Applied Science in Computer Information Technology will use existing coursework in the Computer Information Systems and Computer Information Technology Bachelor of Science programs. According to Fleischman, the curriculum will offer a seamless transition for students to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

“Similar to the Associate of Arts in Community Leadership, this degree has potential to attract new students and provides a good opportunity for students to pursue a stem-related degree,” he said.

Trustees approved seven individuals as the newest members of The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors. The new directors include alumnus Matthew Bisset, of Southfield; alumna Jenifer Cutter, of Grand Rapids; alumna Denise Graves, of Brighton; alumna Dana King, of Oakland, California; Ferris Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Strategic Initiatives David Pilgrim, of Rockford; alumna Christine Visner, of Grand Rapids; and alumnus Russell Visner, of Grand Rapids. The Foundation Board approved recommending this slate of candidates to the Board of Trustees on Oct. 29.

In other Dec. 17 action, the trustees approved: 

Eight sabbatical requests for the 2021-22 academic year as recommended by the administration;

  • The FY21 and FY22 portion of the University’s Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance Phase III five-year plan including the retention of professional design, construction management and other services as required;

  • three appointments to the boards of directors of FSU-authorized charter school academies, reauthorization of Clara B. Ford Academy, based in Dearborn Heights; Hope Academy of West Michigan, in Grand Rapids; and Voyageur Academy, in Detroit, through June 30, 2027; and

  • elimination of the Bachelor of Science in Marketing Education at the end of the 2021-22 academic year with the immediate closing of admittance to the program. With changes in state teacher certification, this program is no longer eligible for approval by the Michigan Department of Education.

The current trustees are chair Amna P. Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; vice-chair Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Grand Rapids; secretary Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; member-at-large LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe; George K. Heartwell, of Newaygo; Kurt A. Hofman, of Grand Rapids; and Ronald E. Snead, of Stanwood.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees is Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, scheduled for the Big Rapids campus. Committee meetings begin at 10 a.m. followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m.