Ferris State University hosted its annual FerrisNow Conference at the University Center on March 18. The purpose of the conference is to promote strong partnerships between high schools, career and technical education centers, intermediate school districts and the University. Sixty-three representatives from Ferris’ secondary school partners were in attendance. There were 91 total attendees including Ferris faculty and staff.
“We’re always excited to host our FerrisNow partners at our annual conference to focus on college access for Michigan high school students,” commented DeeDee Stakley, the Director of Ferris’ Office of Transfer and Secondary School Partnerships. “FerrisNow partnerships provide direct collegial relationships between high schools and the university to create a seamless path to higher education for students.”
The FerrisNow Conference helps ensure the rigor of Ferris courses being offered in a high school or career and technical center setting and supports student learning. FerrisNow instructors attend meetings with their Ferris faculty liaisons about course curriculum, outcomes, assessment, learning objectives, and pedagogy.
“As someone who has just started, it was nice to meet with and collaborate with other FerrisNow instructors,” said Matt Whitman, a FerrisNow Criminal Justice instructor. “It was great meeting with the department head and learning about expectations. FerrisNow has opened our Van Buren Tech Center program up to so many resources that the School of Criminal Justice provides. It will make getting started easy.”
Dave McCall, a Ferris faculty member, noted the importance of these meetings. “The conference is a great opportunity to meet the newer FerrisNow instructors and collaborate with the returning instructors. I am able to get their feedback about the course they are teaching. We also share best practices for Blackboard, activities, and assignments. I listen to their ideas about the Career and Education Planning courses and make changes based on their input.”
Conference breakout sessions included information about teaching Generation Z, encouraging a college student identity among high school students, creating an inclusive class environment, using Esports in education, utilizing University library instruction, and strategies for integrating social and emotional learning in the classroom.
Lunch featured a visit from Dr. David Eisler, the University’s President, and a panel discussion. Panelists included representatives from Admissions, Educational Counseling and Disabilities Services, Ferris Library for Information Technology and Education, the Academic Support Center, and the Tuition Incentive Program.
“We are always happy to be continuing our partnership with Ferris because of the opportunities for our students,” said Travis Raspotnik, a FerrisNow engineering technology instructor at Kent Career Tech Center. “Providing college credits for our students improves the education level because we are going above and beyond the state standards to meet the college standards.”
The purpose of the FerrisNow program is to promote access to higher education and degree attainment among high school students. Ferris Now facilitates relationships and partnerships between K-12 and postsecondary partners and the faculty and staff at Ferris. Cultivating these types of relationships may help reduce a student’s time to obtain a college degree, therefore reducing the student’s college debt.
Presentations and pictures from the conference are available on the FerrisNow Conference website.