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Provost Welcome

Greetings Ferris State University Community: 

As I begin my third academic year as your Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, I wish to thank you as students, faculty, and staff for selecting Ferris State University as your institution of choice. As your Chief Academic Officer, I look forward to our collaboration as we navigate on the other side of the unprecedented challenges presented by the pandemic and the resulting disruptions to our daily lives.

As I continue learning, even now, about our campus communities, I grow ever more impressed by the work of our colleagues and students across our divisions, colleges, and programs, from planning for re-enrollment of our students – to continuing the creation of new, innovative market-driven programs. In particular, the “Ferris Forward” focus on student success and the high priority we place on serving the needs of students inspires purpose and drives the teaching-learning environment so essential for our work. 

From planning for re-entry – to establishing new, innovative academic programs focused on workforce development and providing a quality education that prepares students for an ever-changing, dynamic world beyond the classroom – our Vice Presidents, Deans, faculty and staff stand out as committed, strategic, innovative, and accountable for the success of Ferris students, as well as our diverse range of stakeholders.

Alignment of Ferris’ strategic plan with the mission, vision and values of our institution provides a pivotal opportunity to shape an exciting future for the University and the students and families we serve. The impressive approach taken by the framers of the plan under the leadership of Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion, and Strategic Initiatives, Dr. David Pilgrim, continues to promise a bright and prosperous future with action steps, benchmarks, and accountabilities that promise to drive student success.

This year we have several exciting initiatives that lie ahead for Academic Affairs. We are in the process of organizing a representative team around drafting Ferris’s first-ever Academic Master Plan; we’re also continuing our work in partnership with EAB (formerly the Educational Advisory Board) on the Ferris Equity Initiative-Navigate (FEI-Navigate), which represents the institution’s single largest investment in diversity and is designed to close the achievement gap; and we’re focused on our five planning objectives for Academic Affairs:

  • On-boarding our new President, Dr. Bill Pink
  • Student Success
  • Enrollment
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Relationship and Partnership Building

As your Provost, I’m humbled by the honor to steward Ferris’ exceptional reputation for the liberal arts and proud history built on technical education and professional degree preparation. These distinctive assets will continue to provide a powerfully attractive foundation for our students, with special emphasis on a quality education that prepares graduates to enter a professional world of accelerating technological change. This constitutes a remarkable opportunity – for all of us – to make a pivotal difference through partnering.  Our spirited partnering will continue to shape a future for Ferris that serves our increasingly diverse student population and will bring sustainable distinction for Ferris among institutions within the state of Michigan, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

With the “Strategic Plan, 2019-2024,” I’m VERY excited for Academic Affairs and the role we play in “Moving Ferris Forward.” The strategic plan focuses on the following strategic directions including, but not limited to:

  • The addition of 3 market-driven degree programs every year;
  • An increase of 5% in student credit hours of online programming every academic year;
  • A total student headcount of 300 international students by 2024;
  • An annual increase of $1M annually in total grant funding;
  • Increase the # of students w/experience ships to 75%

In summary, please know how profoundly I welcome the journey ahead – in partnership with President Pink and the many dedicated and impressive members of our institution – to fulfill the vision, mission, and values of Ferris State University. Despite the enormous challenges we face, I look “Ferris Forward” to working with you to build upon and enhance the legacy of our founders, Woodbridge and Helen Ferris, and to co-create with you the next inspiring chapters in the distinguished history of Ferris State University.



Robert P. Fleischman, J.D., EdD.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Ferris State University