President's Message to Campus - Oct. 2, 2020

Executive Budget Update

After negotiations between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the state legislature, a $62.75 billion state budget was signed Wednesday by the Governor that includes positive news for Ferris State University. In the FY 2021 budget, which began yesterday, higher education funding was restored to the original levels in the FY 2020 budget, meaning the University’s operational allocation from the state remains essentially flat without additional operational funding cuts.  

Given the $3 billion budget shortfall the state was facing several months ago, I am grateful for this support for higher education during this incredibly challenging time. It is important to thank Gov. Whitmer and our legislature for their support for higher education and restoring our budget for the coming year. The bi-partisan cooperation of our legislative leaders and Governor Whitmer on the budget during this global pandemic is deeply appreciated. This support will help our University, and most importantly our students, to continue to move forward during this unprecedented time.

Higher Learning Commission Site Visit

On Monday, Oct. 5 and Tuesday, Oct. 6 the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will be performing its site review for the University’s reaffirmation of accreditation. It has been nearly 10 years since the University was comprehensively reviewed by the HLC. Many people have worked very hard in preparation for this site visit. Collectively many thousands of hours of effort have been invested into creating the Academic Literacies Center (a central effort of our Quality Improvement project), the development of our Assurance Argument and the 700+ documents linked to this. The purpose of accreditation is to demonstrate that we meet or exceed HLC standards, but just as importantly that we continue to improve and evolve as a university. I am confident this has occurred and am very grateful for the efforts of many members of our campus community in accomplishing this work.

The peer review team will be meeting virtually with faculty, staff and students to hear your experiences and perspectives. This team wants to learn from you the ways we meet or exceed the five criteria for accreditation. Please make time to join the peer review team and your colleagues at the following one-hour meetings scheduled via Zoom. You will need to register in advance for the open forums by clicking on the meetings below. 

Monday, Oct. 5

  • Criterion 3 & 4 Open Forum: Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support & Evaluation and Improvement, 2-2:50 p.m. 

Tuesday, Oct. 6

To prepare for this upcoming visit, the HLC Leadership Team has created a webpage that includes the 95-page Assurance Argument and summaries, in addition to other materials you may find useful. All are invited and highly encouraged to attend these open forums with the HLC peer review team.

Thank you to the HLC Leadership Team of Jeff Ek, Jennifer Hegenauer and Mandy Seiferlein for the incredible work done to move Ferris forward through this process. I encourage and appreciate your engagement and involvement in making this a successful site visit.

Good News

It is a pleasure to share some of the many items of Good News from across our University. These stories are an opportunity for all of us to be aware of the extraordinary achievements of our University community. There are many other successes in this month’s list, and you can access the complete list of Good News online. Please join me in congratulating the following faculty, staff and students for their outstanding accomplishments.

  • Cindy Fitzwilliams-Heck authored a textbook with Kendall Hunt Publishing Company entitled, “A Practical Guide to Nature Study.”
  • Jennifer Lamberts and Sky Pike published the review article “Purine molecules in Parkinson's disease: analytical techniques and clinical implications” in Neurochem International with undergraduate students Molly Von Seggern, Carlye Szarowicz, Matthew Swanson and Samantha Cavotta
  • Scott Herron and colleagues received an NSF grant entitled, “Build and Broaden Indigenous Agriculture and Food Sovereignty Symposium.”
  • Deeb Eid along with students Matt Hendricks and Nicole Bailey virtually presented their poster “Standard of Care: A Three Profession Survey of Healthcare State Agencies” at the 116thNational Association of Boards of Pharmacy annual meeting
  • Deeb Eid worked with colleagues from Wayne State and Meijer to launch the first-ever accredited training program for pharmacy technician immunization administration in Michigan.
  • Ben Pontefract and Eric Nybo, along with students Hong Ho and Alexandria Crain, published a paper “Drugs for Gram-Negative Bugs from 2010 - 2019:  A decade in review” in Open Forum Infectious Diseases
  • Eric Nybo, Michelle Sahr, Mark Young, Katie Axford, Minji Sohn, Margaret Lyons and Mike Klepser published a paper entitled “Design of a large scale escape room for first-year pharmacy student orientation” in Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning.
  • David Bright co-authored a paper entitled “Patient perceptions of pharmacogenomic testing in the community pharmacy setting” in Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy.
  • Minji Sohn, Dean Vanloo and Mike Klepser co-authored along with colleagues from Western Michigan University “Assessment of antibiotic use and concordance with practice guidelines within 3 diverse ambulatory clinic systems” in Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.
  • Kali VanLangen, with co-authors from Mercy Health St. Mary’s, published “Treatment of Asymptomatic Pyuria In Psychiatric Patients Discharged From the Emergency Department Following Antimicrobial Stewardship Implementation” in Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.
  • Eric Nybo and collaborators from the University of Turku, Finland, and student Katelyn Brown published a paper entitled “Pathway engineering of anthracyclines: Blazing trails in natural product glycodiversification” in the Journal of Organic Chemistry. 
  • Felix Amissah co-authored a paper along with former students Megan Van Baren and Kylee Jones entitled “Diclofenac Enhances Docosahexaenoic Acid-Induced Apoptosis in Vitro in Lung Cancer Cells” in the journal Cancers
  • Namita Giri authored two chapters in the book “Antimicrobial Resistance: Opportunities and Challenges.” 
  • Eric Nybo received a Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant award from the National Science Foundation for the project “BIOPOLYMER – BIObricks® POLYketide Metabolic EngineeRing platform" and an R15 Research Enhancement Award Program grant from the National Institution of Health for the project “Combinatorial biosynthesis and metabolism studies of novel tetracenomycins.”
  • Peter Bradley co-facilitated “Leading Honors in the Digital Age” for the National Collegiate Honors Council in New Orleans.
  • Patrick Bishop launched his new book “Wisdom of the Animals: A nature-led journey into the heart of transformational leadership.
  • Cheolwoo Lee published three papers: “Sustainability of Analyst Recommendations in Multiple Lead Underwriter IPOs” in Sustainability; “Centrality and Corporate Governance Decisions of Korean Chaebols: Social Network Approach” in the Pacific Basin Finance Journal; and “Multiple Credit Rating: Triple Rating under the Requirement of Dual Rating in Korea,” forthcoming in the journal Emerging Markets Finance and Trade.
  • Nancy Hogan published “Examining the relationship between supervisor trust and administration trust with job involvement among private prison staff” in Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society. 
  • Mike Janz was named to receive the United States Tennis Association Midwest Division’s Under 30 Award. 
  • Mark Wilson was selected to receive the Professional Golf Association Michigan Section’s Bill Strausbaugh award.  
  • Television and Digital Media Production received a $10,600 grant from the Higher Education Television Authority in Grand Rapids.
  • Ferris is the first Michigan college to have a salad robot. It serves “Brutus Bowls” offering 22 salad ingredients added fresh daily. 
  • Information Technology is testing “AppsAnywhere” with the School of Digital Media and the School of Built Environment, a software delivery and virtualization solution enabling Ferris to deliver any app to any device, on and off campus, for students.
  • The IT Solutions Center fall classroom readiness quality check came in at 99.6%.
  • Kendall’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Brown Bag Discussion Series featured David Pilgrim and the ways that racial imagery has been used in product marketing.
  • Kendall student Hannah Deschepper spent the summer completing a mural she was commissioned to create on a local rock-climbing wall.
  • Kendall student Lauren Fisher illustrated the latest release by local children’s book author Shiloh Carozza, “The Misadventures of Melvin the Missing Sock.”
  • Gayle DeBruyn wrote an op-ed for University World News describing why the world needs creative problem solvers, making the case for education that empowers students through design to reach across the boundaries that divide us and envision a bold new future.
  • Michele Bosak has created a pop-up gallery/project space called the Standard in her home with the intent of creating space for queer and BIPOC creatives who are untapped in Grand Rapids. 
  • The UICA partnered with the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia to organize a free virtual and interactive tour of the museum for UICA members.
  • Ferris’ Anti-Violence Alliance received a grant from the Dept. of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women to support continued efforts to strengthen the response to crimes of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. 
  • Enrollment Services received an $8,000 grant from the Michigan College Access Network to provide wireless access points to be installed or upgraded in Lots 1, 35 and 37.
  • The Ferris Grand Rapids Council hosted its fall service project and park clean-up, “Dawg Catcher,” at Millennium Park in Grand Rapids.
  • The Alumni Association awarded $34,500 to 31 recipients of the Ferris Alumni Legacy Scholarship. Recipients were sent a link to special video presentations to celebrate the students’ successes and their legacy at Ferris.
  • The Student Alumni Gold Club held its annual “Cover the Seal” event on the quad, raising more than $361 in support of a former SAGC alumnus who battled childhood cancer and was treated at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Ferris Forward Podcast

In January 2020 our office created a podcast, “Ferris Forward,” to highlight information about our University and higher education topics for our many constituents and supporters. With COVID-19 we took a hiatus for this in the spring but are pleased to bring this communication back to the campus and greater Ferris community.

This biweekly podcast features Ferris faculty, staff and students. I am hopeful this will continue to provide a way to engage our campus community, alumni, families, friends and benefactors. We relaunched the podcast on Wednesday with a segment titled “Moving Ferris Forward – Reaffirmation of Accreditation 2020.” This episode highlights the Higher Learning Commission Leadership Team and the work done to prepare for the upcoming site visit next week. If you have the opportunity, please listen when you have a few moments. If you have comments or suggestions on future podcast topics or guests, please e-mail me at [email protected].

David L. Eisler, president