President's Message to Campus - Oct. 9, 2020

Higher Learning Commission Site Visit

On Tuesday the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Peer Review team concluded its two-day site visit as part of the University’s reaffirmation of accreditation. The Peer Review team met virtually via Zoom with the campus community to hear about the ways we meet or exceed the HLC’s five criteria for accreditation. There was an excellent turnout for multiple meetings from faculty, staff and students, with some sessions having 125 or more participants. I cannot recall this occurring before on an accreditation visit. Thank you to everyone who attended and shared their insight and experiences.

In the exit meeting Dr. Susan Rydell, the chair of the visiting team, provided four observations that I want to share with you –

  • Growing sense of unity between Kendall College of Art and Design and Ferris. KCAD is well positioned within the University. 
  • Building culture of assessment and “we know you have the momentum to continue.” 
  • Strong sense of collaboration across the University. Diversity and Inclusion may be highlighted as an example. 
  • Supportive Board of Trustees, engaged in all key aspects of the institution, including KCAD. 

In approximately four weeks, the University will receive an initial report from the Peer Review team. At that time, we will have the ability to review the report for any factual errors before it is sent to the Higher Learning Commission. We look forward to receiving this report which will identify areas of strength, areas where improvement is needed and recommendations for the University.

This week’s site visit was a culmination of extraordinary work done by the HLC Leadership Team, the HLC Steering Committee, the HLC Criterion Committees and many, many others. Including the Quality Initiative Project, this review was four years of preparation. Thousands of hours of time and energy went into this effort. Your work here is a source of great pride for our University. We already have improved as a university and we will use the findings of this review to guide continued growth and improvement at Ferris State University.

I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to everyone who dedicated their efforts to help move Ferris forward through this process. The following are some of the many people who have made significant contributions to this process.

  • Leadership Team members Jeff Ek, Jennifer Hegenauer, Tara McCrackin and Mandy Seiferlein 
  • Assurance Argument Editors Tina Arduini and Sandy Balkema
  • Evidence leads David Bright, Heather Pavletic and Jerome Trouba
  • Visit Logistics Planning Team members Angela Dow, Angie Hollister and Jason Swearingen 
  • Steering Committee members Jason Bentley, Mitzi Day, Angela Dow, Tom Dowling, Steve Durst, Bobby Fleischman, John Globoker, Mike Grandy, Donna Green, Alison Konieczny, Jon Moroney, Anne Norcross, Steve Reifert, Angela Roman, Mark Thomson and Jeanine Ward-Roof
  • Criterion co-chairs Jason Bentley, Tom Dowling, Melinda Isler, Gayle Lopez, Jon Moroney, Susan Owens, Steve Reifert, Angela Roman and Mandy Seiferlein
  • Assumed Practices and Federal Compliance co-chairs Leah Monger and Jim Woolen
  • Criterion committee members Michele Albright, Stacy Anderson, Sara Bush, Angela Buys, Nick Campau, Sally DePew, Angela Dow, Mark Dunneback, Bob Ewigleben, Justin Faris, Eric Fradette, Clifton Franklin, Emily Fransted, Heather Girand, John Globoker, Jocelyn Goheen, Deanna Goldthwait, Amy Greene, Gheretta Harris, Joe Haupt, Mary Holmes, Emmanuel Jadhav, David McClendon, Tara McCrackin, Lisa Meny, Jeremy Mishler, Brooke Moore, Anne Norcross, Jody Ollenquist, Victor Piercey, Kylie Piette, Joy Pulsifer, Theresa Raglin, Fran Rosen, Kristen Salomonson, Todd Stanislav, Mandy Sterly, Maureen Wawsczyk, Greg Wellman, Kathryn Wolfer, Vanessa Wyss and Marie Yowtz 
  • Assumed Practices Committee members Kristin Conley, Rachael Jones, Nathan Leatherman, Kristy Myers, Brett Schuelke, Christi Swank and Mark Vanlent
  • Federal Compliance Committee members Elise Gramza, Jody Greco, Joy Pulsifer and Trinidy Williams

With any listing of this nature it is difficult to capture each name. If you were omitted in this, please contact me so I may also acknowledge your contributions. Thank you for your work on this important review.


The Strategic Planning and Resource Council will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 13, from 3 to 5 p.m. via Zoom. Agenda topics include – 

  • Higher Learning Commission site visit recap (Jeff Ek, Jennifer Hegenauer, Mandy Seiferlein)
  • Continued development of the Ferris Forward strategic plan metrics (Bobby Fleischman, David Pilgrim)
  • Collecting efforts on the strategic plan (Franklin Hughes, David Pilgrim)
  • COVID-19 update (Jeanine Ward-Roof) 

SPARC is open to all. You are invited and encouraged to attend and participate. Please connect and share your thoughts and ideas on these timely topics. Please e-mail Terri Cook for more information and the Zoom login credentials.

Pat-on-the-Back Awards

Each month the FSU Pride Committee publishes nominated individuals for their exceptional work or going above and beyond. This past month’s Pat-on-the Back awards listing was filled with numerous examples of people in our University community helping their colleagues and coworkers. It is wonderful to see these positive acts of kindness and support. Throughout the pandemic we have continued to rise to the challenge and to be there for our friends, colleagues and students.

Pat-on-the-Back Awards are given monthly. If there is someone you would like to nominate, please send your request to [email protected].

Closing Thoughts

Six weeks have passed since we began the Fall 2020 semester amidst a global pandemic and continued uncertainties surrounding COVID-19. Your efforts are critical to overcome these challenges and to create successful learning and living experiences for our students. Careful attention to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols has helped us keep the University open and accessible in Phase 3 of our re-entry plan. Thank you for making this success possible.

As we move forward through the semester, it is important to support the emotional and mental wellness of our students. This is an important priority, as our students continue to experience unique challenges through this pandemic. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to our students, to check on them and to help them connect to people and organizations across campus. I am grateful for your efforts.

Kindness, compassion and understanding make an important difference. This week, members across the campus community came together to create care packages for our students in isolation or quarantine.  Thoughtful acts of kindness, no matter how big or small, can go a long way. Our students need us now more than ever. When you have an opportunity please take time to make a difference for them.

Thank you for all you are doing to help our students succeed and further their education at Ferris State University. 

David L. Eisler, president