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The Exceptional Merit Grant Award: Computer Information Technology

by Leilani Sigsbey
Student Marketing and Communication Assistant
The Ferris Foundation

Dr. Katie Kalata is always looking for unconventional approaches to increase participation and success for the students in her Information Systems (ISYS) 321-Business Information Systems class. As an associate professor of Computer Information Technology at Ferris State University, one of her goals is for her students to use what they have learned in class by combining critical thinking and collaboration with classmates.

Kalata recognized that the current curriculum for this class needed to be updated to be sure students who complete the course are competitive and ready to work in today’s business environment. One of the updates that Kalata and her colleague Dr. Feliz Bollou proposed was investing in Enterprise Resource Planning simulation (ERPSIM) software. This ERPSIM software, offered by SAP, a leading software company, allows students a hands-on experience and the opportunity to apply their learnings to real-world scenarios. SAP technology is used in 99 of the 100 largest companies in the world.

To cover the costs associated with the licensing and materials of implementing this system, Kalata was awarded the Exceptional Merit Grant from The Ferris Foundation. The award provided funding for the system through the summer of 2023, allowing the program to develop new funding partnerships with businesses and alumni. 

Since implementing the system, Kalata has already seen positive outcomes for the students, as academic participation and scores have doubled. There is also interest in using this software in additional courses in her department. 

According to Kalata’s proposal, another benefit of this software is that it provides an opportunity for student recruitment by showing them how Ferris is a leader in preparing students for their future careers by helping them stay relevant in today’s data-driven world. 

As an educator, Kalata is excited to offer a unique teaching technique at Ferris. “We are using the technology that’s used in a company,” she says, “Students understand the technology better and can see how they can impact business.”