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Ferris' Plastics and Rubber Programs Experience Enrollment Growth

Ferris State UniversitySince 2010, Ferris State University’s Plastics and Rubber engineering technology programs continue to experience student enrollment growth.

Last fall, 38 students were enrolled. One year later, that enrollment total was nearly doubled to 70 by the start of the Fall 2013 semester, said Robert Speirs, professor and program coordinator for the Plastics and Rubber engineering technology programs. Speirs noted that prior to this fall semester; enrollment numbers grew steadily from 28 students, in 2010; to 34, in 2011; and 38, in 2012.

“These positive enrollment numbers reflect the hard work of our faculty and administrative staff. The Plastics and Rubber engineering technology programs recruit and retain high-caliber students pursuing a Ferris degree,” Speirs said. “As we look toward the future, we will continue to work collaboratively to introduce as many people as we can to the wonderful career opportunities that are available to them with a degree from Ferris.”

Speirs pointed to several potential factors for this year’s enrollment growth. The Ferris programs partnered with the Society of Plastics Engineers’ “Plastivan,” an educational outreach program noted for its visits to Michigan schools to create awareness of polymers. Additionally, the programs have five faculty members: Speirs, Steve Wolfer, professor; Matthew Yang, associate professor; Larry Langell, associate professor; and Greg Conti, associate professor. The faculty host career days on the Ferris campus each semester. These events typically welcome 100 to 200 high school students each semester who learn more about the program and career opportunities with a degree from Ferris.

“Graduates from the Plastics and Rubber programs enter the field as process engineers, project engineers, and design engineers, manufacturing supervisors or managers,” Speirs said. “Many graduates are promoted to middle-or top-level managers within a few years.”

Ferris’ Bachelor of Science in Plastics Engineering Technology degree is the only one of its kind in the Great Lakes region, and one of just five in the U.S. The Rubber Engineering Technology Bachelor of Science degree is the only one of its kind in the world. The internship opportunities for students pursuing these degrees reinforce the university’s “hands-on” education approach demonstrated in these two Ferris programs.

“Graduates of these programs enjoy a wealth of respect from the industry and can expect the 100-percent employment placement to continue well into the future,” Speirs said. “The Plastics and Rubber industry supports the graduates from the Plastics and Rubber programs at Ferris State University because they have seen them enter the field with skills to allow them to not only succeed but improve the industry.”