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Trustees Approve New Degree Programs and Extend President's Contract

Ferris State UniversityAt its regular meeting on Friday, May 8, in Big Rapids, the Ferris State University Board of Trustees approved four new academic degree programs and extended the contract for President David L. Eisler.

The board approved a Bachelor of Science in Spanish for the Professions and the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Chemistry with concentrations in Manufacturing Science and Fermentation Science for the College of Arts, Sciences and Education and a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management for the College of Business.

The trustees extended the contract for Eisler, which runs five years, through June 30, 2020. In doing so, they increased his salary 2.25 percent to $263,302. Eisler is in his 12th year of serving as president of Ferris.

Board Chair Paul Boyer spoke to the trustees’ annual evaluation of President Eisler's leadership.

“We are again very impressed with the president’s accomplishments over this past year,” Boyer said. “We especially appreciate his fiscal control, advocacy for the university’s strategic plan and focus on reducing student debt. We are very pleased David is president of Ferris State University.”

The Bachelor of Science in Spanish for the Professions is consistent with Ferris’ recognition of the importance of bilingual personnel in fields such as criminal justice, education, engineering, healthcare and more. Although designed as a stand-alone degree, the degree complements Ferris’ existing technical and professional degree programs. The new major will use current Spanish course offerings and other cultural courses offered by other departments. Future courses will include Spanish and Culture for the Professions, Internship in Spanish, a senior capstone and profession-specific courses for the business, medical and social services career fields. Other opportunities related to the new degree include community-based experiences in partnership with Ferris’ Center for Latin@ Studies and the university’s Latino Business and Economic Development Center.

The Manufacturing concentration, which includes an internship, will provide in-depth experience with the chemical industry and a larger set of career options than the Associate of Applied Science degree program. The Fermentation concentration will position graduates to pursue career paths in in beer, wine, food (including cheese), and commercial and industrial fermentation. The university’s plan is to begin enrolling students in the programs at the start of the Fall 2015 semester.

Labor data for Michigan indicates that the number of chemical technician job postings that require a bachelor’s degree increased by 75.68 percent from 2011 to 2013.

Trustees also approved several degree closures: Bachelor of Arts in Communication with Community Leadership concentration, Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a Public Advocacy Concentration, Bachelor of Science and the Applied Speech Communication with Community Leadership concentration. Students currently enrolled in the closed programs will have an opportunity to complete their degree requirements.

Among other action, the trustees approved:

  • the administration’s request to enter into articulation agreements with Baocheng Education Group in Dalian, China, and its partner colleges, to identify, promote and develop existing Ferris degree academic programs for potential delivery in China. The partnership would allow students at the Chinese partner colleges to earn a Ferris baccalaureate degree by completing the final year of their baccalaureate program at Ferris;

  • eight appointments and three reappointments of members of the boards of directors of Ferris-authorized charter school academies; and

  • charter contract extension for Voyageur Academy, in Detroit, and a contract amendment for the addition of pre-kindergarten at Connor Creek Academy East in Roseville, Mich.

The trustees are chair Paul E. Boyer, of Ada; vice chair Erin R. Brown, of East Lansing; secretary Lori Gwizdala, of Bay City; immediate past chair Gary L. Granger, of Byron Center; Alisha M. Baker, of Mount Clemens; Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Rockford; Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; and Arthur L. Tebo, of Walloon Lake.

The next regular meeting of the trustees is Tuesday, July 7 via conference call. Committee meetings are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m. The next in-person meeting is Friday, Oct. 9 in Grand Rapids.