Friday, September 18, 2009

Ferris In The News

The Engineering of Energy

Some colleges in West Michigan – including Grand Valley State, Western Michigan and Ferris State universities – look to build a better mousetrap by approaching alternative and renewable energies from an engineering standpoint, reports MiBiz in its Knowledge Quarterly. At Ferris, the College of Engineering Technology will introduce two new bachelor’s degree programs in Fall 2010 – one in architecture and sustainability, and another in energy systems engineering. According to Ron McKean, CET associate dean, the energy systems engineering degree will prepare graduates for work in renewable and alternative energies, and in particular, getting power to the grid. “The elephant in the room is distribution of power,” McKean said. “There’s a lot of international interest in that program.” In this regard, he believes these fields will need workers highly skilled in design. Read more at

Local Law Enforcement Raise Money for Special Olympics

Police officers from the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, along with Ferris State University DPS officers and students from the university’s Criminal Justice program, participated in the annual Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run Thursday through downtown Big Rapids, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. The annual run raises funds benefitting local Special Olympians in their athletic endeavors. This year, the event raised approximately $1,500, said organizer and retired Big Rapids police chief Kevin Courtney. “The entire law enforcement profession is about service. Often times, we see things at their very worst during our service,” he said. “This run allows officers to stay centered and see the positive affect their work has on the community.”

Hughes Participates in Knowledge Roundtable on LEED Buildings

Mike Hughes, associate vice president for Physical Plant, took time to discuss LEED buildings with MiBiz for its Knowledge Quarterly. Hughes joined the table with peers from other area colleges and universities to discuss current policies and the changing demands of campus life on university structures. At Ferris, we’ve incorporated LEED certification goals into the Campus Facility Master Plan, Hughes said. “For example, our goal is to achieve a LEED silver rating for newly-constructed campus buildings and major renovations of existing facilities,” he explained. While no buildings on campus are currently LEED certified, Hughes noted new construction, such as East Campus Suites and the Michigan College of Optometry, will be LEED certified.

Be Sure To Tune In On Thursdays For "Ferris State Live"

BIG RAPIDS - Tune in to Fox 32 on Thursday nights at 10:30 p.m. to check out the "Ferris State Live" television show following the local evening news broadcast.

"Ferris State Live" is a new Ferris State University public affairs show broadcasted across northern Michigan through a partnership with Cadillac-based Fox 32. The show is co-hosted by Leah Nixon, assistant director of News Services at Ferris; Scott Roman, a local radio personality and veteran television host; and Sandy Gholston, a marketing specialist at Ferris, who additionally serves as the show’s executive producer. The show is produced by senior students in the Television and Digital Media Production program under the direction of TDMP assistant professor Glen Okonoski.

"Ferris State Live" features interviews with faculty, staff, students and other members of the campus community at Ferris. The first show, which aired Thursday (Sept. 17), spotlighted Ferris President David Eisler and FSU Vice President and General Counsel Miles Postema. President Eisler discussed the past, present and future of Ferris while Postema talked about the great activities that were a part of Founders’ Day and the planning that has gone into celebrating the 125th anniversary of the founding of Ferris State University.

In the debut show, Roman and Gholston wrapped up with a discussion about news and sports on the Ferris campus.

In addition to the guests, there will be a segment devoted to news and sports on campus to bring viewers up to speed on the latest happenings at Ferris State University.

While the show will be featured on Fox 32, Thursday nights at 10:30 p.m., it also ultimately will be available online through streaming on the Ferris State University Web site.

"Ferris State Live" is a collaborative effort between University Advancement and Marketing and TDMP.

We hope you will tune in for the first of many episodes of "Ferris State Live."

If you have any ideas for show topics please send your thoughts to Sandy Gholston via e-mail at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ferris In The News

Blues and BBQ to Rock Ferris This Weekend

Ferris State University’s Student Government and Dining Services are presenting the second annual Blues and BBQ from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 19) in Lot 36 (Top Taggart Field parking lot). The event will feature the tunes of Big Daddy Fox and the Krewe and a barbecue competition prior to Ferris’ football showdown with Grand Valley, reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. Blues and BBQ began in 2008 to raise scholarship money in memory of a Ferris student. “Given that it was a downpour during last year’s event, we still managed to raise $5,000,” said SGA President Claire Gould. “We expect to have about 8,000 people in attendance this year. There’s been a big buzz about the event this year based on last year’s success.” In addition to BBQ, there also will be hamburgers and hotdogs. Admission is $8 for Ferris students, $10 for adults and free for children 10 and younger. Patrons will receive $1 off by brining a non-perishable food item for Project Starburst. Proceeds from the event will benefit the scholarship fund.

125th Anniversary Coffee Table Book Now on Sale

For 125 years, Ferris State University has built a tradition of educating and training students to meet the challenges of the workforce. A new coffee table book, “Ferris State University: The First 125 Years,” chronicles Ferris’ history and its progression from Big Rapids Industrial School to the university it is today, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. The book is available for purchase at the Lundberg Bookstore on campus, Great Lakes Book and Supply, the Old Pioneer Store and Emporium, and Ferris Ice Arena Pro Shop, and costs $24.95. Order online at Proceeds from the book will benefit Opportunity@125, an initiative marking Ferris’ 125th anniversary and designed to raise scholarship funds for students.

Ferris Welding Program Receives ABET Accreditation

The Welding Engineering Technology Bachelor of Science program at Ferris State University is the only program in the country to be accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc., reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. “This accreditation just validates the quality of our welding Engineering Technology program,” College of Engineering Technology Associate Dean Ron McKean said. Accreditation is a voluntary peer-review process that requires programs to undergo periodic evaluations conducted by individuals working in industry, government, academia and private practice. ABET is the recognized accrediter for college and university programs. “The ABET accreditation is the culmination of a programmatic direction that began 10 years ago involving our advisory board, employers, alumni and faculty to establish measure and achieve nationally-recognized outcomes and objectives,” said Ken Kuk, Ferris WET professor.

Ferris Students Remember 9/11

It was eight years ago Friday, but Sept. 11, 2001, still seems like yesterday for Ferris State University student Craig LaForge. The Reed City resident, 17 at the time, had just enlisted in the Army. His entire life changed after the events that shook America, reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. “My first thought was that I was going to war,” he said. LaForge eventually served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2005, and today remains a member of the Army National Guard. While LaForge’s recollections of Sept. 11 were different than most of his peers at Ferris, many students in professor Rick Griffin’s International Organizations class discussed the events of that day. The intention of stepping back from the normal lesson plan to have an open forum for discussion was to keep the events and aftermath of Sept. 11 fresh in students’ minds, Griffin said. Student Courtney Brock, 16 when the events of Sept. 11 occurred, likened 9/11 to an event that changed her mother’s life years before. “My mom talks about how she can remember exactly what she was doing and wearing when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to explain to my children why something like Sept. 11 happened, but it did have a devastating effect on everyone’s lives. Watching those planes fly into buildings and seeing people jump out of windows isn’t something you can forget.”

Ferris Steps Up to the Challenge: 125 Hours for 125 Years

Volunteering gets a competitive edge as Ferris State University’s Volunteer Center kicks off the Initiative 125 Service Challenge, which runs Aug. 31, 2009 through April 23, 2010, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. The idea for the service challenge was brought to the attention of the Student Leadership and Activities managers by Mary Kay MacIver and Ferris’ History Task Force. “The Initiative 125 Service Challenge is based on the belief of our founders, Woodbridge and Helen Ferris, that the world improved over time through human endeavor. This initiative provides an opportunity for Ferris faculty, staff, students, alumni and area members to honor them and our 125th anniversary by making a lasting impact in their communities as a result of their volunteer efforts,” said MacIver, associate director for Advancement Services. Challenging the entire campus to take initiative by serving the local community, Ferris continues the trend of volunteerism it started 125 years ago.

Ferris Officials Report Record Fall Enrollment

Students are back and the campus is bustling at Ferris State University, where officials are reporting another record fall enrollment. Ferris officials report there are 13,865 students enrolled systemwide, reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. “As Ferris celebrates its 125th anniversary of providing educational opportunities, these enrollment numbers are an exceptional start to the year,” said Fritz Erickson, Ferris provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Strong enrollment growth systemwide demonstrates Ferris is offering courses that will prepare the future leaders of Michigan who in turn will help invigorate the state’s economy.” Dean of Enrollment Services Kristen Salomonson noted the regular philosophy at Ferris is to merge classroom learning with practical experience. This, coupled with small class sizes and personal attention from faculty and staff, is reassuring to parents and students, she said. The Ferris family is committed to its mission of ensuring educational opportunities for all students, Ferris Director of Financial Aid Rob Wirt said. Financial Aid has increased 11 percent from $68.2 million in Fall 2008 to $75.9 million this fall.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ferris Honors Dr. Robert Parsons, Criminal Justice Professor Emeritus

PictureBIG RAPIDS – Dr. Robert L. Parsons’ name is synonymous with law enforcement education and training throughout the United States.

To honor the man who has dedicated his career to the education and training of police officers, Ferris State University Thursday announced it is naming the university’s firearms training range The Dr. Robert L. Parsons Law Enforcement Training Center.

“When people think about a university they think about education, but universities are also about people,” Ferris President David Eisler said. “Dr. Parsons’ impact on the Criminal Justice program and the law enforcement profession is still evident today. Ferris State University has the premier Criminal Justice program in the state and he is the linchpin that made this occur.”

Parsons, Ferris professor emeritus, founded the university’s Criminal Justice program in 1972. In addition to building a strong academic program from which more than 3,000 students have graduated, he also worked tirelessly to secure grant funding to strengthen the training opportunities for future and current police officers.

He is credited with securing more than $8 million for Ferris to use in offering training and weapons certification at the firearms training range for Michigan Police Corps cadets. Parsons also garnered more than $250,000 for the Central West Michigan Law Enforcement Training Consortium, which he began 15 years ago.

“When criminal justice professionals refer to the Ferris State University Law Enforcement Program, they often call it the premiere program in Michigan,” said Michelle Johnston, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, under which the Criminal Justice program is housed. “Dr. Parsons is the founder of the program and to him we owe our gratitude. Not only did he have a vision of excellence for developing professional law enforcement officers, he found a way to implement and sustain that vision.”

For the complete version of the story, visit the Ferris State University News Services Web site at