Cultural Diversity and Our Students:

Making Connections with the Grand Rapids Communities Our Students Call Home

Friday, September 28, 2012
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Grand Rapids ChurchFerris State University is becoming a more culturally and globally diverse community. This increased diversity has occurred due to the intentional efforts to establish and sustain relationships with communities, internationally and locally. These relationships have led to new connections and at times new dis-connections from our student body. The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning believes that connecting with the various communities that our students call home is as vital for effective teaching as being up-to-date on classroom technology.

Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership AcademyGrand Rapids is a very important part of the Ferris community, as many of our students come from Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS). The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and the Center for Latino Studies are offering an opportunity to connect with three of the communities that enhance the cosmopolitan culture of Ferris State University. This learning experience will be led by Tony Baker, Professor of Sociology, Interim Director of the Center for Latino Studies, and a GRPS School Board member.

Messiah Missionary Baptist ChurchMembers of the Ferris State University faculty (tenure and non-tenure track alike) and staff are invited to participate. Transportation will be provided by the Center for Latino Studies and Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, co-sponsors of this event. Participants are asked to contribute, if possible, $5.00 toward the cost of lunch.

If you wish to attend or just meet us in Grand Rapids, please RSVP to or call 231.591.3826.

The day’s agenda is found below.

Agenda for Friday, September 28, 2012

9:00   Depart from Williams Auditorium Parking Lot
10:15   Arrive at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy, a pre-K to 8 school of Grand Rapids Public Schools, located on the South East Side of Grand Rapids. Principal Tricia Mathis and GRPS Communications Director John Helmholdt will lead a tour of the school and discuss how this is one of GRPS’ most successful schools.
Noon   Travel to lunch in the South West Side Grandville (Cesar E. Chavez) Avenue area. We will eat lunch at a neighborhood restaurant and join staff of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.
Noon   Visit the Hispanic Center and meet with Gerry Aguilar and Mario Alfaro. We will discuss the challenges and assets of this bilingual, multi-cultural community. The Hispanic Center is a major partner of Ferris’ efforts to increase community collaborations and works directly with Ferris’ Center for Latino Studies.
2:30   Arrive at Kendall College of Art and Design and Ferris’ new downtown facility at the “Old Federal Building.” We will meet with David Rosen, the new President of Kendall for a brief tour of the new campus facility and an introduction to the Grand Rapids Art Community. Kendall is also partnering with our efforts to better connect to diverse communities in Grand Rapids and West Michigan. This will be our launching point for a brief introduction to ArtPrize
3:00   ArtPrize Teaser. With over 1500 artists, this is just an introduction. For more info, visit:
4:00   Leave Grand Rapids for return trip to Big Rapids

 If you wish to join us in Grand Rapids, here are suggestions on parking: 

  • To join us at the beginning of the day, park on the street near the Leadership Academy
  • If you wish to meet us at the Hispanic Center, look for street parking on Grandville
  • If you wish to join us at Kendall or have others meeting you at ArtPrize, we recommend you park in one of the garages downtown.


If you wish to attend or just meet us in Grand Rapids, please RSVP to or call 231.591.3826. 

Photos from: and