Ferris Board of Trustees Approves International Agreements, Grants, Renovations

pictureBIG RAPIDS – The Ferris State University Board of Trustees approved three international agreements during the board's regular meeting Friday, Nov. 7.

Educational cooperation agreements with Otemon Gakuin University in Japan and Hubei Polytechnic University in China were approved along with an agreement for cooperation and exchange with the Kuwait Cultural Office.

The five-year agreements between Otemon Gakuin and Hubei Polytechnic will provide opportunities for Japanese and Chinese students to study at Ferris, and for Ferris students to study in Japan or China. The three-year agreement between Ferris and the Kuwait Cultural Office will provide opportunities for Ferris to host Kuwait-sponsored students.

"The purpose of these agreements is to enhance the educational experiences and cultural understanding of students from both institutions," Ferris' Acting Vice President for Student Affairs Dan Burcham said.

Currently, the university has partnerships for semester-long study with 15 foreign higher education institutions in such countries as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, among others, he said, adding more than 120 Ferris students studied away during the 2007-08 academic year. During that same time, international students from more than 35 countries attended Ferris.

Terms of the five-year agreements are Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2013, between Ferris and Otemon Gakuin, and Dec. 1, 2008, through Dec. 1, 2013, between Ferris and Hubei Polytechnic. Ferris' three-year agreement with the Kuwait Cultural Office is Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2011.

The board also voted to approve two educational grants, including the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Grant, and the Michigan Center for Career and Technical Education Grant.

There is $223,418 in funding included in the Perkins grant, with Ferris matching $215,000, that will be used for academic support services and equipment purchases for the university's two-year occupational programs, College of Technology Dean Tom Oldfield said.

The Perkins funding is a recurring grant based on the number of Pell Grant recipients studying in Ferris' two-year occupational programs, with the university submitting an application for the funding yearly, he said. Such programs benefiting from the grant in the past include Radiography, Automotive Technology and Industrial Chemistry Technology.

"Ferris is committed to providing students with a real-world education that provides a seamless transition from the classroom to the workforce," Ferris President David Eisler said. "Funding programs such as the Perkins grant help strengthen learning opportunities in the classroom for Ferris students."

Funding for the MCCTE grant includes $359,850.

Trustees also approved Phase V of the Classroom Renovation Project, with a total projected cost not to exceed $970,000. To date, 63 classrooms and laboratories have been updated as part of the project.

In other business, the board approved the following:
  • A final 2009 general fund operating budget of $172 million, which includes $50 million in state funding – a 1 percent state funding increase over Fiscal Year 2008;
  • Endorsement and immediate implementation of the university's strategic plan. More information about the strategic plan is available at www.ferris.edu/president/strategic;
  • Renaming the College of Technology the College of Engineering Technology to more accurately reflect current and projected programs within the college;
  • The 2009 Motorcycle Safety Training Program Grant in the amount of $156,360. Training will include 53 21-hour courses to approximately 677 individuals from Oct. 1, 2008, through Sept. 30, 2009;
  • Professional services contracts that include:
    • Hiring Greystone Global, LLC/John Berry, Design West Michigan to strengthen connections between Kendall College of Art and Design and industry professionals, as well as respond to current trends and demands of design education through development of an undergraduate program;
    • Retaining a Washington, D.C.-based organization or individual to represent the university's interests at the federal level;
    • Contracting with Plas Legal Services to provide up to 1,600 legal services hours annually;
    • Submitting requests for proposals for a signage consultant to assist in conducting an inventory of all exterior campus signage and to facilitate a four-year phased implementation approach to replacing all exterior signs;
    • Contracting with Hubbell, Roth and Clark, Inc. for civil engineering services for Fiscal Year 2009 parking lot, roads and sidewalk repair projects;
    • Retaining Parsons to inspect, analyze data and update the electronic facility condition database for Ferris' Physical Plant;
    • Hiring the services of STV Architects to assist with renovations to the South Campus Green in coordination with the renovation of the Rock Café;
    • Executing the professional services agreement with Michigan State University for clinical pharmacy services two days a week at Sparrow Clinic, where Ferris has clinical placements;
    • Hiring Delphin International for curricular re-design services for the College of Pharmacy, which must meet new accreditation standards;
    • Contracting with Peak Positions for additional Web marketing services;
  • Charter school board appointments including Daniel George, Creative Technologies Academy in Cedar Springs, through June 30, 2011; Holly Lehman, Creative Technologies Academy, through June 30, 2012; and Authur Evans, Northridge Academy in Flint, through June 30, 2011.

07 November, 2008