German University Visits to Strengthen Existing Partnership with Ferris

Ferris State UniversityCollaborative efforts are already in place for Ferris State University and the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Science, based in Kleve, Germany. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, Rhine-Waal President Heide Naderer will lead a delegation to Big Rapids to consider further prospects for learning opportunities by meeting with their hosts from Ferris’ Office of International Education and its College of Business.

OIE Director Piram Prakasam said the collaborative efforts with their dynamic German partner, known as HochSchule Rhine Waal, began in 2013, when Manuel Abels, a Rhine-Waal student came to Ferris, joining the Office of International Education as a student worker. The Abels connection led to conversations with Philip Schorn, HSRW's associate dean of the School of Economics and Study and a faculty advisor, Gregor vonder Beek. Prakasam said Schorn and Rhine-Waal's director of its International Office, Joost Kleuters, join President Naderer in the visiting delegation.

“In 2016, we began offering a double-degree program for students in the College of Business, who earn their Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Ferris and Rhine-Waal’s Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Social Sciences,” Prakasam said. “Our discussion, this month, will explore proposals to create a joint degree, connecting economics, business administration, foreign policy and international relations. This combines the expertise in International Relations from Rhine-Waal and Ferris’ Business Administration training.”

Prakasam said officials from both schools will be pairing up elements from their respective curricula, with the prospect of developing a proposal on the joint degree for the administrations and governing bodies of both universities to consider.

“We have students on both campuses completing the double degree,” Prakasam said. “Jens Kaus, one of our graduates, is working for the German American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco. If the joint Political Economy program is approved, there would be real potential to gain two degrees in four years, while students benefit from all those experiences that result from studying abroad.”

Ferris’ established academic relationship with Rhine-Waal has developed into the most active student international exchange program on campus. Another aspect of the schools' collaborative efforts was the May 2017 Lighthouse Symposium for Business Educators, which was held on Ferris' campus.

“Ferris was the host school for the inaugural symposium which was held last May,” Prakasam said. “Rhine-Waal and our Dutch partner, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, were co-hosts. We were pleased to welcome participants from eight universities representing seven different countries.”

Prakasam also said Rhine-Waal will be the host school for the second annual College of Business Lighthouse Symposium, which will be held in April.

“We believe that the coming symposium will formalize the formation of our business school consortium," Prakasam said. “We are excited about the prospect of furthering our relationship and areas of cooperation.”


PHOTO CAPTION: Officials with Ferris State University’s Office of International Education and the College of Business will welcome a delegation from Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Paul Blake makes a presentation to a representative of the Kleve, Germany school, on the occasion of completing negotiations on a double degree, with Business Administration studies at Ferris, and International Business at Rhine-Waal. Ferris President David Eisler is pictured to the right.