Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ferris In The News

Growing community colleges need leadership; Ferris aims to fill need with doctoral program

Community college enrollment is hitting record levels in Grand Rapids and elsewhere, and Ferris State University leaders say there’s a growing need for people to lead those schools as they grow, the Grand Rapids Press reports. Ferris trustees approved creating a doctoral program for community college administrators, planning to focus on the special needs at two-year institutions. “We’re seeing a real explosion in the number of community college students,” said Fritz Erickson, Ferris’ provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “The reality is that the road out of our economic problems in our state and country is going to be education, and we’re going to need more people to run these institutions.” Experts say such programs are growing in number. The University of Michigan is the only other state university with a community college program, but it focuses on research instead of administration. George Boggs, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, consulted with Ferris staff members as they designed the course. Read more at

West Michigan’s three largest universities offer health benefits to employees’ unmarried partners

With Ferris State University adopting the measure last year, west Michigan’s three largest universities soon will offer health insurance benefits to unmarried partners of employees. The Ferris Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a letter of agreement with its faculty association, its largest union, in December, reports the Grand Rapids Press. The board also allowed the administration to enter into similar agreements with other employee unions if requested. The policy also applies to administrative staff as of Jan. 1. The benefit is provided regardless of the partner’s gender who will be classified as “Other Eligible Adult.” Last year, Grand Valley State University extended benefits to unmarried couples. In January 2009, Western Michigan University began a three-year pilot program. Jim Rumpf, president of the Ferris Faculty Association, said the benefit was important to members and had been discussed the better part of 2009. The group has 450 full-time members, plus adjunct faculty. Read more at

Borth Receives Dorothy Beardmore Service to Education Award

David Borth, chair of the Network of Michigan Educators, has been presented with the State Board of Education’s Dorothy Beardmore Service to Education Award. Borth, of Big Rapids, also is the director of the Hawthorn Learning Center, adjunct professor at Ferris State University, and former administrator for Big Rapids Public Schools, Newswire reports. The award is named after the late Dorothy Beardmore, past president and member of the State Board of Education from 1985-2001. It is given to the person whose efforts on behalf of education and education reform are deemed to be of outstanding benefit to the quality of education for all Michigan students. “David has spent a lifetime volunteering, is an outstanding Big Rapids community member who is well respected and continues through his service to make a great impact on education for the children, youth, and families of Big Rapids and Mecosta and Osceola Counties,” said State Board of Education President Kathleen N. Straus. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan expressed thanks to Borth for his work with the Network of Michigan Educators. “David provides great leadership to this collection of the elite educators in the state,” Flanagan said. “We count on his experience and input when discussing education policy in Michigan.” Read more at,1607,7-136-3452-229058--,00.html.

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