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Wednesday, 04 January 2012 20:25

Crystal Ball 2012: More on Education

Written by  MiBiz Staff
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Thomas J. Haas
Grand Valley
State University

In 2012, Grand Valley State University is poised to do more of what our region depends upon us to do: produce human capital, strengthen our economic ties to the communities that host our campuses and create opportunity.

The value of a college degree has never been more apparent. Students and their families recognize this. Even as the economy stumbled in the recent past, enrollment at Grand Valley continues upward — for 29 years in a row. College graduates experience less unemployment, earn higher salaries and pay more in taxes. This benefits everyone because the most prosperous of the 50 states are those with the greatest number of college grads.

Our plans for the future include accommodating additional students. The Mary Idema Pew Library and Information Commons in Allendale and the L. William Seidman Center in Grand Rapids — home to the Seidman College of Business — together comprise more than $100 million in new construction — much of it financed with gifts from generous donors. These new facilities will enable us to admit more of the well-qualified students that seek a Grand Valley degree. And, while under construction, these projects will create hundreds of jobs right here in West Michigan.

Taxpayers will continue to earn a great return on their investment in Grand Valley. In the past decade, we’ve doubled the number of degrees awarded, dramatically reduced our operating costs per degree and helped our high-quality graduates find careers in Michigan. In coming years, we will add new degrees in programs that lead to real jobs in today’s economy. Health care, engineering, business and the sciences need more graduates than are presently available. Grand Valley will help to fill the gap.


Dale Nesbary
Muskegon Community College

As an institution, we need to be flexible to the needs of talent. We need to continue to create programs so that local businesses and community groups can have the talent they need to be successful. We need to continue to work with the companies in our area — L3 Communications, Alcoa, fortu PowerCell, you name it — to respond to their requests for specific talent development.

One of the key things from Talent 2025 has been to bring business and education together. We’re now sitting at the table. I think that’s critical — having colleges and universities at the same table, and not across the table. We’re able to develop programs to meet their needs rather than having more guesswork involved. It’s made a major difference in our ability to respond to the companies.


David Eisler
Ferris State University

While the progress will be slow, I look for continued improvement in the state’s economy, with faster and more robust improvement in West Michigan than in the southeast and north. The state’s need for talent, well-educated citizens with post-secondary certificates and career-oriented degrees, will continue to increase. This growth will primarily be in healthcare, technology and the building industries. We see career-oriented education as the core of our mission at Ferris State University. It is what we do best.

To help fuel this expansion, we will actively partner with business and industry to help produce the graduates they need and to work together to identify more educational opportunities. At Ferris, we are excited about the future for both our graduates and our region. In Grand Rapids, we will significantly expand the capabilities of Kendall College of Art and Design with the completion of the Federal Building restoration. This will provide a home to a new degree in Collaborative Design and a Center for Sustainable Design. We will expand the presence of our pharmacy program with new space on the Medical Mile. We look forward to expanding bachelor degree opportunities through our partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, where we teach right on their campus.

2012 will continue to be a time of challenge, but in this changing environment, it is very much a time of opportunity, something we value greatly at Ferris State University. Together, we can make West Michigan a better and more productive place.

Read 1509 times Last modified on Monday, 13 August 2012 16:08

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