FSU adds new majors

April 18, 2010
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Students at Ferris State University, including the Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, will have five new majors from which to choose when the 2010-11 academic year convenes Aug. 30.

The board of trustees approved the new programs earlier this month. Kendall’s new fashion studies major joins molecular diagnostics, energy systems engineering, allied health and dietary food service management.

The bachelor of fine arts degree in fashion studies will see students study at Kendall’s Grand Rapids campus for three years, after which they will attend Parsons The New School for Design in New York City for their senior year. Those credits will transfer back to Kendall to complete the degree requirements.

Oliver Evans, Kendall president, said the collaboration with the New York City school will provide a connection to the fashion industry that will be crucial to the students’ careers. He said planning on the specifics of the program is under way.

“They will be exposed to fashion design experts who will teach them how fashion is created, branded and sold, and, in the process, develop a network of connections within the fashion world,” Evans said.

“It really does respond to the interest we’ve seen in students,” he added. “We’ve already had some students express interest. Our admissions representative will begin to talk about it when they do presentations, and we’ll be doing some marketing on the Web site, as well as advertising and so on.”

Evans said he will conduct a national search to find a chair for the program.

The molecular diagnostics major will be unique in Michigan. It will train students for jobs in genetic testing. California company Sequenom Inc. is working on plans for genetic tests, particularly in the prenatal sector, that would expand its roster at its Grand Rapids laboratory from about 20 to as many as 500 by 2013. Students in the new program will spend three years studying on the Big Rapids campus, then complete their fourth year in Grand Rapids along with a clinical internship.

“This new degree will enable Ferris to become a recognized leader in providing clinical laboratory education and will particularly fill a need for this type of training in West Michigan,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Fritz Erickson.

The engineering degree will prepare students for careers in traditional energy as well as alternative and renewable sources, according to Erickson. Students will be able to choose from three tracks: building energy systems, alternative energy systems or energy generation and distribution systems.

Students in a variety of two-year allied health professional programs now will be able to add two years, or up to 60 credits, to complete a bachelor of science degree. Previously, that option was not available.

Dietary food service management will be an associate degree in applied science. The training, which covers a variety of topics from basic food production to diet therapy to facilities design, will prepare students for the certified dietary management certification exam through the Dietary Managers Association. Graduates will be prepared to run food service operations for health care facilities, under the supervision of a registered dietician. The program was developed by the colleges of Business and Allied Health Sciences.

The FSU board of trustees also agreed to eliminate the bachelor of science in management, deciding that it was similar to business administration. Management courses will be added to the BBA curriculum.

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