Cabinet recommends not printing course catalogs


Photo by Ruthy Berends.

After this school year, Calvin may no longer print the course catalog or directory and instead hopes to provide an online catalog service, according to Calvin’s new prioritization report released to faculty and staff on Monday morning.

The report says the goal of the change would be primarily economical.

“The college will realize institutional savings by eliminating the layout and printing of this information and work with a vendor to provide an online catalog service,” according to the report.

Director of communications and marketing Tim Ellens said though the idea of online course catalog is currently only a recommendation, it is likely to become official when the Board of Trustees approves the prioritization document in January.

“There’s nothing waiting in the wings to implement,” he said, “and I anticipate that it would involve a cooperative effort between academic services, [Calvin information technology] and [communications and marketing].”

Associate director of academic services Todd Dornbos said it is likely some sort of print version will be available for internal users.

“Advisors and those who administer the curriculum tend to prefer print copies of the catalog,” he said, “so we’d probably have some sort of printed version available, but it will hopefully be more economical to publish and easier to use.”

Along with an online version of the catalog and directory, Ellens said Calvin would also look into creating directory and catalog apps to use on electronic devices.

Senior Josh Nelson thinks the change would be positive for students.

“I think an online version would make a lot more sense,” he said. “I think if they put a big effort into making it accessible and easy to use, it would be really helpful to students.”

But junior Erin Smith expressed concern about losing the physical copy of the catalog.

“Before I came to Calvin, I got a course catalog sent to me in the mail,” Smith said, “and I went through it thoroughly to mentally process what I wanted to do and what sounded interesting. And I’m not sure I would have done that if it were online.”