Calvin College Chimes

Music education major, elementary history minor cut

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Photo courtesy of calvin.edu

Photo courtesy of calvin.edu

Photo courtesy of calvin.edu

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The music education major and the elementary history minor are no longer being offered to students. The information was officially released at last Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting. The Educational Policy Committee (EPC), which is the part of faculty that decides academic programs, alerted faculty of this tough decision.

For the history department, the decision did not come as a shock, as they were made aware by the Michigan Department of Education that the history elementary minor is no longer an option for teacher certification. Additionally, the program had zero enrollment, so they chose to eliminate the minor completely. Meanwhile, for the music department, the cut was a more difficult decision.

“This was not something we sought to do,” said Tim Steele, professor and co-chair of the music department.

The reason for this decision stems from the vast amount of resources it takes to run a music department. The department simply did not have enough in the budget to continue to offer all the programs they had. As a result, the most expendable program was the music education major, as there had been one year where there were no music education students. The department attempted to reduce rather than remove the program at first, but were denied due to state mandated regulations.

The music department is attempting to stay positive despite the difficult decisions that were made. This past fall, they had good enrollment for the music major, and continue to work hard to revamp the major as a whole. A point of emphasis has been on adding a modern component to the major as well as making it more flexible. Considering that many of the music majors are double majoring in a different department, the music department would like to ensure that a student can be proficient in completing both their music major as well as their second major.

“In the midst of reduction there are still positive lights,” said Steele.

For students currently enrolled in this program, they will get to continue their path to completing the major. There is still a strong belief that music is still in high demand at Calvin. The same is said for history education, as those who are interested on this subject have been referred to the social studies education minor. Despite these setbacks, both of the music and history departments hope move forward in a positive direction.

4 Comments

4 Responses to “Music education major, elementary history minor cut”

  1. Gina Crumb on October 5th, 2018 11:30 am

    Please change Prof. Steele’s name to TIMOTHY Steele instead of Robert. As having him for an advisor for a few years I see his name on everything.

  2. Damon on October 5th, 2018 11:36 am

    Who is Robert Steele? Do you perhaps mean Dr. Timothy Steele?

    As someone who graduated from Calvin in 2013 for music education, this saddens me greatly.

  3. Patti Richards on October 5th, 2018 1:33 pm

    My daughters are both current Music Education Majors at Calvin, and the program has been in noticeable decline since the oldest began 3 1/2 years ago. We are extremely disappointed as a family at the way this has been handled. Our daughters asked repeatedly about the viability of the program and were consistently told there was nothing to worry about and that everything was fine. This while full-time faculty members were moving on to other colleges or retiring and not being replaced, and no new Music Education chairman named to help students walk through their program successfully.. Transparency would have been appreciated, as I’m sure the incoming freshman families currently enrolled in the program were completely blindsided that not a full month into the school year the program they came to Calvin for was discontinued. I’m sure freshman families would have made very different decisions were they told ahead of time. And now we face a similar decision. Calvin is too expensive to continue if the program a student is in is not being fully supported.

  4. Charles Richards on October 5th, 2018 3:24 pm

    I am heartbroken to hear this program was cut. Music education is critical part of any child’s education. There are tons of studies and data showing that music help build the fundamentals for good math skills and problem solving. Music is everywhere in our lives and it’s important to have educators that understand this.

    Without my background in music I don’t think I would be the man I am today. This was also the main reason my sisters chose to go to Calvin.

    While I understand there was a business aspect to this I have a hard time believing that the only solution was to cut the program. I think Calvin made the wrong call here and I hope Calvin is willing to shed more light on this. There had to have been a way to save this program.

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