Student Senate is celebrating the new faculty requirements passed, as the changes will better the institution’s educational abilities and fulfill the long-term desires of students for reform.
Calvin’s previous faculty requirements limited its professors and potential applicants to a narrow range of backgrounds, which restricted the diversity of thought that the institution is working towards in the Vision 2030 framework. Furthermore, the requirements did not properly indicate whether one was actively practicing Reformed values both inside and outside of the classroom.
Calvin serves as a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church — just one branch of the diverse set of believers that are united under Christ as His living church. Calvin’s academic freedom, powerful mission, and unique role within the Reformed faith facilitate the engagement and examination of alternative ideas. This healthy exchange of perspectives and fulfillment of Calvin’s mission statement is cultivated from having a diverse set of faculty. Having professors with a variety of Christian backgrounds creates a strong exchange of Christian thought. Additionally, by expanding the range of backgrounds, Calvin will be able to hire professors of a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, which will enrich the institution.
The students of Calvin University (and Calvin College!) have long been aware of these facts and awaited reform. Year after year, Calvin students would advocate for this change with President Le Roy and other administrators. During a town hall hosted by Student Senate in 2014, President Le Roy responded to student questioning by saying “this set of requirements…limits the pool of people we recruit. I am now in conversation with the board at how it affects the college.” Students continued to press the topic, which led to Student Senate advocating for reform during the last three years.
I wholeheartedly believe that this change occurred in part due to student passion and advocacy over many years. This fervor was palpable during my campaign for Student Body President and it would have continued for years to come if reform had not culminated this spring. I am proud and thankful for the students, faculty, administrators, and board members who brought about this wonderful development.
This is a monumental change for Calvin University, one that will greatly benefit students and bring about the opening of many doors for new and exciting opportunities. The revised faculty requirements will facilitate a more diverse faculty and bolster their work as educators. Calvin as an institution will be better able to reach into its local community and broader global campus. Its scholarship and teaching will be strengthened by renewed commitments to the Reformed tradition while providing access to new perspectives. The identity of Calvin as a Reformed institution is integral to its mission to equip students to think deeply, act justly, and live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world — these new requirements will empower it to do just that.