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Academic Division Prioritization Update

On Oct. 14, 2015, President Le Roy provided an update to students on PPC's final recommendations that were approved by the board of trustees:

Dear students,

I want to follow up a Friday, Sept. 25 email to you from Calvin Provost Cheryl Brandsen about recommendations to cut academic programs as part of the college’s ongoing prioritization efforts.

Since that email was sent, the provost, deans and I have met with students and faculty to make sure we understood the implications of these recommendations. After considering those interactions, last week the provost submitted final recommendations to the college’s planning and priorities committee (PPC), which then sent its final recommendations to me.

I, in turn, forwarded them to the college’s board of trustees, which last night held a special meeting and ratified these final recommendations.

The final recommendations by PPC included the elimination of five majors (art history, classical languages, Greek, Latin and theatre) and one minor (architecture). It should be noted that Calvin is retaining the classical studies major and minors in art history, Greek, Latin and theatre, and that the Calvin Theatre Company will continue to be supported.

The German department faculty were able to present to the provost a way forward using their allocated teaching resources that will allow the department to keep its major. This is contingent on the Educational Policy Committee’s approval of a revised plan for spring 2016 advising.

We are thankful to be able to keep German as a major, but our gratitude is tempered by a sense of loss about what the reductions in programs will mean for us as a college. Please join me as you are able in praying for and supporting those directly affected by these decisions.

I think it is important that I reiterate a point Provost Brandsen made in her previous communication on this matter: These programs are not being eliminated because of quality concerns or because we think they are unimportant. These programs are being eliminated based on low student demand, as measured by several metrics, and the recommendations of a nine-member faculty task force that worked exceedingly hard this summer to examine the college’s academic operation and make tough calls about the best way forward for Calvin. The prioritization process has not been easy and has resulted in difficult choices, but I am grateful we have done this work thoughtfully and collaboratively.

Please know that if you are currently enrolled in one of the majors or minor being eliminated, you will be supported as you complete your degree in your area of study at Calvin.

I want to close by reiterating a strong commitment to the programs that have faced hard news recently. We will do everything in our power to continue to enable students to have access to the kinds of experiences that have shaped them in such important ways. What we need to do now is find a way to live out those commitments in a manner that recognizes our need to keep Calvin affordable. This is not easy work, and we covet continued prayer as we take it on.

I remain convinced of the great mission of Calvin College and our ability to work and bear one another’s burdens in this season. May God’s grace be upon us.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Le Roy

Find more information on the prioritization process and progress at