Curriculum center for education majors recommended to be closed
The stand-alone curriculum center will be retired by next fall if recent prioritization recommendations are passed by the board of trustees in January.
The center, which was founded in 1978, provides education students, faculty and community members with K-12 instructional materials and resources.
The curriculum center is located in the lower level of Hiemenga Hall. It would be closed at the end of this academic year and its current library of resources and materials would be dispersed.
The center was founded so education students could have all of their resources in one area.
“We will miss the place for the students to work,” said professor Ron Sjoerdsma, the education department chair. “It is hard to think about how we will do things differently.”
According to Randy Nieuwsma, the director of the Instructional Resource Center, the cut was well-deliberated.
“A lot of people had a lot of input in the decision,” said Nieuwsma. “We have had lots of meetings about what we do and how it fits into the big picture.”
The center has faced recent challenges with changes in the K-12 school system to more standardized testing and electronic textbooks, according to Nieuwsma.
“The standardized test has contributed to the closing of the curriculum center,” said Nieuwsma. “It was inevitable, but the recent financial problems have just sped up the process.”
Sjoerdsma agreed the recent shift in educational materials to electronic copies have changed the function of the center.
“The volume of checkouts are far less,” said Sjoerdsma. The center itself is located in an area of Hiemenga that does not get much foot traffic.
“It is usually pretty empty,” said Paige Deur, an education major who also works at the curriculum center, “but some people work there as a quiet place to study.”
According to Ana VanLonkhuyzen, a sophomore education major, the center is an invaluable resource to those who use it.
“The help that we receive at the center is invaluable,” said VanLonkhuyzen.
“It is a good resource but not a lot of people know about it,” said Deur.
It is unclear as to where exactly the current resources will go if the prioritization report is approved and the center is closed.
“[The resources] will go away,” said Nieuwsma. “We will see this operation happen at the end of May and we will have to get rid of it over the summer.”
Possibilities include moving some materials to the library, of which the center is a subset, or dispersing them to relevant departments.
“Our teacher education department is distributed across departments so there isn’t a natural other place to put these resources,” said Nieuwsma.
According to Sjoerdsma, regardless of where the materials end up, the education department will feel the loss of the unified space.
“It will be very, very missed,” said VanLonkhuyzen.