Student Resource— Q&A with Casey Hoffman, member of C&RC

This past spring, the Curriculum and Resources Committee (C&RC) was responsible for submitting a recommendation of program eliminations to the Board of Trustees. Casey Hoffman, Menominee junior and Student Senate president, sat down with The Pleiad to discuss his role as one of two student members on the C&RC staff during the program review.

When were you elected as the student representative of C&RC?

I was first elected to the Curriculum and Resources Committee by the Student Senate during the Spring of 2009.  Traditionally, two student representatives have served on this committee at a time.  This past year I served on C&RC with Chelsea Denault who, at the time, was the Student Senate Ethics Chair.

What was your role as a member of C&RC?

As a committee member I regularly attended the C&RC meetings, served as a voting member of the committee, and advocated for student concerns.  The fact that both Chelsea Denault and I had a vote on C&RC shows our College’s concern for student input.  I never felt as though student opinion wasn’t a vital part of the process.

Surely the committee’s largest undertaking occurred when the Curriculum and Resources Committee was charged with conducting a programmatic review in a limited amount of time—that proved to be a daunting task.  In retrospect, I am proud to say that the committee, including the student members, accomplished its goal—we completed a very thoughtful and honest evaluation.

How often were meetings held after the mandate was announced?

During a typical year, C&RC meets about once every week.  After the mandate was announced, the committee wasted no time getting to work—we started meeting at least once or twice every school day for the remainder of the semester.  For me, this responsibility was the equivalent of adding another class to my 4.5 unit schedule.

Was your attendance mandatory?

No—attendance is not mandatory.  Yet, considering that we were discussing the future direction of Albion College, rarely were there any absences.

What was involved in the program review process?

Completing a successful program review had many components.  C&RC worked closely with the chairs of each department in order to understand what was working well and what could be improved upon.  Furthermore, the Committee compared Albion to other institutions across the country. 

Dr. Tim Lincoln, the committee chairperson, worked incredibly hard to ensure success.  I doubt that the students and faculty will ever fully realize how lucky they were to have Dr. Lincoln leading the program review process.  He is a good man with a big heart.

What was the general atmosphere during the C&RC meetings?

The committee was composed of smart, passionate, and caring people.  As is the case with any healthy group, conflicting opinions were a regular part of our process.  Members of the committee often fervently disagreed with one another—but they did so because they love Albion College.

It was easy to be discouraged.  At times we would think “We can’t do it,” “This is too hard,” or “We’re just not up to the task.”  Still, we always recognized that it is the “Albion mentality” to reject can’t-do claims and to choose instead to exceed limitations and expectations through hard work, resolve, and a pioneering spirit.

Were you surprised with the programs that the Board of Trustees decided to eliminate?

I can’t say that I was overly surprised.  From the standpoint of a C&RC member, I knew that the Board of Trustees would have to make some tough decisions.  I have good faith that Albion will continue to be an outstanding college for another 175 years.

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