Editorial: Questioning the consequences of program prioritization


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by James Simmons, Special to The Simpsonian

I have recently reached out to both the President of the college and Dean of Academic Affairs directly because I have some concerns about the Prioritization Process and how it might affect the freshman class, and the remaining student body as a whole.

I truly adore Simpson, and I am happy that I chose to come to college here. I am, however, uneasy about the idea of where my future is headed with a degree from Simpson College, and I know many freshmen are as well. A lot of students have reached out to me for information about this process, and how they should respond to this

I have a lot of fundamental concerns with this process and the way it is being implemented. To begin with, parts of the rubrics that the departments submitted to the selection committee were based on student involvement and enrollment, both within the majors and the ECC credits received from the department. It concerns me that First-Year students, the ones who will be here the longest and most affected by the cuts being made, were not a part of all of these numbers because we are unable to declare a major until our second semester at Simpson.

James Simmons. (Photo: Courtesy of James Simmons)

Another concern I have is the selection committee itself, and the lack of representation on the committee. I believe that Emma, Sydney, and Cecilia have done their best to represent us, currently there are only two students on the committee to speak for the entirety of the student body, and neither of them are involved in many of the major areas on campus, namely the Arts and Humanities. There are also no faculty members from the Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Maths, or Biological or Chemical Sciences on the selection committee, so how can these departments be truly represented?

Simmons said during the Wednesday forum event that the college would try to dedicate funding to areas of the college that are doing well and take away from areas that may not be quite as lucrative, which is a common practice in educational institutions. My concern stems from the mention of potentially cutting funding from some of these less lucrative areas in favor of creating a new major, such as Computer Engineering.

Many students are alarmed and upset by the idea that the administration would choose to take funding from students and programs that are already on campus to create a new program for students who might come to Simpson College.

There is already Computer Science and Math majors that are utilizing the 3+2 programs for engineering, why would Simpson need to create a new undergraduate degree when these students can receive a graduate degree in a little over the average time for a 4 year degree?

Eaton also said that the statistical trend for students who graduate from Simpson College who participated in the ‘teaching out’ of the Athletic Training program were passing the Board exam less and less over the last three years. This is really concerning to any student who plans on attending graduate school, because how can they be sure that they will receive the education they need to prepare them for graduate exams and education?

All these concerns finalize to my final question, a question that doesn’t come from malice or anger, but simply an honest one: Why should freshmen, or any student, stay at Simpson?

There are many other regional schools that offer scholarships and programs similar to what Simpson is currently offering, and students are paying a large sum of money to attend Simpson. If Simpson is no longer offering their program in its full glory, what should convince a freshman to stay when they could receive better funding for their major in another institution?

The timeline for the students to find out what programs will or won’t be cut isn’t until May, but transfer application deadlines are due in March. Once again, I love Simpson and wish to continue my education here, but as a college student in a major that is already feeling the consequences of budget cuts, I am very concerned for the future of my education.