Students react to department closings


Austin Anderson, Staff Reporter

This semester, Lakeland College announced via email that several departments are being dropped from the college’s list of majors and minors. Included in this list are the German and sociology majors and minors; piano performance and pedagogy emphasis in the music major; church music minor and political science minor. The international business and nonprofit management majors are also being changed to emphases in the business administration major.

A few students were interviewed about their take on what it is like to have their major or minor dropped and how they are handling this situation.


Jacque Roerdink, junior sociology major and political science minor

With the removal of the sociology and nonprofit departments, Roerdink has been affected in several ways, especially when it comes to the relationships with her professors.

“It definitely had a huge effect on my relationships with my professors because I have three professors who will not be here next year,” said Roerdink. “It is definitely going to have a huge impact on sociology majors who have grown in the program by having the same teachers.”

Last year was Roerdink’s first year at Lakeland. Next year, she will likely lose three professors that have helped her grow due to faculty retirements and turnover: Christopher Moore, associate professor of sociology, Richard Wixon, Offenheiser associate professor of history and political science and Don Francis, professor of sociology and nonprofit organization management.

“Those three teachers in particular had a huge impact on me,” Roerdink said. “They convinced me to achieve things that I didn’t know that I could accomplish.”

Scheduling conflicts have also been affecting Roerdink. She needs to take a political science class to graduate, but cannot take it due to a sociology class scheduled at the same time. Limited classes being offered in the upcoming fall semester caused many of the sociology and political science classes to be offered at the same times.

Roerdink went to the question and answer presentation with President Dan Eck and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Meg Albrinck, for which she is quite thankful and understands Lakeland’s financial position. However, she did not understand how Lakeland wanted to get rid of a relevant major. Before coming to Lakeland, Roerdink did research on what major to choose: sociology or psychology. She found that there were more options within the sociology major and in the career field.

“I feel like I’m going to go through my senior year feeling like I don’t have a relevant major,” said Roerdink. “That’s a little scary! It will be interesting to see how next year pans out.”

Roerdink loves Lakeland, especially with the helpful support from Eck, Albrinck and the success coaches, but she is having a hard time trusting the school with all that she has gone through over the last few months.

“As a student, I had the opportunity to do things here,” said Roerdink. “Moore had a lot of research going on and all of his research leaves with him. Anything new that senior sociology majors find will have to be from scratch.”


Kaitlin Deschane, junior nonprofit organization and history major

Deschane’s main reason for coming to Lakeland was for the nonprofit major. All of the work that she and her fellow nonprofit majors have done over the past several years has been discarded, which disheartens Deschane.

“It’s just hard to see all of our work trying to build up the nonprofit program and all of Francis’ work get thrown away,” said Deschane.

Deschane is the president of the nonprofit group and does not agree with Lakeland’s decision to make the nonprofit program an emphasis rather than allow it to remain a major.

“I feel like this program is very important, but I see that they do need to cut since the school is losing money,” said Deschane.


Jacob Nault, sophomore choral music and performance major with a church music minor

“Since I have already declared my church music minor, it does not technically affect me (because I will be allowed to finish it),” said Nault. “I believe that this means less diversity will exist in academic programs.”

He is disappointed in the college’s program cuts, but he understands Lakeland’s financial situation. He knows that Lakeland needed to cut these programs to ensure their vitality and relevance.


Sara Pfile, junior English and education major

“I do understand cuts needed to be made, but I wish the students were given more warning and more preparation time,” said Pfile. “This is affecting all other programs as well.”

Pfile was going to be certified to teach English and German, but through conflicts, she lost the opportunity to teach German. With the German program being cut at Lakeland, Pfile will finish her degree and put an emphasis on her English major.