The first thing I felt when I found out history professor Josh Rice had been let go was a small wave of fear. What was going to happen to the history department? My mind was reeling. Why Professor Rice?
Though I logically knew that this didn’t mean the history department was in danger, it did cause me to pause. My major is not purely history, but my advisor is a history professor and by removing one of the advisors, I saw in my mind’s eye his workload getting heavier. Now only two professors would advise all the history and education history majors.
Selfishly, I wondered if the cut would mean less time to discuss my schedule as in-depth as I was used to. One of my friends was worried about our major disappearing altogether and another is losing her advisor.
These concerns were an instinctual reaction, simply an emotional response to something shocking and seemingly out of the blue, similar to responses to the housing policy that was dropped last semester.
ASB hosted a forum on Dec. 6 in the PVG lobby to discuss what happened and provide a platform for students to express their thoughts with a panel that consisted of President Sheldon Nord, Professor Sarah Comstock, Provost Mike Patterson and CFO Patricia Shelton. Some questions were hard and uncomfortable, but the panel answered as best they could.
Whatever the statements made by the administration, there are still many poor feelings about losing Professor Rice. Nord demonstrated with tears in his eyes just how much he knows we will miss Professor Rice.
He has been my favorite history professor so far. I thoroughly enjoyed his style of teaching (even when I struggled to read his handwriting), his goofiness in class, as well as the laid-back nature he has that rubs off on anxious students such as myself.
I have every confidence that Corban administration did not make this decision lightly. The panel reiterated that the ultimate goal of Corban is to honor God and be wise stewards of the resources God has given us to keep Corban alive and breathing.
While sometimes this sounds like a cop-out that tries to blow off concerned students who just want to understand, I do believe the administration is being honest when they say the decisions they make are in the best interest of students.
We will all miss Josh Rice, especially the history students who looked forward to learning more from him. From now on, Nord said, the administration will attempt to communicate better with the student body.
In the end, it seems to me that students simply want more transparency about issues such as budget or policies before administrative actions are suddenly announced to students and staff. We, both as adult students and as consumers paying to be at Corban, deserve transparency.
We are not children. We do not need to be sheltered when things go awry. We need to be informed because Corban is our home. If we had known that the administration was considering ending Professor Rice’s contract and had time to prepare for his absence, it might have been better.
As it stands, we have one last semester with Professor Rice. I say, in every way we can, we make the most of it. If you haven’t had the opportunity, take a class with him. You won’t regret it when he wears his regalia to class just because he feels like it or uses the musical “Hamilton” as a legitimate class resource.