The start of the Fall 2018 semester brought about many changes around campus with one of the most significant changes taking place in the music department. Between the Spring 2018 semester and the Fall 2018 semester, there were seven new additions to the music department faculty here at Hope with professors teaching various subjects including Music Theory, private lessons for multiple different instruments and directing some of the choirs at Hope.
While there was talk of changing around some faculty members last spring, students were still wildly unprepared for exactly how many changes would end up being made. Therefore, these changes in faculty came as a shock to most of the students in the music department, especially seeing as most of the changes took place over the summer without the knowledge of the student body. Initially the news of this change had some of the department majors and minors in a state of outrage with several students signing a letter to the Provost and President of the college. They argued that the students have the right to know what changes are being made in the department, especially when those changes directly involve their education. One of the most talked about changes was the news that Dr. Robert Hodson would no longer be teaching Music Theory in the fall. Dr. Hodson was a beloved and influential member of the music department faculty, and his absence was taken particularly hard by some of the students.
Another notable professor who will not be returning for the Fall 2018 semester is Dr. Brad Richmond, who previously directed the Chapel Choir and the College Chorus. His absence was a surprise to all. Sophomore Music Education major Andrew DePree (’21), commented on some of the emotions the students in the department have. “I can understand why people are frustrated by [the changes in faculty],” he says. “I like to think there is a legitimate reason for the changes, but I think people just like to get mad. I don’t think that the students should decide whether they are for or against the changes until we have more information on why they happened.”
So far classes seem to be going well for students under new instruction, but only time will tell whether or not the changes in faculty will have a positive or a negative impact on the music department this semester.
September 10, 2018 @ 9:35 pm Anonymous
I wish I could also have signed that letter as I was in the same boat entering my freshman year at Hope. As a prospective student, I took a lesson with Paul Wesselink. He and I bonded very well and I had high hopes for trombone lessons entering the fall. I was surprised by the fact that the low brass instructor was switched when I got an email from an “Adam Graham”. I did not know him before coming to Hope, and I did not know what to expect. Over time, I would come to not approve of his ability to educate a developing low brass musician. Yet, it still impresses me the same department, in many ways, fails to understand that your ability to educate is not represented on a resume, but rather, through a majority of their past students by means of endorsements. Now having transferred to a different university, I am happy I no longer have any obligations to a department I couldn’t thrive, develop, nor achieve in.
September 21, 2018 @ 7:47 am Cari
Wow. I am personally shocked and completely saddened by this change in the Hope College Music Department. I am a 2005 Hope College Music Major Alumni. I sang in choir with Dr. Richmond and took classes with him. He was an inspirational musician who’s passion for music was contagious. He cared deeply for the success of his students, and he was a professor who was well respected by all. Dr. Hodson was also a favorite professor of mine during my time at Hope. He was a fantastic theory professor who really taught students to enjoy this challenging subject area! I am deeply saddened by this change and hope that my past professors are reading this and know how much they will forever be appreciated by myself and my fellow classmates.