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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo

Randall welcome master's program

Renovates environmental center

Rooms in the Randall Environmental Center will be reallocated to serve the new Master of Science in Medical Science and physician assistant master’s program. Construction to implement proposed changes will likely begin in December of this year, Matt Renfrow, dean of the school of natural and applied sciences, said.

Both programs are slated to begin in fall 2025.

The alterations will include redeveloping much of Randall in an effort to make space for the new graduate programs, as well as the multiple faculty members who will be hired to run the programs.  Environmental Science and Sustainability will retain the classroom and lab spaces on the south side of the building, Renfrow said.

Students in the Stewards of Creation club gathered on May 1 to discuss this update. Led by sophomore Joshua Groeling, the group consisted of environmental science majors and minors as well as other concerned students — those who would be directly impacted by the changes. 

Groeling began the meeting by asking for a respectful discussion, but also made his feelings known about the process and delivery of this news.

“I think we've done a poor job handling [the situation] as an organization,” Groeling said. “While I understand that this change might be most effective, I hope that Taylor does not only make sustainability changes when there is economic benefit involved, but we actually put our faith where it matters in making changes for the greater good of man. I hope that sentiment gets across.” 

The University made the decision after a space usage analysis was conducted by Taylor administration. All faculty and staff were invited to give input on how space was currently being utilized, and to provide ideas for greater space maximization on campus, Provost Jewerl Maxwell said. 

Faculty made students aware of these changes on April 29 when preparing students for the program review. 

Physical changes to the building are in the review and revision stage, Renfrow said. It is currently unclear what will happen to the taxidermy museum in Randall. While emotions run high among the population of affected students, there is an opportunity for growth and fellowship as a result, Renfrow said.

“I appreciate the thoughts behind stewarding space on campus, especially underutilized space,” Enoch Eicher, student body vice president, said. “While it may come at a cost, I do believe it is the best step right now.” 

Renfrow and other administrators encourage students to focus on the positive aspects of the situation. With the introduction of the new Master of Science in Medical Science and physician assistant master’s program, students have a chance to support one another in developing new programs and new relationships on campus.

“Change is hard… balancing the priorities, needs, and desires of students, faculty, staff, administration, and others is complex as they are rarely perfectly aligned,” Renfrow said. “However, I remain grateful for and excited about the significant upgrades coming to Randall, the launching of new medical programs, and the collaborative opportunities among these faculty and students who share a holistic, Christ-centered approach to human flourishing and the fulfillment of Taylor’s mission.”