Faculty Senate votes to raise Dean’s List requirement to 3.5 GPA

Jacob Baumgart /THE REVIEW
Previously, undergraduate students earning a semester GPA of 3.33 or higher for a full-time course load were placed on the Dean’s List.

BY Associate News Editor

On Monday, the Faculty Senate voted to raise the GPA requirement from 3.33 to 3.50. Doing so not only reduces the amount of undergraduate students honored, but also brings the university up to the same Dean’s List standard used by most comparable institutions.

Previously, undergraduate students earning a semester GPA of 3.33 or higher for a full-time course load were placed on the Dean’s List. This accounted for approximately half of the undergraduate population, bringing the prestige of the Dean’s List into question.

“Raising the criterion for Dean’s List honors to a GPA of 3.50 returns the typical percentage receiving honors below 40%,” Chris Williams, professor of wildlife ecology and chair of the senate’s Executive Committee, said. “It also makes our Dean’s List criterion fall into a range more typical of our comparator institutions.”

On March 11, a special session of the Faculty Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education proposed raising that criterion to 3.5 in order to combat increasing grade-inflation.

According to a study by Earl “Rusty” Lee, the interim director of the Honors Program, the university is alone among comparable universities to use such a low threshold as 3.33. Comparable universities include the University of Michigan, Penn State University, Rutgers University and others.

“This was simply a matter of bringing us up to standards,” Lee said. “Look, we were below every other institution on the registrar, and I feel we did the right thing in raising our standards here.”

The Faculty Senate also voted on other matters of bureaucracy and semantics within their own laws and regulations. It voted to redefine faculty job descriptions to teaching, research and professional or university service. This also mandates that every department must keep department-specific descriptions of appropriate activities for their faculty and that faculty members of all ranks and departments be subject to periodic review in their department.

Additionally, in a small effort to provide a check on the university, the Faculty Senate decided that any changes made to their handbooks by the Office of the Provost would require senate approval.

The final vote of the day decided that continuing track faculty should be afforded the same protections as tenured faculty to delay promotion or contract renewal during their first six-year probationary period due to the birth or adoption of a child or any other extenuating circumstances that might significantly impede their ability to work.

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