Academic Policy Public Review
Summary of Proposed Changes
Minor edit for clarity and updated contact info.
- Removed "session" from the term "summer session" because there is no one, singular term scheduled in summer.
- Twin Cities policy contact changed to Director of the Registrar.
1. There is nothing in this policy addressing an instructor's obligation to inform students of their grades during the course or grading in a timely manner. It is a VERY BIG problem that there are instructors who have never entered grades in CANVAS so students have no idea where they stand in the course in order to make a decision about whether or not to drop the course by week 10 of the semester. This is a constant issue in the advising office.
2. In regards to wording in 2a "students...have no right to challenge the academic merits of any grade. I am pretty sure this happens all the time whether they have a "right" to or not. Even so, the wording "have no right" seems a bit over the top. Maybe replace with "can not challenge" or better yet, since "academic merits of any grade" is not clear, change the whole sentence to something like "students must view instructor assigned grades as final" OR define in a few words what is meant by 'academic merits of any grade."
1. There is nothing in this policy regarding instructors' obligation to inform students of their grades/standing in the course or grading in a timely manner. Unfortunately, many students report that their instructors have not graded anything when the 10 week deadline comes up to decide on whether or not to drop a class. They then have nothing to base a decision on. This is a continuing issue for persistence as well as number of successfully completed credits.
2 (2a) "Students...have no right to challenge the academic merits of any grade." What does "academic merits" mean exactly? Rewording or a brief explanation may be warranted. If this means that students are not allowed to challenge the grades assigned to them, this would be a big surprise to both instructors and students. For some students, this is their hobby.
I have concerns about the following provision: "If the instructor in charge of a course has left the institution or is
no longer available, the department or academic unit has the authority to handle grades and grade changes for the course. The department or academic unit should assign a regular faculty member to be accountable for grades after the course has ended." This provision is open-ended. For how long after the course has ended is there accountability for grades? WhenI was advising, I had students trying to get grades that had never been submitted, or grade changes, for courses that had ended years previously and the instructor was long gone. And what does "authority" mean? Could they use that authority to say they are not interested in dealing with the grade? Or does authority mean they have an actual obligation? And there are no procedures associated with this policy, despite the policy requiring that departments "should" assign a regular faculty member to be responsible in the event of a departure. Why should but not "must"? And absent a procedure, these things just never happen, which is why so many students have trouble getting grades after an instructor has left.
The proposed change is clear. I do agree with comments from other reviewers about students' rights related to challenging a grade. If the idea is to enforce this, it should be a reportable offense and there should be consequences. This seems to violate students' rights to converse with the faculty about grading criteria and interpretation of those. Faculty are responsible to share those, I believe.