Hey Tartans. First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!
While everything is rolling smoothly in areas like elections reform, institutional memory, and everything else I’ve spent the past several months writing about, today I spend my Presidential Perspectives discussing a significant disconnect that exists on our campus. That disconnect is between the students and our faculty.
I had the fortune of attending this month’s Faculty Senate meeting, where part of the discussion revolved around creating a shadow grade system that would not reflect itself in our actual marks but would give the faculty a better picture of whether or not instituting a +/- grading system (e.g. A-, A, A+ grading vs. A, B, C) would be appropriate. Professors would be asked to submit all students’ grade equivalents in a +/- format in addition to the grade earned under the current system. In my opinion, monitoring is not at all a problem, and in fact, the Faculty Senate was willing enough to extend visibility of this shadow program to the students as well. However, when discussing how this policy would theoretically be put into effect, it seemed as though the room was divided between professors who had student opinions at heart and those who seemed to favor a maverick style of policy change or strong-arming in which student opinion would not matter.
This fractional opinion did not sit well with me considering that it is the students’ grades and the students’ futures that are on the line, not the faculty members’. Granted that the point of a system change would be to boost overall QPA, the fact remains that an opinion exists among our faculty that students should not be consulted when making these kinds of decisions. This notion is despite the fact that in multiple surveys conducted by Student Senate, random samples of students have put down any notion of wanting a +/- system.
The fact that the possibility to strong-arm exists is a critical issue that affects every student. Issues like this are the kind of things that a strong student government created from strong student participation can deal with. While you may not see much more than funding opportunities in Senate, GSA, or my own office, we who participate know there is more. This campus can be a better place if we all try and make it so. We can make CMU a place where there isn’t even a simple conjecture about not consulting students on issues of import. We can take control of our futures. All we need is participation.
As always, firstname.lastname@example.org.