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Faculty Should Raise Standards

By The CRIMSON Staff

Last week's Faculty Council meeting included a discussion of a proposal to raise the minimum and satisfactory academic standards at the College. This proposal was introduced by Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 and has been passed on to the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) for further discussion, review and student input. We support this proposal, which is intended to raise academic requirements only slightly.

Currently, the minimum standards at the College require students to earn at least one satisfactory (C- or better) grade and not fail more than one class per semester to avoid being asked to withdraw. To avoid being placed on probation, students must pass all their classes and receive not more than one D in any term. These standards seem especially low. A modest raise in these requirements will not place too great of an academic burden on most students.

Some members of the Faculty Council say that they are concerned that students who are struggling academically may not be receiving the extra attention they need because their performance meets the current minimum standards. Thus, they believe that raising the standards will help these students by placing more academic scrutiny on them. As Mallinckrodt Professor of Applied Physics William Paul said, "It would be a way of identifying a little bit earlier than usual students who for any reason aren't doing well...and then to talk to them and advise them." Of course, we would like to see the academic advising system for all students improve. We wish that it wouldn't take a student's failure to catch the attention of his or her adviser.

We feel that students' academic advisors should already give them more attention if their grades are especially low but not low enough to require withdrawal or probation. However, we realize that some students may continue to slip through the cracks in the advising system if the academic standards are not raised. Thus, we urge the CUE and the Faculty Council to support Dean Lewis' proposal and the Faculty to approve it.

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