College of Arts and Sciences

Educational Policy Meeting


Minutes of the 399th Meeting

Thursday February 17th, 2005





PRESENT:  Joe Burns, Lisa Cuklanz, Paul Davidovits, Stephanie Fernandez, Solomon Friedberg, Michael Graf, Michael Martin, Carlos Jaramillo, Thomas McGuinness, Ourida Mostefai, Sr. Mary Daniel O'Keeffe, William Petri, Jennie Purnell, David Quigley, Joseph Quinn, Harry Rosser, Catherine Schneider, Robert Scott, Eileen Sweeney, Helina Teklehaimont, Barbara Viechnicki.

ABSENT:  Akinseye Akinbulumo, Christina Corea, Andrea Defusco-Sullivan,

ON LEAVE:  Clare Dunsford.


CALL TO ORDER:  Dean Quinn called the meeting to order at 4:05pm.


MINUTES:  Minutes for the meeting on October 14th, 2004, were accepted with the addition of Jennie Purnell’s name to the list of those present. 




Honors.  David Quigley offered the condensed version of the Report on Grade Inflation for distribution to the departments noting that department names in Chart 4 should be selectively masked so that each department could see how it compared to all the other departments without being able to identify the other departments’ statistics.


Joe Quinn stated that a cover letter should be written asking that the information be discussed in department meetings and with a report sent back to the Dean’s Office. He added that copies should also be forwarded to the AVP’s Advisory Committee.


Joe Quinn stated that the Law School enforced a grade average in introductory courses adding that, while this would not work for A&S as a whole, it might be something for department’s to consider in large courses with multiple sections.  One member of the EPC stated that their department gave a “B” average across all sections of the department’s introductory course.


Michael Graf noted that any meaningful ranking was lost with this grade compression. Joe Burns acknowledged that this loss of the ability to distinguish between students was the real problem. Bill Petri stated that the report should prompt consideration of GPA cut-offs for things like foreign study and advanced standing adding that, given the differences between departments, some students might be put at a disadvantage based on their major. Carlos Jaramillo stated that GPA might not reflect the value of the any student to the BC community or the real educational quality of their work.


David Quigley reported that the subcommittee had discussed recognition of honors work on transcripts. Bill Petri noted that “honors” appears in some course titles. Catherine Schneider stated that honors was not just for writing a thesis adding that transcripts should note “graduated with Honors”.  Joe Burns responded that the registrar, citing departmental variations, had resisted placing honors designations on the transcript. He noted that distinction such as Phi Beta Kappa, Latin Honors, and Scholar of the College did appear in the graduation program adding that while the new electronic transcript might create new possibilities someone would still have to be making consistent judgments across disciplines. Carlos Jaramillo responded that departmental honors might be listed and would not require cross departmental uniformity adding that having honors designations and awards listed on transcripts was important to the students.


Joe Burns stated that the question was ‘how do we make our very best students stand out?’ given both grade compression and the already large number of awards given out by the college and A&S departments. Catherine Schneider asked whether it mattered that these were not listed on the transcript since they could be listed on a résumé? Michael Martin and Solomon Friedberg responded that, given the grade compression revealed by the subcommittee’s report, the issue of distinction and recognition was very significant to precisely our very best students.


Dean Quinn thanked the subcommittee for its work stating that the report should be sent out to the departments for discussion and comment. He added that the subcommittee should also look into the issues of “honors” designations in the departments and the possibility of listing distinctions on the transcript.


Appeals:  Jennie Purnell reported that the subcommittee had dealt with one appeal noting that it had raised, again the question of what was meant by the statute’s term “your dean” in the case of a student from one school appealing a grade for a course in another school. Ourida Mostefai stated the appeal came to A&S so it was heard by the A&S Appeals Subcommittee noting that in this case the student’s school had no established provision for such appeals. Dean Quinn stated that the College of Arts and Sciences took responsibility for its own courses regardless of the student’s school.


Paul Davidovits thanked Jennie Purnell for having moved the case through the procedures with grace and a minimum of fuss.


ADJOURNMENT.  Joe Quinn adjourned the meeting at 5:00 P.M.


Respectfully Submitted



Michael C. Martin

Secretary to the EPC