Deans alter rank policy

Maria Brachelli

Beginning this semester, most University students will no longer be assigned ranks on their academic transcripts.

Because of students’ activity in more than one college, the influx of freshmen heavily armed with AP credits and students carrying more than one major, the adaptation was necessary to eliminate students advertising inaccurate ranks to employers and scholarships.

Dr. John Johannes, vice president for Academic Affairs, said, “We don’t think that anyone will be harmed, and the benefit is greater precision and clarity.”

As of Jan. 26, the class ranking policy included the following modifications:

n Class ranks will no longer be calculated for freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

n Juniors in the spring semester will have their spring semester ranks calculated in July.

n The ranks for juniors will not be provided on official transcripts, and they may not be exact. College deans and the Career Services Office will have access to the ranks for recommendations and student awards.

n The Office of the Registrar will provide descending or ascending GPA reports as needed by the deans.

n Seniors in the spring semester will have their ranks calculated in July. These records will appear on the student transcripts.

n Students will continue to be ranked by both college and major.

The Registrar’s Office researched rankings used by other colleges and universities and found that many institutions no longer use them; many just use GPA. These include Boston College, Notre Dame, Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania.

“For a variety of reasons, ranking students according to their class standing status after each academic year is becoming more and more difficult,” Johannes said.

“Ranks are becoming a moving target, causing imprecision.  The new policy will provide a final class rank while at the same time providing deans with requisite ranking information to assist them in making recommendations,” he continued.

Catherine Connor, the associate dean of Enrollment Management, explained the change as a shift from the traditional college where every student has one major, to a new and flexible system that allows for students with double-majors.

“We were losing the validity of ranking,” Connor said.

If the University were to continue with the old ranking procedures, depending on various facets that affect ranking, inaccurate calculations could result.

Regarding the motives and reasoning behind the deans’ actions, SGA President Maureen Holland said, “When you really look at the policy, it does make sense.”

Holland’s only regret was that “There was a communication breakdown [regarding the rankings] between the University and the students. I sort of wish [the students] could have been consulted.”