General Contact Information
Office of the Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
One Bernard Baruch Way
New York, NY 10010-5585
135 East 22nd Street, 7th Floor
Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
This email is being sent to all members of the Baruch College faculty.
For an archive of announcements sent from the Associate Provost beginning June 2011, click here.
From: Dave Christy, Provost, and Prof. Mindy Engle-Friedman, Baruch College Ombuds
We would like to remind the faculty of three important suggestions to help avoid disputes and achieve fairness in grading (1. specify course requirements and the grading scheme on the syllabus; 2. communicate in writing via blackboard or email to all students in the class about any changes to the grading scheme; and 3. provide students with access to their graded work) and two attendance-related policies.
1. Members of the faculty should tell students at the beginning of the course whether there will be a restrictions on the number of specific letter grades (A's, B's, etc.) to be distributed in the class and how any curve will work.
Any grade restrictions should be communicated in writing for transparency about how the final letter grade in the course was achieved (i.e., students should know in advance that even if they achieve grade percentages that might earn them an A in other courses, that percentage (e.g., 94%) might not earn them a course grade in the A range in a particular class). Likewise, if a curve is to be used on an exam or other graded work, students should be apprised of that curve as early as possible in writing.
2. Members of the faculty who decide to change the percentages of the course requirements towards the final grade should do so in writing, such as by an email to the entire class or via Blackboard as an announcement or an update.
A written document provides clarity to the students on how their grade will be calculated and it documents any changes that a professor decides to make at his or her discretion. Describing changes in the grading structure verbally is insufficient. Students are permitted a certain number of excused absences and may be unaware of such changes if they are announced only in class. Therefore, these changes should be memorialized in writing. Grade disputes will be resolved by looking at the most recent documentation that members of the faculty provide to students.
3. Please make your students’ graded assignments available for them to see even if you plan to retain those materials.
Our students deserve the opportunity to learn from their mistakes—to see where they can improve and to know what they have done well. Students are entitled to question their grade, so we need to make ourselves available for that discussion and clarification too.
4. The WU grade designates an “unofficial withdrawal,” meaning that a student has stopped attending class; it does not mean excessive absences.
Members of the faculty may set reasonable attendance (and lateness) policies that can include grade sanctions (including F) provided they communicate those policies in writing and apply them uniformly and consistently. WU is the correct grade to award at the end of the semester if a student has stopped attending class and has not taken a final exam (or submitted a final paper or project). If the student has taken the final or submitted a final paper or project, WU may not be awarded. Note: this meaning of WU was announced last spring; it was used differently at Baruch before Spring 2016.
5. Students who are late to class must be permitted to attend that class session.
Students entering class late can create distractions and disruptions. Setting aside a seating area for latecomers near the door can help minimize distractions. In any case, students arriving late must be permitted to attend the class.
The spirit of these suggestions is our wish to create a fair environment for our students and to avoid unnecessary disputes about grades.
Associate Provost and Assistant Vice President
Baruch College, CUNY