While many students have long since forgotten about their fall semester grades, students who had enrolled in Mechanical Engineering 280, “Strength and Deformation of Mechanical Elements,” are still waiting anxiously for their grades to be posted online.
Yale’s Registrar’s Office has not yet received student grade sheets from mechanical engineering professor David Wu, Registrar Jill Carlton said Friday, and Wu has not responded to several student e-mails inquiring about the delay. Although Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said Sunday night that he had not previously been informed of the situation, he said the Dean’s Office will work to rectify the problem as soon as possible.
“The handling of grades and transcripts is the job of the registrar’s office, but when there’s any kind of problem affecting our students, we look into it and make inquiries,” Salovey said. “If the solution to the problem doesn’t lie in Registrar’s Office, the next step is to call the [Mechanical Engineering] Department.”
Wu’s course is one of just two that are currently considered “outstanding,” Carlton said. Students enrolled in the two-semester freshman-only course “Perspectives on Science” also have not yet received their grades. But Associate Yale College Dean William Segraves attributed the delay to an administrative error and said the course’s primary professors had communicated to the Registrar’s Office in December that the 63 students enrolled in the class had received “satisfactory” grades.
The deadline for Yale College professors to submit grades for fall semester courses was Jan. 3, in accordance with University policy requiring that professors hand-deliver grades to the registrar’s office by the first weekday of the new year. Although the deadline may pose problems for some professors who are not on campus over the winter break, most submit their grades within a few days of the deadline, Carlton said.
The University encourages and expects professors to submit their grades in a timely manner, Salovey said.
“Although we might want to give the professor the benefit of the doubt, I certainly agree that our students have the right to expect that their grades would be submitted on time,” he said. “Occasionally there is some kind of administrative foul up or personal situation that delays grades, but, as far as I know, grades are usually submitted on time.”
Neither Wu nor Mechanical Engineering Department chair Marshall Long responded to requests for comment since Friday. Mechanical engineering professors contacted Sunday night said they were unaware that Wu’s students had not received grades.
Some of Wu’s students said they have seen him on campus this semester, although none of the students interviewed had been able to meet with him in person. This semester, Wu is teaching the upper-level mechanical engineering class “Mechanical Behavior Materials.”
Molly Montes ’06 is one of several students who sent e-mails to Wu but has not received responses. Montes, who is starting to apply for summer internships and recently submitted an application for a Yale summer fellowship, said the absence of a grade for the course on her official transcript is “incredibly inconvenient.”
“At this point, it’s not having a huge impact on my life,” Montes said. “My residential college dean said that within Yale, they understand it’s not an ‘incomplete’ or an ‘F.’ But outside of Yale, it would definitely raise eyebrows.”
Wu’s frequent tardiness to his own class last term — he was at least 10 minutes late for the final exam in December — is consistent with the delay in grade submission, several students said.
But James Salzano ’06, a mechanical engineering major, said he was surprised by Wu’s lack of responsiveness.
“It seems a little out of character for him to take this long,” Salzano said. “He’s a nice man, he’s personable. He seemed very accessible.”
Wu’s class is considered indispensable to prospective mechanical engineering students, Salzano said, noting that it is one of the first classes mechanical engineers are required to take for the major at Yale. Of about 25 students who enrolled in the class last term, most were mechanical engineering majors, he said.
“Mechanical engineering is a hard major,” Salzano said. “I just want to get my grade and forget about it — and work hard on the other classes.”