Professors often require students to turn in their assignments on time. Now the tables are turned.
The Yale College Council passed a resolution Sunday night calling for the creation of a new standing committee on the Registrar’s Office and a monitoring system to ensure that professors turn in their grades on time.
Resolution authors Evan LePatner ’03 and Sumeyya Ashraf ’04 said the motivation for the resolution was students’ frustration with not knowing their grades before the beginning of the following semester.
The resolution calls for better communication among the Registrar’s Office, the Yale College Dean’s Office and professors. It asks that the Registrar’s Office send e-mail reminders about deadlines to professors, and that they send a confidential list of professors who have missed the deadline to the dean’s office for further monitoring.
According to the introductory clauses of the resolution, late grade reporting may lead to students selecting the next semester’s courses without a critical understanding of the prior semester’s grades, difficulty contesting or correcting errors in the prior semester’s grades, and trouble including that semester’s grades in applying for time-sensitive graduate school, internship, scholarship or fellowship opportunities.
LePatner, Ashraf, YCC President Vidhya Prabhakaran ’03 and YCC Secretary Ryan Sheely ’04 met with Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead yesterday to discuss the resolution. Each of them said they thought Brodhead was supportive of their ideas.
“I think Brodhead was very receptive to these suggestions,” LePatner said. “Our indications were that he will support many of them, if only to see how they go and to try this as a change and to test things out.”
Brodhead said he did not think late grades are a huge problem, noting that approximately 95 percent of professors turn in their grades by the first day of the next semester.
“I’d be happy to cooperate to see if we can bring in that small percentage of grades that are lagging,” Brodhead said.
Before writing the resolution, LePatner and Ashraf said they contacted various professors and spoke with Brodhead and Registrar Barry S. Kane to solicit feedback.
“We e-mailed all of the department chairs and some DUSes for all liberal arts and sciences and languages as well,” Ashraf said. “Almost everybody wrote back — they were all very constructive and helped us out in writing the final proposal.”
LePatner said he thinks the resolution will help bridge the gap between existing technology and the current grading ethos, but Brodhead said late grades were never a problem before the Internet.
“Before people checked their grades online, nobody ever had a way of getting their grades before the first day of school,” Brodhead said.
Prabhakaran said the resolution was not very contentious and it passed with only one dissenter, Lenore Estrada ’05. Estrada said she thought there were probably legitimate reasons why a small number of professors turn in their grades late, such as illness or deliberation over final grades.
“I think the professors are human too and we need to give them time to have their vacation,” Estrada said, “and I think if they’re two days late handing in their grades it’s not that big a deal and we don’t need to pester them.”
LePatner said the resolution has been received positively by representatives and other students.
“I think there was an overwhelming support for this resolution,” LePatner said, “if for no other reason than that there have been concerns by the student body that grading policy could be improved, so this resolution that we passed offers a number of suggestions that we think would aid in that process.”