A day before Yale College Dean Marvin Chun was set to finalize the grading system for this semester, a faculty survey soliciting their preferred policy concluded with confusion among some instructors over who is eligible to vote.
The survey aimed to gauge faculty views after sentiment in a Thursday faculty meeting did not match the results of a previous faculty poll, according to Chun. In an email to the News, he said the previous poll was meant for “all teaching faculty.” But Monday’s survey — which was open from 4 to 9 p.m. — only applied to those eligible to vote according to Yale College faculty meeting rules, including all ladder faculty in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and full-time lecturers with appointments for more than one year. A group of instructional faculty members — including part-time lecturers — said they did not receive the link to the survey, even if they attended one of the Zoom faculty meetings on Thursday and Monday.
“[For what it’s worth], I listened to the whole presentation and discussion about it today, and had been under the impression that I was going to receive a poll, which … I did not,” political science lecturer Mordechai Levy-Eichel wrote in an email to the News.
Three other lecturers told the News that they had been under the impression that since Yale College invited them to Monday’s faculty meeting, they could participate in the survey later that evening. Still, they did not receive a link to vote, unlike the three senior instructional faculty who told the News that they did.
In addition, Chun said there was a “very small number of eligible colleagues” whose responses were collected via email, instead of through the survey. Concerns about the poll failing to reach all participants of the previous survey were raised to Senior Executive Assistant to Dean Chun Julie Sweigard an hour before the poll closed, according to an email thread obtained by the News. In response, Sweigard provided instructions for a faculty member who had issues with the poll to instead cast their survey vote to the Dean’s Office by email. This method was then shared among roughly 30 instructional faculty members less than half an hour before the survey’s 9 p.m. deadline, per emails reviewed by the News.
It remains unclear whether and how the voting procedure affected the outcome. The four instructional faculty members who did not receive the link eventually voted through the email address Sweigard provided, they told the News.
According to Sweigard’s email, the survey allowed respondents to choose between two options: an optional Credit/D/Fail policy — Yale’s current system — and a universal pass/fail policy.
When asked how many eligible faculty members voted via email, Chun said he does not have precise numbers at this time but is verifying the results with help from others.
“I believe they will be representative and valid,” Chun said.
Chun plans to make an announcement on potential grading policy changes Tuesday.
Matt Kristoffersen | firstname.lastname@example.org