Faculty Council to vote on plus/minus grading system

Thursday, April 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:15 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

For more than two months, the issue of plus/minus grading has lingered on the agenda of the MU Faculty Council, awaiting action.

Today, however, a vote is scheduled on whether to change wording in the Faculty Handbook to make plus/minus grading optional for faculty. Council chairman Gordon Christensen said Wednesday he does not think the resolution will pass.

In February, council member Jenice Prather-Kinsey of the College of Business said the Faculty Handbook suggested plus/minus grading was mandatory. Since then, a resolution was drafted to change the handbook’s wording to recommend plus/minus grading but also to give faculty members leeway to administer whatever grade best reflects a student’s performance.

Christensen said discussions concerning plus/minus grading have touched on whether a uniform grading policy for the campus is necessary in general.

The council is also scheduled to discuss blank grades, which are recorded when a professor doesn’t give a student a grade at the end of the semester. Reasons for a blank grade might be that a professor suspects a student cheated, the professor was sick, the student was sick or some other issue. Because of the problems the registrar’s office has with blank grades, the council was asked to take a look at their use.

The council also is scheduled to vote on a proposal to move officer elections from the summer session to the school year so more members could attend.

Also on the agenda is a discussion about the creation of a standing committee on diversity. Christensen suggested the idea at the campus-wide spring faculty meeting this month.

Finally, the council will hear from John David, chairman of the Strategic Planning and Resource Advisory Council, to discuss how the university is planning for the future and how it allocates and distributes money.

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