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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

S/Cr/NC deadline to move to seventh week in fall 2012


The ballots have been cast.

With a 67-21 majority, the Carleton faculty voted on Nov. 7 to pass changes to the S/Cr/NC policy that might reshape the way students approach selecting and taking courses at Carleton.

The new policy requires professors to sign off when a student decides to “scunch” a class and moves the deadline from the final day of the term to Friday of seventh week. Students will no longer need to pre-scrunch classes.
The new policy for designating a class pass/fail will take effect in fall 2012.

The proposed changes had stirred controversy among the student body since they were initially proposed last spring. Since then CSA Senators Rebecca Gourevitch ’12, Gracie Ogilby ’12, Benjamin Somogyi ’12 and President Isaac Hodes ’12 had worked to represent the voices of students opposed to the S/Cr/NC deadline change.

In a single week they collected 556 student signatures against changing the S/Cr/NC deadline and organized two senate resolutions urging the Education and Curriculum Committee (ECC) and faculty not to pass the changes.

Gourevitch, along with the other student members of the ECC David Williams ‘12, Muira McCammon ‘13, Patrick Burke ‘14 and Gregory Michel ‘14 spoke at faculty meetings throughout the course of fall term. The senators had various conversations with faculty members and administrators, working to communicate student perspectives on the issue.

One of the central arguments faculty have made in favor of moving the deadline up to seventh Friday would alleviate much of the burden for professors to spend time carefully grading the work of a student who is going to opt to S/Cr/NC the class at the end of the term.
Another concern was that the current tenth week deadline had allowed S/Cr/NC to become too much of a “safety net” for students.

“It seemed to me—and to most of my colleagues in the languages—that S/Cr/NC was frequently being used as a kind of grade insurance policy, which clearly was not its intent,” Russian Professor Laura Goering said.

Computer Science Professor David Liben-Nowell said, “I’m delighted that we have a policy that encourages the exploration of unfamiliar corners of the curriculum—in fact, my favorite college class was probably ‘Shakespeare in the 20th Century’ (for which I signed up S/Cr/NC).  To me, the new policy is better focused on supporting students in actually pursuing that type of exploratory learning, rather than in strategizing about grades.”

Gourevitch, Ogilby, Somogyi and Hodes were joined by dozens of other students to pass out flyers at the faculty meeting on Monday, as the faculty walked into Boliou to cast their final vote.

“We are disappointed with the outcome of the vote. Many professors have said that they will work harder to get students’ feedback by seventh week, Gourevitch said.

“Students should know that they can talk to their professors if they’re concerned that they won’t get enough feedback by the new seventh week deadline.”

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