Faculty Senate favors change in Incomplete grading policy

News Reporter

Faculty Senate held a discussion at its Wednesday meeting about shortening the time frame for graduate students to earn a grade in a course in which they receive an “incomplete” before failing.

The policy and procedure currently state that graduate students who receive an “incomplete” or “I” in a class have one year to earn a better grade before failing that course. The proposed policy would hold graduate students to a higher standard by giving them less time to retake a course and earn a complete grade.

An “incomplete” is given to students whose circumstances kept them from passing a course. The professor then grants an “I” instead of a failing “F” grade. Graduate and undergraduate students are currently allowed a maximum of one year to complete assignments and earn a better grade to replace the incomplete.

The majority of senators were in support of the new policy.

Michel Conroy, faculty senate chair, said the college deans have been discussing a policy change during meetings and requested the senate’s feedback.

Conroy said deans are considering stricter policies for undergraduate students and a better monitoring system to ensure all faculty members follow the same policy.

“The deans worry that the policy isn’t being universally translated to the students,” Conroy said.

She said the deans believe faculty are not following the standard policy and give students too much flexibility to adjust grades.

“That’s because there isn’t a consistent policy communicated to faculty to begin with,” said Rebecca Bell-Metereau, English senator.

Alex White, mathematics senator, suggested more information be left in the students’ records about why they were given incompletes. Better records would help prevent a student from being forced to take a failing grade if a professor “drops the ball,” he said.

Creating an electronic process for keeping track of why each student receives an incomplete might improve the process, Conroy said.

White said an electronic process would allow administrators to intervene, which the current arrangement does not permit.

“There’s nothing in the system to remind either party, the professor or the student, that the year deadline is approaching,” said Jovita Ross-Gordon, counseling, leadership, adult education and school psychology senator. “So sometimes students fall through the cracks.”