The Dean’s List should be reserved for students who have an exceptional academic record.
A new policy from the Dean’s Council comes much closer than the current rules to accomplishing just that. But there’s still work to be done.
Starting with the incoming freshman class, the requirements to make the Dean’s List will change. Current students either have to make a 3.2 grade point average with at least 15 credit hours or a 3.5 GPA with 12 credit hours without getting anything below a C to make the list.
The new policy will require students to make a 3.5 GPA, be enrolled in 12 letter-grade credit hours and get nothing lower than a C to make the list.
The change will decrease the percentage of undergraduate students who make the list from about 40 percent to about 25 percent.
We support the council’s decision — but it doesn’t go far enough.
Only including 10 percent to 15 percent of undergraduates would make the list a real honor.
If 40 percent of the undergraduate student body makes the Dean’s List every semester, it’s not a high-level distinction. It’s more of a demonstration of low standards, and the council was right to raise the bar.
The council will be reviewing this policy change in five years. And we think that’s going to be necessary.
Being in the top 25 percent of the student body is a distinction. But the Dean’s List should really be reserved for students who have the highest academic achievements at the University.
University of California, Berkeley, for example, only places students who rank in the top 4 percent of undergraduates on the Dean’s List.
We think that’s a bit extreme, but we’d like to see the Dean’s Council have a goal of raising standards even higher in the future.
The University is still trying to figure out how it will tackle grade inflation. How the University moves forward on that will probably change the academic culture of the University and how many students can make the Dean’s List cut.
So for now, the Dean’s Council made the right decision.