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The Daily Tar Heel

Folt postpones contextualized transcripts over student concerns

In an emergency meeting of the Faculty Executive Committee, Student Body Vice President Kyle Villemain requested a delay of the new transcripts after student focus groups raised concerns about students’ knowledge of the impending change.

“I would say 98 percent of students in the current population do not know what it means, and they are the ones who will have it on their transcripts in three weeks,” he said.

The transcript would include a median grade for each course, a schedule point average that shows the GPA of the average person in the course and the percentile range of where one’s course grade fell compared to the median grade.

Folt, who heard the concerns from Villemain and freshman Eliza Filene during the scheduled Chancellor’s Advisory Committee meeting Tuesday, decided to delay the contextualized switch.

She cited student concerns, the time since the policy was originally voted to be implemented in 2011 and the technical issues raised by University Registrar Chris Derickson.

Derickson, whose office was in charge of creating the new contextualized transcripts for students, had concerns about his office being ready to put the change into action in just a few weeks, mentioning that the most recent draft of the new transcript shown at the Faculty Council meeting less than a week ago had an error with the schedule point average.

“I can find a way to make it work if it’s for what is best for the University, but I do wish there was more time,” he said.

Evelyne Huber, a political science professor, echoed Derickson’s sentiments.

“It could delegitimize the whole enterprise,” said Huber, a Chancellor’s Advisory Committee member, about an error in the new transcripts.

Andrew Perrin, a professor of sociology, who has been the driving force of the change, agreed that if the system is not ready to implement the new transcripts, UNC should wait, but he did not think the student concerns were legitimate.

“I think this (change) has been communicated again and again. If students do not know about it then they are not paying attention,” Perrin said.

Concerns over the future of small seminar classes and liberal arts degrees have been discussed ad nauseam, he said.

“To say we are readdressing the question (of using contextualized grading) is inappropriate,” said Laurie McNeil, a professor and member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee.

Jennifer Coble, a professor of biology and chairwoman of the Education Policy Committee, said she was not around for the initial transcript discussions, but the group should give more weight to student concerns.

“Personally, my instinct is that, even if they are late in the game, their concerns are important,” she said.

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