Faculty senate passes grade-replacement policy

Sydney Purtee

The Faculty Senate unanimously passed a new policy that allows Kent State students to retake upper division courses and replace their grade. 

The current policy allows students to retake lower division courses to replace previously obtained grades, but does not allow this with upper division courses. Instead, the grades are combined and averaged out rather than simply replacing it.

“When we started looking into our own data, we saw that students were repeating and taking advantage of that policy, which we want them to do, but they were repeating those lower division courses,” said Melody Tankersley, the senior associate provost. “When they got to their senior year, they would realize they aren’t going to have the GPA they might need.”

The Office of the Provost had the students’ best interest in mind when taking this measure into consideration.

“Why not allow the opportunity to do better in your major?” Tankersley said. “We wanted to open that up.”

When the issue was brought up at the Faculty Senate meeting on Feb. 11, there was some debate among the senators. Some faculty members were worried about students taking advantage of the policy and not keeping up with standards.

“I could understand the arguments my colleagues were making about standards, but I also felt that in the case of freshmen – and sometimes sophomores – kind of ‘going off the rails,’ it wasn’t so much about not maintaining standards,” said Pamela Grimm, the chair of the faculty senate. “It was acknowledging the fact that bad things happen.”

Faculty from different departments expressed concerns during an Educational Policies Council meeting.

Faculty said that they didn’t necessarily want students in their program who had to repeat multiple courses in majors such as nursing. In order to accommodate them, the policy leaves it up to the department.

“The department can say ‘in order to progress within that major, we look at all attempts, not just the replacement grade,’” Grimm said. “That gives a safeguard to those programs that feel strongly that there’s compelling reasons not to replace, but in large, most of the programs and majors don’t have those concerns.”

Sydney Purtee covers Academic Affairs. Contact her at [email protected].