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U. Pennsylvania Dropping Dean’s List Recognitions

U. Pennsylvania Dropping Dean’s List Recognitions

“serves as an indication that Penn is ‘consciously thinking’ about how to reduce academic stress for students”

Another academic triumph in the name of equity.

The College Fix reports:

University of Pennsylvania does away with dean’s list recognitions

Beginning July 1 of this year, the University of Pennsylvania will cease recognizing students’ academic achievements via Dean’s List designations.

According to Interim Provost Beth Winkelstein and Vice Provost for Education Karen Detlefsen, the change comes from “the shared belief that a Dean’s List designation does not reflect the breadth and evolution of students’ academic achievements over the course of their education.”

Penn Undergraduate Assembly minutes from September of last year state that deans cited the “reduction of emphasis on grades,” that Dean’s Lists are “not as rare as one might think” and that “many […] peer institutions” no longer have Dean’s Lists as reasons for the decision.

The change will not affect Latin Honors and individual school and department awards.

Students need a 3.7 cumulative GPA or higher to qualify for the Dean’s List at Penn.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that Penn’s move was “the culmination of several years’ worth of extensive conversations across the Penn community, including with student leaders.”

Undergraduate Assembly Speaker Xavier Shankle said that while the decision “may seem ‘shocking on the surface,’ [it] serves as an indication that Penn is ‘consciously thinking’ about how to reduce academic stress for students.”

From the story:

“Whether or not removing dean’s list is the best way to remove or reduce academic stress … is something still to be determined,” Shankle said, adding that the issue was centered around “finding a balance” between maintaining Penn’s academic rigor while promoting academic wellness.

While Shankle said that some students may experience an “adjustment period” without the dean’s list each year, he added that it could be beneficial in the long term for promoting “learning for the sake of learning.” …

“[But … ending the dean’s list] takes away a chance for students to receive recognition for their achievement,” College junior and second-year UA College Representative Charlie Schumer said. “College is really hard, and I think it’s worthwhile to acknowledge the effort that people put in.”


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Great move — Henceforth, administrators won’t have to spend time dealing with the complaints of all those PAYING CUSTOMERS who did not achieve the Grade Point Averages that they paid so much money for.

(Are there LEGAL INSURRECTION readers from outside the USA? One wonders how this kind of thing is perceived by academics in overseas universities.)

Grades at most of the Ivy League are so inflated that over 70% graduate with some honor. Gone are the days of Sen. John Kerry being thought an academic paragon with a C+.

henrybowman | April 3, 2023 at 5:05 pm

This keeps them from having to explain in three years why they halved the criteria for inclusion… or alternatively why the list is practically empty.

Whether the Dean puts a blue checkmark by your GPA really doesn’t make a difference.
Same with Summa & Magna Cum Laude.

I worked for 3 Fortune 50 companies. My Resume had my Degrees and GPA’s but sadly no one actually checked. I remember worrying about putting 3.9 versus 3.87

What they seem to be saying now at Penn is that, just like the Special Olympics for Mentally Retarded Children, all of our participants are Winners.

As long as your entry fees have been paid, “Everybody is a Champion.”

It is as if Peter Pan is in charge.

How appealing.

This’ll probably spread throughout American college campuses.

JackinSilverSpring | April 4, 2023 at 7:09 am

Why not just dispense with grades entirely? Then no one gets stressed.