The institution of the new Dean’s List requirements-students must have 12 complete credits with at least a 3.5 grade point average raises the question: how do part-time students receive academic awards?
Established in May 2011, a student will receive Dean’s List recognition at the conclusion of a given semester if the student has completed a minimum of 12 conferred grade points and earned at least a 3.5 grade point average.
Semester grade point averages are not rounded in the determination of eligibility for the Dean’s List, nor is eligibility for the Dean’s List determined retroactively upon completion of an incomplete.
Before the change in requirements, the policy used to allow students a minimum of two courses, six credits, in order to make Dean’s List, according to Associate Provost Ann Rancourt.
“The College Senate met and agreed that in order to make Dean’s List, a student must be considered ‘full-time’ which would mean taking at least three courses,” Rancourt said.
The Senate also concluded that a full-time academic load should qualify a student for Dean’s List, if the appropriate requirements are fulfilled by that student.
With a college that has a mixed percentage of full-time students and students who commute and work part-time, the Dean’s List is unreachable for some.
“I think these new requirements should raise awareness to the college about part-time students who are only taking two courses but receive exceptional grades; how can they receive academic awards for their accomplishments.” Rancourt said.
One KSC employee, who asked to remain anonymous, has been taking two courses per semester for the last 10 years and said this is the first year she hasn’t made Dean’s List because of the new requirements. “It doesn’t seem fair. I plan on graduating in December and I can’t take summer classes to finish any earlier,” the KSC employee said. “It’s impossible for part-time students who work for the college or commute to school during the week; we can’t make Dean’s List even with the exceptional grades I have.”
This employee suggested implementing some sort of recognition of part-time students who can’t take more than three classes per semester. “The school should recognize part-time students who work and take classes in between because with these new requirements I won’t be able to make Dean’s List anymore before I graduate,” the KSC employee said.
Rancourt emphasized that times are tough for college students. With tuition fees increasing and job markets barely expanding, students need to make money somehow.
“I think the college should acknowledge that times are different and students now are completing their degrees part-time, and they should get some sort of recognition for that,” Rancourt said. “I’m not taking anything away from full-time students who receive excellent grades, but students have a life outside of college and I think that should have some sort of impact.”
KSC senior Chris Ordway said he plans on commuting in between classes for the Fall 2012 semester, but won’t expect to see his name under the Dean’s List.
“I have to take two classes in the fall semester which means I’ll have to commute and with these new rules I can pretty much rule out making Dean’s List,” Ordway said. “In my opinion, students who can’t take more than two classes should receive some sort of recognition because it’ not like they haven’t put in the work.”
Rancourt said that when examining the workload between part-time and full-time students, each has a beneficial attribute.
“A full-time student receives a heavier work load, but that can lead to a greater margin of error, whereas part-time students have less work to do well on, or else they won’t make Dean’s List,” Rancourt said.
Lucas Fiehler, a Keene State College senior and athletic trainer, said his work load this semester is hectic, and with his agenda short of breaks it’s hard to succeed in every academic department.
“I find my days are spent either working at the gym or in class, and every other day I have an internship that I travel back and forth to Manchester, N.H.,” said Fiehler. “Students with full work loads can’t excel in everything, I have a life outside of college so making the Dean’s List is probably the last thing on my mind right now.”
Though the college just implemented these new requirements, Rancourt said it would be humane to see part-time students receive some kind of academic excellence award.
“I could support a system that allows academic awards to be handed to part-time students who have succeeded academically,” Rancourt said. “Possibly a certificate of merit for students taking less than three classes, something to reward those who have successfully put in the work.
Jon Carey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org