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UCC and admin to discuss pass/fail changes

Published: October 20, 2006
Section: News


The Administration and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) are contemplating an alteration to the universitys pass/fail policy. The change would require students to earn a C- in order to officially pass a class. Currently, a D- is considered a passing grade.

There is definitely discussion, said Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA) and First Year Services Michele Rosenthal, who is also a member of the UCC.

Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe will be holding a conversation about the policy change with the Student Union on Sunday.

The student representatives to the UCC, Kimberlee Bachman 08, Ariel Strauss 07, and Sara Kranzler 07, in a statement to The Hoot, wrote that we anticipate that [Dean Jaffe] will offer a lot of insight into the reasoning behind pass/fail. The UCC reps also commented that we anticipate that it will be a deliberative process.

The UAA website cites that the pass/fail policy was initiated because at Brandeis University, we would like to encourage students to experiment in academic departments they may never have considered trying in the past. Therefore, during students' time at Brandeis, they may enroll in up to four courses pass/fail.

If a student chooses to designate his/her grade as simply a pass, the class is not factored into the students GPA. UAA, however, cautions that whereas the goal of the program is to encourage you to try something new, the purpose of the pass/fail option is not to proThe Administration and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) are contemplating an alteration to the universitys pass/fail policy. The change would require students to earn a C- in order to officially pass a class. Currently, a D- is considered a passing grade.

There is definitely discussion, said Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA) and First Year Services Michele Rosenthal, who is also a member of the UCC.

Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe will be holding a conversation about the policy change with the Student Union on Sunday.

The student representatives to the UCC, Kimberlee Bachman 08, Ariel Strauss 07, and Sara Kranzler 07, in a statement to The Hoot, wrote that we anticipate that [Dean Jaffe] will offer a lot of insight into the reasoning behind pass/fail. The UCC reps also commented that we anticipate that it will be a deliberative process.

The UAA website cites that the pass/fail policy was initiated because at Brandeis University, we would like to encourage students to experiment in academic departments they may never have considered trying in the past. Therefore, during students' time at Brandeis, they may enroll in up to four courses pass/fail.

If a student chooses to designate his/her grade as simply a pass, the class is not factored into the students GPA. UAA, however, cautions that whereas the goal of the program is to encourage you to try something new, the purpose of the pass/fail option is not to provide a type of GPA insurance.

Many Brandeis students feel that change in the pass/fail option may be unnecessary. Mike Martin 09 stated that Ds dont really vide a type of GPA insurance.
mean that you did a good job, but its still considered a passing grade at every national university, as far as I know. He went on to state that a D might be indicative of greater trouble, and that the university should not summarily fail a student who received one. Not a lot of students receive Ds, he said. Ds are more of a sign of an academic problem and something that should be worked with, instead of automatically failing you.

Sam Negin 08 sees both sides of the argument. On the one hand, he said it makes sense because to pass a class that is a requirement you need to get a C anyhow. However, he added that if youre really doing something for the fun of it, why not be able to get a D?