At its most recent meeting, the College Senate passed the first reading of a proposal that would raise the required GPA for Dean's List and graduation honors to 3.50.
Dean of the College Susan Bailey recommended the changes to the Senate's Policy Committee. The proposal will go up for a second reading on May 8. If it passes, the new minimum GPA for the Dean's List will be raised from 3.40 to 3.50, effective in Fall 2009. In addition, the minimum GPA for graduation honors will rise from 3.45 to 3.50, effective beginning with the Class of 2012.
According to the proposal, the two markers are being made the same to prevent a situation where a student could feasibly make the Dean's List every semester and then not receive graduation honors.
"We think that if you make the Dean's List, you should graduate with honors," said math professor Ed Wallace, chair of the policy committee. "We wanted to be more in line with what other schools of our type are using for the criteria."
Bailey explained that the higher standards are part of an effort to ensure that the honor of making the Dean's List or graduating cum laude remains meaningful. In Fall 1996, 25.9 percent of undergraduate Geneseo students qualified for the Dean's List; in 2007, that percentage was 32.4 percent.
Bailey said that while the rise in students achieving a high GPA could be the result of many factors, grade inflation is "probably not playing a very big role." She reported that over the past ten years, the average GPA of undergraduate students has remained at approximately 3.0.
The reason for the shift is "more likely to be that…we have admitted more and more students in the top 10 percentage of their classes," suggested Bailey.
Students generally felt that making the Dean's List is enough of an accomplishment already.
"I'm not convinced that their reasoning is justified," said junior Christian Herasimtschuk. "It's hard enough achieving good grades in the courses they offer here."
"Well, seeing as it would make it harder to get on the Dean's List, it doesn't seem like a good idea to me," said freshman Chris Laue.
The last time the GPA requirement for the Dean's List changed was in 1980, when it was raised from 3.25 to the current 3.40.