Senate Document Number 4001S
Date of Senate Approval 05/03/01
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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:
APC Document 26: Criteria for Awarding Latin Honors
Effective Date: Fall 2001
Delete: p 51, "ACADEMIC HONORS," the entire second paragraph.
Add: University-wide Latin honors are granted on the basis of cumulative grade-point average for those courses completed at UNCA. Students must earn at least 75 semester hours at UNCA to be eligible for Latin honors. Students who are readmitted to UNCA under the Conditional Readmission policy are not eligible for university-wide Latin honors. Students must achieve a cumulative grade-point average of 3.600 to graduate cum laude, 3.750 to graduate magna cum laude, and 3.900 to graduate summa cum laude. Since the work of some students is not adequately represented by grades alone, the Honors Committee solicits recommendations from the faculty that are used for two purposes. The Honors Committee may recommend to the faculty that a student receive a higher honor than the one that would apply automatically; and, in numbers not to exceed 1 percent of the graduating class, the Honors Committee may also recommend to the faculty that students whose grades do not qualify them for automatic honors receive honors at appropriate levels.
Impact Statement: This proposal will have no effect on major, minor, or university requirements.
Rationale: The change from a relative to an absolute scale in the awarding of Academic Honors will bring UNCA into line with other institutions in the UNCA system, and create consistency from year to year. While a sliding scale had been adopted as a way to counteract grade inflation at UNCA, we do not feel that the awarding of Academic Honors is the appropriate area to accomplish this goal. If grade inflation is considered to be a problem, the issue should be addressed by a discussion of grading criteria campus-wide, and not by selectively applying more stringent standards to the top students at our university. In addition, such a change will allow students to anticipate their eligibility for honors, which may increase motivation.
The grade-point averages used to determine Academic Honors are above those used by other universities in the North Carolina system, including UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington, NC State, East Carolina, and Appalachian State. In addition, of 85 public 4-year universities in the Southeast, 86% have cut-offs of 3.5 or lower, and of 121 private 4-year universities in the Southeast, 92% have cut-offs of 3.5 or lower. (Please note that UNCA's 3.6 cut-off would be higher than these universities.) If these cut-offs had been applied to the May 2000 graduating class, approximately 17% of UNCA's graduating class would have received Academic Honors. We feel a 3.600/3.750/3.900 scale will maintain UNCA's status as an elite institution with higher standards than most other institutions, while at the same time creating a more equitable and consistent way of awarding Academic Honors.