Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Word to the Wise

Remember the attendance problem that all of us new Fulbright Professors have observed in our Romanian Universities. Well, at the beginning of the term I asked my dean about it, and she simply said to make your grading policy explicit in your written syllabus, publish the syllabus in October, and she'd back up whatever grades I posted consistent with that syllabus. It is now about the middle of the semester, so today I decided to reinforce my students' understanding of how I evaluate their performance in my class. Here is the e-mail on the subject "Labor Management and Operations Management: Grading Parameters" that all Third-Year Englishline students received from me, to which I attached, once again, the course syllabi:

Date: 13 November 2008

To: All Students enrolled in the subject Englishline courses:

From: Professor McDougall

Subject: Reminder of Grading Parameters

Please review the attached syllabi, which were first sent to you in October. Note that in both courses, class participation will be counted as 50% of your grade, and your two written submissions will earn the other 50%. As both courses are case-based discussion courses, this grading model parallels the courses' workloads, and recognizes students who take part in the learning opportunities provided.

Some 10-12 of the 28 students who are enrolled in this course have not been attending either the lecture/discussion sessions or the seminars. If you are among those habitually absent students, I urge you to find a way to start coming, prepared, to the remaining classes.

Beginning at next Thursday's Operations Management Seminar at 9:10, in Room 127, when you will discuss the Sport Obermeyer case on which you will be doing your written analysis, attend faithfully for the latter half of the semester, take part actively in class discussions, and you will still have a good chance to receive a passing grade. However, should you continue to miss classes and seminars, your maximum possible grade will be 5 out of 10, and to earn that 5 your written analyses and final examinations in both classes will have to earn 100% of their possible points.

The Final Examination in these courses is worth only 25% of your grade. You cannot make up on the final for missing all the classes, and for failing to submit a written assignment, or even for passing the written analysis with less than a perfect score.

I shall report on my grading form exactly the grades that my students earn. That is the only fair way to grade such a course, and the only way to differentiate between those who meet the requirements of the course, and those who do not.

If you feel that there are extenuating circumstances in your case, please communicate those to me as soon as possible, initially by e-mail, as I will be out-of-town next week.

As we say in America, "A word, to the wise, is sufficient."


Duncan McDougall


Fulbright Professor,

Room 409, Ext. 5742

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