A week into the spring semester, some students are just receiving their fall semester grades, a trend that has some students concerned about their grade point averages and final transcripts.
Josh Saltzman, a political communication major who graduated in December, said he could not send his final transcripts to law schools because he was awaiting his grade in Professor Lanny Davis’ class “Scandal, Damage Control and American Politics.”
“Students get penalized for handing in papers and assignments late,” Saltzman said. “Some professors are very understanding with handing in assignments late and recognizing that students have lives outside of class, and I’ve always understood that professors have lives outside of class, but I think there should be at least some review system.”
Davis, a former special counsel in the Clinton White House, is an adjunct professor, and spends less time on campus than full-time or assistant professors. But Saltzman said there should be some repercussions when professors turn in grades late.
Saltzman said he checked his grades daily online from his home during winter break, and he said he knew several students who went to the School of Media and Public Affairs department to check their grades.
Jason Haber, who worked as a research and classroom assistant for Davis, sent an e-mail to students in the class apologizing for the late grades. Haber said Davis spent a lot of time reading student papers, which resulted in the tardy grades. Haber said there was also a delay between when Davis turned in the grades and when they were posted online.
“Lanny (Davis) is not used to the workings and bureaucracy of an academic institution and what is commonplace for most professors was uncharted waters for him,” Haber said.
Haber said he was unable to help Davis with the class as much as he would have liked because he was ill last semester. He said this may have been one reason Davis was unable to report the grades on time.
“I felt bad about it, but there was nothing I could do about it,” Haber said. “I told the class in my e-mail that I was sick and apologized. I felt terrible about that.”
Students in Professor Michael Sodaro’s political science class, “Introduction to Comparative Politics,” received their final grades online last week.
Ankur Doshi, a student in Sodaro’s class, said he was concerned because his political science class was not calculated into his GPA. While he said he understood the difficulty of grading exams in a large lecture class such as Sodaro’s, he said the grades should not have taken as long as they did.
“Someone told me that the professors have three days after the exam to turn in grades, but they can get an extension if they have very large classes,” Doshi said. “Still, I didn’t like having to wait for the grade.”
Professor Jeffrey Henig, chair of the political science department, said in a previous interview that professors have up to 72 hours to submit their grades after their final exams are over.
Brian Ellman, another student in Sodaro’s class, said he also was annoyed that it took so long for his grade to be posted. He said he checked his grades several times a day during winter break and was upset that his GPA for the semester and his cumulative GPA were incorrect because of the missing grade.
“I find it to be unfair that (professors) are not required to hand back grades after a certain amount of time,” Ellman said. “I never even got back my last paper, which I turned in well before the final. I strongly believe that all assignments that were turned in should be handed back before any exam, midterm or final.”
Sodaro did not return phone calls requesting comment.