The University honors program lowered its GPA requirement for graduation this semester.
The program now requires a 3.0 GPA, equivalent to a B average, to graduate from the program, down from a 3.4 previously. Maria Frawley, the program’s executive director, said the decision was made to reduce stress on honors students and allow them to take on challenging assignments without worrying about potentially being kicked out of the program.
Frawley said honors faculty had a discussion during a retreat in January about the academic pressure on students. She said faculty felt that a 3.0 GPA still met the program’s standards for hard work and a rigorous course load.
“The change grew out of a discussion about the pressure that students feel about grades and the faculty’s desire for students to be able to experience and learn from challenging assignments with less preoccupation about grades,” Frawley said in an email.
The previous GPA requirement existed to ensure that students graduating from the UHP also graduated with Latin honors, she said. A student needs to graduate with a 3.4-3.59 GPA to graduate cum laude.
Frawley said student input was not taken into account when making the decision, but that Catherine Chandler and Mary Rothemich, the two program officers for the UHP, did contribute to the decision.
Freshman Connor O’Kelley, who is in the honors program, said that the new requirement will help students whose GPAs may suffer because they have to take rigorous required classes as part of the program. All honors students are required to take two year-long seminars in philosophy and science-focused topics, regardless of their major or field of study.
“While I respect that they are trying to give us a standard curriculum, it does negatively impact the grades of some people, who may not be suited for those types of classes,” O’Kelley said.