CAA talks changes to admissions grade scale

Emilie Bowman, Staff Reporter

The Council on Academic Affairs heard a late addition to its discussion items proposing a change in the admission policy.

The CAA is hoping to officially act upon the proposal at its next weekly meeting.

Richard England, dean of Pine Honors College, and Josh Norman, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, proposed to remove the word “unweighted” from the course catalog.

Currently all prospective students coming from high school need to maintain at least a 2.5 unweighted GPA on a 4.0 scale.

England plans to keep the 4.0 scale intact while giving incoming students a better chance at obtaining scholarships upon entry, hopefully attracting more high achieving students.

“Our top five competitors are all accepting that weighted GPA,” Norman said. “They’re recognizing those honors level courses and the rigor of those courses.”

Norman described the conversation that admission counselors sometimes need to have with parents and students, breaking the news to them that their scholarship will decrease based on an unweighted GPA.

“That single word changes our process and allows us to have a much simpler conversation with those students and their parents,” Norman said. “We are absolutely in agreement that this will be 100 percent beneficial for our incoming prospective students.”

England assured the council that by cutting the word “unweighted,” no student would receive more or less of an advantage than any other student.

“Students are being told by their advisors that colleges will recognize and value that (advanced courses), but because of our unweighted system, we tell them ‘no,’” England said. “These are some of the very students who can very much use that money and are pushing themselves.”

Members of the council also recognize the effort being put in by prospective Eastern students.

Amy Rosenstein, CAA member, said she thought students should get credit for college courses they take in high school regardless of if it is listed as weighted or unweighted.

“How do you handle those students, who are high schoolers, who are actually taking college classes, which don’t get on your transcript as weighted, so you take the class but don’t get any extra weight for that,” Rosenstein said. “That to me is crazy.”

Rosenstein was not the only council member to support the changing the GPA requirements for prospective students in high school. Rebecca Throneburg, CAA member, agreed saying students should receive credit for taking harder classes.

“When you’re in the weighted system, you strategize to take the harder class,” said Rebecca Throneburg, department chair for Communication Disorders and Sciences. “They (high school students) get the strategy. You can work either system (weighted or unweighted) to up your GPA and knowing what you’re doing, so I think this is a good thing.”

CAA voted to move the nursing course items in the agenda for the Thursday meeting to its meeting next week.

The council also discussed the CAA bylaws pertaining to populating the General Education Committee and voted to eliminate at large representatives and replace it with representation from each college.

The council also discussed adding representation from Booth Library as an ex officio member.

For 2019 to 2020, the Gen Ed. Committee will be made up of 10 interim voting members.

All colleges will be represented in the committee along with a Booth Library representative will be added as an ex officio member.

Emilie Bowman can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].