Campus News

Council acts on several items in final meeting of year

Chuck Gruner

Beginning December 2018, the bar will be raised for UGA students graduating with an honors designation. The University Council voted to raise standards for graduation honors at its April 23 meeting.

The change, which has been approved by UGA President Jere W. Morehead, raises the GPA standard for graduating cum laude from 3.50 to 3.60 and for graduating magna cum laude from 3.70 to 3.75. Required overall GPA for graduating summa cum laude will remain at 3.90.

The percentage of students graduating with honors has increased drastically since 1999, when 20.3 percent of the graduating class earned the honors distinction. In 2012 that rate was up to 39.5 percent.

While the growth in graduation honors is likely the result of greater academic quality of the UGA student body, “the increases in quality should be reflected by increases in standards in order for graduation honors to be a meaningful distinction,” according to a report by the University Council Educational Affairs Committee.

The University Council also approved a change to the course drops and withdrawal policy. The new protocol, which the president also has approved, sends retroactive hardship withdrawal requests, or hardship withdrawal requests not approved by the final day of classes, directly through the council’s Educational Affairs Committee. The faculty member who taught the course will be notified of hardship withdrawal requests. Retroactive hardship withdrawals were not addressed directly in the previous policy.

In other action, the council approved language to modify the university’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy to include the prohibition of discrimination based on “gender identity and expression.”

Since the Cabinet originally adopted the university’s NDAH policy and has amended it as needed, the president referred the council resolution to the Cabinet. Upon review and recommendation of the university’s Legal Affairs and Equal Opportunity offices, the Cabinet agreed unanimously in an email vote to add gender identity, but not gender expression, to the university’s NDAH policy, consistent with the way it is stated at Georgia Tech and a number of UGA peer institutions.

The council also approved more than a dozen additions or terminations of academic majors, minors, certificates and online programs recommended by the University Curriculum Committee.