A University of Georgia Professor has been made to retract a “stress reduction policy” he had enacted that allowed students to choose their own grades if they “felt unduly stressed” by the ones they had rightfully earned by, you know, their actual performance in the class. As reported in Campus Reform, Dr. Richard Watson who, surprisingly, teaches business, introduced the policy because “emotional reactions to stressful situations can have profound consequences for all involved.” Additionally, students who feel stressed in group classwork are encouraged to walk away from the group with no explanation and will only be graded on non-group work, and says that while “this policy might hinder the development of group skills and mastery of the class material,” that is the responsibility of each student. While the latter is correct, it is also the responsibility of each student to accept that poor performance or not completing group activities will drag down one’s grade.
How else is he coddling his students? Well, according to the same Campus Reform piece, tests and exams will be open-book and open-notes and “only positive comments” will be made in in-class presentations while constructive criticism will be delivered by e-mail.
This bizarre policy of non-responsibility went viral and the University of Georgia took action.
“The professor has removed this language from the syllabus,” Executive Director of Media Communications Greg Trevor told Campus Reform. “In addition, the University of Georgia applies very high standards in its curricular delivery, including a university-wide policy that mandates all faculty employ a grading system based on transparent and pre-defined coursework.”
The Dean of the Terry College of Business at the University also released the following statement:
Statement from Terry College dean in response to concerns about Prof. Watson’s syllabus pic.twitter.com/osiKTFgw3C
— UGA (@universityofga) August 8, 2017
While this covers concerns regarding grades, what about the other strange things happening in his classroom? Will he be allowing his students to skip group assignments with no repercussions? Will he only give positive feedback?
He is hardly preparing his students for the world of business.