Tardy Teachers: The Forgotten “Section 3.1”



If students at Fordham University are forced to adhere to specific deadlines, their professors should also follow suit.(Courtesy of Flickr)

By Faustino Galante

If students at Fordham University are forced to adhere to specific deadlines, their professors should also follow suit. (Courtesy of Flickr)

Section 3.1 of Fordham University’s Undergraduate Faculty Handbook makes clear that a deadline exists regarding when a professor must hand in final semester grades. The handbook mandates that grades be submitted “within three (3) calendar days of the final examination date in the fall semester and within two (2) calendar days of the final examination in the spring semester.” In the “extraordinary event” that a professor cannot observe this deadline, it is stipulated that they contact the dean’s office to notify and report their impending lack of punctuality.

As a second semester sophomore at Fordham College at Rose Hill, I can confidently state that at least two professors each semester have blatantly disregarded this statute. This pattern undoubtedly demonstrates that “Section 3.1” has a small role in directing faculty members at Fordham. Instead of ensuring that teachers abide by this rule, the University has alternatively decided to appease professors despite their lack in punctuality. Both the administration and professors, of FCRH are responsible for this recent surge in late grade submissions. This disregard for such an important University standard inconveniences students and must be corrected.

While on the surface it may seem that discounting this policy hardly hassles undergrads, one must take into account that for many students, timely grade submissions are vital. Graduating seniors, students transferring out of Fordham and prospective study abroad applicants require their grades in order to go about their businesses in a timely fashion.

Being unaware of one’s final grades before graduating does not only cause anxiety, but can also lead to major inconveniences. It is not fair that a second semester senior approaching graduation might have their grades submitted late. What if a senior, for example, is on the verge of failing a class required by their major? Is it fair that the University makes arrangements for a student’s diploma before even having knowledge of their final grades? Furthermore, whether being on the verge of failing a class or not, mentally preparing oneself for graduation is not easy when one’s fate is unknown due to a professor’s lack of punctuality.

Transfer students and study abroad applicants alike are heavily inconvenienced by late grade submissions by professors. When applying to another college or a study abroad program, it is essential to have knowledge of one’s up-to-date GPA. Additionally, application deadlines exist, and not having a grade published can make it hard to fulfill these deadlines. For students seeking to study abroad in the fall semester, early decision applications are due no later than Jan. 15. How is one supposed to prepare for this deadline when many professors do not submit their final grades until Jan. 12?

As alluded to above, I believe that it is erroneous to solely blame University professors for late grade submissions. Section 3.1 of our Faculty Handbook is irrational and, in many regards, foolish. It is simply unfair to expect professors, who are human, after all, to prepare final grades in a mere two days. In many cases, this deadline is simply impossible to fulfill. The University should acknowledge this fact and revamp section 3.1. If, for example, the handbook mandated that grades be submitted six days following exams instead of two days, professors would likely be more inclined to follow the deadline. Evidently, this “deadline” has become meaningless in nature. Extending the deadline would allow students to receive grades more promptly.

While the handbook is indeed at fault for spurring late grade submissions, it would be flawed if I did not also condemn Fordham professors for their unprofessionalism in regards to grade delays. Ultimately, submitting grades in a timely fashion is part of what professors get paid for. A tenure or PhD should not allow them to actively ignore university policy. It is not fair to let hardworking students who follow deadlines wait for their grades. While I understand that professors do indeed have lives outside of the classroom, submitting final grades following exam week should be a priority. It is, in the end, part of their jobs.

Throughout high school, one of my favorite parts about beginning Christmas break was finding out my final grades before the holiday. While my grades were never by any means perfect, having them released before Christmas Eve always brought me to breathe a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, I have not experienced this feeling in college. Despite the fact that a University policy does indeed exist regarding final grade submissions, few teachers ever release grades in a timely fashion. Fordham must revamp Section 3.1 of its Faculty Handbook. Professors working at the University must recognize the various difficulties their tardiness can cause.