By Hannah Gonzalez
From the Fall 2018 semester onward, the Dean’s List Honors will be moved from a yearly to a semesterly basis for Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) undergraduates. Additionally, the Dean’s Office will no longer be organizing an annual ceremony to celebrate honorees.
Previously, the Dean’s List required that students achieve a GPA of 3.6 or above while taking at least 24 credits over the course of the previous academic year. While the GPA requirement will not change, now that award will be distributed every semester, and students must have 12 credits over the previous semester in order to qualify.
Maura Mast, Ph.D., dean of FCRH, cited student concerns and the practices of other institutions as the factors underlying this change. Previously, students studying abroad or taking a semester-long leave of absence would lose out on the opportunity to achieve Dean’s List for that year.
“During my time as Dean, I have heard from many students who were away for a semester – either on a leave of absence or because they participated in a study abroad program – and who therefore did not qualify for Dean’s List,” said Mast. “These students had strong grades during their semester in residence at Fordham that year and felt that they should be honored for these achievements.”
In addition to student concerns, Mast also looked at how other institutions administered Dean’s List Honors. She found that many institutions, including Georgetown and Boston College, opt for a semester-by-semester basis. Mast also considered the input of her staff, the FCRH College Council and class deans, although the final decision to make this change was ultimately up to the dean of the college.
“I’ve consulted widely throughout this process and the input that I received from the class deans was very helpful,” said Mast. “We are in agreement with regard to these changes.”
Erika Selakowski, FCRH’20, expressed her concern that ch anging the Dean’s List to a semesterly basis would make the award itself less impressive.
“I understand why they’re doing it, and I feel for the study abroad students,” said Selakowski. “But at the same time, by semester, I feel like it’s a lot easier to accomplish. I think it takes away from the accomplishment of doing it over a year.”
To honor 2017-2018 Dean’s List recipients, the Dean’s Office has organized a reception on Thursday, Nov. 1, where honorees will gather to eat desserts and pick up their certificates in North Dining Hall. This event will replace the usual ceremony during Parent’s Weekend. Mast cited the lack of space as the primary factor behind this decision.
Last year, 820 undergraduates received Dean’s List Honors. To celebrate, the Dean’s Office partnered with Campus Ministry to offer a special weekend liturgy. The high attendance ended up necessitating overflow space be set up in the St. Ignatian room below the church. After the mass, the Dean’s List ceremonies for sophomores, juniors and seniors were likewise overfilled.
“The ceremonies we had afterward to recognize the juniors and sophomores were so crowded that they were standing room only,” said Mast. “I’m sorry that we cannot continue to hold the ceremony.”
After this semester’s reception, the Dean’s Office will no longer be holding gatherings for honorees. Instead, they will be looking to other ways of honoring students, potentially through posting names outside of the Dean’s Office and printing names in the Fordham Ram.
“I have conferred with the class deans and we agree that it won’t be feasible to continue with the receptions once we move to the semester-by-semester approach for Dean’s List,” said Mast. “We’ll find other ways to celebrate and acknowledge the student achievements.”