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Recognizing students with two new honor awards
October 11, 2018

Recognizing students with two new honor awards

Recognizing students with two new honor awards

Students studying on campus. Photo by Deidre Carrillo

Faculty Senate proposed the implementation of two new awards, the President’s List and the Provost’s List.  The awards were first listed in Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s catalog and available for students to earn in 2017-2018.

The distinctions reward and motivate high-achieving students. Students who achieve academic excellence have the opportunity to earn a spot on the Dean’s list since its implementation in 2016. Now, students also have the opportunity to earn a spot on either the President’s List or the Provost’s List each semester they are enrolled at Texas A&M-San Antonio.  

Awards and accolades provide incentive to help a larger number of students achieve academic excellence.  Some students would like to have a 4.0 GPA, but it’s not always attainable for those who are juggling several other responsibilities beyond their scholastic requirements.

Awards and accolades provide incentive to help a larger number of students achieve academic excellence. However, members of the Senate are also aware that the demands on students, particularly full-time jobs, can sometimes be a barrier. Still, the distinction is something that all students can strive toward.

When he served as president of the faculty senate, History professor Edward Westermann said that the committee recognized the need for this type of recognition for student achievement and made a proposal to the Provost that these awards be added to the academic affairs program.  The challenge was deciding on the minimum GPA for each award and whether or not to determine a flat number for the entire school.

“One of the issues we faced in looking at just doing a flat number across the university, is that there are some colleges that have a higher GPA than other other colleges,” Westermann said.  “Potentially what that would do is certain colleges might be over represented based on the grades that are given in that college.”

Westermann said their committee suggested one way of setting the qualifications for the university would be to recognize students ranking in the top 10 percent of each college.  Therefore, students excelling academically would be recognized and competing for positions on these prestigious lists with students on similar educational tracks. But he was not certain if that was the final criteria set for the awards.

Jane Mims, assistant vice provost of institutional effectiveness, said the university ultimately decided since qualifications for these awards are based on semester GPAs rather than percentile rank, semester honors are determined university-wide and are as follows:

  • President’s List 4.0
  • Provost’s List 3.99-3.70
  • Dean’s List 3.69-3.50

Additional criteria requires that recipients must be full-time undergraduate students, and any students who have received a grade of D, F, I, W or WS during the semester are excluded from consideration.  

Westermann said the faculty senate has been discussing the idea of implementing these awards for a couple of years, but these types of programs take considerable planning and committee time to implement, which is why all three awards have not been offered before now.

“When you’re building an institution almost from the ground up, there are certain areas of policy development that took longer to develop or that had priority over other programs,” Westermann said.  “We thought three years ago this was an important step forward to bring this to fruition.”

Westerman also added that Texas A&M-San Antonio’s comprehensive expansion, from a two-year to a four-year university, requires a tremendous amount of committee time for planning  and working through these types of issues.

“Policy implementation, on top of everything else that’s been happening, just takes more time,” Westerman said.  

According to the policy, a list of award recipients is published one month after grades are posted in each long semester.  Once the list is published and qualifying students are identified, each student will receive a letter from the dean of his or her college notifying each student of his or her award.  

All three awards will appear on both official and unofficial transcripts, offering students the opportunity to utilize these accolades on job resumes as well as future educational pursuits, offering another way to showcase their scholastic achievement and academic excellence.  

Mike O’Brien, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the university has been offering the Dean’s list award for two years, but most students are unaware that the program exists.  However, complete information about all three honors awards are outlined in the university catalog, both in print and online for students to reference and learn more about.

For more information click President’s List, Provost’s List and Dean’s List .

 

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