New dean’s list procedure could allow more students to make the list

A new dean’s list policy being discussed could allow more students to be recognized for their academic success each semester by cutting down eligibility requirements.

During the Nov. 17 Academic Senate (AS) meeting, AS President Darcie McClelland brought up Administrative Procedure 4200.

This procedure would allow students to be recognized on the list after completing 12 credited units and taking six or more units each semester with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5.

“We didn’t have a procedure before on it [the dean’s list], but the way we were doing it in practice was we were only recognizing students who were taking 12 or more units,” McClelland said.

According to the AS agenda from Nov. 3, AP 4200 was first introduced to the AS and was then was edited by Senate Ed-Policies Committee, then brought back as “unfinished business” during the Nov. 17 meeting.

McClelland said the idea for this first started back in spring of 2019, when someone from the Special Resource Center brought up a case involving a student with disabilities to Vice President of Academic Affairs Jean Shankweiler and McClelland herself.

“She was working with a student who was an excellent student. But because of their disabilities that they [had] verified and have accommodations for, [they] were not able to take 12 full units,” McClelland said.

After discussions about the specific case and ideas of making a procedure that would be inclusive to all students, Shankweiler will assign this procedure to deans Christina Gold of Behavioral & Social Sciences, Debra Breckheimer of Humanities and Gary Greco, director of the Special Resource Center.

“This was one [assignment] I felt pretty strongly about, so I was happy to work on it,” Breckheimer said.

Breckheimer explained that each dean’s perspectives are important because their divisions have various needs.

“Even if we don’t agree, which wasn’t the case with this one, [we] just talk it out and we see each other’s perspectives and I think that is how the best policies are made,” Breckheimer said.

McClelland said that after the Senate discussed AP 4200 during the Nov. 17 meeting, the Council of Dean’s (C.o.D), all of the counselors and deans at El Camino, reviewed it the next day.

From the C.o.D, it will go to the College Council, a committee that has representatives from administration, faculty, classified staff, students and the Police Officer Association.

If approved by the Council, “it will go to the Board of Trustees as an informational item and once it makes the Board agenda, it’ll be effective starting 2021,” McClelland said.

Although the goal of the dean’s list is to allow more to be eligible to get on it, students such as nursing major Jessica Murobayashi feel that the change in units might be a bit too much.

“I don’t know if this is beneficial,” Murobayashi said. “[All] my time at El Camino I have taken 12 or more units, so I think that the dean’s list is expected to be for those students who strive for greatness to become a full-time student.”

Murobayashi believes that this change does come with some positives, as more students who can’t take 12 units can be recognized for their success. However, she also feels that it might take away the main reason why the dean’s list is an honor.

“I think it kind of takes away from those students’ successes and achievements by kind of grouping or kind of lowering the standards it takes to get on the dean’s list,” Murobayashi said.

She also gives a suggestion as to what the school can do for students that are unable to take 12 units.

“Make like a smaller list, like an ‘Almost dean’s list’ type of list,” Murobayashi said. “But I don’t think cutting the units in half that is needed to make the dean’s list is necessarily the best option.”

The policy is still in the process of being approved and put into effect. McClelland says she “would anticipate” that the change could give more students, who truly work hard, the recognition they deserve.

“We’re trying to be equity-minded, and we recognize that a lot of our hardest working students simply can’t take 12 units a semester because they have other things in their life that are also important,” McClelland said.