Ivy League University Ditches Merit Award For Exceptional Students

(Screenshot/YouTube/University of Pennsylvania)

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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An elite Pennsylvania university announced it will no longer award undergraduate students with Dean’s List titles because the school believes it does not accurately reflect students’ academic achievement, according to a Tuesday announcement.

The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), located in Philadelphia, will scrap its Dean’s List award as of July 1, according to a statement published by Interim Provost Beth A. Winkelstein and Vice Provost for Education Karen Detlefsen. The decision was made after consulting UPenn students and community members for several years who do not believe the award showcases student’s academic growth. (RELATED: 17 Northern Virginia Schools Withheld Merit Awards From Mostly Asian Students As Gov Calls For Legislation)

“Effective July 1, 2023, the University of Pennsylvania will cease awarding Dean’s List to undergraduate students,” the statement reads. “This decision is the culmination of extensive consultations over several years across the Penn community, including with undergraduate student leaders, in response to the shared belief that a Dean’s List designation does not reflect the breadth and evolution of students’ academic achievements over the course of their education at Penn.”

UPenn’s Undergraduate Assembly discussed remaking the Dean’s List award during a September meeting, according to the Daily Pennsylvanian. The Council of Undergraduate Deans listed several reasons advocating for its removal including that more students make the list than expected and that other institutions have already dismissed the award, according to meeting minutes.

Removing the Dean’s List will also deprioritize grades, the deans argued.

Students must maintain a 3.7 grade point average during both the fall and spring semester to be named to the Dean’s List, according to its website. Students must be enrolled in and completed a minimum of six credits, and the award is noted on the students’ transcripts.

The university will continue to offer departmental awards and Latin Honors, according to the statement. Those awards will “recognize the many forms of academic excellence demonstrated by students.”

UPenn will update its PennBook in July “to reflect this new policy, and a notation will be added to the transcript to document this change,” the statement reads.

The decision is receiving mixed responses from the student body.

“[Ending the dean’s list] takes away a chance for students to receive recognition for their achievement,” College junior and second-year UA College Representative Charlie Schumer told the Daily Pennsylvanian. “College is really hard, and I think it’s worthwhile to acknowledge the effort that people put in.”

Xavier Shankle, a junior at UPenn’s Wharton School, told the student newspaper that “whether or not removing dean’s list is the best way to remove or reduce academic stress … is something still to be determined.”

UPenn, Schumer and Shankle did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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