End of Term Academic Review: Advice for Departments
The CAP is also glad to consult with officers and administrators at any time regarding its responsibilities, policies, and procedures.
Each term after most grades have been recorded the Registrar's Office sends the Undergraduate Academic Administrator a list of students in your department showing subject registrations and grades. This Term Summary flags students whose records are below the Institute's standard for satisfactory performance:
- Term Rating (GPA) of 3.0 or below, or
- Term Load is 35 units or less.
These records are indicated by a # sign in column 4 (Flag). Note that Term Load (number of units for which the student was registered at the end of the term) is the first number in column 6, not to be confused with the second number, which is the number of units passed.
Departments differ in the way they respond to the Term Summary. Some hold formal meetings of all or selected departmental faculty; others gather information through informal conversations with advisors of flagged students. The result, however achieved, must be a set of recommended actions to the CAP—what Institute response the department thinks would best help the student improve performance. These recommendations include:
- No Action (which often includes a Departmental Warning),
- CAP Warning (including a recommended credit limit), or
- Required Withdrawal.
If the department has not received enough information to make an appropriate recommendation, it may recommend Soft Deferral, which triggers a letter to the student and advisor stating that a Warning may be voted at the Deferred Action Meeting.
A recommendation for Required Withdrawal is never voted at the Grades Meeting and triggers a Hard Deferral, a letter to the student and advisor stating that Required Withdrawal will be considered at the Deferred Action Meeting.
In both cases the student is urged to contact the advisor immediately and write a one-page statement to the CAP explaining their situation; the advisor is sent a questionnaire. Advisors are expected to contact students who do not respond promptly to this letter.
Note that both Soft and Hard Deferral commits the advisor to attend the Deferred Action Meeting later in the month for more detailed discussion. Undergraduate Officers and Administrators are not expected to attend the Deferred Action Meeting.
Since the CAP is a standing committee of the Faculty, each department's Undergraduate Officer and Academic Administrator are expected to attend the Grades Meeting to present recommendations for action on each record below minimum standards. These meetings are scheduled a year in advance and publicized in the Academic Calendar. Toward the end of each term the Committee's Staff Associate will contact you to schedule an appointment at one of the two meetings.
On the day of your appointment, please arrive at the meeting room five minutes before your scheduled time in case the Committee is ready for you earlier. Please sit in the chairs at the back of the room until the Chair invites you to the guest seats.
Once settled at the table, please speak clearly into the microphone, introduce yourself, and begin presenting your department's recommended action for each student, beginning with sophomores. The Committee has full records before it: please do not read subject numbers and grades. Rather, explain your recommendation with information gathered from advisors and others who know the student's situation. Committee members may ask you questions as they discuss each case. They may also discuss the student with ex officio members and resource staff present (MIT Medical members do not attend Grades Meetings).
The CAP carefully considers departmental recommendations, but reserves the right to vote as it sees fit.
Deferred Action is voted either when information is missing that may lead to Warning, or when the department or the CAP believe Required Withdrawal is the best option. Required Withdrawal is voted only at the Deferred Action Meetings.
Decisions made at the Grades Meetings are communicated by email to the student, advisor, and Academic Administrator after each meeting. Printed letters are also sent to the student (term address in January, home in June), the advisor, and the Undergraduate Administrator. Students voted Deferred Action receive printed letters at term and home addresses in each term.
At the Deferred Action Meetings, in the third weeks of January and June, the CAP reviews two sets of student records in more depth. These include:
- information not available at the Grades Meeting;
- students who may be required to withdraw.
Undergraduate Officers and Academic Administrators do not ordinarily attend the Deferred Action Meetings. Instead, the student's advisor is invited to represent the student. The Committee's Staff Associate coordinates scheduling of five-minute appointments for advisors and substitutes. When the advisor is not able to attend, a departmental colleague, the Undergraduate Officer, or the Academic Administrator should substitute.
At the Deferred Action Meetings the nine-member Committee is joined by seven ex officio members (including MIT Medical staff) and invited resource staff. These representatives of various offices help the Committee understand the situations of students whose records are being reviewed; they do not vote.
Decisions made at the Deferred Action Meetings are communicated by email to the student, advisor, and Academic Administrator the morning after each meeting. Printed letters are sent to the student (term and home address in January, home in June), the advisor, and the Undergraduate Administrator. At the end of the review, The Committee's Staff Associate sends Academic Administrators a summary of all actions for students in their department.