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Administration: Finals may not be given early

April 17, 1997

By Lisa Zapata

Lariat Staff Writer

Students often look forward to hearing those six little words... 'Your final will be given early.'

However, the University administration is cracking down on professors violating the final exam policy, stated in the undergraduate catalog, which says, 'No final examinations may be given on other than regularly scheduled dates unless approved by the appropriate academic dean.'

Lois Ferguson, assistant to the dean of arts and sciences, said the policy has been restated with emphasis because of concerns voiced from the deans of the various schools.

'When we met with department chairs, we provided them a letter of what was in the catalog,' Ferguson said.

Faculty have voiced concerns dealing with the substitution of projects for final exams, and Ferguson said that the policy dealt specifically with exams.

'There were a number of reported problems in the fall semester [due to professors giving exams outside of set exam dates],' Ferguson said. 'The provost and the dean felt it important to reiterate the policy.'

Many professors agreed with the policy.

'I give finals when they are scheduled,' Dr. John Wood, associate professor of religion, said. 'I think it's a good policy, and I intend to stick with it.'

Wood said changing schedules would disturb the entire system, and if one instructor allows a change in scheduling, then students may expect other professors to do the same.

Lynore Belzer, a graduate student in the English department, who teaches Thinking Writing and Research, said, 'I can sympathize with the students, but I can see the administration's point of view concerning finals.'

Dr. J.R. Schofield, special adviser pre-med program, who teaches the history of medicine, said that there may be too much regimentation--reduction to strict order or conformity.'

As for projects taking the place of finals, many professors provide that option.

President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said that testing serves as an accountability structure.

'The main issue is to have high academic standards,' Sloan said. 'We are delivering what we promise, and testing is part of that. The ultimate goal is a quality academic experience.'

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