Post Classifieds

MATC refuses to recognize students

By Randy Allen
On May 17, 2011

College students work very hard trying to earn good grades, often with very little recognition. Many can't maintain the cumulative grade point averages (GPA) qualifying them for honor societies such as Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) or National Technical Honor Society (NTHS). Yet, they still desire Dean's List recognition when they have an above-average semester. At MATC they may never get it.

Responding to an inquiry from the MATC Times, Dr. Daniel Burrell, Assoc. V.P., Student Services, stated that the eligibility requirements for MATC Dean's List recognition are:

Completion of at least 16 associate degree or 8 technical diploma (1 or 2 year) credits at MATC with a 3.5 or higher cumulative grade-point average. Your cumulative grade-point average includes your entire academic history.  Short term technical diploma programs are not eligible for the Dean's List. This is not a competitive program. Therefore, there are no requirements to receive recognition.

    MATC refuses to recognize students who work hard to reach an outstanding GPA for just one or two semesters if their cumulative GPA is not a 3.50. It's the only Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) school with a dean's list requiring a cumulative GPA (see table). All of the U.W. schools also utilize their Deans' List to recognize semester accomplishments.

A student can earn a 4.00 in the first semester and then earn a very respectable 3.334 the next three and achieve MATC Dean's List status all four semesters with a cumulative GPA of 3.505. At any other WTCS or U.W. school, that would only qualify for the first semester.

On the other hand, another student can earn a 3.412 the first semester     (2-A's; 2-B+'s; and 2-B's), and earn 3.50 the next three semesters for an overall 3.478 and never achieve MATC's Dean's List. At every school with a dean's list except two, this student would qualify three semesters.

While both these scenarios are hypothetical, several students have indicated that this happens quite often. One, wishing to remain anonymous said, "I got a 3.90 last semester [Fall 2010], but because I had to drop a class the semester before [Spring 2010], I didn't get on the dean's list." Her overall GPA is 3.45. At every other WTCS school the 3.90 would've been recognized.

According to Dr. Burrell, "this requirement has been in place for at least ten years. . . . The current requirements reflect MATC's high academic standards . . . ."  This is contradicted by the fact that a full-time student can be recognized all four terms by earning 4.00 the first semester, yet never once again have to achieve a 3.50 semester GPA.

When answering the question, "Is the MATC administration aware that there is a huge discrepancy between this policy and all of the others in the state?" Dr. Burrell replied, "MATC is the premier Technical College in the state. . . . We are . . . leaders not followers. Most of the other colleges do not offer the (A.A.) and the (A.S.) degrees that transfer to the (U.W.) schools . . . ."

Madison Area Tech. and Nicolet Tech. are the only other WTCS schools offering transferable A.A. or A.S. degrees; however, every school, by law, must offer courses that transfer to U.W. schools. Wis. Stat. § 38.001(3)(b) (2009-2010). Most offer a general education certificate with 100% transferability.

When presented with an example of how the policy can reward students that allow grades to drop and punish students that gradually improve their grades, Dr. Burrell stated, "I will repeat, [sic] the primary determinate . . . is a cumulative 3.5 GPA." He did acknowledge that the administration recognizes the importance of the dean's list to many deserving students who are left out. Still, he countered with, "[MATC's] current policy is also consistent with induction into . . . the [NTHS] and [PTK]. Students who complete 24 credits with at least a 3.5 GPA are invited to join these distinguish [sic] societies." However, according to each organizations' requirements, Dean's List status is not required.

Every other WTCS school offers membership in these societies with the exact same requirements.

These memberships are used to recognize a student's cumulative body of work. Each school chooses to still recognize individual semester accomplishments that do not qualify for these memberships with their Deans' Lists.

When looking to the Deans' List standards of Wisconsin's public colleges the MATC administration should ask itself if the current policy is the best one.

It's capricious, arbitrary and completely unreasonable in light of the demands of MATC's students and the standards of the WTCS and U.W. systems. Dr. Burke. It's your call. Make the change that's required for the benefit of the students and the quality of the school.


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