University of Georgia Arch in Athens, GA.
Photo Credit: Michael Rivera (CC-By-SA 3.0)

A professor at the University of Georgia has adopted a “stress reduction policy” for his classes that will allow students to pick their own grades if they “feel unduly stressed” by the ones they earned.

Dr. Richard Watson has included the policy on at least two syllabi for his fall business classes. His reasoning? “Emotional reactions to stressful situations can have profound consequences for all involved.”

As a result, if a student is “unduly stressed by a grade for any assessable material or the overall course…[they can] email the instructor indicating what grade [they] think is appropriate, and it will be so changed.” The syllabi state that no explanation will be required.

It continues, “If in a group meeting, you feel stressed by your group’s dynamics, you should leave the meeting immediately and need offer no explanation to the group members.” The syllabi states that students have the ability to discontinue all group work and have a grade based completely on non-group work.

Watson is making all the “tests and exams” for his classes “Data Management” and “Energy Informatics” to be open book and open notes. The syllabi state that assessments will be “designed to assess low-level mastery of the course material.”

Further, in regard to lectures and presentations within the class, students are only allowed to make “positive comments”, and “comments designed to improve future presentations will be communicated by email.”

Watson himself does note that students will not walk out of this class with the highest level of education possible. He wrote that “while this policy might hinder the development of group skills and mastery of the class material,” students are ultimately responsible for obtaining their own outcomes.

He argues that he still continues to “provide every opportunity for [students] to gain high level mastery.”

Watson has been labeled a “Regents Professor” at the school. Apparently, the title is “bestowed by the Board of Regents on truly distinguished faculty”

(H/T: Campus Reform)

1 comment
  1. Good grief! I wouldn’t want any of my doctor’s, lawyers, or teachers to be from his classes!!! We need fewer teachers like him! He is promoting laziness, and apathy, and an “it’s not my fault” attitude! A student is ultimately responsible for getting the most out of each class that he/she can, and should always strive to do their very best. Those aren’t the kinds of students he’s putting out!

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