The University Record, January 17, 2000


The University Record welcomes letters from members of the University community. Those on topics of broad University interest will be given preference for publication. Letters should be no more than 500 words in length and must be signed. The editorial staff reserves the right to reject any letter and to edit and/or condense letters for publication. The editorial staff also may limit the numbers of weeks letters may be published on an issue, and the number of times any one person’s viewpoint on a single issue will be published. Letters may appear in small type. Organizations submitting material must include the name and address of an appropriate officer. Letters must be received by noon Wednesday to receive consideration for publication in the next issue.

Dean clarifies School of Dentistry grading procedures

The process involved in the grading of two dental students at the University has recently received public attention and comment following the filing of a lawsuit by a member of the School of Dentistry faculty. Because the University has an obligation to observe the educational privacy rights of all of its students, I cannot comment on that specific case. I am compelled, however, to clarify some of the misinformation being reported about School of Dentistry grading procedures.

First, the dean does not unilaterally determine grades. All grading is done by members of the faculty. In most clinical and preclinical courses, individual faculty members provide input to faculty course directors, who then determine each student’s final grade. Issues regarding academic performance are reviewed by the Academic Review Board, which is comprised of eight members of the faculty and the associate dean for academic affairs. When a grade dispute arises, there is a process available for students to appeal through the Academic Review Board, with an ultimate right to seek redress from the School Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is comprised of six members of the faculty who are elected by their colleagues, and the dean, who only votes when there is a tie. Any action the School takes with respect to its students is done with careful attention both to the rights of the students and to the School’s paramount concern for the quality of its education.

The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is considered one of the top schools in the nation, and the dental education students receive at our school continues to be among the finest available. Our academic programs are rigorous and challenging, and 95 percent of our students pass all of their board examinations within six months of graduation. For more than 100 years we have developed programs that produce high-quality students in general dentistry, specialty programs, graduate programs and research.

William Kotowicz, dean, School of Dentistry