Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: Unify student life

A key part of Boston University’s Strategic Plan focuses on unifying its 18 colleges and schools to create a more integrated, and therefore stronger, university community. Past endeavors in the ‘One BU’ program have included the university-wide rebranding of BU’s logos, the new primary and secondary university logos as well as a standardized list of usable fonts and colors are results of this initiative. The ‘One BU’ campaign’s latest plan under consideration to standardize dean’s lists university-wide may have the right intentions, but it goes about it the wrong way. Many factors drive a wedge between BU students, but academic honors are not one of them. BU should not adopt a unified dean’s list.
Publishing the dean’s list is a simple way for colleges to recognize their most academically outstanding students. For many students, it’s a simple honor for a semester or year’s worth of hard work, but a significant one nonetheless. Deans lists do more than reward hard work; they distinguish exceptional students from their peers, giving them the extra ammunition on their resume that could mean the difference in the hunt for that ideal entry-level job or spot in graduate school.
As things stand now, each college or school at BU stipulates its own requirements for students to make a dean’s list. The College of Arts and Sciences requires 15 academic credits and a 3.5 grade point average over one semester. The College of Engineering, on the other hand, accepts the top 15 percent of all ENG students to their dean’s list. Each and every college or school has its own set of requirements, and rightly so.
These college or schools’ academic curriculums are just as varied as their dean’s list prerequisites. A premed student in CAS will be learning ‘-‘- and be graded ‘-‘- far differently than a graphic design student in the College of Fine Arts. Any ‘unification’ of dean’s list admission standards would detract from each institution’s ability to set its own academic standards and scholastic awards.
It’s for this very reason that each college and school at BU has its own rules and requirements. What works for the School of Management isn’t best for the College of Communication, and vice-versa. Students work hard to distinguish themselves among their peers ‘-‘- comparing a business student to a journalist isn’t fair to either. BU should support making dean’s lists as distinctive as possible. A commendation from a student’s specific academic program means more to the student than a general one from the massive administration at BU.
If BU wants to unify the campus more effectively, it should focus its efforts on student life. Academic standards can only go so far in building students’ sense of community – the rest is built on where students eat, sleep and let loose after classes. Promoting involvement in BU sports, hosting big-name events and bringing the far-flung student body together on more social occasions would go a long way towards building a more unified student body, and therefore a stronger university. It’s regrettable that at a university with 17,000 undergrads, less than 2,000 will appear to watch the hockey team on a Friday.
If the administration wants to build ‘One BU,’ it should try bringing students together more than on paper ‘-‘- attracting students from far-flung colleges and majors at the same events will make the difference.

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