A UGA professor set off a national debate with his classroom stress reduction policies that let students change their grades and limited negative feedback in the classroom. UGA vetoed his policies but not before they went viral. (AJC File.)

UGA nixes prof’s plan to let students decide grades to lessen stress

A well respected University of Georgia business school professor, concerned over the stress on his students, posted online course policies that would have allowed them to change their grades, abandon group work that taxed them and take open book tests “designed to assess low level mastery of the course material.”

While Terry College of Business students may have applauded Richard Watson’s policies as posted this week, UGA did not. The policies have been stricken from Watson’s online syllabus and will not be allowed, according to the university. Watson is the J. Rex Fuqua Distinguished Chair for Internet Strategy.

“The syllabus stated that his grading policy would allow students inappropriate input into the assignment of their own grades. I want you to know that the syllabus did not conform with the university’s rigorous expectations and policy regarding academic standards for grading. I have explained this discrepancy to the professor, and he has removed the statement from his syllabus. Rest assured that this ill-advised proposal will not be implemented in any Terry classroom,” said Benjamin C. Ayers, Terry College of Business Dean and Earl Davis Chair in Taxation, in a statement Tuesday.

What is surprising about Watson’s stress-reduction plan is that online student reviews depict him as a tough professor who enforces class attendance rules. First published on this site, his new stress reduction policies quickly went viral and led to complaints about snowflakes and students ill prepared for the real world.

You can read more on the AJC Get Schooled blog, including whether similar policies exist at other campuses.

In other Education news:

Best quality of life: Emory University (No. 3), Agnes Scott College (No. 20) Great financial aid: Emory University (No. 15) Most conservative students: Berry College (No. 20) Most liberal students: Agnes Scott College (No. 12) Most LGBTQ-friendly: Agnes Scott College (No. 7) Lots of race/class interaction: Agnes Scott College (No. 20) Most beautiful campus: Berry College (No. 9) Most active student government: Agnes Scott College (No. 9) Best college dorms: Emory University (No. 8) Most religious students

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