TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Should Profs Pay for Late Grades?

Late Grades? Pay Up, Professor (Inside Higher Ed), by Doug Lederman:

Many professors hate grading, and like most human beings, they often put off what they don’t like. So at many colleges, the end of a term results in some proportion of the faculty turning their grades in late, much to the dismay of the registrars whose job it is to process the grades and make them available to students. The outcome can be more than just annoying to the registrars; late grades can delay diplomas, disrupt the awarding of financial aid, or get students into academic trouble.

Various institutions have tried various measures to crack down on the problem – sending nasty notes, putting warnings in instructors’ personnel files, even delaying the paychecks of faculty members who turn in their grades late, as the University of Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences threatens to do. ...

Florida State is what she believes to be the only institution in the country that fines its professors when they turn grades in late at semester’s end. The tab: $10 per grade. “We charge for every grade for every student that is not turned in by our deadline.”

UpdatePaul Secunda (Mississippli) of our sister Workplace Prof Blog has much more here, including a discussion of whether fining professors for late grades violates federal or state labor laws.

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Other schools fine professors for late grades also, not just Florida.

Posted by: taxt | Mar 30, 2008 10:42:15 AM

I wonder if failing to timely turn in grades could be considered to be a violation of the terms of employment that could allow a school to dismiss a professor (much worse than a fine or withheld salary)? Draconian, and not likely, but something to contemplate. I wonder if anyone will rush to check their faculty handbook or employment contract.

Some people find teaching classes not to be fun, some people find scholarship not to be fun, some people find grading exams (or papers) not to be fun. But aren't all 3 essential elements of the job of a professor? If you don't show up to teach, I think EVERYONE would agree "that is unacceptable." I think if you are a tenure track prof or tenured prof and you did not publish, MANY would think "that is unacceptable." Why shouldn't failing to timely grade fall into the "that is unacceptable" category too?


Posted by: Adjunct Law Prof. | Mar 30, 2008 2:30:01 PM