Some students left without first-term grades as they begin second semester classes

By Jessica Robinson, Staff Reporter

Upon returning to LU for the Winter 2016 semester, students immediately began asking each other, “Have you gotten your marks back yet?”

Now, as we enter the second week of classes, some students still find themselves looking at a partially-empty WebAdvisor grades page.

The later start to the Fall 2015 semester pushed the exam schedule late into December; then, the Registrar’s office was closed for the holidays for a week beginning Dec. 23 2015. The Centre for Academic Excellence tweeted consistently throughout the break, reminding students and faculty alike that professors were required to have final marks submitted to Registrar by Jan. 4 2016.

But it is now Jan. 12 2016, and most other schools across the province have had final grades for their students for weeks. A number of Laurentian students have taken to social media to voice their concerns.

Brittany Ann Bergeron, a second year Social Work student at LU, pointed out a double standard: while students are expected to meet deadlines, there is no end date by which students can expect to receive their grades.

“I’m extremely upset about it,” she said when asked for comment.

The biggest problem for some students is not knowing whether or not they are currently taking the correct classes. With many first semester courses acting as prerequisites for the part-two continuations in second semester, students that are not yet sure that they passed the first part could have wasted their entire first week back by sitting in on classes they are not eligible to take.

Khloe Downie, a first year Mechanical Engineering student, feels that “it isn’t very professional to give our grades back once we already started second semester.”

“I was worrying [because] if I hadn’t passed some courses, I would need to change my class schedule, drop and take new courses,” she explained.

Bergeron also points out that it’s not just the students that are affected.

“It’s a huge stress on the students first and foremost, but the professors have been feeling it, too,” she explained.

Some students are trying to cut Laurentian a break. As fourth year History student Ryan Michael Wildgoose stated when asked for comment, “things can’t always go perfectly.”

“I understand why the grades might be posted so late; it’s a very time-consuming process for both the professors and the staff in the Registrar’s office. But, at the same time, it would be far more excusable had they actually made some sort of announcement for students,” he said. “As students, we tend to be more accepting of these sort of irritating situations if we’re at least kept in the loop, and the registrar’s office has not really communicated with us about it.”

Serge Demers, the Registrar and Secretary of Senate at Laurentian University, explained that it feels as though grades are arriving late this year because of how quickly the term started in the new year.

“One of the major differences this year, as opposed to others in the recent past, is that students and staff returned to Laurentian on the same day to start the term,” he said. “Usually, we get a few administrative days to promote some of the grades so that when students return from holidays, more grades actually show on WebAdvisor. This year it took more teaching days to get the grades up, but not more business days than usual.”

Demers continued on to note that the fact that the mail service was not operating normally until Tuesday of last week has also contributed to the additional delay.

“Professors have 14 days from the exam (or end of term if there’s no exam) to submit grades through WebAdvisor, and then send a paper copy to the Registrar’s office. As of noon today (January 11 2016), there were 155 sections for which we were still waiting for (out of 1200). Of those, 18 were for labs, and 55 were Thesis (at the grad level), so roughly 7 percent of grades are still outstanding,” Demers confirmed. “Grades are still coming in every day.”

The last day for registration or course changes for second-term courses is January 15 2016, meaning students will be unable to switch into any new courses after this week.