The faculty at the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business has approved new academic standards for entrance to the business school and has sent a proposal to the University Faculty Senate to be voted on, according to Dean Jorge Haddock.
According to the new plan, in order to be eligible to major or minor in business, economics or accounting, students would have to have a 2.7 grade point average after completing at least 12 units at the end of three semesters of college coursework including Principles of Microeconomics, Fundamentals of Financial Accounting, and Calculus I or Scientific Calculus, or their equivalents. Currently, students apply and are accepted to Richmond as entering freshman, regardless of what school they plan to join. Those who plan to enter the business school may take the pre-business courses during their freshman year and declare a business major or minor as sophomores.
The new admissions standards, if approved, would likely go into effect during the fall of 2009 and any student already at the university would be grandfathered in under the current process.
The main reason for the change was the growing enrollment in the business school and a desire to keep class sizes small.
"The number one priority is that we continue to have the quality education for the business majors and minors by having the small classes," Haddock said. "We do not want to reduce the number of students, we want to make sure it does not increase much more than what it is today."
Enrollment in the business school increased by 481 students since last year jumping from 5,384 to 5,865, according to numbers provided by Associate Dean Terry Weisenberger.
Haddock said the business school, ranked as the 20th best undergraduate program by BusinessWeek, should continue to hold its place among the elite institutions because class size is one of the major criteria used for the rankings.
Richmond's business school is one of only a few programs in the top 20 that do not have an admissions process, he said.
Junior Ted Mangan, president of the Delta Epsilon Chi business fraternity, said he was encouraged that the small class sizes in the business school and the approachability of the professors would be protected by the new policy. He also pointed out that it might force some students to focus harder on academics in their first year.
"I think people might take freshman year a little bit more seriously if they know it counts more," he said. "If they're planning on majoring in business, they need to have a certain GPA and they'll realize that it's not a year to slack off."
One concern expressed by junior Megan O'Hara, a business administration major, is that many students struggle in their freshman year because they are taking general education requirements, but many times their grades improve significantly after starting to take courses toward their majors. She said she also knew many students who saw their grades fall dramatically while pledging a fraternity during their first year.
The new policy might present a difficult situation for those students who come to the university planning to enroll in the business school but do not meet the requirements. However, there would be an appeal process in place, according to Haddock, for those students who fail to achieve the academic standards. Overall, O'Hara thought the proposed changes would benefit business school students and help maintain the quality education they receive.
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"It will definitely help the business school's credibility and also encourage those students who want to attend the business school to perform well academically in their first year," she said.
Contact reporter Duncan Phillips at email@example.com
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