Paper Trail

Nice to know that as a former student, I can inspire terror in one of my former professors by digging up historical documents.

Picture It

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Grades. Is there a more difficult and dangerous topic for students? We all know we don’t go to school for grades – we go for an education. Right? Well, easier said than done.

As a professor, I have to give grades, and I take them seriously. Ideally, they should be of no surprise to the student. That’s my goal, anyway. Students should feel, looking at their grade, and reflecting, that they were understood to be working hard -or not, succeeding -or not, and meeting expectations -or not. A tough grade, or a great grade, should expose the truth, and be the final lesson. It isn’t the lasting impression, however. Years later, I don’t remember grades. I remember the person’s character. A grade is all business – it’s not an assessment of the person themselves.

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How scary then, to be reminded publicly that ex-students remember those truths – sometimes forever. At Rhode Island School of Design…

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