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From the President

Posted: Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Response to College Senate Recommendation: DOPS Policy Revisions for Dean’s Honor List

At its May 11, 2018, meeting, the College Senate voted to forward the following recommendation to the president for review and consideration: 

DOPS Revision: Dean’s Honor List (section within policy) 
Introduced at the April 2018 Senate meeting by the Standards for Students Committee.

Presented for discussion and vote at the May 11, 2018, College Senate meeting. 

WHEREAS, the current requirements for baccalaureate honors designation is completion of 54 credits at Buffalo State; and 

WHEREAS, this means that less than half of a student’s degree may be completed at Buffalo State and still receive honors; and 

WHEREAS, the language within the current policy does not reflect the new senior standing criteria used within the online degree application process; and 

WHEREAS, the current policy lacks clarity regarding eligibility and notification of honors designation, 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Buffalo State amend its DOPS policy on Dean’s Honors List, specifically the section related to Baccalaureate Academic Honors/Gold Honors Cord, as revised in this document, to clarify the eligibility requirements for and enhance the distinction conferred by the honors designation 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this policy change be effective at the start of the 2018–2019 academic year for all entering first-year and transfer students, and that the college catalog and college website be updated to ensure that DOPS language is consistently reflected in the catalog and on the website for this policy. 

DOPS: I:16:06: Deans Honor List (section within policy) 

Proposed Revised Policy 

Baccalaureate Honors Designation 
Baccalaureate honors designation is awarded to graduating seniors who have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 for all work completed at SUNY Buffalo State. Graduates with a cumulative average of 3.80 to 4.00 are designated summa cum laude; 3.65 to 3.79 magna cum laude; and 3.50 to 3.64 cum laude. No degree candidates with outstanding grades of I, N, U, or X may be considered for honors. 

Seniors must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours in residence at Buffalo State to be eligible for honors designation. “In residence” is defined as enrollment in courses offered by Buffalo State on campus or through distance education. To be eligible for honors designation, students must complete their final 30 credit hours in residence. Students who are approved for study abroad or national student exchange in the second-to-last semester before graduating are exempt from the requirement to be in residence for the full final 30 credit hours. Baccalaureate honors designation is confirmed once a final degree audit is conducted and the degree is awarded. Honors designation is noted on the diploma and official transcript.

No honors designation exists for master’s degrees or certificates of advanced study. 

Gold Honors Cord/Commencement Ceremony 
December and January term bachelor’s graduates who meet the baccalaureate honors designation criteria are invited to wear the gold honors cord at the spring Commencement ceremony to signify their academic achievement. Bachelor’s degree candidates who meet the baccalaureate honors designation criteria by the close of either the fall semester or January term just prior to their final spring semester, and have completed or have in progress a cumulative 60 Buffalo State credit hours for the spring semester, may be eligible for honors designation when they graduate. Qualifying degree candidates are invited to wear the gold honors cord at the spring Commencement ceremony. Academic honors are also noted in the Commencement program. 

Only eligible graduates and degree candidates may purchase and wear the gold honors cord. The Academic Affairs Office notifies eligible graduates and degree candidates by mail. An eligibility list is also maintained during Commencement registration and ticket distribution in the campus bookstore where caps, gowns, and honors cords may be purchased. Wearing the gold honors cord at Commencement is optional. 

Gold honors cord eligibility is calculated using the following semester grades and credit hours: 

  • December and January graduates: Final cumulative GPA and credit hours. 
  • May and August degree candidates: December or January cumulative GPA (whichever term is the most recent), the cumulative number of Buffalo State credit hours earned, and the credit hours in progress during the spring semester. 

Eligibility for baccalaureate honors designation is subject to change based on the calculation of final grades. Eligibility to wear the gold honors cord at Commencement does not guarantee notation of the baccalaureate honors designation on the diploma or transcript. 

Current Policy 
Baccalaureate Academic Honors/Gold Honors Cord 

An honors citation is given to graduating students who have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 for all work completed. Students with a cumulative average of 3.80 to 4.00 will be designated summa cum laude; 3.65 to 3.79 magna cum laude; and 3.50 to 3.64 cum laude. To be considered for an honors citation, a student must complete a minimum of 54 credit hours at Buffalo State College. No student with outstanding grades of I, U, X, N may be considered for honors. 

Degree candidates with a minimum GPA of 3.50 who have completed or have in progress 54 credit hours at Buffalo State College may be eligible for academic honors. These students are invited to wear a gold cord at Commencement to signify their academic achievement, and they are recognized in the Commencement program. They will be notified by Academic Affairs separately from the Commencement information brochure, which is sent to degree candidates’ homes in March. They also will be on a list at Commencement headquarters where caps, gowns, and honors cords are purchased.

I hereby accept the recommendation of the College Senate and charge the provost with the responsibility of implementing the changes in the Dean’s Honor List Policy as listed in this resolution to become effective at the start of the 2018–2019 academic year.

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