Justice for USC Chemistry 105a

Justice for USC Chemistry 105a

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Jenna Meshcon started this petition to President Carol Folt and

Dear President Folt and Dr. Zukoski, 

I hope this letter finds you well. I am currently a freshman enrolled in Dr. Prezhdo and Dr. Marinescu’s chemistry 105a class. 

Through discussion with my peers, who are also in chem 105a, we have learned that Dr. Bryant’s chemistry 105a section has a significantly higher class GPA than the sections taught by Dr. Prezhdo and Dr. Marinescu. While we understand that the format of Dr. Bryant’s section is very different, we feel that the grading and level of difficulty should be the same as other sections. It is one thing to have different formats, but another to have very different standards for measuring success in what is, per course catalog and grade transcript, chem 105a. The wide discrepancy in grading (and arguably course difficulty) is evident in the very different class averages. We understand that Chem 105a is meant to be a challenging class, but earning a good grade in the class should not be a matter of luck as to whether or not you were able to enroll with a certain instructor. We feel it is unfair that we are being held to a very different standard of knowledge for the same class than our classmates in the other chemistry section. 

The professors are producing completely different class results, and we feel that the discrepancy in grading is not representative of our knowledge of the course content but is reflective of the approach the professors have taken for the difficulty and grading for this semester. 

Chem 105a is a challenging class but taking it online for our first semester at USC as  freshmen in college has made it even more stressful. The widely divergent expectations for assessing our performance has only added to this stress.

With this class being taught online and during a shortened semester, we feel that it would be just to have the Dr. Prezhdo and Dr. Marinescu’s class GPA curved to match Dr. Bryant’s class GPA. As of right now, we were told that only our first midterm exam is being curved, not our final grade. We believe that in doing so, our grades will accurately reflect the amount of time and effort we have put into this course. With the deadline for pass/no pass approaching, we believe that we have the right to know what our grades will be so that we can decide which grading option to choose. 

As most of us will be continuing onto Medical school and Graduate school, we cannot afford to have a low GPA in chem 105a, as it will affect our chances of furthering our education. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

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