A Fate Worse Than F

Simon Fraser University is instituting the grade of FD, a grade worse than F, for “egregious cases of academic dishonesty.” It can only be given by authorities higher up than professors and it would have possibly long lasting implications:

The FD would remain on a student’s transcripts during their time at SFU and for two years after graduation, which could affect the possibility of postgraduate studies or even getting a job if a potential employer asks to see transcripts.

Severity of the offence and incidences of previous cheating would both be considered before handing out an FD.

“If a student thinks they have been unfairly dealt with, they have the opportunity to appeal (to the ombudsman),” said Gordon. “I thought we would have a lot of push-back from students but (student response) has been overwhelmingly favourable.”

The University of Alberta hands cheaters an F8 or F9 grade, which can be reduced after three years to an F.

Plagiarizing is the cardinal sin of academia.  The ideals of studying to learn and the meaning of grades as accurate and fair assessments of students’ knowledge and abilities are both undermined in principle when students plagiarize.  Glad to see this unusual offense against the academy recognized with a mark of its own.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.