CAP End of Term Advice for Departments

Undergraduate Officers and Academic Administrators play several roles in the CAP’s End of Term Review, during: Departmental Review, the CAP Grades Meetings, and the CAP Deferred Action Meetings.

The CAP is also glad to consult with officers and administrators at any time regarding its responsibilities, policies, and procedures.

Departmental Review

Each term the Registrar’s Office sends the Undergraduate Academic Administrator a list of students in your department showing subject registrations and grades. This Term Summary flags students whose records are below the Institute’s standard for satisfactory performance:

  • Term Rating (GPA) of 3.0 or below, or
  • Term Load is 35 units or less. 

These records are indicated by a # sign in column 4 (Flag). Note that Term Load (number of units for which the student was registered at the end of the term) is the first number in column 6, not to be confused with the second number, which is the number of units passed.

Departments differ in the way they respond to the Term Summary. Some hold formal meetings of all or selected departmental faculty; others gather information through informal conversations with advisors of flagged students. The result, however achieved, must be a set of recommended actions to the CAP—recommending an Institute response that the department thinks would best help the student improve performance. These recommendations include:

  • No Action (which often includes a Departmental Warning),
  • CAP Warning (including a recommended credit limit), or 
  • Required Academic Leave. 

If the department has not received enough information to make an appropriate recommendation, it may recommend Soft Deferral, which triggers an email to the student and advisor stating that a Warning may be voted at the Deferred Action Meeting. 

A recommendation for Required Academic Leave is never voted at the Grades Meeting and triggers a Hard Deferral, an email to the student and advisor stating that Required Academic Leave will be considered at the Deferred Action Meeting. 

In both cases the student is urged to contact the advisor immediately and write a one-page statement to the CAP explaining their situation; the advisor is sent a questionnaire. Advisors are expected to contact students who do not respond promptly.

Grades Meetings

Since the CAP is a standing committee of the Faculty, each department’s Undergraduate Officer and Academic Administrator are expected to attend the Grades Meeting to present recommendations for action on each record below minimum standards. Meetings are scheduled a year in advance and publicized in the Academic Calendar. Toward the end of each term the CAP Administrator will contact you to schedule an appointment at one of the two meetings. 

On the day of your appointment, please arrive at the meeting room five minutes before your scheduled time in case the Committee is ready for you earlier. Be ready to explain your recommendation with information gathered from advisors and others who know the student’s situation. Committee members may ask you questions as they discuss each case. They may also discuss the student with ex officio members and resource staff present (MIT Medical members do not attend Grades Meetings).

The CAP carefully considers departmental recommendations, but reserves the right to vote as it sees fit. 

Deferred Action is voted either when information is missing that may lead to Warning, or when the department or the CAP believe Required Academic Leave is the best option. Required Academic Leave is voted only at the Deferred Action Meetings.

Decisions made at the Grades Meetings are communicated by email to the student, advisor, and Academic Administrator after each meeting.

Deferred Action Meetings

At the Deferred Action Meetings (see Academic Calendar for dates), the CAP reviews two sets of student records in more depth. These include:

  • information not available at the Grades Meeting;
  • students who may be voted a Required Academic Leave.

Undergraduate Officers and Academic Administrators do not ordinarily attend the Deferred Action Meetings. Instead, the student’s advisor is invited to represent the student. The CAP Administrator coordinates scheduling of appointments for advisors and substitutes. When the advisor is not able to attend, a departmental colleague, the Undergraduate Officer, or the Academic Administrator should substitute. 

At the Deferred Action Meetings the nine-member Committee is joined by seven ex officio members (including MIT Medical staff) and invited resource staff. These representatives of various offices help the Committee understand the situations of students whose records are being reviewed; they do not vote. 

Decisions made at the Deferred Action Meetings are communicated by email to the student, advisor, and Academic Administrator the morning after each meeting. At the end of the review, The CAP Administrator sends Academic Administrators a summary of all actions for students in their department.