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www.mziAigandaily.com Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXV, No. 47 x2004 The Michigan Daily
LSA approves transcript changes
By Justin Miller
Daily Staff Reporter
Faculty members of the College of Litera-
ture, Science, and the Arts yesterday approved
two changes to students' official transcripts,
which are likely to go into effect next year.
Faculty voted to add the median grade of
classes onto LSA students' transcripts, and
they approved a measure to omit the "W"
on first-semester students' transcript if they
choose to withdraw from a class after the drop/
LSA will begin listing the median grade
on transcripts for classes that have 10 or
Median grade of class to be listed next to students' grades
more students. The median grade will only
be listed on transcripts for LSA students.
The change seeks to provide more informa-
tion to employers and graduate schools that look
at transcripts, said Bob Megginson, LSA associ-
ate dean for undergraduate education.
"I believe there will be a positive effect
on everyone because people will believe the
University of Michigan is providing more
information to make its grading more trans-
parent," he said.
The change seeks to make LSA students'
grades in particular classes and their overall
grade point averages more meaningful. Recent-
ly, many employers have been devaluing GPAs
out of a perception that they are inflated by uni-
versities across the nation.
While members of the LSA curriculum com-
mittee say the change will counteract grade
inflation by making grades more meaningful,
Megginson said the changes are not aimed spe-
cifically at curbing grade inflation. He said this
proposal could encourage some professors to
raise their grades to be in line with other pro-
fessors in their department, or vice versa.
"It is not the job of this proposal to legis-
latively modify someone's grading system,"
He said the current system that only
includes an individual's grades obscures
information that is important for students to
understand how they performed in a course
relative to their classmates. That distinc-
tion would make transcripts more relevant
to evaluation by employers and graduate
The passed proposal mirrors a similar policy
at Columbia University. At Columbia, student
transcripts list the percentage of students who
received a certain grade in their classes.
"I never heard a negative comment from
students (regarding the policy)," said Jayne
Brownell, referring to her six years on Colum-
See TRANSCRIPT, Page 3
JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Militants lobbing
explosives forced their way into the heavily guarded
U.S. consulate in Jiddah yesterday before Saudi secu-
rity forces stormed the compound and fought a gun
battle to end a four-hour standoff. Eight people, none
American, were killed.
The bold assault, the worst in the kingdom since
May, demonstrated that Saudi Arabia's crackdown on
al-Qaida is still far from successful in the native land of
terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility,
but Saudi officials blamed a "deviant" group - the
government's way of identifying al-Qaida extremists
it holds responsible for a string of terror strikes over
the past two years.
President Bush said the attack showed "terrorists
are still on the move," trying to intimidate Americans
and force the United States to withdraw from Saudi
Arabia and Iraq.
The attack came a week after the deputy leader of
al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahri, warned in a videotape
that Washington must change its policies or face further
attacks by the terror group.
Five consulate employees were killed, said a U.S.
Embassy spokeswoman in Riyadh. Three of the five
attackers also died in the shootout, the Saudi Interior
Ministry said. One American was slightly injured.
Saudi security officials initially said four Saudi
officers also died in the clash, but Interior Ministry
spokesman Brig. Gen. Mansour al-Turki later told The
Associated Press no officers were killed. He said one
was seriously injured.
The two other attackers were captured wounded, the
Interior Ministry said.
.The attack prompted the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh to
urge thousands of Americans in the country - many of
whom already live under extraordinarily tight security
to "exercise utmost security precautions."
Consulate employees rushed to a safe area inside
the compound after the attack began, a State Depart-
ment official said. There were conflicting reports
about hostages, but the official said no Americans
were held captive.
"We could hear the gunshots outside, but we didn't
know what was going on," said a consulate employee
who rushed to the safe area and later spoke to The
Associated Press by telephone on condition of ano-
nymity. "They were heavy at times and not so heavy
at other times."
The attacks, immediately praised on militant Islamic
web sites, showed that extremists in Saudi Arabia are
still capable of carrying out sophisticated strikes despite
the government crackdown.
Many University professors are incorporating technology such as projectors and Microsoft PowerPoint into their lectures.
Pronessors struggle to bring high-tech
By Jonathan Cohen
Daily Staff Reporter
The University has invested in technology and equip-
ment, such as web-based ctools, in-class responder units
and online video library software. But students say the
University is not instructing the teachers on how to use
this technology properly, or in some cases at all.
LSA sophomore Stuart Wagner said PowerPoint slides
often are not prepared well and teachers aren't given
proper classroom support.
"In Econ 101, the teacher's laptop didn't boot up, so I
went up there with some other students to help. It took 20
minutes of class time to get it to work," said Wagner, a
member of the Michigan Student Assembly.
The Educause Center for Applied Research - a
Colorado-based nonprofit organization that promotes
informational technology in higher education -
released a national survey last month that found that
professors nationwide use technology poorly. After
surveying 13 schools across the United States, such as
Ohio and Miami universities, findings revealed that
students believe most professors are not technologi-
The University says it provides IT instruction for fac-
ulty but does not require them to use it. Kim Bayer, who
runs the instructional support for LSA faculty, said the
University puts on a weeklong conference with more than
100 technology workshops called "Enriching Scholar-
ship" every year. In addition, there are online manuals, a
resource center and training workshops offeredthroughout
But these resources go to waste if professors don't
utilize them. Bayer said non tenure professors - whose
long-term positions at the University are not secured -
are less likely to experiment with University technology
because they would rather spend their time researching
to get tenure.
"(Non tenure) professors don't get credit for using
technology. ... If folks aren't rewarded, then it's not a
winning situation for them," Bayer said.
See TECHNOLOGY, Page 7
Grad school applications strain student pocketbooks
By Kim Tomlin
LSA senior Ben Wanger has applied
to 25 law schools, each costing him
close to $70 per application. In addition
to the application costs and the cost of
setting up an online account to orga-
nize and send out these applications,
he has also taken an LSAT preparation
class. So far, Wanger estimates he has
spent close to $4,000 on the process.
"I've spent a lot of money. It sucks,
but hopefully it will be worth it in the
end," Wanger said.
Law school is not the only profes-
sional program that costs applicants
a lot of time and money to apply. As
application deadlines approach, stu-
dents applying to graduate and profes-
sional schools are spending hundreds
or thousands of dollars on their entire
Medical school applications are just
as expensive, if not more, than law
schools. These fees usually pay for the
cost of processing the application.
LSA senior Marc Piper has applied
to 27 different medical schools.
Because applying to medical school is
a multi-part process - each requiring
additional payments - Piper says he
has already spent more than $3,000.
"It's a money game," Piper said.
And because of these steep addi-
tional costs, Piper says he will have to
reduce the number of schools to which
he sends additional applications.
To top it all off, the medical school
application process also includes an
interview, and applicants themselves
are responsible for transportation,
lodging and food expenses. For stu-
dents like Piper who apply to numer-
ous out-of-state schools, this can also
be very expensive.
Similarly, dental schools have a
three-step process. LSA senior Matt
Vanderalaan was surprised and
annoyed by the high cost of the appli-
"It ended up being twice as much
as I thought it would be," Vanderlaan
said. As of now, he estimates to have
spent more than $1,700, a total he
expects will rise quickly with the inter-
For those not applying to profes-
sional schools, the costs are still high.
Kumar Kintala, an Engineering senior,
applied to six graduate schools for
city planning. In addition to the $60
each application cost, he also paid the
$115 to take the GRE this November.
Students applying to law school must
take the LSAT test that costs $112 to
register, and those applying to medical
school take the MCAT test that costs
In light of the high costs of standard-
ized test fees, there are some programs
that offer financial assistance to stu-
dents with "extreme financial limita-
tions." The Association of American
Medical Colleges, for example, offers
a Fee Assistance Program, that reduces
the $190 MCAT test fee to $85 for test
See COSTS, Page 3
Credit card companies woo students
By Karl Stampfl
Daily Staff Reporter
MasterCard hooked LSA freshman Colt Rosens-
weig when she was 15 years old.
"I was sucked into the card because of a Detroit
Tigers blanket," she said. "I wasn't actually planning
on using it, I just wanted the blanket."
Since then, Rosensweig has lost the blanket she
received when she signed up for a MasterCard and the
Tigers have lost hundreds of games, but she still uses
the credit card.
Most agree that credit card companies market
especially aggressively to college students and
youths, said Paul Richard, executive director of
the Institute of Consumer Education. They often
set up booths on campuses, design advertising to
appeal to the college demographic and distribute
applications at the bottom of bags in university
But experts disagree on why credit card companies
target young people.
Aggressive marketing on campus is primarily a
result of students' above-average credit histories,
said Robert Manning, a credit card industry expert
and author of a study on college.student credit card
"The number one factor is that college kids are
less likely to be in debt when they first sign up," said
Manning, a professor at the Rochester Institute of
The reason that students have less debt is not a
superior sense of responsibility, Manning said. Stu-
dents often pass on bills to their parents or use stu-
dent loans to pay off debt, resulting in a false sense
Credit card companies attempt to hook young
customers while their credit is still good, then drive
them further and further into debt, Manning said.
Once users' credit histories are damaged by missed
or late payments, they are less able to switch credit
card companies, he said.
Poor credit scores can affect students' ability to buy
a house, get insurance and even land their dream job,
See CREDIT, Page 7
Many students have been opening their mali to find offers of pre-approved
credit cards with high credit lines, special membership perks and free gifts.
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