Monday, August 31, 2009

Senioritis, or the "finger of shame" email

One of my brothers has two pet dogs, and over the years, he come up with a unique discipline technique called "the finger of shame". When one of the dogs does something wrong, he would scold them, and at the same time he would curl his index finger into a hook shape and say "shame!" After a while, all he had to do was hold out his curled finger, and the dogs would cower and know they did something wrong. The finger of shame has now become legend in our office, and I occasionally have to raise the finger, mostly in fun, but occasionally as a warning for someone to turn things around.

As you might remember,I wrote a post a few months ago that about admitted students whose senior grades dropped dramatically, and we were just now seeing those grades on the final high school transcripts. Well, today was the day that I sent out the "finger of shame" email to those students. I tried not to be too mean, but I wanted to let them know that a major drop in their senior year work was not a good way to start their freshman year at UGA. At the same time, I directed them to UGA's Office of Academic Enhancement for help in organization and planning, and let them know that we hoped this drop was an aberration and not a omen of the future. I also had one very serious conversation with one student this summer about his academic future, and we placed specific restrictions on his registration for the future until the admissions office could see his first semester grades.

As you can guess, this is not a fun time for anyone, especially me. It is never fun having to scold someone for a serious issue, yet at the same time hope they turn things around. As you go into your senior year (at least most of you), please make sure to keep up the good academic work during this final year. Please don't make me threaten you with the "finger of shame".

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