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U. of Georgia Prevents Professor From Including ‘Stress-Reduction Policy’ in Syllabus

The University of Georgia has prevented a business professor from including a “stress-reduction policy” in his course syllabi that would have allowed students to choose their own grades and abandon group work and meetings without explanation.

Richard Watson, a professor in the Terry College of Business’s department of management information systems, had originally posted his syllabi online with the stress policy, which he wrote was intended to prevent the “profound consequences” of emotional reactions to stressful situations. The policy also stated that all tests would be open book and only positive comments would be provided in class in response to student presentations.

“While this policy might hinder the development of group skills and mastery of the class material, ultimately these are your responsibility,” Mr. Watson wrote in one syllabus. “I will provide every opportunity for you to gain high-level mastery.”

According to university administrators, the policy has since been removed from Mr. Watson’s syllabi, which had garnered criticism after media coverage on Monday.

“The syllabus did not conform with the university’s rigorous expectations and policy regarding academic standards for grading,” Benjamin C. Ayers, dean of the Terry College of Business, said in a written statement. “I have explained this discrepancy to the professor, and he has removed the statement from his syllabus. Rest assured that this ill-advised proposal will not be implemented in any Terry classroom.”

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