U diploma policy doesn’t make grade

Many students who want to give themselves an educational advantage after graduation take the time to complete double majors. The University’s policy of issuing them only one diploma for this expenditure of extra time, effort and money is shortsighted, cheap and wrong.
In today’s lean job market, the college graduate who successfully accomplishes a double major has a better than average chance of securing employment. To get a double major, a student must focus and structure course work so classes meet the requirements of each discipline. The time has come for the University to identify the appropriate majors or colleges on the diploma.
Double majors also have to graduate with at least five more credits than single-major graduates. But all colleges at the University — except the Institute of Technology — give double majors one diploma with nothing explicitly describing their efforts on that cherished, expensive piece of paper. After requiring students to accumulate additional credits that will often cost them more than $400, issuing only one diploma elevates stinginess to a new art form.
Assistant to the Registrar Charles G. Dahl says the cost of a diploma is minimal. The unadorned document costs somewhere between $3 to $5, and to verify completion of course work takes an employee, at the most, an hour. So, the total cost of creating these degrees can be estimated at about $20. Since this issue might not be important to all double-major students, having an extra box to check off on the graduation application that would indicate whether the student wants two separate diplomas seems like a simple resolution to this dilemma.
Under the current system, graduates from all colleges — other than IT — don’t have this option and can’t buy a second diploma even if they offer to pay for it. Imagine the exhausted graduate’s surprise when he or she discovers only one diploma will be issued after spending the extra time and money required of double majors by the University. This smacks of a two-party contract where only one party has to adhere to all terms of the contract. The University should be embarrassed to be part of such a blatant shell game.
Employees at the Registrar’s office say a graduate’s transcript clearly indicates two majors. But when it is pointed out that people do not hang their transcripts on the wall, there is only quiet agreement and no solutions suggested. At the Registrar’s Advisory Committee meeting next month, we believe some common sense recommendations should be made to the Board of Regents that would rectify this matter.
Some double-major graduates don’t care about this situation. But for graduates who want two diplomas, not having this option is a slight they will long remember and an expensive public relations gaffe for the University. A double-major undergraduate has earned the right to proudly hang two degrees on the wall.