Bard College Student Handbook

Appendix I: Moderation

The Moderation is a significant feature of Bard’s education program. It is a crucial point in the individual student’s career at Bard at which, with the help of his or her teachers, the student assesses his or her record and plans a future course of study. Successful Moderation assures promotion to the Upper College.

I. Purpose of the Moderation

a. To determine whether the student is adequately prepared for the more intensive and independent work of the Upper College and whether he or she is capable of doing a satisfactory Senior Project within the specific program;

b. To assess a student’s intellectual maturity, clarity, and seriousness of purpose as well as his or her record in the Lower College;

        c. To make recommendations for the student’s program in the
        Upper College.

II. Time of Moderation

The Moderation ordinarily takes place in the second semester of the sophomore year. Transfer students entering with the equivalent of two full years of credit should, if possible, be moderated during the first semester of residence, but in no case later than the second. In order to be considered for Moderation, a student must have achieved eligibility for quantitative courses. To ensure sufficient lead time for students and advisers, an academic dean and/or the Registrar will survey students at the beginning of the sophomore year, and again at the beginning of the second semester of sophomore year, gathering information on each student’s intended concentration or program. An academic dean or the Registrar should recommend changes in adviser when appropriate (for example, when the adviser is not a member of the program in which the student intends to major) and, when appropriate, provide students with information about program requirements. In order to postpone Moderation one semester, a student must obtain the written approval of his or her adviser. Postponing Moderation a second semester requires the approval of the Faculty Executive Committee; without such approval a student is to be reviewed by the Faculty Executive Committee. For double majors (students who moderate in two separate disciplines and intend to complete two senior projects), the second Moderation may occur in the second semester of the sophomore year or in either semester of the junior year. No student who has not moderated in the appropriate program may register to start a Senior Project.

III. Procedure

a. Each semester the Registrar’s Office will furnish the Divisional and Program Chairpersons with lists of students who should moderate in that semester. Chairs of Divisions or Programs or advisers will schedule moderations. These schedules should contain the composition of each Moderation Board and indicate whatever special papers or materials the students are expected to furnish for their Moderation.

b. The student must prepare in quadruplicate a written evaluation of his or her previous college work and a projection of plans of study in the Upper College.  These papers must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the due date. The student’s adviser will inform the student of any special papers or other material he or she must submit.

c. By that same date, the student must submit to all members of the Board, personally or through campus mail, copies of the two general and any special papers required. A Division or Program may set a different date for the submission of the special papers, which must not be later than one week before the date of the Moderation. This will enable all members of the Board to read the student’s papers before the Moderation conference.

d. The Chairperson of the Moderation Board, usually the student’s adviser, will collect the student transcript at the Registrar’s Office prior to the Moderation and at the same time consult the complete file of the student in order to supply the Board with all pertinent information.

e. Immediately prior to each Moderation, the Board should spend from five to ten minutes deciding on the most important points to be brought up.

f. The Chairperson of the Board should direct the Moderation proceedings. Thus, he or she should see to it that the points which have been decided on are covered; that even in the heat of academic disputation the central purpose of the meeting – to expose the candidate’s academic promise – is maintained; and that the student is given sufficient time to formulate answers. The Moderation should be conducted so that it will leave the student with a sense of its value in helping plan his or her education, and not with a feeling that the Moderation is a mere formality.

g. At the end of the Moderation the Board shall review the student’s qualifications for promotion based on the criteria under 4.

h. The Moderation card/report will be transmitted promptly by the member of the Moderation board responsible for the letter, usually the student’s adviser, to the Registrar, who will communicate its content officially to the student.  In addition to its evaluation and decision, (IV and V below) the Moderation board should indicate who is the student’s Upper College adviser.

IV. Criteria for the Moderation Board’s Recommendation

In evaluating the student, the Board will consider the student’s:

        a. Past academic record

        b. Ability to speak and write effectively

        c. Command of facts, methodology and theories in his or her own
        and related fields

        d. Progress towards degree, including fulfillment of distribution

        e. Promise as a member of Upper College seminars, not only in
the major but also in other subjects

        f. Ability to complete a satisfactory Senior Project in the major

        g. Performance during the Moderation

        h. Intellectual and social maturity

i. Clarity and seriousness of purpose

V. Moderation Board Decisions

a. Promotion admits the student to the Upper College. The Board’s report shall include an evaluation of the student’s work and of performance during the Moderation, recommendations for the student’s future program and the anticipated date of graduation.

b. Deferral of Promotion detains the student for a further semester in the Lower College in that, in the Board’s opinion, he or she has not yet clearly demonstrated grounds for promotion, but may be able to do so by the end of the next semester. The steps that the student must take to prepare for Re-Moderation must be specified. The Board should also recommend specific courses to be taken during the period of deferral, possibly including summer session courses.

c. Refusal of Promotion denies the student admission to the Upper College. The Board must give reasons for its action, together with suggestions for the future.  It is expected that students who fail Moderation will successfully moderate by the end of the next semester, and they will be reviewed by the Faculty Executive Committee.

VI. Constitution of the Moderation Board

a. There should be three faculty members on each Moderation Board, one of whom shall be the student’s adviser.

b. When desirable in terms of the student’s course of study, a member of another program may be invited to participate in the Moderation conference.

VII. Courses of Action Open to Students after First Moderation

Promoted students may request a second Moderation (b) below); deferred students will automatically be re-moderated (a) below), or may request a second Moderation (b) below); failed students may request a second Moderation (iii) below).

a. Re-Moderation: A second examination of a deferred student by, as far as possible, the same Board, in the program that deferred him, a semester after the first. Only promotion or refusal is possible.

b. Second Moderation: A second Moderation is given only at the discretion of a second program and only promotion or refusal is possible.

i. A second Moderation of a promoted student in a program other than the one that promoted him or her. If promotion is refused the student retains the right to work for a degree under the terms of the original promotion.

ii. A second Moderation of a deferred student, in the program that deferred him or her, or in a new program. The student must have developed an academic plan with a new adviser in a new program before the end of the semester in which he or she was deferred.

iii. A second Moderation of a failed student in another program. The student must have developed an academic plan with a new adviser in a new program before the end of the semester in which he or she failed.


Approved by Faculty Action: 12/16 1964    |    Revised by Faculty Action: 05/22/1968

Revised by Faculty Action: 11/10/1971    |    Revised by Faculty Action: 5/24/2000

Revised by the Faculty Executive Committee: March 2004