President Eisgruber ’83 offered his views on grade deflation and a possible increase in undergraduate enrollment during a Reunions conversation with alumni in Richardson Auditorium.
Responding to questions about the University’s 10-year-old grading policy, Eisgruber said he believes that students’ “anxieties exceed the real impact” of the policy and that rigorous evaluation and feedback will serve students best over the long term. But he said there should be a way to give a B-plus grade without producing “tears or extraordinary anxiety as a result,” and that a faculty committee exploring the issue will report in September.
Noting that the University is turning down a higher percentage of applicants than ever before, Eisgruber said, “That is not something I celebrate.” He said his “presumption” is that “we should be able to say yes a bit more often,” providing more opportunities to admit students from a wide variety of groups.
He said the University has a “moral obligation” to look at whether it can enroll more students without harming the Princeton experience. The University’s most recent expansion, completed in 2012, succeeded “spectacularly” in preserving the kinds of ties and community that make it an intimate place, he said.
Asked about political balance on the faculty, Eisgruber said Princeton professors should have a range of perspectives broad enough to ensure “a robust investigation of the issues.” He warned against focusing too closely on balancing conservative and liberal views, saying that the University “ought not be a Sunday-morning talk show.”