George Washington University students who received “A” grades in two courses that were never taught will be refunded their money and allowed to keep their class credits, according to a university statement released Wednesday afternoon.
In October, the GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences Office of the Provost received three letters from students who said they were enrolled in physician assistant classes in 2010 but never received instruction. The students still received “A” grades from Venetia Orcutt, department chair of the physician assistant program, according to the statement.
Orcutt had been assigned to teach a sequence of evidence-based medicine courses over three semesters in 2010 — one in-person class and two online ones. Each course was worth one credit. Orcutt taught the in-person course, but not the two online ones.
The associate professor “nevertheless awarded the grade of A to all the students who had been enrolled in the course,” said Dr. Jeffrey S. Akman, interim vice provost for health affairs and dean of the school, in a statement. “This situation is clearly unacceptable.”
Orcutt offered her resignation on Oct. 6, effective Oct. 31.
Orcutt has not responded to messages left at her home for comment.
The students will be allowed to keep the credit they received for those two classes, Akman said, because they had “met the learning objectives” through “other courses, clinical experience and educational activities embedded throughout the curriculum.” The students will receive a refund for the two courses, and can choose to take the online classes for free.
Akman said the university is now taking steps to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again. He appointed a review committee comprised of faculty members from outside the School of Medicine and Health Sciences to “thoroughly review all aspects of this unfortunate event.” The committee has been asked to make recommendations by the end of the year.