A paragraph for Ron Graff
(This will take more than a paragraph.)
Ron Graff was noticeably shorter than me, which puts him on the short side for a man.
When I was in his drawing classes, he had a stout, stocky, muscular build; a fire-plug. I bet he still does.
He was intense, mostly coiled, with occasional outbursts; not of anger, or at least not of anger at anyone present; just the occasional, sudden release/reveil of whatever it was that was contained inside his dense frame.
The first day of class (basic drawing, required) he announce that if we all came to class and did all the drawing assignments we would all get a B.
He said there would be no A, C, or D grades.
If we did not attend regularly or do the required assignments we would get an F.
He went on to explain that he used to give the whole variety of grades to his students, but was forever in the department chair’s office, with some aggrieved student, often in tears over the destruction of their GPA, explaining why he had given a C or a B, or a D or an F (students, no matter how lazy or untalented, never demand explanations for an undeserved A, he noted.)
He found these exercises tedious, and did not think they were earning him any brownie points in the department either.
But over time he noted (and I can still here his voice when I recall these words), “I’ve seen many really terrible art students turn into lovely artist; and I’ve seen many truly wonderful art students turn into lousy truck drivers.”
And so he settled on his B/F grading rubric.
If I taught mathematics, I would grade pass/fail; with 87.5% being the passing mark.