Drop Policy Change Causes Few Concerns

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UCA’s withdrawal policy change has proven mostly successful, but the dean of one university department has concerns about the shift in the drop date.

The new policy, implemented last fall, abolished the “Withdraw Pass/Fail” system for students who withdraw from a course after the final drop day; instead, students who fail to withdraw before the final drop day receive whichever letter grade they earned in the class. The policy also moved the final drop day up a week.

Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication Terry Wright said some courses in his department require a comprehensive review, which occurs at the end of the semester, for determining grades, and the early drop date makes it difficult for students to evaluate their grades in time. For example,  recitals in music, finished films in the film program and portfolios in creative writing take longer to finish than traditional coursework, so students in these programs must wait longer to find out their grades.

“The problem is for those kind of courses, what I’m going to call studio courses for the most part, or portfolio courses —– of which there are quite a few in my college —– That drop date is so early before students can really get that kind of comprehensive review,” Wright said.

Wright said he has received feedback from chairs in his department, faculty and some students regarding the change in policy.

“I wasn’t receiving these complaints, or concerns, when the drop date was where it was before,” Wright said., “That seemed to be late enough to accommodate for these late term reviews.”

University Registrar Rebekah Rasnick said she encountered few complications regarding the implementation of the new policy over the fall semester.

Rasnick sent out communications the week before the drop date letting students know that the twelfth week was the last day to drop.

“The day that email got sent out, that was one of our busiest days for our students to come in and drop,” Rasnick said. “On the last day to drop —- November the 10th, that Friday —- we had over 400 withdraws from a class.”

Rasnick said she also sent out communications to faculty around that time as well, informing them to remind their students of the last day to drop.

Rasnick said she received around 10 emails that contained concerns about the policy, but these emails were from faculty asking for clarification about what to do after that twelfth week drop date.

“There’s nothing that can be done after the twelfth week,” Rasnick said. “The student then gets and A, B, C, D, F or an X grade.”

She said because teachers were used to having an additional week after the designated drop date to withdraw students, this added some confusion,

From the student perspective, despite initial confusion regarding the change in policy, SGA President Hershila Lalu said she received no complaints from students last semester over the change.

“I know that many students were confused about the change; however the university has been working diligently to clarify any confusion,” Lalu said.

The Dean of the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences Jimmy Ishee, Interim Chair of Digital Filmmaking Michael Gunter and Chair of the Art Department Jeff Young said they received no concerns from students or faculty regarding the withdrawal policy change.

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