UTM students who have been waiting for the implementation of the 1.0 Drop Credit policy should not be looking forward to it.
The campus’s vice-dean undergraduate says the administration is not open to more discussion about the topic.
The policy, which would allow UTM students to delete all record of a course of their choosing from their academic transcript, has long been touted on the platforms of UTMSU executives, including that of Andrew Ursel, the current VP university affairs and academics.
“After much discussion, I would say we are much closer to getting the 1.0 Drop Credit, given the tremendous amount of feedback we have gotten on the subject from students, faculty members, and administration,” Ursel said in an email response last month.
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, UTM’s vice-dean undergraduate since May 2011, said in an interview last week that to implement the policy would be to “compromise the integrity of the CGPA”.
Hannah-Moffat said the administration looked at the policies in place at peer universities where such policies are not instituted, and determined that implementing the 1.0 Drop Credit policy would be “unacceptable” and unfair to students who worked hard to maintain their CGPAs.
UTMSU first lobbied for this policy in 2011. The project was spearheaded by Dan DiCenzo, then UTMSU’s VP university affairs and academics, and Gilbert Cassar, then president. Hannah-Moffat said that Ursel had not met with her about the 1.0 Drop Credit policy at all this year.
“I haven’t seen anything new from UTSMU this year,” said Hannah-Moffat. “It was communicated to UTMSU last year that we would not open the issue of the Drop Credit. I wouldn’t support that kind of program. […] The drop credit is not closer, and it’s not an issue I’d like to see reopened.”
“I’m not unsympathetic to students,” added Hannah-Moffat, who said there are avenues for students in extenuating circumstances to drop a mark from their transcript in a fair way. She said these are important processes, since things happen that are out of people’s control.
“There could be a whole bunch of reasons why students may think they may need the Drop Credit, but if a student’s been invested in a course for a long time, they should get credit,” she said.
Hannah-Moffat points out that in lieu of the Drop Credit, the administration implemented the Credit/No Credit policy last fall. Then they extended the date for students to be able to apply for the CR/NCR policy from the last day to enroll to the last day to drop a course without academic penalty. They also modified the policy this past summer so that students are now able to apply it to two full-credit equivalents instead of one.
Addressing concerns that without the drop credit students can’t get rid of outliers on their transcripts, Hannah-Moffat said that graduate school admission committees are “sophisticated enough” to recognize outliers.
“It shouldn’t dissuade students from working really hard. We’re more than happy to hear suggestions from students, but also need to protect the integrity of the CGPA,” said Hannah-Moffat. She added that the changes to the CR/NCR policy and the processes of appeal for students in extenuating circumstances who “genuinely need” the petitions are strong processes that work.
There is also a petition for late withdrawal without academic penalty, which must be filed within six months of the end of the semester in question. Normally, late withdrawals are not granted if a student completed the course (that is, wrote the exam or submitted final assignments). This year, the last day to request late withdrawal after the drop date for fall courses is December 3.