North Texas Daily

New course drop policy effective this semester

New course drop policy effective this semester

New course drop policy effective this semester
September 28
10:52 2018

UNT recently adopted a new course drop policy stating that a student may drop a course without instructor approval. Additionally, the university will no longer award WF grades, and the first day to drop a class for a W was Tuesday, Sept. 11.

WF grades are awarded to students who are failing a course at the time they drop it, while W grades are awarded to a student who withdraws from a course for any reason.

A board of faculty members met over the summer to discuss the implementation of the new policy. This policy is a significant change from the previous one as it makes dropping a course easier for students and ensures that instructors are not a barrier in a student’s decision to drop a course.

“There were two different drop timeframes [previously], and if you dropped early enough you would get an automatic W,” Assistant registrar Bryan Heard said. “If you dropped the course past the deadline and weren’t passing the course you could get a WF. Sometimes a student is failing a course, and there is 40 percent of a class left, so they decide to drop it, but if you stay in longer, you have a better chance to succeed.”

Heard said he hopes the new policy will improve student retention rates and encourage students to stay in courses they may have dropped under the previous policy. He also noted that since students are paying for the course, it should be their decision to drop it.

“It’s a benefit to students in terms of not penalizing them and trying to stay in a course they paid for,” Heard said. “We’re trying to give students an opportunity to succeed in our courses.”

While the new policy will make dropping a course easier for students, english instructor Shannon Abbott raises concerns about students who may “falsely assume they are failing the course” when they may be able to bring their grade up if they stay in the course.

“If students are not forced to speak with their professors before they drop a class, their professors won’t be able to put their minds at ease about grades,” Abbott said. “Many students assume that if they have done poorly on a few assignments they are doomed to fail. This is usually not the case.”

The new policy holds students more accountable for their decision to drop a course.

Materials science and engineering freshman Jessica Harris suggests that professors should act more as a source of guidance and less like a parental figure regarding students’ decisions about dropping their course.

“I don’t believe that a student has to talk to his or her professor before dropping a class,” Harris said. “The student should be held accountable for his or her actions and a professor should only help or advise the student, not control whether or not that student should be in a class.”

Students and professors seem to agree that while there may be some downsides to the new policy, students will receive benefits from the new policy such as reduced stress, increased autonomy and academic success.

“I think it’s important to remove all barriers to student success, when possible, so eliminating the anxiety involved in getting a signature from their professor is a great thing,” Abbott said. “However, if the student can be more informed about where they stand before they hastily drop a course, they might be grateful.”

Featured Image: The drop policy date will change allowing students to drop courses without instructor approval. Dimmagio Escobedo

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Abigail Hurtt

Abigail Hurtt

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