The days of freely-given class withdrawals and endlessly repeated classes to get a GPA boost at Temple University are over.
A series of new academic policies were implemented over the summer to curb abuses of the University’s academic safety net as well as to increase communication between professors and students.
Some students were hurting themselves by frequently withdrawing from classes and getting grades of Incomplete at the end of the semester rather than completing the coursework, according to Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Stephen Zelnick.
Both course withdrawal and the incomplete policy were intended for use in extraordinary cases, such as a car accident or a death in a student’s family.
However, Zelnick said, over 50,000 grades of Incomplete have been given in the last 11 years, and over 20,000 of these were never resolved.
“The reality is that students are not going to graduate in four years,” he said.
“Instructors and record keepers were distressed by this academic debris [left by the unresolved classes].”
When students receive Incompletes, they are expected to complete their remaining coursework as soon as possible.
Often, though, students would simply never finish the work. Because of the large number of students at the university, these cases fell through the cracks.
Under the new policy, the student and professor will draw up a contract that says if the required work is not completed, the student, will automatically receive a default grade in no more than 12 months after the Incomplete is given.
There are several new policies regarding course withdrawals. After the ninth week of a course, students will not be able to withdraw from a class.
In addition, students cannot withdraw from the same course more than once, nor can they withdraw from more than five classes during their course of study.
“It was too easy for students to get grades of Incomplete or to withdraw from classes,” said Faculty Senate President Bill Nathan, also a professor in the Math department.
He said advisors would often grant withdrawals and instructors would give Incompletes in good conscience, but the problems stemmed from “irresponsibility on the part of the students and on the part of the faculty.”
“You know the phrase: ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’?” Nathan said. “Well, we were in the pavement business.”
Other new academic policies include:
For more information on these policies, visit https://policies.temple.edu.
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.