View in portable document format.

3835


DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

EDUCATIONAL POLICY COMMITTEE PROPOSAL TO IMPROVE COURSE AVAILABILITY FOR UNDERGRADUATES

On behalf of the Educational Policy Committee, Archie Holmes (associate professor, electrical and computer engineering and committee chair) submitted the following proposal to improve course availability for undergraduates. The secretary has classified this resolution as general legislation. The Faculty Council will discuss the proposal at its meeting on April 11, 2005.


<signed>

Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The Faculty Council




Distributed through the Faculty Council web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on April 11, 2005. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.


3836


EDUCATIONAL POLICY COMMITTEE PROPOSAL TO IMPROVE COURSE AVAILABILITY FOR UNDERGRADUATES


Motion: To improve course availability for students, the Educational Policy Committee recommends that the following five (5) changes be made:

1. Create a new symbol, N, that is assigned when a student drops a class for a documented, non-academic reason.

2. Adopt the following add and drop policy for all undergraduate courses:

For courses that meet during the first four class days of the semester, students will be permitted to drop a course, without penalty, until midnight on the fourth class day of the semester. Students will be permitted to add a course until midnight on the fifth class day of the semester.
For courses that do not meet during the first four class days of the semester, students will be permitted to drop a course, without penalty, until midnight on the day that the class first meets. Students will be permitted to add a course until midnight on the day after the first class meeting day of the semester.
Between the fourth class day and the mid?-semester deadline, students who drop a course will receive either a symbol of F, Q or N.1
After the mid-semester deadline, students may only drop a course for a substantial, non-academic reason. These drops will receive a symbol of F or N.

This change will require that the registration system be changed to allow students to be able to add themselves to classes up until the fifth class day and not allow drops of courses after the fourth class day.

3. Require faculty to provide students a course syllabus by the first meeting day of all classes. This syllabus must contain the following items: grading policy for the course, including whether class attendance is used in determining the course grade; due dates for assignments that count 20% or more of the total course grade; and a list of required textbooks for the course.

4. Adopt the following course repeat policy for all undergraduate courses.

No student may enroll in any course (except those that may be repeated for credit when topics vary) more than twice, even if the course is needed to meet degree requirements, unless all of the following conditions are met:

A symbol of N or W was assigned at least one of the two times the student has enrolled in the course.
Written consent for the third attempt has been obtained from the student’s major adviser.
Written consent for the third attempt has been obtained from the department offering the course.

5. A student who has received 3 Qs must have documented, non-academic reasons for any additional drops after the fourth class day of the semester.

Background and Rationale: In the fall of 2004, the provost asked the Educational Policy Committee to review a number of recommendations from the Task Force on Enrollment Strategy. This motion is based on the recommendations below:


1The committee requested the corrections as noted adding "F" where it had previously been inadvertently omitted. The document was corrected on May 10, 2005.

3837


1. Adopt university-wide policy regulating repeated registration for courses which cannot be repeated for additional credit, using the policy in the College of Natural Science as a model.
2. Develop a policy to limit the number of times a student may drop a course or withdraw from the University.

Given other legislation recommended by the Educational Policy Committee and a change to flat-rate tuition at UT Austin, we felt it was important to put in place a number of changes to address this general topic and make sure that students have access to the classes they need to graduate in a timely manner. Our rationale for each of the changes listed above is discussed below:

Creation of the Symbol N: The Educational Policy Committee believes that it is important to define a drop for a documented non-academic reason and have it be different than a drop without one. The only way to accomplish this is via a new symbol. Currently, a Q can mean a number of things. Under this proposal, a symbol of Q would mean that a student dropped the course and did not provide any documented reason for dropping the course. The determination of whether documentation has been provided to have a symbol of N assigned will be determined by the student deans in the various colleges.

Change in Add and Drop Policy. In order to help students gain their degrees in a timely manner, they must have access to courses. Under the current system, students can drop a course – without academic penalty – until the 12th class day. This does not allow a student who wants a seat in the course to obtain it. Under this proposal, drops without penalty will occur before the date where students are allowed to add the course. This will help improve access to courses for students. The dates chosen for adds and drops were to ensure that student[s] would not be at an academic disadvantage when they added the course compared to others in the course. This change will require that the registration system be changed to allow students to be able to add themselves to classes up until the fifth class day and not allow drops of courses after the fourth class day.

Syllabus Requirement for First Class Meeting Day. In order for students to have information that they need to evaluate a course, they need a syllabus by the first class meeting day. According to the information given to the Educational Policy Committee, a syllabus is not provided to students in all cases early in the semester. The information we recommend be included in the syllabus is what we believe that students need to evaluate a course and make a decision about whether to remain in it.

Course Repeat Policy. To increase student access to classes, we are recommending that students be limited in the number of times they can repeat a course. This is similar to the model currently in use by the College of Natural Sciences. Our change is to allow a student to repeat a course for the third time when either a symbol of W (withdrawal from the University) or our proposed symbol N (documented non-academic reason) is received in at least one of the first two attempts. In addition, permission is required from the student’s academic advisor and the department offering the course to make sure that the student has received sound advice before the third attempt and that the resources available to the department offering the course are being used efficiently.

Number of Q Drops Allowed to a Student. To discourage students from remaining in classes to the point in the semester where another student could not have that seat, the Educational Policy recommends limiting the number of Q drops. For students enrolled in the Spring 2005 semester, over 90% of undergraduates had 2 or fewer Qs on their academic record; over 65% had no Q drops.