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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

PROPOSAL FROM THE EDUCATIONAL POLICY COMMITTEE TO REVISE Q-DROP PROCEDURES

Professor Alan Friedman (English) submitted the following proposal on behalf of the Educational Policy Committee recommending changes to the Q-Drop procedures. The proposal was on the will be Faculty Council agenda on April 12, 2010, but due to a lack of quorum the meeting was adjourned before the proposal could be addressed. It is now being submitted as no protest legislation.1

The secretary has classified this proposal as general legislation. If five or less protests are filed with the Office of the General Faculty by the date specified below, the legislation will be held to have been approved by the Faculty Council. If five objections are filed within the prescribed period, the legislation will be presented to the Faculty Council at its next meeting. Objections, with reasons, must be signed by a member of the Faculty Council.

To be counted, a protest must be received in the Office of the General Faculty by April 26, 2010.

greninger
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The Faculty Council and General Faculty


1Legislation updated on April 15, 2010.



PROPOSAL FROM THE EDUCATIONAL POLICY COMMITTEE TO REVISE Q-DROP PROCEDURES

Approved by Educational Policy Committee March 26, 2010.

Dropping a Class: Rules for Undergraduate Students

In general, an undergraduate may drop a class through midsemester in a long-session semester and through the last class day in a summer term. However, the student must meet the conditions described below and must abide by the quantity of work rule. The dates of the deadlines discussed below are given in the academic calendar. In addition to other required approvals, international students must have the written consent of the International Office to drop a class. On the recommendation of the instructor and with the approval of the student’s academic dean, a student may be required to drop a class at any time because of neglect or lack of preparation.

Limitations

In accordance with section 51.907 of the Texas Education Code, a student may drop no more than six classes for academic reasons during his or her undergraduate career. This rule applies to all students who entered a public Texas institution of higher education as first-time undergraduates in the fall semester 2007 or later. A dropped class is counted toward the six-drop limit if the student dropped it from the thirteenth class day through midsemester in a long-session semester or from the fifth through the last class day in a summer term, and if the student did not drop the class for a substantiated, nonacademic reason as defined below.

Nonacademic Reasons for Dropping a Class

A dropped class will not be counted toward the six-drop limit if it occurs for a nonacademic reason such as those listed below. The student’s dean will decide, at the time the student drops a class, whether the reason for the drop is academic or nonacademic.

  1. A severe illness or other debilitating condition that affects the student’s ability to satisfactorily complete the course
  2. The student’s responsibility for the care of a sick, injured, or needy person if the provision of that care affects the student’s ability to satisfactorily complete the course
  3. The death of a person who is considered to be a member of the student’s family or who is otherwise considered to have a sufficiently close relationship to the student that the person’s death is considered to be a showing of good cause
  4. The active duty service as a member of the Texas National Guard or the armed forces of the United States of either the student or a person who is considered to be a member of the student’s family or who is otherwise considered to have a sufficiently close relationship to the student that the person’s active military service is considered to be a showing of good cause
  5. A change of the student’s work schedule that is beyond the control of the student and that affects the student’s ability to complete the course

Procedures

Through the twelfth class day. From the first through the twelfth class day in a long-session semester, and from the first through the fourth class day in a summer term, a student may drop a class through the registration system. If the dropped class must be taken in conjunction with another class, the student must drop the second class as well. Each student should meet with his or her adviser before dropping a class.

A class dropped during this period is deleted from the student’s academic record. It does not count toward the six-drop limit described above.

From the thirteenth class day through the [the twentieth class day] deadline to drop a class for academic reasons. From the thirteenth class day through the [twentieth class day] deadline to drop a class for academic reasons in a long-session semester, and from the fifth through the last class day in a summer term, a student may drop a class only with the approval of his or her dean. The student first must obtain the instructor’s signature on Form X stating the student’s current grade in the course and the basis for calculating the grade. In some colleges and schools, the approval of the student’s adviser is also required. If the student is allowed to drop, the class remains on the student’s academic record with the symbol Q, which identifies a drop without academic penalty. In addition, the student’s dean determines whether the student is dropping the class for an academic or a nonacademic reason. [If the student is allowed to drop during this period, the student’s dean determines whether the student is dropping the class for an academic or a nonacademic reason.] If the dean determines that the reason is academic, the drop is counted toward the six-drop limit described above.

[Through midsemester] After the deadline to drop a class for academic reasons. After the deadline to drop a class for academic reasons has passed, a student may drop a class only with the approval of his or her dean and only for urgent, substantiated, nonacademic reasons. Drops that occur during this period are not counted toward the six-drop limit described above. [From the twenty-first class day through midsemester in a long-session semester, and from the eleventh through the last class day in a summer term, a student may drop a class only with the approval of the instructor, the student’s adviser, and the student’s dean.

[If the instructor approves the drop, he or she will assign either the symbol Q or a grade of F. The symbol Q indicates that the student has earned a grade of at least C- in the class, that no final grade has yet been assigned, or that no academic penalty is in order, because of the student’s performance and the nature of the course. In compelling circumstances, the student’s dean may assign the symbol Q for nonacademic reasons.

[If the student is allowed to drop during this period, the student’s dean determines whether the student is dropping the class for an academic or a nonacademic reason. If the dean determines that the reason is academic, the drop is counted toward the six-drop limit described above.

[After midsemester. After midsemester, a student may drop a class only with the approval of his or her dean and only for urgent, substantiated, nonacademic reasons. Drops that occur during this period are not counted toward the six-drop limit described above.]


RATIONALE

Overview
The Student Deans Committee recently reviewed the policies concerning Q-drops in the General Information catalog (GIC). After a review and discussion of these policies, the committee recommended two major changes to the wording of the policy.

Changes to the Midsmester Deadline
The first change involves the “midsemester” deadline. The committee could find no real rationale for specifying that date as the deadline for Q-drops for academic reasons. Indeed, that date tends to be somewhat harmful to both the students and the university. As such, at a later time the committee will recommend that the midsemester deadline be changed, and in anticipation of that future change, opted to change the language for the Q-drops to allow for that possible change in deadline. Because the deadline itself has not changed, this new wording (i.e., “deadline to drop a class for academic reasons”) does not actually change current policy. Rather, it simply makes a change in the future somewhat easier to process.

Changes to Instructor Permission
The second change is more substantive and would require a change in current procedures. In brief, as specified by the GIC, Q-drops between the twentieth class day and the midsemester deadline should only be allowed if

“the student has earned a grade of at least C- in the class, that no final grade has yet been assigned, or that no academic penalty is in order, because of the student’s performance and the nature of the course.”

The wording of this policy is vague, and consequently, many instructors interpret it differently. Some instructors, for example, will allow a Q-drop for the class even if the student is failing at that time, but other instructors will not. Given these inconsistencies that regularly occur across campus, the Student Deans Committee has recommended that the language be changed so that all students can receive a Q-drop during this period regardless of their underlying grade or performance in the class. These Q-drops would be assigned by Deans’ offices around campus, meaning that instructors will no longer have the authority to make these decisions. However, the new language also includes a provision that students must still see an instructor before obtaining the Q-drop. This requirement to see the instructor, but not have the instructor make the decision on the Q-drop, helps the university reach the goal of consistency but also provides an avenue for the instructor to talk to the student before the Q-drop is made official.

Summary
In short, this new language corrects one of the more difficult issues in the university regarding Q-drops. It also allows for future changes to the Q-drop deadline without requiring another rewriting of the policy.



Posted on the Faculty Council web site on April 2, 2010, and updated on April 15, 2010.

 

 


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