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D 10193-10194



On behalf of the Educational Policy Committee (EPC), Dr. Mary Rose (committee chair, sociology) submitted the following proposal recommending changes to the Q-Drop Policy.

The secretary has classified this proposal as legislation of general interest. The Faculty Council will act on the proposal at its meeting on February 18, 2013. Final approval resides with UT System.
SAG signature
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary

General Faculty and Faculty Council

Posted on the Faculty Council website ( on February 7, 2013. 


{Current policy found at:}

From the thirteenth class day through the deadline to drop a class for academic reasons. From the thirteenth class day through the 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 the form Add-Drop for Undergraduate Students, which states 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 dean determines that the reason is academic, the drop is counted toward the six-drop limit described above.

At UT Austin, students are permitted six Q-drops for academic reasons up through the mid-semester deadline set by the University. (The permissible number of Q-drops is set by State Law, SB1231.) To date, policy has required that students get faculty signatures on Q-drop forms; the faculty lists the student’s grade to date and the basis for calculating the grade. The signature does not signal approval of the drop: Faculty neither give nor refuse permission for Q-drops, and the grade the faculty reports does not play a role in determining whether the dean’s office permits the drop.1

Marc Musick requested the change, based on several years of experience with the Q-drop policy through his work as Associate Dean for Student Services in Liberal Arts. The proposed change received unanimous support from the EPC, which included several faculty on the committee who have experience with the current system. Whatever the intent of the original policy (e.g., to foster conversation, to provide faculty with notice of the drop, etc.), in practice students frequently wait to drop until close to the deadline, and substantive interaction between the faculty and student does not occur. Professors report that students seek them out at odd times and that it is frustrating to have a procedure that places additional burdens on students and faculty without a clear purpose, given that the faculty’s permission is not required for the drop. Students can be encouraged to speak with their professors through other means (e.g., advisors can encourage such conversations; an email system of notification can be put in place), but the current procedure adds additional steps without a clear benefit.

1The distinction between “academic” and “nonacademic” drops is useful mostly for purposes of the upper limit allowed. Drops due to nonacademic reasons (which must be urgent and substantiated) do not count toward the six-drop limit. In general, drops pursued prior to the deadline are typically assumed to be for academic reasons unless someone provides substantiation that the drop is for urgent nonacademic reasons.