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UTM considers changes to add/drop policy

Published (Volume 76, No. 30)

Now that UTM has shortened its calendar by one week per semester, the next issue to be addressed concerns policies governing add/drop dates and possible fees attached to those dates.

Under the previous calendar, students were allowed to drop during the first week of the semester with no record of the drop on a student’s transcript, and were allowed to drop through the ninth week with a grade of W (withdrawal). Drops after the ninth week had to be processed and verified under specific conditions set forth in the catalog, such as serious illness or injury, serious personal or family problems, and changes/conflicts with work and class schedules.

Because of the shorter calendar, the Faculty Senate heard a proposal at its Tuesday, April 20, meeting to shorten the overall drop period to eight weeks. For those who seek to drop a class after eight weeks, they would have to gain approval from the course instructor as well as their advisers and the registrar.

The proposal was thoroughly discussed, then sent back to the Instruction Committee for more work.

Meanwhile, the Instruction Committee has asked the Ad Hoc Committee to study the add/drop issue. At its meeting April 22, the Ad Hoc Committee discussed shortening the period to add classes, meaning that students would be able to drop one class and add another only within the first three days of the semester, or immediately after the first meeting of any given course.

No decisions have been made, but committee members will study the issue and make a recommendation to the Instruction Committee. Upon approval of that committee, the recommendation would then go to the full Senate for discussion and a vote.

UTM is not alone in considering changes to its add/drop policies. According to an April 22 story in The Sidelines, the student newspaper at Middle Tennessee State University, all students at Tennessee Board of Regents schools will now have only two weeks to drop a class without receiving a grade for the class, as opposed to four weeks under the previous TBR common calendar.

The newspaper quoted Connie Pimentel, the assistant director of the MTSU scheduling center, as saying that the reason for the new deadline is partly because of the Tennessee HOPE (lottery) Scholarships. Students must attempt 24 credit hours per academic year and earn at least a 2.75 GPA to keep their scholarships.

Other Tennessee schools also charge fees for late registration and for dropping classes after a specified date, according to information discussed by the Ad Hoc Committee. UTM has not previously charged fees for excessive drops, but instead has helped cover the cost of the paperwork involved from the university’s instruction budget. Drop fees are another issue the committee will study.

The committee is currently seeking input from faculty, staff and students about add/drop policies and possible fees. Those who wish to comment should e-mail Communications instructor Tomi Parrish at tomimc@utm.edu.