Recent academic policies implemented

In its efforts to enhance academic options and support, the College recently implemented an Ungraded Option and revised the Dismissal and Academic Standing policy.

Students are given the first two weeks in the semester to declare the Ungraded Option, which allows them to fully participate in courses without the pressure of a final grade.

Candidates must be in good academic standing and have already completed at least eight course units.

At the end of a course, the student will either receive credit for a passing grade or no credit for a failing grade.

Courses designated under the Ungraded Option will not count towards a student’s GPA but will count towards graduation.

“The new option may be applied to free electives or additional courses for a major,” David Morales, associate director for Orientation and Registration Services, said.

However, to exercise the option for courses within a major, students must first complete minimum requirements for the major and receive the department chair’s approval.

The goal of the new policy is to give students the opportunity to explore areas beyond their major.

“I think the Ungraded Option encourages students to try courses beyond their major, which is essential when pursuing a well balanced education,” Nicole Pfeiffer, freshman English and international studies major, said.

In addition to introducing the Ungraded Option, the College revised the Dismissal and Academic Standing policy.

“The purpose of the policy or any dismissal policy is to prevent students from hitting the wall because of issues with the ability to succeed academically,” Carlos Alves, dean of Academic Services, said.

In the revised policy, the minimum GPA requirement is divided into three categories ranging from 1.75 to 2.0, depending on the number of courses or credits.

In contrast, the previous policy contained four categories with GPAs ranging from 1.0 to 2.0, depending upon the number of earned semester hours.

The new policy also corrects the inconsistency where dismissed students were reinstated because they met the designated criteria, but then dismissed again because their overall GPA fell below 2.0.

“Before, we had students meeting the minimum criteria but not progressing towards graduation,” Alves said.

Additionally, the revised policy provides a support system for students who fail to meet the minimum criteria.

“Students will now be warned and given advisement before dismissal,” Suzanne H. Pasch, vice Provost and convener of the Steering Committee said.

The new support system incorporates resources from all over campus, including, but not limited to, Psychological Counseling Services, the Tutoring Center, assistant deans, academic advisors and mentoring programs.

“The revised policy integrates services from academic programs and student life,” Pasch said.

The Steering Committee, which is the executive body of the collegewide governance system, ultimately approved both policies.