The UC San Diego Academic Senate voted to move the course withdrawal deadline to the end of Week 6 starting Fall Quarter 2018.
The UCSD Academic Senate, which oversees educational policy, voted to change the deadline at its June 6 representative assembly meeting. Currently, if a student drops a course after Week 4 but before the end of Week 9 of the quarter, the final grade assigned for the course is a withdraw or a ‘W.” The new change will mean that students who drop a course after the end of Week 6 will incur a failing grade or “F.”
The change was recommended by the Academic Senate’s Education Policy Committee (EPC). The deadline change required amendments to Senate Regulations 500: Grading Policy and 501: Adding and Dropping Courses and Withdrawal. Both proposed amendments were approved by a majority.
Former EPC Chair Professor Matthew Herbst said he believes that the change will improve instruction practices by encouraging earlier and more frequent student assessments, as well as align UCSD with the other UCs in terms of educational policy.
“We have faculty who come here from other UCs or institutions whose jaws drop,” Herbst said, “They can’t believe students can [invest] all this work and time in research or lab projects and then [drop] in Week 9. They are appalled.”
The shift to Week 6 is also expected to stabilize enrollment. The Deans of Academic Advising presented to the EPC that more than half of withdrawals occur Week 9, and that the bulk were not students failing, but students not receiving the grades they want.
“A Week 6 deadline behooves faculty to give students sufficient feedback so students know whether they are likely to pass or fail,” said Herbst. “If we are making the changes, we need to make sure our courses and instruction reflect [them], which is why [the move to Week 6] doesn’t get implemented until 2018.”
UCSD’s withdrawal deadline at the end of Week 9 is the latest withdrawal deadline of all nine undergraduate UCs. The change will put UCSD’s deadline in approximate alignment with UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Riverside’s. The rest of the undergraduate campuses either set their deadline earlier or vary based on department.
The change will take effect Fall 2018 to allow faculty to reevaluate and adjust curriculum.
Mo Al Elew is the lead student government reporter at The Triton.