On Monday, March 14, the SGA voted almost unanimously to approve a revision to Radford University’s add/drop policy, which was written by Diversity Promotions Coordinator Tim Kennedy. This revision would extend the drop period from five and a half days to 19 days and would extend the withdrawal period from eight weeks to 10 weeks.
The drop extension is meant to give students more time to decide if a class is right for them, without having to use a withdrawal. Due to the current five-class withdrawal limit, extending the drop period offers more opportunity and flexibility for students to get out of a class that doesn’t suit them. Many Virginia schools, such as the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, James Madison University, William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University and others do not have a withdrawal limit.
The withdrawal duration has been an issue of conflict between faculty and students for some time. Prior to the Faculty Senate’s push for a shortened period, the withdrawal duration during spring/fall semesters was 12 weeks. In 2009, a resolution passed that reduced it to eight weeks.
At the same time, the SGA argued for 10 weeks as a reasonable compromise to satisfy the Faculty Senate’s desire “to increase academic rigor” while giving students more freedom to determine their academic outcomes. Virginia Tech allows students to withdraw right up to the final exam period. Even two years after its implementation, the website of the Office of the Registrar still reflects the outdated 12-week policy.
There have been complaints from students that professors tend to increase the workload after the withdrawal date has passed. There are also professors who do not publish midterm grades until after the withdrawal period is over. A student is therefore in a position where they may not be able to make a reasonable assessment of their likelihood of success in the class.
Just because the resolution passed doesn’t mean it will be approved. There are still a number of channels it needs to go through before such a change would be implemented. The final decision will be made by the provost, and depending on when it is reviewed by the Provost’s Office, the decision will made by either Interim Provost Dr. Joe Scartelli or incoming Provost Dr. Sam Minner.