KNOXVILLE—Starting this fall, students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will be limited to dropping only four classes during the course of their undergraduate program.
The more stringent policy will increase course availability for students and make more efficient use of faculty time, according to Sally McMillan, vice provost for academic affairs.
Past dropped classes won’t count against the new limit.
The new policy applies to courses officially dropped after the first ten days of class, which will remain a no-penalty drop period.
In the past, students could officially drop any class up until the eighty-fourth day of the semester and get a “W” (withdrawn) instead of a grade in the class. Under the new policy, students will continue to able to drop courses in this way—but only four times during their undergraduate degree program. After the fourth drop, students will receive a grade in all classes attempted.
McMillan said tightening the drop policy is an idea that came out of the Academic Efficiency and Effectiveness Task Force.
“The task force determined that our drop policy has been more permissive than most of our peer institutions and may have contributed to a lack of course availability and a waste of faculty time,” she said.
Classes that are filled to capacity at the beginning of the semester sometimes dwindle to only 80 percent of capacity by the end of the semester, McMillan said. If a student drops a course within the first ten days of the semester, a waiting student can take the vacated seat; after ten days, students can no longer add courses, so late-vacated seats go unfilled.
College advisers are talking to students about the new policy during registration. The new policy will be widely publicized at the beginning of the semester so students will have the opportunity to drop classes without penalty during the ten-day grace period at the beginning of the semester.
The new policy was approved by both the Undergraduate Council and the Faculty Senate in April.
Members of the Academic Efficiency and Effectiveness Task Force include Monique Anderson, registrar; Tammi Brown, College of Business Administration; Don Cox, College of Arts and Sciences; Ruth Darling, assistant provost; Susan Martin, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs; Sally McMillan, vice provost for academic affairs; Laura Nishida, past president of the Student Government Association; Dixie Thompson, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences; and Drew Webb, provost’s student advisory council.
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