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Volume 68, Isuue 80, Thursday, January 23, 2003


Council debates Q grade

By Nikie Johnson
Senior Staff Writer

This Springis enrollment is the highest Spring enrollment ever, with 32,971 students expected to be enrolled by the 20th class day.

Also, a new grading policy that could help students maintain a better GPA took another step toward implementation.

These two points of business were the focus of Wednesdayis Undergraduate Council meeting.

This semesteris enrollment is expected to be 82.4 percent of Fallis enrollment; the drop is about average. Itis also 3.9 percent higher than last Springis figures.

Council members found themselves in a spirited debate over a proposed change to the Universityis grading policy after hearing from Elaine Charlson, the associate vice president for Academic and Faculty Affairs.

The Q (quit) grade was proposed in Spring 2002 as a way to help students withdraw from a class they are failing. Under the current policy, such students must receive an F in the class; a W (withdrew), which does not affect a studentis GPA, can only be assigned if the student is passing.

The Undergraduate Council recommended to the Office of the Provost in may that students who finds themselves failing a class and want to get out of it should have the option of a grade that would not affect their GPA.

The impetus for the idea came from electrical engineering associate professor Dave Shattuck. He said the idea came after he saw students in some classes who would get in over their heads after the drop date and not be able to do anything about it.

"It just didnit seem fair," he said. He brought the issue to the Undergraduate Council, which eventually sent a proposal to the Office of the Provost.

After consulting with other groups on campus that would be affected by such a policy, a revised proposal was presented to the council by Charlson.

The councilis original proposal would have allowed students to quit up to five undergraduate classes in total. Taking into consideration other groupsi input, the proposal Charlson brought limited students to three Q grades, and only in 1000-level classes approved for the core curriculum.

Many on the council took issue with the provision that the Q grade could only apply to 1000-level classes, saying students often run into big problems with 2000-level classes.

"(These provisions) donit really serve the studentsi needs," said associate professor of communication Robert Musburger.

After a thorough debate, the council voted to recommend to the provost that the Q grade should apply to all 1000- and 2000-level courses, whether or not they were core courses.

Both Shattuck and Undergraduate Council Chairwoman Nancy Graves predicted this recommendation would be controversial.

Shattuck said itis now up to Provost Edward Sheridan to decide what to do about the proposal, as itis the provostis job to weigh all recommendations and decide the best solution.

Even if the policy is approved, the council said it will be at least a year before it can be used.

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