University of Alberta students may have new withdrawal deadlines to look forward to after an Academic Standards Committee (ASC) meeting approved new dates late last week.
The committee, part of the General Faculties Council (GFC), met Thursday to discuss the proposed deadlines, which will allow students to withdraw from classes up until their final week of coursework.
The new dates would come into effect during the 2012-13 academic year, pending approval from the GFC’s executives during their Nov. 5 meeting.
Deadlines are currently scheduled for Nov. 7 and March 15 for respective Fall and Winter Terms.
Ada Schmude, associate registrar at the university, confirmed that although the proposal is still pending review, an affirmative mid-November outcome is likely.
“It’s been discussed at the Provost’s review, and on the Success on Alternate Routes Task Force,” Schmude said.
“The process began this spring and has gone through the committee, so I don’t see much changing in the next couple weeks.”
The Success on Alternate Routes Task Force was started by the Dean of Students, the Registrar’s Office and the Provost’s Office last year to address the needs of students encountering atypical circumstances during their degree.
The current proposal builds on the recommendations of the task force to assist students faced with exceptional difficulty.
Schmude added the current recommendation is for implementation in Fall 2013 — exactly one year from now.
Students’ Union Vice-President (Academic) Dustin Chelen said he is optimistic about the proposed changes.
Although he noted the ASC meeting included concerns from some professional faculties, Chelen maintained the overall response was positive.
“I heard some criticism from professional faculties and so I wasn’t necessarily sure the proposal to extend the withdrawal deadline would indeed proceed to university governance, but I called the Registrar’s Office this morning and it seems it will go forward,” he said.
“I’m glad to see that the university considered some of the ideas brought to the (ASC) meeting and decided to move forward.”
Chelen said although he couldn’t elaborate on the concerns brought forward during the ASC meeting, they would not likely be fundamentally detrimental to extending the withdrawal deadline, and the decision is still going forward to the GFC executive committee.
“(The later deadline) gives students more time to talk to their teachers and talk to their family … it lets them withdraw if a loved one dies or if they don’t have time to focus on their classes,” he said.
“Even if it’s just, ‘I don’t stand a chance in this class,’ students need some time to know that.”
Chelen also explained the extended deadline may also prevent students from putting off crucial decisions until it’s too late, especially when too busy catching up with classes to consider their long-term success.
“If students procrastinate making a decision, they may not make the right decisions in time,” he said.
“This lets them consider (whether or not continuing) is the best thing. It just lets them make the right decisions.”
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