Faculty concerned about add/drop policy changing

Gabi Wy

Vice President of Enrollment Andrew Wright seemed to be “caught off-guard” after faculty members questioned a potential add/drop policy at the Faculty Senate meeting on Sept. 4, said senate chair Rex Strange.

“I don’t think (Wright) realized faculty would actually be concerned,” he said.

By the first week of the semester, Wright emailed documents containing the new policy first to the deans and then to the chairs of specific college’s departments.

Strange said he invited Wright to the Faculty Senate within hours of receiving the email.

“(Wright) was very eager to meet with us and discuss the matter,” Strange said. “When any new policy comes to bear, issues will come up.”

The senate’s reaction consisted not only of questions about the policy, but questions about why faculty was not consulted before a new policy was developed.

During the spring, administration modified a pre-existing policy concerning grade reports without notifying faculty during development.

“Since then, the faculty has been very cognizant of administration notifying them (about any changes),” Strange said.

Wright presented a policy in which first year students or students with under 30 credit hours only need an advisor’s—not the instructor’s–signature to drop a class or completely withdraw from the university after the first week of classes.

Faculty quickly voiced their concerns with the policy.

“Some faculty want to have direct contact with students before withdrawal and offer encouragement,” Strange said. “Some faculty like to know if a student has dropped their class.”

He said Faculty Senate decided to send the policy issue to the Student Affairs Committee for investigation and “provide an opportunity for faculty members to promote dialogue.” Strange hopes a new policy will be determined within one month.

Wright, who started work at the university in January, said in his past work at universities in Missouri and Michigan, faculty weren’t as sensitive to developments that affect students.

“This is the type of policy that in my last few institutions, no one would’ve even wanted me to go to faculty about,” he said.

Wright said with the presented policy, he hoped to reduce the confusing “run-around” between offices students had to go through to add or drop classes.

Currently, the policy is under further development, considering faculty input.

“I love the faculty here and that they are interested and care about students,” Wright said. “In the future, I will know to go to faculty first.”