Student Government column

In October, we published an article expressing our concern at the lack of student involvement with the consideration of proposed changes to the course drop and withdrawal deadlines. Six months later, we are happy to report that both the new policy and the process that got us to that new policy have shown great improvement.

Starting next fall, the drop period will be six weeks long rather than two. A system of vouchers will be introduced allowing undergraduates to drop any course up to the last day of classes three times during their academic career. A robust evaluation plan is being developed to ensure that when the new policies are evaluated in two years, future changes to the drop and withdrawal period will be beneficial to students and faculty.

This new policy is the result of a decision on the part of the Task Force for the CMU Experience and Provost Laurie Weingart to engage meaningfully with student and faculty elected bodies. Faculty Senate, Undergraduate Student Senate, and the Graduate Student Assembly all had valuable input to give the Task Force which had not been heard in previous discussions.

Most importantly, however, the involved members of the Task Force showed a willingness to iterate on the proposed Drop/Withdraw policy until we found a policy that was acceptable to everyone involved. This is in contrast to a dynamic in which students provide information or opinions to the university and are not consulted again until a decision has already been made. We hope that the interactive process of crafting the new Drop/Withdraw policy will serve as a precedent for many more productive collaborations in policy-making between the university administration and its students.