New proposed policy will help students graduate on time if approved
Aaron Berkowitz – News Writer
SCSU’s University Committee Forum [UCF] is scheduled to come to a decision during their next meeting on whether or not their proposal to alter the school’s Independent Study Policy for undergraduate students should be approved.
The proposal reads: “If a student is unable to register for a course required for graduation and not taking the course will cause a delay in graduating then a department may offer an independent study during the particular semester.”
According to the university’s webpage, the UCF charged with the responsibility of devising and encouraging the means for improving the overall undergraduate curricular arrangements and quality of instruction, including all matters that pertain to the quality of instruction.
Associate professor in the Math Department and representative in the UCF, Klay Kruczek, said the proposal is intended to cover the cases where a course gets dropped for a semester due to low enrollment or is full which would keep them from being able to register. With consideration to the two scenarios that are trying to be avoided, Kruczek said the goal of the proposal is to make sure students are not taking longer to graduate than they have to. SCSU had a 15.7 percent 4-year graduation rate and a 42 percent 6-year graduation rate back in 2013.
“It hasn’t been approved yet partially because the last University Curriculum Forum [UCF] meeting was canceled and also because of ‘wordsmithing,’” said Kruczek. “Meaning people liked the overall idea of the proposal, but it just needed to be rephrased.”
He also said the idea for the proposal derived from faculty’s experience with students and he hopes it will prevent scheduling mistakes that have occurred in the past.
“Faculty members have had that happen to them where their class got canceled,” said Kruczek. “And students needed it in order to graduate so rather than having the student take an independent study some deans or administration recommended courses that were not appropriate. This proposal is an effort to give students the opportunity to take the class that are most beneficial to their learning experience.”
Bette S. Bergeron, Ph.D.Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said she was unaware of the proposal, but that she is confident in the university’s deans ability to make sure students graduate “on time.”
“This may indeed mean creating an appropriate independent study course when a course needed for graduation is not offered that semester,” said Bergeron. “At other times, the best route is for students to take an alternative course that appropriately replaces the one that is required but not offered. These strategies—which are not new—are certainly part of Southern’s mission to ensure student success.”
Kruczek said as long as the application for an independent study is filled out correctly, then the student will get credit for taking the course that is being covered through the alternative for the actual course that was unavailable.
“If a student is taking History 100 as an independent study then it should appear as History 100 on your transcript,” said Kruczek. “But if its not done right then it will appear as History 198 [independent study]. It’s better in the long run, in my opinion, that the course is labeled what it actually was because when a student goes to apply for a job their transcript marks the actual course as opposed to some unnamed course.”
He also said student’s well being is at the center of all policy changes and the university’s grade replacement policy is also up for change in the future.
“Currently, a student has to fill out a form to take a grade replacement within the first few weeks of the semester. The proposal that was passed by Faculty Senate recently will make it so they don’t have to fill out a form and it will also make it so the better of the two grades is what will appear on that student’s transcript.”