On June 7, Drexel University announced it will be implementing a new add/drop policy for all courses. Beginning Fall Term 2016, students will have until the end of Week 1, instead of Week 2, to drop a class. The last day students can withdraw from a course will also shift from the end of Week 8 to the end of Week 7.
After receiving feedback from faculty and advisors, the university administration felt that reducing the add/drop period would be in the best interest of Drexel students.
On Drexel’s 10-week quarter system, if a student enters class in Week 2 they could miss up to 20 percent of the course material. Students entering a course in Week 2 or Week 3 may have a hard time catching up with the missed material. According to the Office of the Provost, the university found that students who were adding courses late were not doing as well as other students. They decided that reducing the add/drop time period would benefit students by helping them start the quarter off strong.
“Most courses introduce concepts early on that are built on throughout the rest of the term. The faculty is very excited about making this happen because they feel as though it is difficult for students to make up this work,” John DiNardo, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, explained.
Adding and dropping classes have always been linked together. According to the Provost, students who drop a class typically end up adding another class in its place. However, the Office of the Provost did not reach out to any student groups, including their own Dragon24, for consultation before signing this change through.
Some students feel that this policy may affect them more than others. Sravya Koduri, a second year BS/MD student and biology major feels that this policy change will not be beneficial because of the program that she is in. After the add/drop time period, BS/MD students are not allowed to withdraw from any classes. In addition, if the student fails a course, they will be withdrawn from the BS/MD program.
“Changing the add/drop policy really limits my options. I don’t really know what a class consists of until I actually take the class. In most cases, not even until Week 3 or Week 4, after the first exam. With this new policy we [may] sometimes have just one class [during Week 1] to decide if we will succeed in the course. Quite often, this class is just a simple introduction to the teacher, student and course, which seems pretty easy in the moment,” Koduri explained.
If the first class serves only as an introduction to the subject matter, it may not be a sufficient indicator of what a course will be like for the rest of the term. This would cause a problem for students who realize during Week 2 that a certain course isn’t a good fit for them. In that case, they’d either have to withdraw, which is noted on each student’s transcript, or stick it out for the rest of the term and risk failure.
“I think it would be helpful if they changed the add/drop policy based on the number of credits the student took or the type of program he or she was in,” Koduri continued.
In addition, Amit Hadad, a sophomore information systems major, may be adversely affected by the new policy as he observes religious holidays during Fall Term. Hadad had to constantly miss class for major holidays last year, and expects that this will occur in the future as well.
“I know sometimes in Fall Term all the Jewish holidays fall in the first few weeks… and then you are really in trouble,” he said.
For students like Hadad, having a one week add/drop period may become a tough issue. It may be difficult to assess their course load if they are not able to attend the first week of class due to religious or otherwise valid obligations.
Ben Dalezman, a sophomore finance major feels that one week is not enough time to gauge how suitable a course is for students. “I have had it happen to me three times in my short time at Drexel that a professor for either business reasons or personal reasons missed the whole first week of class. What am I supposed to do then with regard to dropping a class, when I didn’t even meet the professor yet, or go over the syllabus?”
Emilia Minhondo, a sophomore biology major also finds fault with the new policy. “For me personally, my labs don’t start until the second week, so if I was doing great in lecture but lab was bringing me down, this new add/drop policy would not suit me,” Minhondo explained.
“It would be great for some students but others may not benefit. Obviously you can’t please everyone because it all depends on what classes you take. For students who take science classes with labs this might be more unfair,” she continued.
Much of the student body feels that the university should have communicated more with the students before implementing this policy. Provost M. Brian Blake encourages students to constantly seek help from Drexel’s advising staff for a smooth transition into the new term.
Students can submit any questions or concerns about the new add/drop policy to the Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, John Dinardo at [email protected].