Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier News Editor
The Academic Council has approved two new policies that will allow students new opportunities to take and withdraw from classes. The first policy being implemented is a pass/fail option for specific class that are free electives for students will go into effect in fall 2021. The second policy is that when students withdraw from a class that they are failing, rather than receiving a Withdraw Fail (WF), they will just receive a Withdraw (W) on their transcript. It will go into effect in fall 2019.
The pass/fail policy was created to allow students who want to take elective classes outside their major, a chance to take these classes without the fear of getting a bad grade that affects their GPA.
Dean of the Evans School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Tom Kennedy explained that the idea for the policy started with trying to find ways to alleviate the fear some students have toward taking classes outside their major.
“What motivated the proposal was the recognition that sometimes students are reluctant to experiment with and take risks on courses outside their primary areas of interest and their majors,” Kennedy said. “If we were to provide students with the opportunity to take a small number of classes with the pass/ fail option in areas outside their major, that their education might be enriched considerably.”
Another reason for the addition is the hope that it will enrich a student’s education at Berry, according Provost Mary Boyd.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to encourage students to explore both breadth of other courses as well as depth,” Boyd said. “Once you have satisfied your foundations courses, then you might want to take another course.”
Students can only use the pass/fail option with certain classes. The classes cannot be within the student’s major. Only two classes within a student’s minor can be taken as pass/fail. For students receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree, they will not be able to take their world languages requirement as pass/ fail until after they have completed their competency requirement.
Students also won’t be able to take the pass/fail option until after they have completed 45 credit hours.
S o p h o m o r e Miroslava Lopezluna looks forward to the addition of the new policy.
“Even as a double major, there are classes I would love to take,” Lopezluna said. “I want to get experience beyond my major in things that I am generally interested in.”
But for some students, like sophomore Fabian Cummings, having the pass/fail option doesn’t sound appealing. He explained that while elective classes push him outside his comfort zone, he enjoys having electives as a “buffer zone” toward his GPA, after he may have not received the grade he wanted in a foundations class.
The pass/fail policy won’t go into effect until the fall of 2021, after departments across campus have designated which classes in their fields can be considered for pass/fail.
The second new policy that the academic council has approved is the W rather than WF for withdrawing from a class.
After the withdraw date passes, if a student would still like to withdraw from a class, rather than receiving a WF for the class, the student will just receive a W on their transcript.
Boyd still cautions students of the affects that withdrawing after the deadline can have.
“I think it’s important for students to know that a W still has meaning on your transcript,” Boyd said. “You might have to take the course again, so there’s a consequence.”
While the W will not be added into a student’s academic GPA, it is still factored into a student’s financial aid GPA and can negatively affect it.
The elimination of the WF is expected to go into effect next semester. Boyd encourages students to discuss their options with their advisors before making decisions on both policies, and she looks forward to the affects that they will have on campus.
“Both of these policy changes are really intended to help students be successful at Berry,” Boyd said.