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The Daily Tar Heel

Professors weigh in on drop/add

Despite the UNC Board of Governors’ assertion that the new drop/add policy is for the benefit of professors, many faculty members have voiced opposition to the shorter window of time to drop a course.

The board passed a systemwide policy in April that requires students to drop classes within 10 days or a withdrawal will be added to their transcripts. It will be implemented in fall 2014.

Advocates of the new policy say the change is intended to make classrooms more efficient and standardize policies across the UNC-system campuses. N.C. State University and UNC-CH are the only universities not currently following the policy.

But among faculty there is confusion about the motivation behind the decision.

“To be honest, I don’t understand what the problem is that the policy is intended to solve,” said W. Fitzhugh Brundage, chairman of the history department.

He said he doubts the reasoning applies to UNC.

Brundage said there is a generally held belief among faculty that the policy will be more problematic than beneficial.

Beverly Taylor, chairwoman of the department of English and comparative literature, agrees that the 10-day policy is extreme, but said there were problems with the current drop/add policy.

“I always thought it was a pretty long drop period,” she said. “And that can be unsettling for faculty as we invest a great deal of time and work in individual students in eight weeks.”

Taylor said she believes this tight limit on the drop/add period will only heighten students’ awareness of their grades, which she said has a negative effect on their learning.

“It’s probably going to inhibit students further from experimenting with things outside their field of expertise,” she said. “We should be promoting growth and experimentation as a University.”

Jonathan Lees, chairman of the geology department, said he also has concerns with what he called students’ obsessions with grades, saying that is one reason he opposes the planned policy change.

“Letting students stay longer in a class before they decide to drop gives them the opportunity to see if indeed they can do well in that class,” he said.

Lees said the main problem is the policy contradicts the point of a university education itself, which is to provide students with support for both their learning and their creativity. He said UNC should be as open and flexible as possible for the benefit of students.

“By restricting things and making it more bureaucratic, we are preventing students from achieving the goals they came to Carolina to reach.”

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