From: Gary Roth and Mark Vodak, Committee Co-Chairs
Date: 2 April 2001
Subject: Add/Drop Period, Charge S-0101
The Academic Standard, Regulations, and Admissions committee has been charged with the review of the experimental Add/Drop period introduced this semester:
Review the current regulations concerning the
drop/add periods. Evaluate the data from the Spring 2001 trial period and
determine whether the longer add period had a significant effect in making more spaces/courses available to students. In
light of these findings, consider how long the "drop" and "add" portions of the drop/add period at the beginning of each
semester should be. Consider whether additional measures should be taken to ensure equal access to classes, including
limiting the number of credits for which students can pre-register during the pre-registration period, or raising the fee for
dropping with a "W" after the drop/add period ends.
The new add/drop period seems to have accomplished its goal of reducing
the number of seats which materialize after
the add period has closed, but it has done so by compromising the academic integrity of the 15-week semester and
has introduced administrative complications and inequities into curricula arrangements such as the joint programs
between Rutgers-Newark and NJIT. Some specifics are bulleted below:
For the Rutgers-Newark campus, the new add/drop
deadlines no longer correspond to those in effect at New Jersey
Institute of Technology. With over 500 students cross-registering each semester between the two institutions, there is now
considerable confusion among students as to which deadlines are in effect. The resulting inequality in the rules applying to
students at the respective institutions has created many difficulties.
Students can now add classes up until the 5th
class meeting. In many courses, such as core courses like English
Composition which all entering students are required to take, grades are partially determined by attendance. In Newark,
for example, more than three absences in English Composition are grounds for an "F" grade. Consequently, students can
legitimately add a class at the 4th or 5th session, but they are already failing the class or are winding up with grades lower
than they might have achieved otherwise. The Director of the Newark Writing Program has written that:
drop/add period proved a serious irritation to teachers, who found themselves
having to reintroduce
the course to straggling students when their courses were well underway. But the extended drop/add was more than
irritating for students who tried to take advantage of the system by adding late into the second week. When a student
has missed three or four writing classes, they have already reached or exceeded the maximum number of absences;
in addition, they have already missed one or two writing assignments--they feel as if they have just begun the course,
but they are in fact already failing the course. In my experience, some of the better writers do recover from these
shaky openings, although they usually get lower grades than they would have otherwise. But for the weaker writers,
the situation is truly painful--they start off shakily and never recover....From the perspective of the Writing Program,
the policy is, at best, a serious miscalculation and at worst, a disaster."
The Director of the Writing Program in New
Brunswick has confirmed that the identical situation exists on the New
Brunswick campuses, where some 350 sections of English Composition are offered each Fall, and 170 sections each
Spring. Students who enter these classes late miss assignments and risk failure.
The University Registrar, on the other hand,
has provided us with an initial report which seems to confirm the underlying
intent of the extended Add/Drop period. The following comparison is based on activity for New Brunswick undergraduates
5634 classes dropped during last 2 days of
the drop period (the "extended" days)
405 classes dropped the next 3 days (after the "extended" days; with "W" grades)
5889 classes added in days 6-9 of the "extended" add period
3580 classes dropped during the 2nd week of
classes (after the add/drop period)
1996 classes dropped after the 2nd week of classes (with "W" grades)
Consequently, the Academic Standards Committee endorses, for the Fall
2001 semester, a Drop period of 7 calendar days
(e.g. Tuesday-Monday), and an Add period of 8 calendar days, in order to provide students with an extra day to add classes
dropped by other students at the end of the drop period. This proposal will maintain the innovation introduced into the Add/Drop period this semester, while addressing the pedagogical issues raised by the faculty. Keep in mind that students can also drop and add courses prior to the opening day of the semester. We further recommend that the University Senate Executive Committee conduct a review during the Fall 2001 semester to see if this modified Add/Drop period has produced the intended results.
Whereas, the University Senate’s Academic Standards, Regulations and Admissions Committee has examined and reported on the results of the recent changes to the add/drop period; and
Whereas, the University Senate has reviewed the Committee’s Report and its Recommendations, finding those Recommendations to be sound and in the best interests of Rutgers University;
Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the Rutgers University Senate endorses
the Report on the Add/Drop Period, and urges the
administration to implement its recommendations.
Whereas, the University Senate’s Academic Standards, Regulations and
Admissions Committee has examined and reported on the Drop/Add Period;
Whereas, the University Senate has reviewed the Committee’s Report and its Recommendations, finding those recommendations to be sound and in the best interests of Rutgers University;
Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the Rutgers University Senate endorses the Report on the Drop/Add Period, and urges the administration to implement its recommendations.
The report recommends:
· For the Fall 2001 semester, a Drop period of 7 calendar days
(e.g. Tuesday-Monday), and an Add period of 8 calendar days, in order to
provide students with an extra day to add classes dropped by other students
at the end of the drop period.
· To further test the significance of late adding of classes, the registrar shall tally the difference in grades for add-ons and non-add-ons in Fall 2001, and report the results, preferably by day of add-on, if possible.
· That the Senate’s Executive Committee conduct a review during the Fall 2001 semester to see if this modified Add/Drop period has produced the intended results.
"Barbara E. Bender" wrote:
Hi Kathy and Ken [Iuso],
I need your guidance please? We are being inundated with complaints about the add-drop dates. Amber Carpenter wrote me the letter below to explain the problem. How do we address the problem, that even with appropriate notice, the length of time for graduate students to drop is just too short? What do we need to do to change the system? Help?
Barbara E. Bender, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Graduate School-New Brunswick
Rutgers University 25 Bishop Place, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
voice (732) 932-7747; fax (732) 932-4284
September 20, 2001
To: Barbara Bender
From: Amber Carpenter
Re: Add-drop dates
In fall 2000 and for some time prior to that,
graduate students could add and drop courses without penalty or
permission for the first two weeks of the semester.
This first changed in spring 2001 when the
deadlines became staggered and shorter. A seven day drop period and
nine day add period was approved for spring 2001 after much discussion about undergraduate over enrollment.
However, at the graduate level courses are rarely closed. Therefore, I had to approve many extra course
withdrawals because that deadline passed before course additions. Many graduate students were unaware of the
change because they relied on the printed Schedule of Classes that stated a two week add-drop period was still in
Over the summer, the add-drop deadlines were
made even shorter for the fall 2001 semester. The first problem is
the lack of publicity about the change. The second problem is the deadlines are still staggered and are too short. A
six day drop period and seven day add period has led to many extra students needing approval to drop and add
courses throughout the first two weeks of classes. Students must come to the Graduate School Dean's office on
College Avenue and then go the Graduate Registrar on Busch Campus and likely wait in lines at both places. In
order to effectively drop a course held on Monday, students would need to drop using the computer or phone system
that day. The staggered dates also leads to havoc when students are changing from one course to another. There
are two days in which students can add courses electronically, but cannot drop. Therefore, they still need to come to
the Dean's office and Graduate Registar to complete their change.
Several graduate programs have expressed the
difficulty advising students within this short time frame. Graduate
programs must write letters of support to give their students permission to extend the deadline causing extra work at
the departmental level as well.
I recommend that the add-drop dates for graduate
students return to the first two weeks of the semester. This gives
students a chance to visit their Monday courses twice, meet with their advisors and make an even switch from one
course to another without permission or penalty. Graduate students did not abuse these longer deadlines and the
issue of over enrollment is moot at the graduate level.
Graduate School-New Brunswick
Kenneth Iuso responded:
I hope additional comments concerning the add/drop period would be forwarded to the Senate for their review. I would like to mention to you and Kathy, however, that the current TTTR and Web Registration systems do not handle different add/drop dates very well. So even though the add/drop period may be extended to two weeks for graduate students, without significant modification to the DP system (which can be done if given priority--the number one priority for January will be the new grading system approved for the Law School-Camden), students that add/drop in the second week may have to do so "in person".
Barbara Bender responded:
Thank you for your guidance on the technological challenges of implementing a return to the old drop/add dates for graduate
students. My hope is that we can work out a system that will serve our students without their having to travel our multiple
campuses to finalize their paper work. Working together, I am sure we can come up with a plan.
Kathy, what do we need to do to reverse last year's decisions? [Boldface emphasis added.]