The 1.0 Drop Credit policy is closer to being approved and implemented, according to Andrew Ursel, the UTM Students’ Union’s VP university affairs and academics. The policy would allow UTM students to delete a mark of their choosing from their academic record—so that it’s as if the mark never was.
“We are now aware of what parts of the policy that work for our institution, and which sections don’t,” said Ursel. “This will allow us to put forward a more streamlined version of the 1.0 Drop Credit that can be implemented with a limited number of changes to existing policies on grading and transcript notations.”
UTMSU first lobbied for this policy in 2011. The project was spearheaded by Dan DiCenzo, then UTMSU’s VP university affairs and academics, and Gilbert Cassar, then president.
Ursel said UTMSU has a responsibility to raise awareness of the needs of its student members, and added that the process of lobbying is “always ongoing”.
“Through the consultation process, we were able to identify the needs of various UTM stakeholders, and recommended changes to academic policy at UTM that met the needs of our members while preserving the integrity of the institution,” he said.
Calling the implementation of the policy “a long-term and ambitious goal”, Ursel said that UTMSU has discovered a need at the other U of T campuses for the 1.0 Drop Credit as well, and has been working with the U of T Students’ Union for the benefit the whole U of T community.
The goal, said Ursel, is for students to be able to retake a course they did poorly in and add the new mark to their transcript, either replacing the previous mark or simply being included in their GPA. This is already an option at many other institutions across Canada and the United States, but U of T currently does not allow students to retake courses they have already passed.
Ursel said grade inflation (the tendency of the average grades to rise over time for work of the same quality) is one of the main reasons why the 1.0 Drop Credit is so important for students. He said U of T students are being left behind by schools like Harvard, which also suffers from grade inflation.
U of T students may be at a disadvantage when applying to post-graduate or professional programs, and also for future employment, said Ursel, unless a solution can be found that can “unilaterally slow, reduce, or reverse the trend of grade inflation across Ontario and internationally”.
Ursel believes the 1.0 Drop Credit is the solution. “[It] gives students a positive incentive to retake courses they feel they have done poorly in,” he said.
In order for the 1.0 Drop Credit to be implemented, it must be approved by the Academic Affairs Committee. The AAC consists of several students and administrative members of the Erindale College Council, a representative from each department, the chairs of each of the academic subcommittees serving under the AAC, the chief librarian, the registrar, and the dean, vice-deans, principal, and vice-principal of UTM.
The administration was not available for comment.