Faculty vote in favor of change to deficiency makeup policy

October 28, 2015 by James Rasmussen, Staff Writer

The faculty recently passed a proposal from the Committee on Educational Affairs, led by Professor of Anthropology David Edwards, that grants students the opportunity to take an intensive Winter Study course to make up for a deficiency incurred in the previous spring semester.

“The Committee on Academic Standing has been dealing with a lot of petitions from students who had deficiencies in the spring to be allowed to take intensive Winter Study courses,” said Edwards. With this new policy, students who withdraw from a course in the spring no longer have to petition to take a Winter Study course for credit.

The previous policy stated that students with spring deficiencies must make up these deficiencies no later than the fall semester. This meant that students could either take a supplementary summer course at another college or take an additional fifth course during the following fall term. The new policy requires such deficiencies to be made up prior to the start of the following spring semester, giving students the extra time during the Winter Study period to make up a deficiency.

“The slight modification in our regulations proposed in this motion would allow all students who have experienced academic difficulty the same set of options,” read the proposal that went to the faculty.

The proposal suggested that the previous system disproportionately affected first-years who might not know that they had the option to petition the Committee on Academic Standing to make up the deficiency during Winter Study, thus “incurring the added burdens of a summer school course or a fifth fall term course.”

The College offers two Winter Study classes for those students who have to make up a deficiency. Typically they are a writing course, taught by Professor of English Paul Park and a mathematics course taught by Professor of Mathematics Mihai Stoiciu. Approximately 19 students can enroll in each class. According to Dean of First Year Students Dave Johnson, all students who wanted to take either of the two classes were able to last year. First year students receive the highest priority for these classes, followed by sophomores, while no juniors or seniors will enroll in them. These classes, which are more work-intensive than a normal Winter Study course, count as both a Winter Study and a regular semester credit.

“We didn’t have this intensive Winter Study course in place until a few years ago,” Edwards ex-plained. “We’re trying to get students to make up deficiencies at Williams rather than take courses elsewhere … This is an effort in that direction.”

Overall, Edwards expressed hope for his committee in the coming year. “This is the first motion that we’ve sent to the faculty this current year, and I’m sure that there will be things coming up in the next few months.”

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