In its last meeting of the semester, the Bloomington Faculty Council unanimously approved changes Tuesday to IU’s education policy to help students' GPAs in certain cases.
These changes include a way for students to retake courses to benefit their grade-point averages and receive a new GPA after an extended absence.
A change to IU’s grade policy
The BFC voted to allow students to replace a poor grade in a course with a grade earned in a graduate or honors course with similar content. The changes also give the deans of each school authority to choose which courses students can replace.
According to the previous policy, students who received below an A in any course had the option of retaking it to benefit their GPA. The grade from both attempts remained on their transcript, but only the second one was added into the student’s GPA.
The changes were introduced at the last meeting of the BFC and open for discussion, but were made final after the vote Tuesday.
A fresh start for students
The BFC also approved an addition to its education policy that would allow students with an extended absence from IU a chance to return to the University with a new GPA.
According to the approved fresh start policy, a student pursuing his or her first bachelor's degree who had taken at least a 36-month absence from the University would be eligible to return with a blank GPA.
This change was proposed at the last BFC meeting, but was revised after members of the council voiced their concerns.
The original proposal contained a requirement that the student have received a GPA below 2.0 in any semester previous to their hiatus. After hearing the concerns of the council, Jack Bielasiak and other members of the educational policies committee decided to eliminate that requirement so any student could utilize this opportunity.
“That seems to be a very rare requirement on other campuses and universities,” Bielasiak said.
IU Provost Lauren Robel said this opportunity will not be available for graduate students and would require a separate policy.
“I think it’s right not to fold it into the undergraduate provision,” Provost Lauren Robel said. “Because the considerations are just too different and various for graduate students depending on the program that they’re in and the degree they're pursuing.”
BFC President Moria Marsh announced the amendments to the BFC’s constitution have officially been passed.
The constitutional amendments will add approximately 12 additional non-tenure-track faculty to the council, as opposed to the three seats currently available. The council estimates a voting system in place for faculty by 2020 to elect the new members.
After almost a year of discussion within the council and multiple public town halls this semester, Marsh said 828 faculty participated in the vote.