Ammerman Faculty Senate Discusses Changes to W Grade

By Amanda Bernocco

The Ammerman Faculty Senate discussed issues about the withdrawal grade and removing two students from the graduation ceremony at their Feb. 29 meeting. 

Approximately 40 senate members attended the meeting; no students were present, including the student representative.

“Academic success of people who withdraw is lower than people who don’t,” Julie Hanauer, professor of psychology, said.

A recent study showed that 85 percent of colleges had a higher retention rate than us. The main reason for this is because of the number of withdrawals the college gives out. At the college one third of the grades given are W; only 10 percent of these grades were submitted on written forms that the student brought from the registrar for their professor to sign.

Inappropriately withdrawing doesn’t help anyone, Hanauer said. When students withdraw from classes they can lose financial aid, scholarships and risk graduation. Veterans can risk losing their G.I bill and international students can risk losing their visas. The high number of W grades reduces the college’s capacity to serve the maximum number of students. It also increases the cost to the state and county when courses are repeated because they help fund tuition for community colleges in New York State, Hanauer said.

A senate meeting on Mar 1 will offer senators a chance to further discuss the W grade. It has been unofficially proposed that the W grade should be unavailable for a professor to choose to give as a grade if a student doesn’t submit a withdrawal form by the 11th week. The length of time for the student to submit the withdrawal form will be extended in the proposal, so they will have a better idea if they are in danger of failing or not before the deadline. Guilt will be eliminated from professors that have to fail students because they won’t be given the option to give the student a W.

“It will really fall on their shoulders,” Hanauer said about students needing to get their withdrawal slips in on time in order to receive a W as a mark for a class.

Richard Norman, associate professor of physical education, brought up another issue concerning students: the graduation ceremony. He said the Student Liaison Committee is strongly considering eliminating two student speakers from the graduation ceremony in attempt to make it shorter. There will now only be one student speaker from the three campuses combined.

“There is a lot of fluff in the graduation and eliminating a student speaker is the wrong way to go,” Norman said.

Jo Curtis Lester, member of the committee, said that student reduction was the only final decision made. The committee has had a lot of cancelled meetings, so they are a little behind schedule with all of their discussions, she added.

“The committee sounds like they are on a tight timeline, so they need a heads up soon,” Tina Good, professor of English, said.

The next Faculty Senate meeting will be held on March  28 in the Alumni room in the Brookhaven Gym. At the next meeting they will further discuss these issues, and new ones that arise.

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