Faculty Senate passes new Academic Forgiveness policy

Caitlin Restelli

Undergraduate students dismissed from the university for poor grades may no longer have to wait three years to return.

At the Faculty Senate meeting Monday, a new academic forgiveness policy passed unanimously with 37 of the 45 senators present.

“The new policy will focus not just on maturity but students’ readiness as well,” said Isaac Richmond Nettey, chair of the Associate and Assistant Deans committee. “We believe student readiness is a better predictor of academic success than only maturity, which is difficult to define.”

The current Academic Forgiveness policy gives former Kent State students with poor academic standing a chance to return to classes after a prolonged absence. The policy requires students to exit the university for three years and veterans for two. Students must have completed 15 credit hours and, upon returning, must demonstrate they can keep a 2.0 GPA or higher to enact the policy.

If the policy is enacted, it effectively forgives all grades below a 2.0 GPA previously earned by the student.

The new policy will require students and veterans to exit the university for only one year. They must have completed 12 credit hours instead of 15, but still must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

It is “much more in line with the definition of full-time undergraduate full (course) load,” said Nettey, associate dean of the College of Technology.

Students who receive anything below a 2.0 GPA after receiving 12 credits can apply for the forgiveness policy. Debbie Barber, executive director for degree planning, said the grades will remain on the transcripts, but will not affect students’ GPAs when they return to complete their degree.

The new policy also allows students to take classes at other institutions during the 12-month period they are dismissed.

“We thought, well, if they need to prove to us while they’re out for that year that they really have improved their skills, what better way to go to some place like a community college,” Barber said. “And maybe work on math or work on writing or something that could have been the downfall.”

Barber said the current policy states that students who have already obtained a degree are not eligible for the forgiveness policy. This directly affects students who want to earn a four-year degree but have already received a two-year degree. The new policy, however, allows students to apply for forgiveness of upper-level courses they’ve attempted. The credits acquired in their two-year degree will not be affected, Barber said.

The policy will now move to the Board of Trustees, who will vote March 9. If it passes, the policy will be implemented into the university catalog starting in Fall 2011. The catalog “is the constitution for students and what the university does with regards to academic matters,” Nettey said.

The Associate and Assistant Deans Committee’s next task is to create an automated notification system to “make sure everyone who is eligible for this policy is aware of it so they can choose to apply for academic forgiveness or not,” Nettey said.

At the next A&A Deans Committee meeting on March 8, Nettey said they would create a task force that will work with the registrar on the automated notification system for implementation of the policy.

“It’s 100 percent beneficial to the students, and that’s what it was intended to be anyways,” Barber said.

Contact Caitlin Restelli at [email protected].