Two academic policy proposals have been released by the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU). A course retake policy and midterm deferral policy were both announced by the union on March 21.
The course retake policy would allow students at UTM to retake failed courses and use their second attempt for their CGPA. Outlined in the proposed policy are limitations on its use to only first- and second-year students, and a maximum use of 1.0 credits. The current policy for retaking courses at UTM includes both the first and second attempts in a student’s GPA; under the proposed policy, the failed first attempt would have a 0.0 grade point value.
The proposal cites other Canadian post-secondary institutions that have similar policies in place, such as Ryerson University, Queen’s University, McGill University, McMaster University, and the University of Western Ontario.
The midterm deferral policy would allow students to defer a midterm or assignment without the paperwork currently required. Based on a pilot program at McMaster University, the proposal outlines an online form that could be filled out requesting a three-day period for excused work due to medical or personal reasons. The form would be restricted to a once-per-term use, would be at the discretion of the instructor of the course to accept, and cover up to 25 per cent of term work.
In an email to The Varsity, UTMSU Vice President University Affairs & Academics Maya Tomkiewicz said that the course retake policy has been in the work for years, but has failed to gain traction with university administrators.
“The University of Toronto is so far behind and many across the university condemn these reforms to preserve the ‘elite’ mentality,” Tomkiewicz said. “We are pushing to change what the culture around success around U of T.”
Tomkiewicz also announced steps that have already been taken, in collaboration with the UTM Dean of Academics and UTM Registrar, to push for similar policies at the St. George and Scarborough campuses. This has been done alongside the Arts and Science Students’ Union (ASS) and the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU), according to Tomkiewicz.
In response to a question about working with the UTSU on similar grade forgiveness policies, Tomkiewicz said that it “is not unheard of that the UTSU should support something the UTMSU began. Many policy reforms began from the lobby work at UTM for well over a decade.”
According to the UTM Office of Communications, the UTMSU has met with the Office of the Dean and is currently working with them on revising the proposal for the UTM governance process, but that broad discussion of any change will likely not be until September 2018 at the earliest.