UPRM going in the right way of academic standards?
By: Carlos E. Santos Ramos
Partial withdrawal is a big dilemma for any student. During this time is when they put in a scale if a class is important enough to pass with a good grade or pass it with a very bad grade. During the semester of August 2012, the new withdrawals regulation in the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez (UPRM) will begin.
In the certification 11-34 of the academic senate of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, it says that for the semester of August 2012 new partial withdrawals rules and guidelines will begin to take effect in the campus beginning that semester until the senate of another university authority says something different. The new rules limits the number of partial withdrawals a student can have during their university career, these limits are five for a four years bachelor degree and seven for a five year bachelor degree. Also, it gives the new procedure for a partial withdraw that states that for a withdrawals the student need the professor’s approval and also needs to talk with him about what the student must do to pass the course or to have a better grade the next time he or she takes the class. Another very important thing is that these new rules will begin from zero for all students.
This regulation is not a novelty of the UPRM academic senate because in the Georgia State University and Simon Fraser University, the limit of withdrawals is six in their undergraduate careers. Also, the majority of the universities in the United States have similar limitations for partial withdrawals.
According to Dr. Rivera, an ex member of the UPRM academic senate, this is something that has been trying to approve in the campus for a lot of years, but it never had too much agreement between the professors. She explained that these have nothing to do with the new university reform and it is to raise the academic standards of the UPRM. Because there were a big group of UPRM graduates that have an overinflated GPA thanks to multiple withdrawals of a very hard class until they finally passed it with a very good grade. However Dr. Rivera says that the reason that this time convinced more senates was that they are losing money every time a student drops a class. Also that she accepts that high rate of withdraws is partly the professors fault because they do not know how to transmit an idea to their students. At the end of the interview Dr. Rivera said: “ The limit of partial withdrawals is something that will come to all the UPR system because the system follows the current that all universities in the world for graduating the best of the best’’.
The students have different views regarding this because it will affect them directly and will change nothing about the teaching methods used by the professors. Edwin Ortiz, an undergraduate student of the program of Computer Engineering thinks that this will be very bad for the students because they need the withdrawals to conserve a good GPA to have the Pell grant. Also, it mentions that some professors are too strict in their evaluations and they are not very good at teaching the students. Furthermore, Edwin said that some professors have spent years giving class in Puerto Rico and do not learn good English or a good Spanish. Also that they have some strange accents that nobody understands.
We see the “two parts of the coin” in this story. As expected the regulation will begin in we will have to see what happen? However, if in the majority of the U. S. Universities this works, why would work in Puerto Rico. Also taking in factor that the UPRM is the best university in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, to continue to have this merit, it needs to have the highest academic standards.