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Changes to Schedule Change Period

November 18, 2011

At its April meeting last spring, Faculty Council passed a significant simplification of the Add/Drop policy for the 16-week Fall and Spring semesters (there will be no change to summer session policy). These changes, which were proposed by the Committee on Teaching and Learning, will go into effect next semester (Spring 2012).

While there are almost always some unanticipated effects and operational challenges when a long-standing policy and its related procedures are changed, we believe the difficulties associated with making the transition will quickly be more than offset by the educational and procedural advantages the new policy will bring.

The first part of this message summarizes the policy. The second part summarizes the rationale for the changes.

For a detailed implementation schedule, go to ARIES A-Z within ARIESweb and view the add-drop topic. If you have any questions, please e-mail

Part One: The Policy

Adding a course

Students may add a course without an override through 11:59PM Sunday at the end of the first week of classes. Beginning Monday of the second week of classes, courses may be added with an instructor (or department) override through the census date. Census is the last day of the registration period, generally the 12th business day of each Fall and Spring semester.

Dropping a Course

There are two drop periods: a Regular Drop period and a Restricted Drop period.

Students in courses with an approved Restricted Drop period who wish to drop the course must do so by 11:59PM Friday of the first week of classes. The Friday deadline for Restricted Drop courses is designed to help students who want to add those courses do so before the end of the add period on Sunday.

There has been no change in the Regular Drop period. Students may drop all courses (other than Restricted Drop courses) through the end of the Regular Drop period, which ends at the census date (February 1 for the Spring 2012 semester).

Part Two: The Rationale

Currently, we have three add/drop periods in the Fall and Spring 16-week terms, two of which end on different days of the week in the Fall and Spring semesters. The current system has resulted in much confusion and complexity. The new system reduces the number of different periods and aligns the fall and spring end dates to the same day of the week.

As the Committee on Teaching and Learning wrote, the benefits of the new policy go beyond increased simplification and clarity:

"Limiting the adding of a new course without override to the first week through Sunday [will help prevent] . . . students from getting dangerously far behind at the beginning of the semester. It will also help freshmen and transfer students to perceive the importance of keeping up with coursework from the beginning of the term.

"The benefits to the faculty from limiting the add date is that the new policy will end the current practice of students adding classes into the third week of classes, and instructors can now assign more substantial course assessments in the first few weeks of the class, and potentially improve learning outcomes from their students in one semester.

"In addition, requiring instructor [or departmental] approval to add students after the first week of classes will improve the communication between the student and the faculty about course expectations that may have been missed during the first week of classes."


Alan C. Lamborn, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs 

Tim Gallagher, Chair, Faculty Council