By Marilee Devries
Senate has approved a new process to help students who have been kicked out of their programs for not meeting academic standards.
Vice Provost Academic Christopher Evans presented the new Required to Withdraw (RTW) program in Senate on March 1. He said it’s an evolution of the previous model, the Fresh Start program.
“We recognized that RTW students are most academically vulnerable. The revisions are aimed to help them,” Evans said.
With the previous RTW program, students were required to sit out for two semesters before being eligible to reapply.
Within that time, any extra courses they may have taken towards their program elsewhere would not be recognized by Ryerson.
Evans said the students who were required to withdraw were somewhat alienated from the school.
“The school said goodbye, don’t want to see you for [a year]. The most probable outcome is that they go away and never come back.”
With the installation of the newly revised program, students who are required to withdraw have three options. They can sit out for two semesters before reapplying, as with the old program, or they can begin a step program to be reinstated. This program has students sit out of school for one semester, after which they reapply to their program.
Once accepted, they take two courses in the first semester, and if they meet the program’s expectations, they are eligible to take up to four courses. If they meet the expectations again, they are guaranteed to be reinstated.
“To expect students to go from nothing back to full academics seemed unrealistic,” Evans said of the changes. “This will allow students to work towards building back academic credibility, and they’ll be able to prove to themselves and their program that they have what it takes.”
There is also a new option for transfer students. If a student who was required to withdraw wants to transfer to a new Ryerson program, they apply for that program through the university admissions office. If the program of choice accepts the applicant, they may decide to offer the step program.
The modifications to the RTW program are good news for students who face academic difficulties in programs such as nursing, where there is a time limit to graduate. With the new options, only one semester will be lost, which will enable faster completion than before.
“The committee worked very hard and seriously on this. We worked to balance the needs of students and the needs of the institution,” Evans said.
“I’m very optimistic about its effects.”
Photo by: Chelsea Pottage