This Friday, for the third time in three months, an amendment to the policy on evaluation of academic performance will come to Senate; and we will be voting 'yes'.
For those unfamiliar, the proposed policy change will mandate that all undergraduate students receive 15 per cent of their grade a week before the deadline for withdrawal, with faculty allowed to seek special exemptions from their Deans for courses where this would be impractical.
Over the past few weeks we have asked students how they feel about the idea and the response has been remarkable. More than 450 students completed our survey, with an overwhelming 88 per cent in favour of the change.
However, more important than the number we received were the individual voices and student stories that came with it. Students shared with us how they have struggled to make informed decisions about whether to remain in a course and how stressful it can be to have the majority of their coursework due in the final weeks of the semester and year.
What this tells us is that the academic experience is not static. As teaching methods evolve, student needs change and the resources at our disposal improve. The University must continue to develop its academic policies to match the standard of its students. Western students do not just want to succeed, we want to excel and giving us the tools and feedback to do so should be at the heart of each of Western’s academic policies.
This week, we have a chance to take the first step in creating an assessment policy that values feedback as part of the learning process, ensures that we can make informed decisions about our academic future and makes student mental wellness a priority inside the classroom.
This Friday, we will be voting in favour of the new policy and we hope that our colleagues on Senate will do the same.
—Emily Addison, Chair of the Western Student Senators 2015-16 and Harry Orbach Miller, Chair of the Western Student Senators 2016-17