Two Strikes and You’re Out for this Possible New Academic Policy

By Mack Olmsted, asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Education Academic Affairs Committee (EAC) of Manhattan College is working to expand the Kakos School of Science undergraduate course repeat policy into a campus-wide course policy.

The policy originated about a year ago under dean of science, Marcy Peteroy-Kelly, Ph.D. Peteroy-Kelly explained that the policy was put into place because a student requested to enroll in a science class for a fifth time, which she found peculiar. 

Peteroy-Kelly looked at the school’s data and proposed to the department chairs that they create an undergraduate course repeat policy. She insisted that the policy was put into place for the benefit of students. 

While the policy is typically limited to students only taking a single course twice, there is an exception if a student withdraws from the class. If those events take place, a student can take the course three times. 

Peteroy-Kelly expressed her thoughts on MC students who take classes multiple times. She mentioned that this policy would not affect most students, but instead it is meant to help struggling students find their footing in the school and find the path that best works for them. 

“A lot of times the students who are [failing classes multiple times] are not strong students, right?” Peteroy-Kelly said. “They’re struggling to stay at a 2.0 [GPA] and not dip below and go on probation. Many of those students leave the college. So if we intervene, and have a conversation [with the failing student], maybe we can help them.”

Peteroy-Kelly is passionate about the policy and believes that it will be beneficial to be expanded campus-wide. She believes that the policy could help students academically and in their overall college experience. 

“I requested that that policy be expanded out to all of the schools,” Peteroy-Kelly said. “I’m doing research now with the registrar and financial aid to look at student performance in all courses across the entire college to see if this policy would be appropriate for the whole college.”

On Sept. 6., student representative of the EAC, Matthew Schule, brought the policy expansion as a topic of discussion at the student government association meeting. While the topic wasn’t addressed thoroughly at the meeting, Schule explained why the EAC wants to engage in a conversation about it.

“I think just being on the Educational Affairs Committee as a student member, it seems like they really do want people at the school to be a lot more interconnected, they want communication to be open and transparent,” Schule said. “They do want us to talk about these things. They want to hear what we think about these things… how students feel.”

Assistant Provost Kelly Marin, Ph.D, explained why the policy could have a positive impact on students. She wanted to ensure that the benefits that would come out of the policy expansion wouldn’t be solely for the School of Science.

“The benefits are for the students, not the college,” Marin said. “Having such a policy requires more intentional advising around their major and choosing a degree that is achievable in a realistic timeframe for progress toward a degree. 

However, she also highlighted that the policy will mediate the financial consequences involved, which includes the extent to which financial aid can cover repeated courses. 

“Another important element of this conversation is that financial aid only covers a student taking a course up to two times,” Marin said. “Therefore, repeating a course more than that means losing [financial] aid.”

The timeline for the expansion of the policy is uncertain. As of now, Peteroy-Kelly is researching data of students in the past five years, who took a course multiple times, and how it impacted their academic career. 

She will then send over the information to the financial aid office and analyze how the aid packages would look like for those students. 

Once the process is complete, Peteroy-Kelly will prepare a presentation for the EAC where a vote will be taken on whether or not to finalize the policy expansion. If the vote is in favor of the expansion, the provost will have to approve the change. The EAC will then inform the Senate of its recommendations which are then forwarded to the president of the college for further implementation.