Senate president’s resolution on incomplete grades passes in Faculty Council

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UT Senate President Elena Ivanova and outgoing president David Jenkins operated as a team tackling legislature this semester. Ivanova was formerly Jenkins’ VP and is ready to fill his shoes.

Photo Credit: Chloe Bertrand | Daily Texan Staff

“Could you just not handle it?”

Katarina de la Rosa said the question came up in a job interview in reference to her course load. The prospective employer was asking about an X symbol, which denotes a temporary grade delay, on de la Rosa’s transcript, even though her final grade for the course — an A — appeared next to the X.

“I had to kind of go about disclosing more information than I might have been comfortable with,” said de la Rosa, a government and economics senior. “I had to kind of use other experiences of me being able to handle other things to show that this was a one time issue or a family thing.”

Students receive the incomplete grade X symbol for unusual circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as family emergencies and mental health issues, and UT’s Office of the Registrar says the X symbol will remain on a student’s transcript even after their grade is changed. Following her interview, de la Rosa talked to UT Senate president Elena Ivanova, who wrote a resolution to change the policy. Ivanova also addressed a similar University Honors list policy, which says students are not eligible for the distinction if they have an X symbol.

“Essentially what our resolution did is take out … the part (that) says the X will stay on the transcript, so now the X will be removed once that grade has been changed,” said Ivanova, a public health, government and Plan II junior. “The second part would also be the (University) Honors report will be rerun once the student changes their grade for an incomplete and will be able to be re-eligible for Honors for that specific semester.”

 

To get the resolution passed, Ivanova had to first go through an extensive process with UT leaders. Ivanova began talking with administration in October, and in December, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Office of the Registrar helped conduct research concerning the policy. Ivanova said about half of the comparable schools from the Association of American Universities included in the research were found to have a similar X symbol policy, but she added that “it’s not a standard thing.”

“Whether it be the comparable institutions we were looking at or right here at UT, there was very little explanation for the policy in the first place,” said David Jenkins, former Senate president and English senior, who joined Ivanova in meetings with administration.

Ivanova began drafting the resolution in January, and Senate passed it on Feb. 28. Senate’s approval meant the resolution could be taken to Faculty Council, so Ivanova approached the council’s Educational Policy Committee. The committee approved the resolution in early April, and Ivanova and committee chair Christine Julien presented the resolution to Faculty Council on Monday. Faculty Council passed the resolution that same day.

Julien said she believes the Faculty Council will now make the recommendation to the provost, and if the provost approves, the resolution will go to the president. Ivanova said “it’s close to a guarantee” that the changed policy will appear in the 2019-2020 General Information Catalog.

“I really hope this encourages students who have additional issues, whether in academics or student life, to take those issues to Senate and to Student Government so we can work with them to put forth these resolutions and actually implement them,” Ivanova said.