CSA announces changes to course withdrawal, internship policies

If you're a Columbia College student, withdrawing from a course just got easier. But CC, SEAS, and GS students who want to receive academic credit for internships (which would mostly be of the unpaid variety) can no longer do so, according to an email from Columbia College's Dean of Academic Affairs Kathryn Yatrakis.

In the email, Yatrakis said that the decision to remove internship credits—previously an 'R' registration credit students would get on their transcript when they took on internships that "offered academic credit"—was in line with other universities' policy changes and part of a push to encourage employers to properly compensate interns. If students have already signed up for internships that offer academic credit, she said the office will still offer letters of support on a case-by-case basis.

With regards to the new withdrawal policy, students can now freely choose to withdraw from a non-Core course (and receive a 'W' on their transcript) until the 11th week of the semester, or the Pass/D/Fail deadline. Previously, students could only withdraw after petitioning the Committee on Academic Standing.

Check back for a full story from the news desk, but in the meantime, find the full email after the jump:

Dear Students,

I am writing to let you know about two changes in grading policy applicable to all students in the College.

Withdrawing from a course (mark of W):

Columbia College students can now elect to withdraw from a non-Core course after the drop deadline in the fifth week of the semester (which this semester is February, 25, 2014) until the P/D/F deadline in the eleventh week of the semester (which this semester is March 27, 2014). This is a change to previous policy which allowed Columbia College students to withdraw (receive a mark of W) only by petitioning the Committee on Academic Standing in our Center for Student Advising.

If you elect to withdraw from a course during this time, the course will remain on your transcript and the mark of W, but no points of academic credit, will be recorded for that course. Each student is responsible for maintaining a full-time status (12 points a semester) and those who do not may face academic probation, suspension or dismissal from the College.

To elect a mark of W, you must complete a Columbia College Acknowledgement of Course Withdrawal and a Registration/Add/Drop Form and take them to the Center for Student Advising in 403 Lerner for processing. The mark of W will be recorded on your behalf. Please note that it is strongly recommended that you have an advising conversation before you elect to withdraw from a course.

Internship Registration Credits (R credit):

Columbia College, together with The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Columbia School of General Studies, will no longer provide registration credit (R credit) on academic transcripts to note that a student has participated in an internship. There is no doubt that internships can be valuable experiences for students seeking an introduction to a range of careers and professional cultures. However, we expect companies to appropriately compensate students for work performed during internships. Our new policy is one adopted by many of our peer institutions and also is in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and NY State’s Minimum Wage Act and Wage Orders.Click here for additional information regarding unpaid internships.

While this policy will be effective immediately, the Committee on Academic Standing in our Center for Student Advising will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis for any student who has already accepted an internship for which employers believe that R credit will be awarded. We will continue to support student participation in internships and will be happy to provide letters acknowledging this support if such letters are requested by employers.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your advising dean if you have any questions or would like additional information about either policy change.

Kathryn Yatrakis
Dean of Academic Affairs
Columbia College


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