UCD's academic regulations under review

A WORKING group has been set up to review all of UCD’s Academic Regulations. The academic regulations provide undergraduate and graduate students with definitions and guidelines about modules, grade descriptions and semesterisation.These guidelines include information about the maximum and minimum number of credits students can take in a semester, the number of modules a student can fail and still progress to the next stage of their course and which modules can be taken as electives.According to Lexi Kilmartin, UCD Students Union’s Education Officer and a member of the working group, the aim of the review is mainly to “make the regulations more user friendly” both for staff and students, as well as cleaning up some of the language.However, she says that more substantive changes could be made, as this as an opportunity to “set the goal posts.”The Academic Guidelines are reviewed by the Academic Council each year, but many of the regulations for undergraduates have remained the same as when they were first put in place in 2007. “Obviously there are some things that they need to change and need to take into account,” says Kilmartin. “UCD is a very different place than it was ten years ago.”The regulations also need to take into account some of UCD’s educational partners, such as NCAD and the Institute of Bankers, as their academic regulations come under the university’s regulations. NCAD formed an alliance with UCD in 2010, while the Institute of Bankers became a school of UCD in 2006.Changes to the regulations could include alterations to how elective classes are offered. Recommendations have come from the Elective’s Review Group and Implementation Group, who wish to bring in more interdisciplinary modules and change how elective modules are distributed.At the moment, a module needs to get an exemption if they don’t want to offer any elective places but according to Kilmartin this could change, as for some modules “it doesn’t make sense to offer elective places”, while “some modules are really oversubscribed.”The regulations may also remove the requirement for students to take an elective module in the first semester of first year. According to Kilmartin, this will allow students to get a bit more taste of what college is like and then they can make a more educated choice of elective in future semesters.Academic Regulations include structures for whether a student can progress to the next stage of their course after failing modules. At the moment, students can progress to the next stage of their degree carrying ten credits of modules they have not passed and any changes to this regulation could have a large impact on the rate at which students progress through their degree.Kilmartin is looking for students to reach out and give their feedback to the working group on the changes they would like to see in their Academic Regulations. She can be reached at education@ucdsu.ie.A report by the working group is planned to be finished by March, which will then go to the Academic Council in May. Implementation, Kilmartin says, will take much longer and these changes will most likely come into effect in the academic year beginning in 2018.