Beginning this fall, students will no longer be able to use the Enrolled-No Work Submitted (ENWS) grade option, after the UC Davis division of Academic Senate decided to eliminate it on June 8.
“I was disappointed to hear that the ENWS grade will be eliminated as an option, since it has also functioned as a useful alternative to giving students ‘F’ grades when they enrolled in a course but could not attend or submit the assignments, for varied reasons, from illness to personal or family emergencies,” said professor and University Writing Program (UWP) minor advisor Gary Sue Goodman.
The ENWS grade was used by students who had not attended class or submitted work but missed the deadline to drop the course. The instructor would enter “ENWS” on the end-of-term report of the student.
Now, students will receive an “F” instead of an ENWS notation which they will be able to petition to the Grade Changes Committee for removal, if the failure to complete the work is due to circumstances outside the student’s control.
“I think that the primary positive effect would be to allow some students to take classes that would otherwise be closed, given that students who would otherwise opt for ENWS in a class drop it instead,” said Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy Department and former chair of the Davis Division Committee on Elections, Rules and Jurisdiction, George Mattey. “From the standpoint of the campus, the change would increase to some extent efficiency in the use of teaching resources. Further, the change should allow better advising, especially earlier recognition of academic difficulties, and help some students meet their minimum progress requirement by requiring that they finish the courses in which they are enrolled.”
The ENWS grade was adopted in 1983 in hopes of discouraging students from enrolling in impacted courses since the ENWS notation remained on the transcript.
“Approximately 3,000 ENWS notations are given every academic year, so the practice is widespread. It is therefore very important that every reasonable effort be made to inform students and instructional staff of this important change and its consequences,” Mattey said.
Later in 1998, the Grade Change Committee made the decision to remove the ENWS notation from students’ final transcript but retain it on the internal one for advising purposes after students complained that the ENWS notation gave them a disadvantage when applying for internships and professional and graduate schools.
“Some of the problems created by ENWS include student athletes receiving the grade, which is a red flag for the NCAA (an ‘F’ is fine if the student retains overall eligibility, but this grade looked suspicious) and students deliberately trying out impacted classes and taking up precious seats. While no student should be penalized for failing to do work in a class for which they were unaware they were enrolled in, any ‘F’ given for that reason could be dealt with by the grade change committee,” said Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, Jon Rossini.
Rossini was also the chair of Undergraduate Council when the decision was made on eliminating the ENWS grade.
Another reason for elimination was that according to anecdotal evidence, students have used ENWS to meet the required number of units to qualify for financial aid without real intentions to take the course and it has been used as a strategy rather than a mistaken registration, according to the minutes of the Representative Assembly of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate meeting.
UC Davis is the only UC campus that instead of placing an “F” to indicate the status of a student enrolled in a course that does not complete any work, continued to offered ENWS according to the minutes of the Representative Assembly of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate meeting.
“After the drop deadline, students may petition their colleges for late drops, but sometimes in the past those petitions were not granted and students reported being advised to request an ENWS instead. I hope that the colleges will clarify the criteria for granting late drops and perhaps broaden them to cover most of the students to whom I might have given ENWS grades in the past,” Goodman said.
LILIANA NAVA OCHOA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.