Make no mistake, this is a great change for Mines. I am confident this will gradually shift the reputation and experience of Mines into something more positive. However, from the perspective of someone who is graduating soon, I only find frustration.
First, why not properly communicate something so imperative, comparable to the updated withdrawal policy that was directly emailed to everyone? While I support students being proactive and examining their options, such a policy is catalyzing and crucial in our decisions as students (as it is with the new withdrawal policy).
Maybe I’m disenchanted of Mines as an institution and culture, but I ironically find the rhetoric of the new policy hollow. The reasoning for inapplicability for classes before Fall 2020 seems moot when the policy was enacted near the end of the semester (or when it was already over). While it is fantastic it has helped a great number of students in their planning of Spring 2021, by the same logic, for those willing and able to, why not extend the offer to classes taken further back? The caveat of needing to be aware of all academic policies in their decision-making is inconsistently applied. If such were true, the policy would be enacted at the start of Spring 2021.
GPA might not be everything in the long run, but as a student, that’s barely true. Our GPAs can determine internships, jobs, fellowships, scholarships, graduate programs. Retroactive application for classes before Fall 2020 would advance both the current cohort of students and Mines; reward and recognition for those who have retaken classes and passed, for those who are willing to work and retake classes. The message trying to address that “All too often, students are bogged down by prior performance, and their more recent mastery and/or efforts” seem disingenuous.
Mines@150 hopes to renew the reputation of Mines, to grow an affinity for it from alumni. I see this as a point of failure. Respectfully, if Mines is hand-waving those who showed up at the wrong time, then expect to be remembered as so. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.