Dear University Students,
At FCCU, it is important for us to listen to our students to get a better understanding of your issues and perspectives. Through this email, we are addressing some of the concerns that are raised by some of you due to the previous communication made last week. That said, we would respond to these issues as follows:
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Why is the semester starting on 1st Nov instead of 4th Oct?
We have decided to delay the start of the semester because we are still working to meet our admission targets. This is not unique to FCCU. Due to the delay in Intermediate Board exams, students across Pakistan have been slow to apply to universities without first year results or second year results. The intermediate result will be declared by 30th Sept. At minimum, we need four weeks to receive new applications, set up FEAT test, assess eligibility and offer admissions to prospective students. Our academic operations also need time to make sure that newly admitted students are placed in the right courses and they get a chance for proper orientation through Freshmen Experience.
Second, the situation of our admissions has direct implications on our budget. Like any other Higher Education institution, we are dependent on the new admissions to run the institution smoothly.
We want to pay attention to current student voices, but you are not the only ones in play. We have a short-term responsibility to you as our current students but also a long-term responsibility to future students to make sure the university sustains its viability. Thus, we have an obligation to have a robust freshman class. To do so, upperclassmen will need to wait for the semester to launch. In our General education classes both freshmen and upperclassmen get an opportunity to study together and learn from each other. This is consistent with our liberal education approach and we do not want to compromise this.
2. Will the late start of the academic year delay my degree?
No, your degree wouldn’t be delayed. We have diligently assured that the full contact hours have been maintained in the new calendar. Students are not being shorted. The FA21 classes will be wrapped up by 18th Feb and exams will end on 2nd March 2022. With this you will be able to register for Spring, Summer and Fall semesters. Spring 2022 will run from 7th March to 24th June, with exams finishing by 6th July (before the Eid-ul-Adha holiday). Students who are planning on admissions in international universities will be facilitated in their admission process.
3. Why is the ‘add and drop’ week removed as per previous practice?
By changing Add/Drop to the three weeks prior to classes, in fact, we have rescued a week of instruction for the benefit of students. Previously, it was difficult for instructors to start teaching until Add/Drop was over, so in many instances students effectively lost a week of learning. The purpose of shifting Add/Drop prior to the semester is to save this week and allow faculty to start teaching from Day 1. We realize that one implication of this shift is that students won’t be introduced to their classes while they still have a chance to make changes to their schedules. We know that examining the course outline and hearing an introduction to the class from the instructor help students make informed decisions; thus, we have arranged for students to have access to this information during Add/Drop. All students will have access to all course outlines and video introductions for all undergraduate courses. Add/Drop will be 11-29 Oct, and you will have access to these course introductions and trailers to make informed decisions. Faculty are being asked to do this additional work so that we can serve students by salvaging the first week of classes which allows proper instruction from the first day of class.
4. Why is credit overload not allowed?
We would like to make clear that credit overload limit and approval process is in place to ensure compliance with Higher Education Commission requirements. You are well aware that FCCU has adopted the following policy:
‘Students must take 8 regular semesters (Spring and Fall) to graduate. Summer and Winter terms can be taken as they wish. – However, they should only take these terms in order to graduate on time, NOT to attempt to graduate early. While, FCC recognizes degrees once all requirements are complete, HEC will not attest degrees with less than 8 regular semesters taken’.
So, credit overload cap is to benefit students in HEC degree verification process. It also plays a vital role to ensure student success. Credit overload is allowed for students who are in good academic standing and need it to complete their degree as per their road map. A need assessment is done carefully on a case-by-case basis by the Academic Advising Center.
5. Why is FC following a blended calendar and not fully in-person classes mode?
We have only closed on-campus classes when the government has forced us to do so. All universities are all under the authority of the government to close when the situation warrants. We are not at liberty to defy the government. We understand that on-campus learning is best and we have been open as much as government structures allow. Because we have not been allowed to be fully in person, we have adopted blended learning as the best approach possible while still adhering to the Covid SOPs and Government directives to reduce strength on the campus.
6. With blended instruction why cannot the University refund fees?
We cannot refund the fee because most of our expenditures remain whether we are in person or blended. Faculty salaries and utilities make up a large portion of our outlay. Tuition is warranted to the degree that student learning objectives are achieved. We have a rigorous system of assessment to verify that students are achieving the goals of the class, even during the pandemic that has forced us to implement online and blended modes of instruction.
With this, we hope that you will understand the context of the previous communication and will appreciate our openness and transparency for the decisions taken recently. Once again, we want to assure you that we are committed to the timely completion of your degree and provide you with high-quality learning experience in these unprecedented times.
With best wishes for your well-being and success,
Dr. Douglas E. Trimble
Vice Rector for Academic Affairs
Dr. Gloria Calib
Associate Vice Rector for Academic Affairs