Reducing FCs for Undergraduate Batch of 2023 (Negotiation Timeline)
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
The Ministry representatives - Shubhashree and Niharika led a town-hall for UG'23 FC structure
Email from MAA's side asking for a reduction in the FCs for UG'23 was sent to OAA. At the same time, a petition with around 400 signatories from UG'23's side was sent to the OAA
Post their reply that this was not within their purview, the Ministry forwarded the email to the Vice-Chancellor.
8th, 9th and 12th of January
Follow-ups were sent
The VC responded to us stating her reasons for not changing the structure and after the Ministry asked, she agreed to a townhall.
Follow-up was sent to ask for a date
After more follow-ups, she replied giving us 8th February as a date for the Townhall. She had the following to say, 'I shall be happy to meet them if they wish to have a meeting but that there will be no change in the FC structure.'
VC Townhall to discuss the issue. The minutes can be found here.
Please find the information timeline of the FC structure here:
In May 2020, a member of the MAA was attending the English Department’s townhall held by the AAB representative of the department - Vighnesh Hampapura, where the representative revealed that moving forth, CTS will only be offered as an elective by the English department. After this town hall, the Ministry began speculating that the FC structure for UG23 must be different from the other batches’.
On 31st May, the Ministry wrote an email to the Vice Chancellor with a request for a meeting to discuss the discontinuation of CTS as a compulsory course that needs to be completed during Undergraduation. [An attachment of this email exchange can be found below. Refer to “Ashoka University - UG23 VC Request for a meeting”]
In her reply to us on 5th June, the Vice Chancellor informed us the following:
Currently each day is packed with meetings. I can meet you the week after next but please remind me Friday next week. Meanwhile, all majors and minors currently offered will remain and no new ones are being added. And CTS will be offered by the departments but are no longer part of the Foundation Courses.
From the new academic year there will be 9 mandatory FCs. The website will be updated soon.
Best wishes MS"
An official intimation of the change was given on 5th June - however, no more details than the indented text conveys, were relayed to us.
Following her reply, she confirmed to meet us on 22nd June, 2020 for the aforementioned requested meeting. It is important to note that at this point the Ministry was trying to understand how the new FC structure, especially with respect to CTS not being a compulsory course anymore, would work. The questions we were asking were: Will one ICT course be sufficient for UG23 students? Why was this not informed to the Ministry or the student body earlier?
Despite seeking more information at each step, the information about how the FC structure would actually work were not revealed in detail to us. The detailed minutes of our meeting with VC on 22nd June our attached below in this email. The only information we again received at this point was that UG23 has 9 FCs with the following breakup - 1 ICT + 8 FCs, and no further details. Information regarding why CTS was discontinued has been previously discussed with your correspondent Ansh Goyal for an article dedicated to the same.
On July 16, the Office of Academic Affairs sent an email to the undergraduate student body reminding them of their FC structures. This email had the 9 categories of the FCs which will be followed for UG23.
The Ministry discussed this email within its members and two days later on 18th July we wrote to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the OAA with a request for a meeting to discuss the ICT restructuring Foundation Courses for UG23 and ASP concerns. The reply we received from the ADAA Prof. Raja Rosenhagen was that decisions regarding the UG23 FC structure were still being discussed in the Board of Management and hence, the Office would need more time to get back to us after the BoM meeting in the following week.
Given the urgency of the matter, on 26th July, we sent a reminder email to the Office for the meeting in question. On July 27, the ADAA sent us the following reply:
The AC meeting last week has seen some partial progress on issues having to do with FCs, ICTs, and ASP. But some are pending BOM approval still.
It would help if you raised more specific questions, so that we could then respond to those that we can respond toand let you know which ones are pending.
The Ministry sent the following reply on 27th July:
“Respected Professor and Office,
We hope you are doing well. We are ourselves in the dark with respect to the new FC structure and after consulting the Vice Chancellor's mail, we have some questions on how to navigate the incoming batch going forward. We would need more understanding of these changes to then be able to communicate it to the student body and cohort leaders who will help the batch of '23 with their registration. Secondly, we have some suggestions for the Orientation Week with respect to Academic Expos, Online tutorials, and meetings with the AAB. We would be allowed to elaborate further in the meeting. Please do let us know when it is convenient given that
Orientation week is in a month.
The Ministry of Academic Affairs”
In the email that followed, the Dean gave us the following information:
“As for the FCs, the most important change is that there are 9 (including ICT) and each is going to be mandatory for all students. Also, the CTS is no longer mandatory and ICTs will be taught both in the Monsoon and in the Spring and students will be allocated to the Monsoon/Spring ICTs 50/50.”
Kindly refer to the email exchange which can be found in the following pdf “Ashoka University Mail - Request for Meeting OAA - FCs and O-Week”.
The Ministry then focused on trying to understand how UG23 registration would take place online. We were informed by the Office that FCs would be allocated their courses randomly, including ICT. This was then contradicted when the Office said that UG23 will be following a preference system.
The Ministry was then involved in the Cohort Leadership Programme, the Academic Bridge Programme, sending its recommendations to the Remote Learning Committee and researching on the possible academic accommodations we could propose for Monsoon 2020. Through the Monsoon semester, we were increasingly involved in drafting policy accommodations, negotiating extension of Withdraw (W) and (W/F) dates as well as the Pass/Fail Policy negotiations.
Our concern about the UG23 FC structure remained and discussions within the Ministry on possible actions we could take continued because we too recognised that completing 9 FCs will be difficult for UG23 especially within their first 2 years.