This letter from Kim Coplin, sent on 26 March at 2:20 p.m., has been republished here for transparency.
I am writing to provide an important notice of changes to the university’s course drop deadline and grading policy in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances of spring 2020 and the move to remote learning necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For spring 2020:
- The course drop deadline is extended from March 30, 2020, to April 10, 2020.
- Students in all class years may opt to take any course in which they are enrolled on the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis (equivalent to pass/fail).
Please see additional details below regarding both of these policies. The faculty voted to make these policy changes with the goal of providing students with flexibility and facilitating the intellectual and creative engagement of students who are anxious about academic performance in the remote learning context. This semester, extraordinary situations will inevitably emerge that will not be able to be addressed by academic policy. The Offices of the Provost and the Registrar, as well as the Academic Standing Board (the governance body charged with reviewing academic exceptions), anticipate addressing unique circumstances and will make decisions on a case-by-case basis with flexibility and support of our students as the primary considerations. Students should continue to consult the Student Academic Guidelines document for full information on all academic policies and practices during the spring 2020 semester.
As students consider making changes to their course schedule this semester, it is important to engage with faculty advisors to discuss the implications of their decision-making. Important things to keep in mind include: status as a full-time student (students must be enrolled at 12 or more hours to retain full-time status for the purposes of financial aid regulations regarding satisfactory academic progress); progress in major or minor (i.e., be aware of whether you decide to drop a course that might be an important prerequisite going forward); future graduate or professional school applications (some programs do not recognize S/U grading in review of transcripts; while this may change with regard to spring semester 2020, it is a consideration to keep in mind).
Course Drop Deadline
- To drop a course before the April 10 deadline, students should email firstname.lastname@example.org indicating the course that they want to drop. If the student has consulted with the instructor and advisor and the Registrar has a record of it, the drop will be processed immediately. Otherwise, the Registrar will inform both the faculty and the advisor of the drop request and wait until the next business day before processing the drop.
- Petitions to drop courses after the April 10 deadline should be directed via email to email@example.com. The Registrar will provide further information on the process for petitions to late drop.
- There is no limit to the number of courses a student may take on the S/U basis during spring semester 2020.
- Courses taken on the S/U basis in spring 2020 are eligible to fulfill General Education requirements and requirements in the major, minor, or concentration.
- Courses graded on an S/U basis result in a Satisfactory (S) mark on the transcript if the grade reported is D- or above. Students will receive an Unsatisfactory (U) mark if the grade reported is below a D- (i.e., equivalent of an F).
- Grades of Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) do not affect the student’s grade point average. The grade of Unsatisfactory (U) will result in no credits being awarded for the course.
- All spring 2020 courses in all academic programs may be taken on the S/U basis. Individual faculty and individual academic departments/programs may not make exceptions to this policy.
- Students must indicate their intention to take a course on the S/U basis. This indication must be made to the Registrar via a digital form made available to students and customized for the spring 2020 semester.
- Current juniors, sophomores, and first-year students will have until 4:30 pm on Wednesday, May 27, to indicate that they will take a course on the S/U basis. Current seniors will have until 4:30 pm on Thursday, May 14, to indicate that they will take a course on the S/U basis.
- All students may rescind a prior decision to take a class on the S/U basis and instead have a letter grade as the final grade in a course. Current juniors, sophomores, and first-year students will have until 4:30 pm on Wednesday, May, 27, to withdraw a prior application to take a class on the S/U basis. Current seniors will have until 4:30 pm on Thursday, May 14, to indicate that they will withdraw a prior application to take a course on the S/U basis.
- The Registrar will be in communication with students providing instructions and a form by which to change a course to S/U grading. Students may also opt in to S/U grading by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and indicating the course(s) they would like to take S/U.
The full policies are attached. We believe these changes to academic policy will help to address many of the student concerns regarding academic work during spring semester 2020. Thank you for your commitment to bringing the spring 2020 semester to a successful conclusion and for your continued flexibility and understanding during this challenging time.