Effective today, I am approving the recommendations regarding a temporary modification to grading, withdrawal deadlines, and related issues for the spring 2020 semester made by the Academic Affairs Committee of the University Senate and approved by the senate at its meeting April 7.

My decision affects four current policies:

  • Pass-fail grading. All undergraduate and graduate students now have the option of converting any or all of their spring 2020 courses to pass-fail grading.

The pass-fail option is not required and will not be automatic. Students must submit a request to change courses to the pass-fail option by May 20. The details of the pass-fail option are complex, and implementation details are still being developed. Please review the first version of information on the Coronavirus Information web page that will be available very soon and look for subsequent updates. It is even more critical that students talk about the option of pass-fail grading with their advisor and with the Office of Financial Aid, as pass-fail grading may affect financial aid, scholarships, transfer credits, graduate school admission, and other important issues.

  • Course and semester withdrawal deadlines. Deadline for individual course withdrawal has been further extended to April 20; deadline for total semester withdrawal has been further extended to April 27.

  • Incompletes. The deadline for faculty to convert incomplete designations for spring 2020 coursework has been extended to August 2020.

  • Probation. A liberal policy for students on academic probation will be applied, including allowing students an additional semester to increase their grade point average.

More information about these new processes will be communicated as soon as details are finalized.

My decision to approve these recommendations comes with sincere appreciation of the diligence and careful work of the Academic Affairs Committee and the wise judgment of the University Senate.

I continue to be impressed with the resilience of our students and faculty, and the focus and drive that they have shown to continue coursework in this new way. Faculty met the challenge of transitioning all coursework to remote formats in a very short turnaround time, and we see daily the work and commitment to academic rigor that this required. Thank you.

These changes are being made with the sincere understanding of the pressures and stress that this pandemic has created in our lives, especially for our students. It is our hope that these new options offer a bit of relief as we navigate these challenging times together.

Michael A. Driscoll