I hope that you’re well. I know that this time can be somewhat stressful, even under the best of circumstances, as days get shorter and midterm assignments are due — and of course the conditions created by COVID-19 continue to complicate our lives.
In recognition of the particular challenges of this term, the Committee on Instruction has modified some of the usual academic policies and deadlines for Fall 2020, and I’m writing to share these changes with you in the statement from the committee below. If you have questions about these changes, or if you want to talk about whether the changes affect choices you want to make for the current term, please schedule an appointment to talk with your adviser in the Berick Center.
With best wishes for the last weeks of fall term and for safe and happy holidays ahead,
Dean of Academic Affairs
After an abrupt and brief introduction to online courses in Spring 2020, students now taking a fully online semester are in a system of learning that is still less than familiar to them — one that continues to require them to develop and practice new types of engagement in class, new strategies for learning with online materials, and new habits for work in remote locations. It is also a system of learning that can suffer interference from a variety of technical difficulties or limitations. In recognition of these current challenges, the CC-GS Committee on Instruction (COI) has approved some temporary modifications to certain academic policies for the Fall 2020 semester:
- Students will be able to elect the pass/d/fail option for one class this semester without restriction — i.e., the course chosen for this grading option can fulfill a requirement for the Core Curriculum; a requirement for a major, concentration, or special concentration; or an elective.
- The deadline for declaring the pass/d/fail option for a course will be extended to the last day of classes for the term (December 14).
- Students who completed an immersive course in the “Fall A” term can choose to retroactively apply the pass/d/fail option to that course as their one pass/d/fail course for Fall 2020.
- The deadline to withdraw from a course will also be extended to the last day of classes for the term (December 14).
The usual policy for lifting a “P” to uncover a grade will continue. Students will be able to see their assigned grade for the course in question in SSOL and decide by the end of the second week of the Spring 2021 semester (by January 22) whether to uncover the grade or let the “P” remain on the transcript permanently.
It is important to note that there are situations in which it may not be desirable or beneficial for students to use the pass/d/fail option for particular courses of study. The notation of a “P” on a transcript can be read differently by different audiences (within a department or program, within a school, by admissions programs of graduate and professional programs, by employers), and it is important for students to consider future plans when considering a decision that will affect their educational records. Students are therefore strongly encouraged to speak with their academic advisers and their Directors of Undergraduate Studies before making the decision to use the pass/d/fail option, particularly for a class within a major or concentration or for a class that is required or may be important for graduate study.