Greetings Faculty, Staff, and Students,
We recently received notice of a revision to UNC Policy 400.1.5(R), Regulation Related to Fostering Undergraduate Student Success. Among other things, this policy defines UNC System standards for undergraduate course withdrawal and grade replacement.
Section II.C of the regulation requires each institution to develop policies and processes for course withdrawals due to extenuating circumstances. Consistent with the provisions of that regulation, we are directed to immediately:
- Provide students with the opportunity to withdraw from undergraduate courses due to the impacts of COVID-19,
- Ensure that courses that a student withdraws from due to the impacts of COVID-19 do not count as one of a student’s four (4) career drops,
- Ensure that any courses that are repeated for grade forgiveness as a result of COVID-19 do not count as one of a student’s four allowable forgiveness courses,
- To the extent feasible, streamline their existing procedures for withdrawing for Spring 2020 courses,
- To the extent feasible, allow withdrawal from courses to happen after the end of the semester, including after the posting of grades.
Because of this change in policy we are:
- Changing the last date to drop to May 12 at 11:59 PM. This is the day after final grades are due. Students may go online and drop any course at any time between now and then. These drops will not count as career drops.
- All drops this semester after March 9 will be judged as to have been impacted by COVID -19 so will not count as career drops.
- We are working on an IT solution to make sure that grade forgiveness repeats of courses taken this semester do not count towards a student’s 4 grade forgiveness repeats. We ask students to be alert when they repeat one of these courses to be sure it works correctly.
In addition, the policy from the UNC System Office has a statement about Alternate Grading Systems:
“The determination of grading policies is made at the institutional level, and reflects significant differences in local context and student characteristics. As such, each institution is directed to review their grading policies to determine if the use and/or development of alternate grading systems would benefit students during the 2020 Spring Semester and if their development is feasible. Institutions should be sure to follow and/or develop policies that determine how and when alternate grading approaches are applied for students impacted by COVID-19, in accordance with accreditation and other state and federal guidelines.”
There has been significant discussion of alternate grading systems (giving a Pass/Fail Option or other variations) on our campus as on many other campuses in our nation. We are asking the Undergraduate and Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures committees (AP&P) to consider various options and make recommendations on how we should proceed. This should happen in the coming weeks.
We in Academic Affairs continue to work to stay abreast of the rapidly changing landscape as we navigate this unprecedented health pandemic. Our top priorities remain preserving the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students and maintaining the academic progress of our students. We give our sincere thanks to our faculty and staff who have worked tirelessly in getting our courses online and are now teaching those courses. We encourage our students to engage in those courses as best you can in your current situation so that you can move closer to your college goals. If you have any questions about these policies you can feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Ginn, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and
Professor of Mathematics
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608