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Undergraduate Grading Method Options for Spring 2020

March 23, 2020 8:36 PM
Dear Undergraduate Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As we continue to pull together as a community to work through the uncertainty and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain unwavering and steadfast in our commitment to student academic success. We recognize current circumstances, including the shift to a remote and online learning environment, may present challenges. We are committed to delivering continuous and uninterrupted academic support (tutoring, advising, etc.) to ensure every student has the opportunity to be successful and to offer students maximum support and flexibility. Most importantly, we have collaborated with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Undergraduate Council, and General Education Committee to make important adjustments to our Spring 2020 academic and enrollment policies. 

The academic and enrollment policies described below will allow students the opportunity to make the most informed decisions possible regarding their coursework, based on their individual circumstances, to ensure continued academic progress and degree completion. We hope that by offering this flexibility, students will be able to adjust to their new academic environment and focus on doing well in their coursework to successfully complete the Spring 2020 semester without the need to withdraw.

In considering the options below, students are encouraged to wait until after May 27, when Spring 2020 final grades are posted, before submitting a request to change the grading method to the Pass/Fail option, before making the decision to withdraw from an individual course(s), or before making the decision to withdraw from the entire semester.

Last Day to Request Grading Method Change from Regular to Pass/Fail (P/F): Requests accepted through June 10
Students currently enrolled in a course under the regular grading method (A, B, C, D, or F) may request to have their final grade changed from an A, B, C, or D to a Pass (P) by submitting a request to the Academic Success CenterNote: Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor to discuss the various implications (i.e., applicability to major/minor/certificate requirements, pre-requisites, professional school requirements, etc.) associated with changing the grading method to the Pass/Fail option.

Pass (P) Grades for Spring 2020 Courses will be Permitted to Satisfy General Education Requirements 
With the exception of English composition (pending necessary clarification from the Maryland Higher Education Commission), all courses with an approved General Education designation with Pass (P) grades will be permitted to satisfy the General Education Requirements for Spring 2020 courses onlyNote: For major, minor, and certificate requirements, only courses enrolled under the Regular grading method in which a letter grade of “C” or better is earned will be permitted, unless otherwise indicated by the academic program.

Last Day to Withdraw from an Individual Course(s): Deadline Changed from April 6 to June 10
Students may withdraw from an individual course(s) via myUMBC self-service through May 12. After this date and through June 10, students may submit an RT Help Ticket to the Registrar’s Office and the withdrawal will be processed administratively. Note: Students are strongly encouraged to confer with their academic advisor before withdrawing from an individual course(s) to ensure they have exhausted all other options to successfully complete the semester. Students who are receiving financial aid or scholarships should also contact their financial aid counselor to determine any impact a “W” grade may have on their future financial aid.

Last Day for Complete Semester Withdrawals (Grade of “W”): Deadline changed from May 12 to June 10
Students may withdraw from the entire semester via myUMBC self-service through May 12. After this date and through June 10, students may submit an RT Help Ticket to the Registrar’s Office and the semester withdrawal will be processed administratively. Note: Students are strongly encouraged to confer with their academic advisor before withdrawing from the entire semester to ensure they have exhausted all other options to successfully complete the semester. Students who are receiving financial aid or scholarships should also contact their financial aid counselor to determine any impact a “W” grade may have on their future financial aid. 

Additional Policy Options
As students are seeking options for Spring 2020, we want to remind you of the following additional academic and enrollment policy options:
  • Incomplete (I) Grade Option: If a student is passing a course but is unable to complete the coursework for reasons beyond the student’s control, the student may request to be granted an Incomplete grade. A grade of “I” may be granted at the discretion of the course instructor. Students should have a written agreement with the instructor that specifies the work remaining in the course and timeline for completion. More information regarding the Incomplete grade option is available here
  • Requests for an Exception to Enrollment: In rare and exceptional cases, students may submit a Request for an Exception to Enrollment for the last day to drop course(s), last day for term withdrawal, and last day to cancel enrollment.
  • Requests for an Exception to other Academic Policies: All other academic policies remain in force. Students who are in need of an exception to other academic policies may submit a request to the Academic Success Center for consideration of exceptions including: late-add petitions, course repeat petitions, petitions to waive graduation requirements, non-applicable semester petitions, and grading method adjustments beyond the deadline.
We have carefully weighed these adjustments to the academic and enrollment policies for Spring 2020 in order to ensure our students are empowered to make the best decisions possible regarding their academic options and have every opportunity to be successful in their coursework. We realize that it is completely unprecedented for students to make decisions about course withdrawal or P/F grading after their final grade for the course is posted, but we believe these are extraordinary circumstances. Again, students are encouraged to confer with their academic advisor to discuss options. If additional support is needed, or students are unsure who to contact, the Academic Success Center is available to assist at academicsuccess@umbc.edu. In addition, we will soon be posting an FAQ developed in partnership with our student leaders.

Regards,

Philip Rous, Provost
Katharine Cole, Vice Provost, Undergraduate Academic Affairs
Tags: covid19
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