March 31: Academic Policies and Guidelines During the Covid19 Pandemic

From: Michael Whaley
Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 2:37 PM
Subject: Academic Policies and Guidelines During the Covid19 Pandemic

Dear Students,

I write with these important updates and adjustments to academic policies for this semester as a result of the pandemic:

Academic Affairs Policies and Guidelines of Interest to Students Adopted During the Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis

CR/U: Students may request a change from letter grades to CR/U for any course they were enrolled in when the transition to distance learning occurred.  All departments have agreed to accept CR/U grades in courses required for the major, minor, or certificate for the spring 2020 semester.

The mechanism for activating the grade mode change is a simple request to the instructor by the student made on or prior to the last day of class.  Students should consult with their departments about “specialty” courses such as thesis or graduate courses.  Students anticipating applying for postgraduate schools should contact the schools in which they’re interested regarding their policies accepting CR/U.

Incompletes: The due date for work owed for incompletes is extended from 30 days after the semester to the first day of the fall semester, September 7, 2020.

Graduation upon Completion: Graduation upon completion is allowable this semester if the registrar’s guidelines are met: Student must have completed all the requirements for one major and earned at least usable 30 credits meaning they are not oversubscribed.  Of the usable credits 16 must be earned at Wes.  The class deans manage clearing students for graduation.  David Phillips, senior class dean, will take the lead on that this year.

Honors Theses: The Honors thesis deadline for most theses has been moved back a week to 4 pm on April 21.  Individual departments may allow one or more of the following options:

  • Students who meet the 4pm deadline on April 21st will be eligible for all levels of honors including high honors. They will also be eligible for prizes and can be nominated for University Honors. Their thesis will be read by faculty and they will receive written comments. In addition, they will have access to the thesis correction tool if their department wants them to correct a critical error in their thesis.
  • Students can also petition the Honors Committee pursuant to the official Honors Thesis Deadline policy in the Jellybean Papers. Students who successfully petition will be allowed to register their thesis by 4pm on Monday, April 27th. Students who elect this option must submit thiselectronic petition form to their thesis advisor by 4pm on April 6th.  Keep in mind written comments from readers may not be available due to the compressed schedule. Students utilizing this option will be eligible for all levels of honors, will be eligible for prizes, and will be eligible for University Honors provided the May 5th decision deadline can be met. Students who opt for April 27th registration will not have access to the thesis correction tool, however.
  • Students who feel they cannot meet either of those registration deadlines will have a third option. With the approval of their thesis advisor they can submit their thesis by 4pm on May 6th. Students who elect this option will not be eligible for high honors, will not be eligible for prizes, and will not be eligible for University Honors. Moreover, their thesis will not be evaluated by readers but rather will be read only by their thesis advisor who will likely provide limited comments. Honors will not be automatic. Honors will be awarded only if their advisor recommends it. They will not have access to the thesis correction tool either. Lastly, students who receive Honors under this provision will have their honors award printed on their diplomas and transcripts but their names may be excluded from the printed Commencement program due to process deadlines. In addition, students who elect this option should understand that faculty who are mentoring theses may elect to end their thesis supervision on April 21st, so essentially the additional time would be for working on their own.Seniors who wish to petition for May 6th registration must submit this electronic petition to their thesis advisor by 4pm on April 6thOnce approved, the thesis advisor needs to forward the petition to Susan Krajewski with their required signature by April 10th.

For further information, contact Susan Krajewski or your department chair.

Deans’ List:  Students may be eligible for Deans’ List for the Spring 2020 semester by taking at least two courses with letter grades (as opposed to the usual minimum of three).

Reading period/final exam week: We anticipate no changes in the timing of reading period and finals, and encourage faculty to maintain the existing schedule.

Pre-registration: Pre-registration will be moved back a week.  The new schedule is:

Planning April 7 – 20

Scheduling April 21

Adjustment April 22 – 28

TAs and Teaching Apprentices: TAs should complete their full assignment this semester and receive credit for their TA/TApp position, ideally being utilized to help with online classes.  If that’s not possible, the professor should give the TA some additional assignments, perhaps related to literature on pedagogy in that field.  Further questions: contact Joe Knee.