UA announces pass/fail grading option for Spring 2020 semester


CW / Carly Farmer

Rebecca Griesbach | @rebach97, News Editor

Following a recommendation by the Faculty Senate and approved by President Bell today, students now have the option to choose between a letter grade or pass/fail designation for Spring 2020 courses. The deadline to drop a course has also been extended through April 24.

The Faculty Senate’s Academic Affairs Committee discussed the Spring 2020 pass/fail grading option and extended drop date policy and forwarded it to the full Senate with its recommendations.

“I am happy that the Faculty Senate was able to move very quickly on this matter and recommend adoption of the policy by the University Administration,” said Rona Donahoe, president of the UA Faculty Senate, in a written statement. “The Faculty understands that the COVID-19 emergency is stressful for our students and hopes that this policy will help alleviate some of their concerns.”

An email sent to the UA community noted that more details will be provided next week through individual academic programs and via, but basic guidelines include:

  • This change applies only to Spring 2020 courses that have not yet ended.
  • Students can choose between the letter grade or pass/fail option on a course-by-course basis.
  • Grading choice can be made at any time until 5 p.m. April 24, the last day of classes.
  • If a student does not specify a preference, the original grade assignment procedure will be used.
  • The pass/fail option will be generally available to both undergraduate and graduate students except as professional or certification requirements dictate otherwise.

“Understanding grade implications on future plans, degree completion, graduate or professional program applications and financial aid is important,” the email stated. “As you consider your grading options, please discuss any impact a pass/fail designation may have with your academic, program, athletic and financial aid advisers.”

Implementation procedures and program specific instructions for these options will be rolled out in the coming days.

Representatives from the Student Government Association (SGA) were also key in planning the new policy. On March 21, SGA President Harrison Adams and President-elect Demarcus Joiner sent a letter to administrators with a proposal outlining the pass/fail system.

“We applaud the swift action of President Bell, Provost [Kevin] Whitaker, Interim VPSL [Kathleen] Cramer, other University officials and the Faculty/Staff Senate who took important steps to assist students during this time,” an SGA press release said. “We greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve as a voice for all students and thank the UA administration for their quick action.”