March 26, 2020 - 3:53pm

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 32 Academic Senate

Update on Spring Quarter Grading

To the Campus Community:

The Academic Senate wishes to express its appreciation to all the faculty, staff, and students who have put in such extraordinary efforts to complete the winter quarter under the stress of moving final assessments to alternative modes in response to COVID-19. We also recognize that the necessity to move to remote instruction for spring quarter will continue to pose new challenges and stresses for the campus community. We wish to acknowledge that our current situation presents considerable hardships for our students and that those hardships may fall unequally on different students.

Under the university’s system of shared governance, the UCLA Academic Senate has purview over certain aspects of UCLA, distinct from the administration overseen by the chancellor. In particular, the Senate makes decisions on such matters as degree and enrollment requirements, grading policy and program establishment, disestablishment, and review.

In order to support faculty, staff, and students in their efforts to sustain instructional continuity and do their best work productively under these circumstances, the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils of the Senate have exercised their purview and taken steps to increase flexibility and reduce stress for all those involved with the instructional effort. These steps are listed below.

The Undergraduate Council has voted:

  1. To suspend UCLA Senate Regulation A-310 (A) and (E) for spring quarter 2020, and to empower undergraduate students in good standing to take more than one course in a term on a Pass/No Pass (P/NP) basis.
  2. To extend the deadline for changing the grading basis on an optionally graded course using MyUCLA without need for petition to the last day of instruction for spring quarter 2020.
  3. To recommend that the campus eliminate the fees to drop a course and to change the grading basis on an optionally graded course after Friday of Week 2 for spring quarter 2020.

The Graduate Council has voted:

  1. To temporarily delegate authority to departments, Interdepartmental Degree Programs (IDPs), or schools to allow graduate students in good academic standing to enroll in more than one course graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis for spring quarter 2020, including courses within the degree program, with the stipulation that departments, IDPs, or schools must accept these courses towards fulfilling degree requirements if taken for an S/U grade.
  2. To recommend that the campus eliminate the fees to drop a course and to change the grading basis on an optionally graded course after Friday of Week 2 for spring quarter 2020.

It is also worth noting that graduate students are already permitted to change the grading basis on an optionally graded course using MyUCLA without need for petition to the last day of instruction.

These suspensions and delegations should provide both graduate and undergraduate students with the capacity to choose a course of study that will enable them to continue their progress to degree and also to adjust their academic burdens in accord with their own personal needs at this time. We recognize that these actions will not solve all of the challenges associated with remote education. But after careful consideration and review of all options, we are confident that they will best support the efforts of faculty, staff, and students as we work together to address the challenges of spring quarter.

Reminder for Instructors

The Academic Senate would also like to remind all instructors that the partial suspensions of Senate Regulations 332 and 505 (PDF) continue in force. These suspensions empower you to have greater flexibility both in the forms of assessment you plan to use and also in the distribution of points among different assessments. As with this past quarter, we urge instructors to use this flexibility to take into account the special challenges that will accompany remote instruction. Given the uncertainties surrounding technical issues and the possibilities of disrupted connections, as well as the closure of libraries and study spaces, we urge everyone to approach spring quarter with mutual compassion and openness to the challenges faced by all.

Reminders for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

We also want to point out several issues that students should consider as they chart their course for spring quarter:

  • The capacity to declare P/NP or S/U in multiple courses is not presently available through MyUCLA. The Registrar is working diligently on this issue and expects it to be available by mid-quarter. As a result, you do not have to make any changes in your grading choices at this time. You will be able to do that later in the quarter.
  • We do recommend, however, that you check to make certain that any courses you might wish to take P/NP or S/U offer that option to students.
  • Please be aware that this change in grading policy does not override any requirements that colleges, departments, or programs may have that courses be taken for a letter grade in order to receive major or program credit. Please check with your advisers and counselors before you consider courses in your home program or major.
  • Certain forms of financial aid require that you enroll for a minimum number of credits with letter grades. Please consult with Financial Aid about your particular situation.
  • We have moved the deadline for changing your grade option in undergraduate courses from letter to P/NP until Friday of the 10th week of classes. This will allow you to evaluate your standing in a class before making a final grade option selection.
  • Please be aware that systemwide regulations require that undergraduate students receive a C or better in order to earn a Pass in a P/NP. Similarly at UCLA, undergraduate students who take a course P/NP must achieve a C in order to receive a Pass. Undergraduate students who take a course for a letter grade will receive credit if they receive a C- or a D. So, the threshold for receiving course credit is higher for an undergraduate student taking a course P/NP.
  • Please be aware that systemwide regulations require that graduate students receive a B or better in order to earn a Satisfactory in a S/U. At UCLA, graduate students may receive course credit for C- and above grades unless otherwise prohibited by program requirements. So, the threshold for receiving course credit is higher for a graduate student taking a course S/U than is required to receive credit when taking under a letter grade.
  • The minimum GPA for a graduate degree is 3.0, so graduate students should carefully consider whether to use the S/U option depending on their individual situation, as S/U courses are not used in GPA calculations.

We recognize the large challenges facing the campus and its faculty, students, and staff during spring quarter. We remain confident in the resilience of the UCLA community to work together in a spirit of patience and empathy as we pursue our educational goals during an uncertain time.

Sincerely,

Michael Meranze

Professor of History

Chair, UCLA Academic Senate