URGENT -- Contingency plans for final exams

Barbara Romzek, Interim Senior Vice Provost, Academic Affairs
Monday, May 09, 2011 9:46 AM
KU Lawrence Faculty and Staff

This contingency plan was developed in case final exams are disrupted due to severe weather conditions. These plans do not apply to faculty in the School of Law and those in the Pharm.D. program. The deans of Law and Pharmacy will communicate arrangements for those programs directly to their faculty and students.

Any decisions to cancel final examinations and contingencies for relocating final examinations in the case of localized emergencies that impact final exam schedules will be announced using standard alert procedures.

If all or part of a day’s examinations is cancelled, they will be rescheduled for Monday, August 22, 2011, currently scheduled as the first day of the fall semester. These exams will replace classes scheduled for that day.

Instructors who do not wish to postpone their final examinations until August 22 may consider the following alternatives or a combination of them:

  • Determining the semester grade based on the work done thus far;
  • Administering a take-home examination;
  • Administering the final examination via BlackBoard; and/or
  • Making individual arrangements based on student circumstances

Some students may not be returning to campus for the fall semester (e.g., those who are graduating at the end of the spring semester or are enrolled in fall semester Study Abroad programs); others may have employment offers, fellowships, licensures, or military commissions that are contingent upon successful completion of the spring semester. For some students, continuing participation in groups or events sponsored or sanctioned by the institution may depend upon grades being recorded by the end of the semester. Members of the instructional staff who give examinations on August 22 should be prepared to offer alternatives to individuals who have such compelling circumstances. Instructors are authorized to accommodate these needs in a manner they deem fair and appropriate.

Faculty cannot reschedule cancelled examinations themselves because of potential conflicts with other currently scheduled finals.

In the event of cancellation of an examination, instructors are expected to communicate their emergency evaluation plans directly to their students as soon as possible via Blackboard, email, or other methods, and to inform the department chair/dean of their plans.

In the end, it is each instructor’s responsibility to evaluate students’ academic work. We recognize that given the breadth of disciplines represented on our campus, there is no single solution that can be applied and ask that instructors be equitable and reasonable in determining what evaluation methods to use.

Relocation of Final Examinations

In the event that localized power outages or building damages necessitate relocation of final examinations, the Provost Office will inform faculty who are giving examinations of an alternate location and announce the new location using standard alert procedures. If necessary, night examinations will continue past the normal ending time so that every final examination is given on the day on which it was scheduled.

If there is a reason to evacuate a building while a scheduled final examination is in progress, the examination will be moved immediately to an alternative site. A public safety officer on site will provide the professor or instructor who is administering the examination the room number and building name of the alternative location. The faculty member will instruct the students to proceed to that location and continue with the exam.

Grade deadlines and submissions

According to the schedule, grades are due at midnight on Friday, May 27, 2011. If the University cancels any final exams, that deadline will be extended until a date to be announced.

If you will administer a final exam on August 22, do not turn in any grades (except for those with "compelling circumstances") until the examination has been completed and graded. DO NOT assign grades of “Incomplete” for courses affected by disruption of final exams.

Our hope is that, should finals be disrupted by severe weather, finals during the remainder of the week will be held as scheduled.

We hope these contingency plans help all understand the general arrangements in advance of the need for schedule adjustments. We will continue to monitor the weather and will update you regarding plans if such a contingency becomes necessary.

Barbara Romzek
Interim Senior Vice Provost, Academic Affairs

Office of the Provost
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