Congratulations for persevering through the fall semester and achieving this major milestone!
I know this semester has been a significant challenge. I’ve heard from many students who are facing challenges and difficulties brought on or made worse by the pandemic – physical and emotional fatigue, loneliness, economic stress, and in the worst situations, grief at the loss of loved ones.
Thank you for continuing to work on your education and doing your part to persist in your studies. I recognize that COVID-19 has the potential to inflict further damage by pushing you off-track from achieving your educational goals, career aspirations and life plans.
Options Available to Students
In the past few days, student and academic leaders have expressed concerns about students with changing or difficult circumstances during the fall semester. Those circumstances have created major challenges to completing academic work or to delivering the quality of work they would have hoped to produce.
There are certain options available that may, in certain circumstances, assist students who have grappled with the challenges unique to this semester:
- Credit/No Credit (CR/NC)
- Course Repeat for Grade Replacement Policy
Based on conversations with students, and working with University Governance, we are extending the deadline to select the Credit/No Credit option for undergraduate students enrolled in eligible fall semester courses. Interested seniors graduating this semester must select the CR/NC option for an eligible course by Jan. 8, 2021. Other continuing undergraduate students have until April 30, 2021, to select CR/NC for an eligible fall semester course. The form for fall 2020 courses will be available on Dec. 21.
As we clarified in the spring semester, there are many courses that are not eligible for the CR/NC option – courses required for licensure, graduate-level courses required for degree completion and more. If you are considering this option, please work with your advisor to learn whether a course is eligible. By the way, students received a reminder yesterday that the deadline to select the CR/NC option for eligible SPRING 2020 courses is Dec. 18.
Undergraduate students can also explore whether the course repeat policy (section 2.2.9) may be beneficial. The policy also allows students to seek an exception to the policy by filling out the form and following procedures found on the University Governance FacEx Appeals webpage.
Graduate students, although I know you’ve experienced your own personal challenges this semester, your programs are fundamentally different than undergraduate programs. I encourage you to talk with your instructors about other grading options, such as an Incomplete, that may be applicable to your situation. Undergraduate students may also consider talking with your instructor to seek an Incomplete.
Each of these options has significant implications, and I strongly encourage every student contemplating CR/NC, an Incomplete, or repeating a course to talk with an advisor or their department. There are many reasons why these options may not be the best choice for your academic progress and career aspirations. This decision can affect student financial aid, scholarships, acceptance into professional and advanced-degree programs and much more.
Information about fall 2020 CR/NC, including eligibility in each academic unit, will be available on advising.ku.edu this coming Tuesday. We are also working through appropriate processes and expect the CR/NC grading option and accompanying policy changes will also be in effect for spring and summer 2021 semesters.
Preparing For Spring
I am grateful that you have chosen to be part of the Jayhawk community, and I know many of you have questions about the spring semester. We’ll still have precautionary measures in place in our classrooms, labs and offices to help stem the spread of COVID-19. I’ve also encouraged instructors to offer more in-person courses during the spring semester to accommodate students who prefer or excel in a classroom setting.
KU also offers a variety of resources available to help students with their personal and financial needs or academic challenges they may face. Students, we have so many staff and faculty who are here to advise and assist you in a way that helps you address your needs and realize your goals. Please know your questions and concerns – no matter how daunting – are welcome.
Crossing the Fall 2020 Finish Line
For those of you graduating at semester’s end, congratulations! For those of you continuing studies in the spring, I hope you have a restorative break and return ready for new experiences and opportunities.
I wish each of you a restful and rejuvenating winter break, and I look forward to seeing you (whether in-person or virtually) when we begin the spring semester.
I offer deep and sincere thanks to all our faculty and staff who have gone to extraordinary lengths to provide students with the support and help needed to make their way through this extraordinary semester.
The University of Kansas is our people – our students, our staff, our faculty, our alumni, and our advocates and supporters. I look forward to a time – I hope soon – when we can gather together as a community on our campuses and celebrate each other – the best part of KU.
As always, your questions and concerns are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor