Dear Undergraduate Students,
As the end of the term and the beginning of a well-earned winter holiday grow near, we hope you are healthy and managing well. We could not be prouder of all you have done to keep yourselves and our campus safe.
We are writing to announce that the Faculty Senate and UNC System have altered some academic policies in ways that should provide substantial relief from the challenges of learning in this new normal. These changes apply to the current term and to the Spring 2021 term. The new academic relief package has three components.
1. Limited Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (SA/US) Grading
On Wednesday, Nov. 18, the UNCG Faculty Senate, with feedback from student leaders and the UNCG Student Government Association, approved implementing limited SA/US grading for students in both the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 terms to provide significant and necessary flexibility. We understand many students are facing unique academic, economic, and personal challenges and believe this significant temporary change is necessary and beneficial.
Undergraduate students will be allowed to opt into SA/US grading for up to two courses/eight credit hours. Faculty will enter grades as normal, and students will have until December 23rd, 2020 to change their grade options in UNCGenie for the Fall 2020 term. These grade-option changes will be reviewed by advisors, and students will be contacted if the change to SA/US grading is likely to have a negative effect on degree progress, graduation timeline, or future plans.
The minimum letter grade necessary to opt for an SA grade is C-. Students should be aware that many departments require grades of C or better in many prerequisite courses in their majors, and they may not allow SA grades to satisfy those prerequisites. Students should also be aware that US grades result in no credit being awarded, which can lead to problems with financial aid. Advisor review of grade-option changes will screen for these issues, but students are also encouraged to speak with their academic advisors or with the Financial Aid Office if they have questions or concerns.
2. Withdrawal Option
A lesson we learned from this Spring is that more flexible withdrawal options are both more effective and more desirable for students. This is what students actually used the most—much more than using grading relief options. So in addition to the SA/US option, the modified academic relief package approved on Wednesday alters the withdrawal policy in ways that should be helpful to students who are struggling. The package has three components:
- All Withdrawal (WX) grades for Fall 2020 will be automatically and retroactively converted to the “WE” grade designation. WX grades count against the UNC System’s four course/sixteen-hour cap on withdrawals, but WE grades do not. Neither are included in GPA or academic standing calculations (though they may affect financial aid eligibility). This eliminates a significant penalty for withdrawal.
- All undergraduates who complete the term with WF (‘withdrawal failing’) grades will be actively encouraged to complete a Course Withdrawal Request. WF grades are included in GPA calculations as Fs. After expedited review via the existing process, eligible students will have their WF grades converted to WE grades. Again, WE grades do not affect GPA or academic standing calculations, but may affect financial aid eligibility. This will help protect student GPAs from the adverse impacts of this academic year’s difficult and unusual circumstances.
3. Grade Exclusion and Replacement Option
Any courses taken during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 terms will also not count against the UNC System’s three-course cap on grade exclusion/grade replacement. Students will be eligible to replace grades earned this semester when those courses are completed successfully in subsequent semesters. Only the new grade(s) will be included in GPA calculations. Again, this eliminates a restriction so students can make necessary adjustments without as much far-reaching impact on their academic progress.
To view a video explanation of the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Academic Relief Package, please click here.
We have been able to keep our courses running largely as planned and with a great deal of continuity this semester. This is because our students and faculty have taken the health challenges seriously and made it possible for us to avoid the massive disruptions faced at some other institutions. Yet we still know how challenging learning and succeeding in this environment can be. As always, if you need academic, social, or mental health support, please don’t hesitate to reach out. The Keep Learning website can connect you to the many campus resources that are here to support your continued success.
Study hard, finish strong, stay healthy, and Go Spartans!
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Associate Vice Provost for Student Success & Dean of Undergraduate Studies