Provost announces option to change grade type

Corryn Brock, News Editor

Eastern Provost Jay Gatrell announced the option for students to change their grade type to a credit/no credit system for the  Spring 2020 semester.

If an undergraduate wishes to change a grade they must consult their academic advisor and then may petition the university to change B and C grades to credit and D and F grades to no credit following the posting of final grades for the semester.

While students must consult their academic advisor, advisor approval is not required.

Students can meet with advisors through a virtual meeting, phone call or text as meeting in person is not an option.

There is no limit on the number of courses a student may petition to change.

If the change to a credit grade will complicate graduation or program requirements the Registrar may allow for the course to count as progress towards a degree, registration of graduation with the full support of the individual’s college dean and the provost.

Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to petition for the change from May 13 to August 1.

The possibilities of this change were outlined in Gatrell’s letter to the Council on Academic Affairs:

“This form of relief often permits students to elect a modified grading scheme. Beyond grading modifications, campus administrators have also given guidance on a range of processes, such as academic standing, scholarship renewals, and so on, to provide clarity and in an effort to hold students harmless, inasmuch as that is reasonably possible.”

In an email to Eastern students, Gatrell explained what the change of each grade would mean for students.

  • For students who earned an A, the letter grade is the best option between a letter grade and credit.
  • Courses in which a student earned a B or C  the credit option “may provide some benefit depending on a student’s cumulative GPA,” however students are encouraged to further discuss the disadvantages of changing the letter grade to credit.
  • For D and F grades the student would not earn credit for the course.
  • For a D letter grade the no credit option “is not optimal as you will not earn academic credit. As such you will need to retake the course, if required. Depending of the specific context, converting a “D” to a “NC” might make sense in a given term—particularly if the student intends to replace the grade in a future term by repeating the course.
  • For a F letter grade the no credit would likely be beneficial as it would “provide a concrete benefit to your term and cumulative GPA.”

The change will not apply to graduate students but those who feel that their academic performance was significantly harmed by the current pandemic are encouraged to contact the Dean of the Graduate School to discuss their options.

Gatrell asked and received support from the CAA on the change.

During its meeting, the council discussed the change as well as the student-led petition asking for a similar change.

The petition highlighted several hardships students may be faced with during the pandemic:

“We signed up for, and emotionally and financially invested, in a semester that would allow us an interactive four-month-long opportunity to progress in our studies, to improve in an organized, strategic, and stable manner. These are trying times for all of us, we are entering a period of global health crisis, financial hardship, fear, uncertainty, instability, anxiety, and isolation.”