Messages to the Community

Important Information on Student Grading

Dear Colleagues,

I am reaching out to you because we are at a critical time for our students. While I am pleased that the union has agreed to mediation, as you know, the strike continues. As we all grapple with complex questions about the future of the university and as we all make choices about work, one issue remains central and paramount: taking care of our students and making sure that they can complete the semester in ways that support their learning. I know this is of utmost importance to you as we are all committed to doing what we can to safeguard our students’ progress. In addition, we have to ensure students receive grades in order to preserve their financial aid eligibility, visa status, and ability to graduate. I fervently hope that contract issues can be resolved quickly in a way that lets all students and faculty return to the classroom right away and finish the semester.

While I know you are aware of this, I need to remind you that our students face a series of significant risks if they do not receive their grades, and encourage each of you to submit your grades in accordance with university grading policy.

We know that during the strike period some faculty have provided their students with tools to continue their learning in various ways, and that some students have continued working to complete their coursework and have engaged in the Common Experience. As faculty make their decisions, it is important that each of you and our students remain fully informed of the implications of various choices at this time, and in particular about our university grading policies, all of which are governed by federal law and accreditor requirements. There are any number of strategies that might have been allowable during the height of the COVID pandemic that are no longer allowable by federal, state, or MSCHE standards.

Students must receive grades at the end of the semester to remain eligible for financial aid, visas, and–for those who have petitioned for Fall 2022 graduation–to graduate. We are required to adhere to Department of Education regulations, which stipulate that students must make satisfactory academic progress–which means they must receive letter grades for their coursework–to continue to be eligible for financial aid. For full-time visa-holding students, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor’s Program SEVP mandatesthat students maintain a full-time course load. Courses that have missing or incomplete grades do not count, which can put our students’ visa status at risk.

I want to alert you to the fact that grades of I (for Incomplete) or GM (or Grade Missing) are calculated as 0.00 toward the semester GPA for the purposes of calculating academic standing. Students who need to remain in good academic standing may have that standing jeopardized if their grades are I or GM.

There are a number of considerations as you prepare your end of semester plans and I encourage you to refer to the attached Fall 2022 Grading FAQs for additional guidance.

Please note that should the strike continue, the university will proceed to implement a contingency plan to ensure that students who have missing grades after the grading deadline will be able to receive grades in an educationally responsible way.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak with some of you and know how much you are committed to our students. I know that you are deeply invested in our students’ learning and educational experiences. It is my hope that we can work collaboratively to ensure that students receive their final grades.

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