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A-State Adding a Credit / Non-Credit Option to Spring 2020 Semester


JONESBORO – Chancellor Kelly Damphousse approved the recommendation of Provost Alan Utter and the Faculty Senate to revise the Arkansas State University grading policy for the Spring 2020 Semester to allow students to change a letter grade to a credit/no credit grade.

The Chancellor detailed the temporary policy in an email to all members of the A-State community which is reprinted below.

A list of frequently asked questions and a step-by-step process for students to use is available at this page on the A-State website.

Monday, April 7, 2020 | 3:00 p.m.

Dear Red Wolves:

Four weeks ago, the Provost and I discussed with faculty leadership the possibility of a modified letter grading option if we were to move into an all-online teaching environment. People sometimes refer to this as “pass/fail,” but I prefer the use of “credit/non-credit,” because it provides more protection for students in such unprecedented times as these.

I believe that ultimate authority over grades rests with the faculty. So, over Spring Break, I shared with the Faculty Senate some alternate grading models that I could support in response to COVID-19, and I asked them to consider making a proposal to the Provost. It is a complicated issue because some students will need a specific letter grade while other students are better positioned to employ an optional grade modification.

On Friday, April 3, after considerable discussion, the Faculty Senate submitted to the Provost a proposal to implement a temporary CR/NCR option for the Spring 2020 semester only. After working through all the details with the President of the Faculty Senate (Dr. Loretta McGregor) and the Registrar (Tracy Finch) over the weekend and this morning, the Provost and I have approved the proposal and will begin steps to implement it as soon as practical. We have prepared an FAQ on this temporary policy, but here is a summary.

Instructors will post all Spring 2020 letter grades as originally scheduled (May 14 for graduating students and May 15 for all other students). Students who believe there is an error in the grade may appeal the grade as usual. If students are otherwise satisfied with their grades, nothing more needs to be done. Students who wish to change any/all of their grades to a CR/NCR will file a request to change the grade with the Registrar’s Office (that process will be developed soon). All such requests will be approved and will be final. Grades of CR/NCR will not affect GPA, but may affect things like scholarships, progression in course sequencing, and entry into graduate or professional school. So, students are strongly encouraged to think carefully about their decision and to talk with their adviser before requesting a grade change. Graduating students will have until noon, May 28 to request a grade change to CR/NCR. All other students will have until noon, August 21, to request a grade change to CR/NCR. Honorifics like Chancellor’s List, Dean’s List, and Latin Honors will be based on the original letter grades.

I cannot overstate how impressed I have been with how our faculty members have managed the COVID-19 response. Not only have they made an extraordinary effort to move all of their instruction online in just a few days, they have also exhibited tremendous compassion for their students. I have seen many examples in the past couple weeks of how our instructors have used a wide range of discretion to help their students also manage an incredibly difficult transition to all-online instruction. The fact that the Faculty Senate was able to create a policy change so quickly (with such attention to detail and the laws of unintended consequences) speaks volumes about their commitment to their students. To be able to accomplish all that in a completely virtual environment in the midst of tornado recovery efforts? That was nothing short of remarkable. I am proud to count myself as their colleague. Special thanks to Loretta McGregor and the Faculty Senate Executive Council and to our Registrar, Tracy Finch. Their expertise and insight were invaluable as we worked through this process. Well done, all.