I hope you are staying safe and well. We look forward to reengaging with you next week in classes. It will be a different experience for all of us, but our faculty and staff have been working furiously to make sure we’re ready to provide you the educational experience and the level of support that live up to Millsaps’ high standards. Please be patient with technical glitches and unforeseen challenges. Grace and perseverance are our new watchwords. The Academic Council (our academic policy body) has taken the following actions, all of which are designed to relieve stress and make finishing out the spring semester as straightforward and simple as possible, given the circumstances.
- We will not be doing Comprehensive Exams for the spring 2020 semester. Assignments and grades in individual courses remain at the discretion of the instructor, so if you have a major research paper or project as part of a course that would typically contribute to the Comprehensive Exam process, you are still required to complete that assignment. This decision was made with the realization that you (and faculty) are dealing with an incredible amount of uncertainty and changes in your life situations along with the changes in your academic pursuits. Additionally, we recognize that your access to technology and reliable internet service vary widely (and may be disrupted unpredictably). Continuing with Comprehensive Exams, as an incredibly high-stakes graduation requirement, did not seem feasible or fair under these stressful conditions.
- Graduating seniors who did not exercise their exemption from final exams in the fall 2019 semester will continue to be exempt from finals for the spring 2020 semester.
- We are extending the date for students to withdraw from a course with a grade of “W” until April 28, the last day of classes. Given that you are now facing life circumstances very different than what you faced just a week ago, the Academic Council felt that you needed this flexibility should you not be able to complete your work as expected.
- Major Declaration will happen online, via a web form that is being constructed by our web team. The form will be available early next week. Department chairs will approve the major declaration via email and can then assign major advisors. The deadline for current sophomores to declare a major has been extended to Friday, March 27. Advising and registration for the fall 2020 semester will occur on schedule. Updates from Dr. Jenni Lewton Yates are forthcoming.
- It might be necessary for faculty members to change the grading scheme in their classes to reflect that the second half of the semester is completely different than any of us had imagined. Some of the assignments they had planned are no longer feasible and will have to be modified or replaced. Faculty members will clearly communicate any grading changes to you in writing, along with an explanation of why the changes were necessary. I have asked faculty members to try and ensure that no students’ grades will be compromised by the changes.
Please continue to take care of yourselves and follow the recommended social distancing protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19.