(March 27, 2020) Update to Students—CR/NC Option for Spring 2020 Courses

Dear Millsaps Students,

Congratulations on surviving the first week of remote instruction. I know the transition has not always been smooth, but I am inspired by the stories I’ve heard about some of the great things you are doing during these difficulty times. We have learned a lot about remote education and technological tools, but we’ve learned even more about the indomitable spirit of the Millsaps College community. Thank you for your perseverance, understanding, and can-do attitude. I am deeply appreciative of all the ways in which Millsaps’ staff and faculty colleagues are rising to challenges none of us could have predicted and supporting each other, our students, and our families.

The Academic Council has approved the following policy, allowing undergraduate students to choose the CR/NC option for any courses this spring. As students and faculty face the realities of actually delivering and participating in the educational process remotely, the challenges and stresses have become increasingly apparent. For our students, that has played out in many ways, including reaching out to individual instructors, contacting the CARE team, contacting me directly, and, unfortunately, withdrawing from classes out of desperation that they might need to stay on track for graduation. In developing this policy, the Academic Council researched what other institutions are doing; considered petitions from our students, including some of our very high-performing, responsible students who are struggling and an incredibly thoughtful and reasonable proposal from the Executive Board of the Student Body Association; and consulted with several college officials and campus leaders. We hope that this adjustment will alleviate some of your stress and help you succeed academically and personally. The Academic Council believes we have developed a plan that appropriately empowers you, our students, to make the best decisions for your own wellbeing, after providing you with all the available information necessary to make informed and responsible decisions, including the final grades in your classes. Our faculty and staff members stand ready to help you fully understand the ramifications of your choices, including possible issues with admission to graduate and professional schools.

  • Credit/No Credit Option—Spring 2020 only.
    • Students will be given the option of choosing either standard letter grades or CR/NC for any courses taken during the Spring 2020 semester.
    • This option applies to all courses, even those taken for graduation and/or major requirements.
    • Courses taken CR/NC during spring 2020 will not count against the maximum 8-credit-hour limit towards the 128 credit-hour graduation requirement.
    • Courses taken CR/NC will not contribute to the student’s GPA.
    • Students will be given the opportunity to view their final grades BEFORE having to make the choice between Graded and CR/NC. Specific deadlines will be announced later. The window for making the choice will open next week after we create the online form and extend through a few days after final grades are posted. The decision becomes final and irreversible upon the deadline, except in the case of extraordinary extenuating circumstances.
    • Under our policies, CR represents passing work in a nongraded course taken for credit.  If CR/NC option is chosen, reported grades of D or above will convert to CR; grades of F will convert to NC.
    • This means that no student need experience any detrimental effects on their academic standing from failing any course for spring 2020.
    • Students should be aware that courses taken CR/NC may not satisfy admissions requirements for some professional or graduate schools.  Millsaps has no say in other institutions’ admissions or academic policies.  We strongly encourage students to work with their academic advisors, pre-professional advisors, and directly with individual graduate/professional schools’ admissions programs to fully understand the ramifications of their choices.

Please continue to reach out for support. The following resources are available.

Please feel free to contact me directly, as well.  This correspondence, together with all updates from the Provost will be archived on our Coronavirus Community Updates and Resources webpage, https://www.millsaps.edu/coronavirus/index.php.

Sincerely,

Keith Dunn

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