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Update to Winter Finals Policy

Dear Students,

We have been hearing, in increasingly vocal and ardent tones, the desire for further changes to the final evaluation policy since we urged faculty to move their final assessments to an online format. Given the rapidly disintegrating travel options, the confirmed appearance of COVID-19 on campus, and the incredible stress that everyone is trying to manage, we are now asking all instructors to make undergraduate final examinations and assessments optional.

This means that:

  • if you take the final examination (or submit final assessments/papers) you will receive grades according to the principles set out on the course syllabus;
  • if you opt not to (or cannot) take the offered final nor submit the final paper or assessment, you will be assigned a grade based on the coursework you have completed to date.

We want to emphasize that this change pertains only to undergraduates. After consulting associate deans across the quarter-based schools this evening, it became clear that the complexities and nuances that are woven into end-of-term assessments at the graduate level preclude us from offering a university-wide policy on this matter. Final assessment policy for graduate students will be determined at the school level.

Undergraduates will also be given the option to change their winter term grade from a quality assessment (a letter grade) to Pass/Fail. That retroactive change can be pursued in the spring quarter and with the consultation of your academic advisor. More details about the mechanics of that change will be shared early in the spring term. 

Finally, there will be language on every student transcript that points to the fact that a global pandemic in winter and spring quarters 2020 required significant changes to coursework and led to unusual enrollment patterns and grades.

Thank you again for your patience as we all look for fair and durable solutions in a time when the landscape is changing so quickly.



Jonathan Holloway

Kathleen Hagerty
Interim Provost Designate