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COVID-19 Academic Senate Updates

Academic Senate Guidance for Changes in Campus Operating Status

The information on this page is a summary of temporary changes approved and guidance provided by the Academic Senate due to changes in campus operating status during the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Please contact Senate Associate Director Lori Hullings (lhullings@ucsd.edu) with questions. 

For updates on campus operating status and educational continuity, visit Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for the UC San Diego Campus Community and COVID-19 Academic Affairs FAQs and Resources.

Spring 2020 Instruction

Remote Delivery of Courses

The Senate approved the temporary delivery of conventional courses via telepresence, including lectures, course documents, assignments, and exams. The courses will still be conventional courses, not R-courses.

  • The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) approved on March 13, 2020 a request from the Chancellor for a one-time emergency exception to EPC’s Policy on Distance Education to allow for the use of remote instruction for the entire duration of Spring 2020 due to the current public health emergency associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate's decision was based on the following:

  • Per EPC's policy, the requirements for in-person instruction in conventional (not R) courses may be suspended for the duration of five weeks. It was determined that instructors are able to utilize remote delivery (alternative technologies) for up to 50% of a course’s scheduled interaction time (the equivalent of five weeks) in a conventional course, without requiring Senate approval. 
  • If an emergency extends beyond five weeks, the Chancellor may submit a request to the Senate Chair for a limited-term exception to extend the approval for up to five weeks. The request may not exceed five weeks.

 

Pass/No Pass (P/NP) and Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Grades

It is important that students are informed about the full implications of their grading option and course enrollment choices. The Senate encourages instructors and instructional assistants to make clear that students should consult with their department and college advisors and financial aid advisors about their individual circumstances prior to any final election for their grading options or course schedule.

The Academic Senate’s Educational Policy Committee (EPC) and Senate Council do not support approving any blanket exceptions that would require all undergraduate and graduate courses to be offered on a P/NP or S/U basis in Spring 2020. 

In order to provide more flexibility to students who prefer taking courses on a P/NP or S/U basis in Spring 2020, Senate Council approved on March 19, 2020, the following limited-term exceptions to Senate Regulations related to P/NP and S/U grades, as proposed by EPC. 

  • A one-time exception to the San Diego Senate Regulation on the P/NP grade limit (500.D.1) to exempt all P/NP courses taken during Spring 2020 from the 25% limit on the number of UCSD units that undergraduate students are allowed to complete on a P/NP basis. P/NP courses completed during Spring 2020 should be removed from both the numerator and denominator when calculating the percentage of courses taken on a P/NP basis.
  • A one-time exception to San Diego Senate Regulations on P/NP and S/U grades (500.D.2 and 500.E.6) to extend the deadlines for undergraduate and graduate students to register on a P/NP or S/U basis to the end of the tenth week of instruction in Spring 2020.

The Undergraduate and Graduate Councils authorized allowing departments and colleges to offer undergraduate and graduate courses approved with the grading option of "Letter Grade Only" on a P/NP or S/U basis. This is a one-time exception for Spring 2020.

Additional Information for Temporary Changes in Pass/No Pass (P/NP) and Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading

  • Senate Council supports allowing departments, programs, and colleges to relax letter grade requirements when possible.
    • Many departments, programs, and colleges require courses applied to the major or general education requirements to be taken on a letter grade basis. It is up to the individual departments and colleges to decide whether to make an exception to their requirements and allow courses taken on a P/NP or S/U basis to apply towards major or degree requirements. To the extent possible, Senate Council strongly encourages departments, programs, and colleges to relax letter grade requirements for major courses, degree requirements, and prerequisites during Spring 2020 as such actions have the potential to mitigate stress and anxiety among students.
  • Instructors may not require that all students enroll in their course on a P/NP or S/U basis.
    • Senate Council's approval to relax the current requirements for enrollment on a P/NP or S/U basis is not a license for an instructor to require that all students must register for their course on a P/NP basis in a course that allows for letter grade or P/NP grading. These accommodations are being made to afford flexibility to students. 

 

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping, and Withdrawing from Courses

Senate Council approved on March 19, 2020 extending the following deadlines for adding and dropping courses and withdrawals (San Diego Senate Regulation 501) as a limited-term exception for Spring 2020. These deadlines are being extended to support students and faculty adjusting to remote instruction.

  • Deadline to Add a Course:
    • The deadline for both undergraduate and graduate students to add a course is extended from the end of the second week of instruction to the end of the third week of instruction.
  • Deadline to Drop a Course without a W grade or Withdraw from the Quarter without W grades:
    • The deadline for both undergraduate and graduate students to drop a course or all courses without a W grade on the transcript (i.e. a drop without a W grade) is extended from the end of the fourth week of instruction to the end of the fifth week of instruction. 
  • Deadline to Drop a Course with a W grade or Withdraw from the Quarter with W grades:
    • The deadline for undergraduate students to drop a course or all courses, with the assignment of a W grade(s), is extended from the end of the sixth week of instruction to the end of the seventh week of instruction.
    • The deadline for graduate students to drop a course or all courses, with the assignment of a W grade(s), is the end of the ninth week of instruction (no change).
    • An undergraduate student may petition to drop a course or withdraw from the University for emergency reasons after the end of the seventh week of instruction and before the end of the tenth week of instruction. For such petitions, approval may be granted by the appropriate provost for undergraduate students.
    • A graduate student may petition to drop a course of withdraw from the University for emergency reasons after the end of the ninth week of instruction and before the end of the tenth week of instruction. For such petitions, approval may be granted by the Dean of the Graduate Division.

Additional Information for Temporary Changes to Enrollment Deadlines

  • As Spring 2020 progresses, instructors are reminded to be mindful about providing feedback at multiple points during the quarter.
    • It is important that students are able to make informed decisions about their course enrollments.

Telepresence for Graduate Master's and Doctoral Examinations - Winter and Spring 2020

Due to the current exceptional circumstances related to the spread of COVID-19 and at the request of the Graduate Division, the Graduate Council authorized a limited-term exception to the general rules approved by the Graduate Council on October 8, 2018 for how Master’s and doctoral committee members conduct master’s thesis defenses and doctoral qualifying exams and defenses. Effective until June 30, 2020, any and/or all members of a master’s or doctoral committee or the student being examined may be telepresent (meaning participation by live video teleconference) for a thesis defense, qualifying examination and final oral examination (the dissertation defense). If these circumstances remain in effect beyond June 30th, the Graduate Council may authorize an extension upon request by the Dean of the Graduate Division or Chancellor.

Final Exams for Winter 2020 and Spring 2020

The Senate authorized the following options to offer final exams, in lieu of in-person, on-campus finals:

  • Substitute a take-home exam or other assignment for a final exam.

    • Per Senate Policy on Examinations, no instructor may require a take-home exam or assignment to be turned in before the date and hour at which the examination for the course was scheduled by the Registrar’s Office.
  • Hold a final exam online.

    • Per Senate Policy on Examinations, the final exam may not exceed three hours duration and must be scheduled during the date and hour at which the examination for the course was scheduled by the Registrar’s Office.
  • For rescheduling exams, the following normal rules apply per Senate Policy on Examinations:

    • With the approval of Undergraduate Council, an instructor may give a final examination at an alternative time during finals week. Students must be permitted to take an equivalent examination at the originally scheduled time if they so desire.
    • A final examination may not be given at any time before examination week without the approval of the Undergraduate Council.
    • An instructor may administer an examination at an alternative time to an individual student if a valid reason is given by the student for not taking the regularly scheduled examination.
    • Please submit rescheduling requests to Senate Analyst Linda Vong (lkvong@ucsd.edu). 

The Senate did not authorize the following option:

  • Drop the final exam and grade students based on already completed work.