Utah State University is allowing most students to switch to a pass/fail option and is giving them until May 19 to make the switch.
USU Provost Frank Galey said this decision was done to ease anxiety for some students who may struggle with the move to a remote learning environment.
“We know that moving courses to a remote learning environment has affected students in different ways depending upon their circumstances,” Galey said. “This solution allows students to continue to work toward their grade, but then let them consider converting to pass/fail once they see their final grade. We hope this alleviates some anxiety connected to going remote.”
Galey said some programs and departments have exceptions to this option.
“Departments that have specific accreditation or licensure requirements are having to check with oversight bodies to determine what may, or may not, be allowed,” he said. “This is why students should check with their advisers before making a switch to P/F. Graduate students must consult with their departmental adviser before making the switch as graduate program requirements will vary.”
Galey hopes that this option will allow students to concentrate on their studies in light of the new learning options.
Galey said they aren’t anticipating needing to offer the broad pass/fail option for the summer semester.
“Offering P/F on a broad basis such as this is not contemplated going forward,” he said. “The request that departments accept pass credits for major requirements is only an option for Spring Semester 2020 and the few courses that were offered in the latter half of this semester.”
The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business is offering the pass/fail option for every student.
Merideth Thompson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a professor in the business school, said there are boundaries to the option.
“This change applies only to full semester Spring 2020 classes, second block Spring 2020 classes, and Summer 2020 classes in the Huntsman School,” she said.
Thompson said the business school leaders were hoping to address “student concerns related to the shift to a medium of learning that they were not expecting.”
“Our goal is to serve our students well and with compassion during these difficult and unprecedented times,” she said. “We hope that this option will affect our students in a positive way.”
Thompson said she feels the decision is the right path for the university.
“The pass/fail option is appropriate depending upon the circumstances,” she said. “With the uncertainty and change of the last few weeks, we believe this temporary change is the right thing to do.”