As you know, we have been working diligently to assist our students as they navigate the tumult created by the COVID-19 crisis. Now, as we near the end of the semester, we appreciate that many students are wrestling with a host of pressing challenges, including preparing for final exams, arranging summer plans, and, for some, deciding whether to retain or convert the default S/U grade.
In collaboration with Duke Student Government leadership, we have identified several ways to support students as they weigh their grading options. Accordingly, we will be updating our Spring 2020 grading guidance (https://coronavirus.duke.edu/2020/03/announcement-about-grading/), as follows:
- To provide students with additional time to consider their options, we will extend the deadline for declaring a letter grade to Monday, April 27 at 12 PM EST. The extension will also apply to 500- and 600-level graduate courses. This will allow students more time to evaluate their options during the reading period, and before receiving their final grades.
- We will enhance our support resources to assist students with their deliberations. Academic deans in both Trinity and Pratt, as well as college advisors, will be available during the reading period to meet with students and discuss their options. Students can also seek assistance by email@example.com.
- We encourage colleagues to refer to our previous guidance (https://undergrad.duke.edu/spring-2020-grading-options), which explains the rationale for grading policy and addresses the most common student concern: the impact of Spring 2020 grades on their future graduate/professional/employment plans. In short, colleges and universities across the country – including Duke’s graduate and professional schools — have indicated that their admissions processes are holistic, and will not be biased against students who take the S/U grade.
We encourage faculty colleagues to share grading information with students. Indeed, as a matter of routine practice, we expect faculty to be transparent about course grading policies and individual assignment grades. It will be particularly helpful this semester if colleagues provide grading information and maintain a posture of maximal flexibility.
Many thanks for your ongoing partnership and dedication to our students.
Gary G. Bennett, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
John Blackshear, Ph.D., Dean for Academic Affairs, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Martin Doyle, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean for Academic Initiatives, Nicholas School of the Environment
Linda Franzoni, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, Pratt School of Engineering
Christina Gibson-Davis, Ph.D., Director, Undergraduate Studies, Sanford School of Public Policy