Academic policies change in response to coronavirus

Truman State University Faculty Senate endorsed changes to academic policies for the spring 2020 semester Thursday afternoon.

The proposed changes include extending the final drop date for individual courses and the deadline to change courses to and from credit/no credit to the last day of classes, May 1. 

The changes would also allow students to convert any course to pass/fail grading, allow any course taken as pass/fail to fulfill degree requirements if a passing grade is earned and require that all academic programs accept a P grade as sufficient for degree progress and prerequisite fulfillment.

Faculty Senate President Scott Alberts sent an email to faculty and administration early Thursday outlining the proposed changes as a response to the COVID-19 virus. Faculty Senate approved the spirit of the memo with the idea that language and details would be further considered by administration, the registrar and Faculty Senate.

In addition, the memo recommends the University suspend the president’s and vice president for academic affairs’ lists. 

“Faculty, staff and students are working together to do the best they can under the given circumstances,” Janet Gooch, vice president for academic affairs and provost, wrote in a statement to The Index. “The University continues to provide resources to faculty to make the transition from face-to-face instruction to delivery by alternative means. Faculty are helping other faculty and we are all trying to approach the changes with patience and grace.” 

The final request of the memo is that the University provide students the opportunity to exempt the entire 2019-20 academic year from scholarship renewal consideration. The memo notes, however, that while the vice president for enrollment management and marketing said this might not be possible, Truman can commit to taking a flexible, understanding approach to federal and Truman aid. 

Student Government President Deanna Schmidt said while Student Government hasn’t formally considered the memo, she was in support of it.

Faculty and administration can contact their faculty senator if they have any questions, Alberts wrote. 

While I am usually a fan of taking our time and diving into the details, in this case, it is imperative that we act intentionally and quickly to assist our students in this time of need,” Alberts said in the email.