Deadline and Policy Changes for Spring 2020

March 20, 2020

AS&E and Eastman are committed to assisting students and instructors in managing the challenges posed by COVID-19. We acknowledge that many are working under resource constraints and time pressures in quickly evolving circumstances. We appreciate this commitment to educational excellence by all members of our University community. The following changes to academic policies and deadlines have been instituted to support these efforts and provide students and instructors with the flexibility necessary to ensure as successful an end to the spring semester as possible.

A follow-up document will be distributed next week that addresses grading within courses, special grades (incompletes, “N” grades), honors and distinction, and related matters.


Satisfactory/Fail (College and Eastman undergraduates)

The College and Eastman will transition all courses to the satisfactory/fail (S/F) grading option to assist undergraduates and their instructors in managing course expectations and grading over the remainder of the semester. Details on this policy change are outlined below.


For students:

  • All registrations for all students will move to the S/F option as of March 23. The restriction on the number of S/F courses in a semester is suspended for Spring 2020.
  • Students will be allowed to select a letter grade (A-E) option for any/all of their courses, but must submit a formal request by April 3. Information will be forthcoming on accessing the online form to make this request.
  • Requests to select the letter grade option may not be changed once submitted.
  • Students will not be able to uncover the S/F for Spring 2020 at any point in their future academic career. Faculty will only indicate whether the student’s performance in the course is “satisfactory” or “fail” and, as a result, there will be no underlying grade to uncover.
  • Students will be able to use courses graded as S/F in Spring 2020 for programs of study (degree requirements/majors/minors/clusters/primary writing requirement).
  • Per existing policies, satisfactory (S) and Fail (F) grades do not factor into term or cumulative GPA calculations.  For Eastman students, the adoption of the College’s expanded S/F policy will be allowed for spring 2020 grades ONLY.


For instructors:

  • Instructors are strongly encouraged to discuss changes to grading policies in the course and their approach to grading assignments and exams in this new environment. Students will need a clear understanding of the instructor’s approach in deciding whether to request the letter grade option.
  • Instructors will not provide an underlying grade for students selecting the S/F option. Instructors will evaluate whether the students has met the threshold for a course grade of satisfactory (A through D-) or has failed the course (E). Instruction will be forthcoming on how instructors will enter S/F grades.
  • Instructors will receive a list of students selecting the letter grade option in their course during the week of April 6.  Instructors will be expected to provide a letter grade for students who have selected this option. This advanced notification is a change of policy for Spring 2020 only and is meant to assist instructors in managing grading and feedback on assignments and exams.
  • Instructors are strongly encouraged to continue to submit feedback to students to promote learning content matter and the achievement of course learning outcomes.
  • Instructors in accredited engineering programs will still need to assess any student outcomes that their course has been assigned for accreditation purposes.   They should discuss options for this with their departmental ABET coordinator or the HSEAS Deans office as the semester progresses.


Pass/Fail (AS&E and Eastman graduate students)

The current rules for pass/fail courses will be altered for Spring 2020. All courses will be transitioned to the pass/fail (S/E) grading option to assist graduate students and instructors in managing course expectations and grading over the remainder of the semester. In AS&E, students may request a letter grade (A-E) option for their courses and must notify their departmental Graduate Coordinator by April 3 of the courses, if any, in which they wish to exercise this option.  In Eastman, graduate students will use the online form to exercise this option. Instructors will be provided a list of students selecting the letter grade option in the week of April 6.

Instructors will not be expected to provide an underlying grade for students selecting the pass/fail (S/E) option. Instructors will evaluate whether the student has met the threshold for a course grade of pass (S) or has failed the course (E).


Withdrawal Policy (College and Eastman undergraduates)

The deadline for withdrawals from courses will be extended until April 22 for all undergraduates. Students withdrawing from a course will receive a “W” on their official transcript. College students should submit withdrawal requests electronically using an add/drop form.  Eastman students should submit their request via email to the Registrar’s office (


Dean’s List (College and Eastman undergraduates)

The Dean’s List will be suspended for Spring 2020 due to the new policy on course grades, transition to online teaching, and continuing uncertainties around the impacts of COVID-19 on teaching and learning.


Fall 2020 Registration (College and Eastman undergraduates, AS&E and Eastman graduate students)

Registration for Fall 2020 courses has been moved two weeks back to begin on April 20. Registration will take place in UR Student as previously planned. Undergraduate registration will continue to be staggered (seniors, juniors, etc.) as in previous semesters. Additional information and how-to guides will be provided to students.

In the College, undergraduate advising to help students prepare for registration will start on April 6th. All undergraduate advising will take place virtually with advisors from the College Center for Advising Services and other College offices. Departmental advisors and undergraduate advisors will be in contact with students on the best way to contact them for advising.

At Eastman, information on advising for undergraduate and graduate students will be communicated to students in early April.  Academic counselors from Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies will be in touch with students to set up individual and group virtual advising appointments.

Registration for AS&E and Eastman graduate students will begin on April 20 and continue throughout the summer.


Questions on Policy Changes

Questions on the material in this document can be sent to the emails below.

College Undergraduates:


AS&E Graduate Students:


Eastman Students (Graduate or Undergraduate):



With best wishes that you stay safe and healthy,

Jamal Rossi