March 27, 2020
Dear Southern Students,
I am pleased to share the news that you will have the opportunity to choose a pass/fail option for many of your courses for this Spring semester’s grading.
Pass/fail grades are an option for the large majority of courses, but not all. And we recognize that for a variety of reasons this may not be a good option for every course, or for all students.
Some programs, for example, have requirements (e.g., licensing) that mandate a letter grade. Some graduate programs require letter grades in courses that are prerequisites for their programs. Some students are not well served by a grade of pass or fail if they are repeating a course for a higher grade. These are just some of the reasons why you must first consult with your academic advisor or program director before making the decision to choose the pass/fail option.
To be clear, this new approach for the Spring semester means that you can opt to request a pass or fail grade in place of a letter grade for any individual course. If you do not make a request, you will continue to receive a letter grade for your courses.
Students will need to make this decision by May 1, so there is time to discuss with your academic advisor if this is a good choice for you and also to see how you are doing in your courses over the next month. You should know that the decision to change to a pass/fail option is made by you, the student, individually and is not imposed upon you by your instructor.
I hope this approach will relax some of the discomfort or stress for students in this new fully online world of education. Still, it is not meant to diminish the need to maintain serious efforts in learning.
For now, we wanted to alert you that this will be an option for many courses, but also to be sure that you fully understand any implications before making a decision that may not serve you well. More details will be posted in the coming week, including a link to opt into this pass/fail opportunity.
My continued best wishes to you for your academic performance this semester and, as always, be well.
Robert S. Prezant, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs