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Letter from Provost Forman to Students, Faculty, and Staff

To the Tulane Faculty, Staff and Undergraduate Students,

I write to you today with an important update about our grading policies for this semester and some impending deadlines. In light of these extraordinary circumstances, the deans of our ten schools and colleges, with the endorsement of the University Senate's Committee on Educational Policy, have enacted a temporary grading policy with the goal of both supporting student learning and giving students the flexibility to respond to their own individual circumstances. At this time, we recognize that not every student is in an environment that is conducive to learning, and we do not want to see their academic progress impeded because of the current circumstances. We also know that many students are taking key classes for which receiving a letter grade certifying their mastery of the material will be important.

The key point of the new policy is that for this semester, students will have access to a new grading scheme P (Pass) / MP (Minimal Pass) / U (Unsatisfactory), with pass indicating a letter grade C- or above, MP a letter grade of D- to D+ and U a grade of F. Students can take as many of their current classes P/MP/U as they like, including courses in their major or minor and courses that meet their core requirements. Academic credit will be offered for grades of P or MP, but none of these grades, whether P, MP or U, will be entered into the student's GPA. If any course must be completed with a grad of C- or better to satisfy a prerequisite or graduation requirement, then in this scheme it must be completed with a grade of P.

Students can still take any or all of their classes for a traditional letter grade. The deadline for selecting your grading scheme for each course will be May 11 for graduating students and May 21 for all other undergraduates, after you will have received your final grades for the semester. Unless you take an action, the course will be graded according to whatever scheme is in place today. I strongly encourage all students to take your courses for a letter grade if at all possible, and try your absolute best through the completion of the semester and the finals, and then, if you feel that the circumstances in which you find yourself did not allow you to do work that reflects your knowledge and ability, you will have the opportunity to switch to P/MP/U at that time. Instructions on how to select this new grading scheme will be released to students as soon as it is available.

Faculty will not be informed about which students have selected P/MP/U and will report a letter grade for all students, which will be replaced on the transcript by P/MP/U for those students selecting this scheme. Students cannot change this transcripted designation after the deadline, but upon request the Registrar will certify the corresponding letter grade if necessary for graduate admission or any other academic or professional opportunity.

As a final note, the deadline to withdraw from a class, originally set for this Wednesday, will be postponed until April 8.

Attached you will see the formal statement of the policy which has a few more details. Further questions should be addressed to our Registrar, Colette Raphel, registrar@tulane.edu. Some of our academic schools will be enacting similar temporary grading policies for their graduate and professional programs. Please consult with the appropriate school for details about any specific such program.

All best wishes for a safe, healthy, productive remainder of the semester.