Changes to course grading policy and library availability; overview of COVID-19 case reporting process

Dear campus community,

We are living in unprecedented times for Marquette University as we have quickly and unexpectedly adjusted to remote learning and working. Please know that we appreciate the immense sacrifice this has been for everyone, and understand the anxiety, fear and many mixed emotions this unfortunate time in our lives has caused everyone, especially our students. Please know that the Marquette community remains in our prayers and be assured that we are making every effort to make this easier on everyone.

In light of our uncertain new reality, Marquette is announcing several changes:

Pass/Not Pass grading option; withdrawal deadline extended
For the spring 2020 semester, the university is offering a Pass/Not Pass course grading option, which has been endorsed by the Marquette University Student Government Executive Board, University Academic Senate Executive Committee, Academic Deans Council, Academic Planning Group of the COVID-19 Response Team and the Provost Cabinet.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The university will still use the current grading system of letter grades (A-F) as articulated in the undergraduate bulletin as the default grading system. That means any student who wishes to can continue to use the normal grading system.
    1. Faculty will grade courses exactly as they have been doing.
  2. Students will have the OPTION to replace the letter grade they receive for each course completed during the spring 2020 semester with three options: Pass, Low Pass, Not Pass (P/LP/NP). Definitions follow:
    1. Pass (P): credit; a permanent grade indicating equivalent work of C or better in the course.
    2. Low Pass (LP): credit; a permanent grade indicating equivalent work of C-, D+ or D in the course.
    3. Not Pass (NP): no credit; a permanent grade indicating equivalent work of less than D in the course.
  3. For students who receive a grade of Pass, the normal academic program requirements to receive a course grade will be waived. For students who receive a grade of Low Pass, individual academic programs will determine whether academic requirements are waived.
  4. Students can elect to switch to pass/fail after letter grades are posted on May 12.
  5. Students are permitted to use this option until May 26. Any student who does not indicate they want to exercise the Pass/Not Pass option by that deadline will receive a normal letter grade.

The full policy is reflected online in the bulletin.

All programs in the School of Dentistry, Graduate School, Graduate School of Management and Law School, as well as the Health Sciences professional programs, are exempt from this option.

Students are urged to work with their academic advisers before making any decision regarding replacing letter grades. This is particularly important for students required to meet criteria for certification and licensure, as well as for students interested in certain graduate/professional programs.

Additionally, for the spring 2020 term, the deadline for students to withdraw from courses with a grade of “W” has been extended until the last day of classes, May 1.

Library will close at 4:30 p.m. today; virtual resources available
Given very low numbers of students who are accessing Raynor Library in person, the library will close its physical space at 4:30 p.m. today and will move to all virtual resources. Students, faculty and staff working from home have access to most of the same library support and resources that are available when on campus:

  • Real-time librarian research and learning support is available via chat 24 hours per day, in partnership with other AJCU libraries.
  • Virtual research consultations and instructional support from librarians is available 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays.
  • Extensive online research resources are available, including more than 480 electronic databases and almost 2.5 million e-books on topics relevant to all disciplines.
  • Libraries staff will provide print material support, including book chapter and article scanning service with a 48-hour turnaround.
  • Faculty who need a book during the COVID-19 closure can request a purchase for direct shipment to their home.

COVID-19 case reporting
When a member of the Marquette community self-reports a COVID-19 diagnosis, the university will work with the Milwaukee Health Department in the contact investigation. Only those individuals who came into close contact (defined as prolonged and proximal) with the patient will be notified and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, the Health Department will provide guidance on any needed cleaning and remediation for campus facilities. Our campus teams have the personal protective equipment needed for such a situation.

Due to federal privacy laws and the likelihood of a high volume of diagnoses in the coming days and weeks, including those affecting campus community members, the university will not be issuing mass notifications to the campus community. Please pray for all those in our Milwaukee and Marquette communities who are or will be affected by the pandemic.

Thank you
As we wrap up our first week in a remote learning environment, we are proud of the way our university has come together to support and motivate each other during this challenging time, be it through a funny video, an uplifting quote or a smile during a Microsoft Teams meeting.

Please accept our heartfelt thanks for all our instructors, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and Information Technology Services for successfully transitioning all of our classes to a remote learning format. This was a herculean undertaking and your work has not gone unnoticed. We also thank our students, who have demonstrated our Ignatian spirit by being adaptable and walking with our instructors as we adjust to this new normal.

We are Marquette!

Dr. Kimo Ah Yun
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Joel Pogodzinski
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Featured faculty expert: We are featuring our faculty experts on a variety of topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read this essay from Dr. Stephen Saunders, chair of psychology in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, on identifying and managing stress during the “safer at home” era.