Recently, the note appended to this email (on Course Concession Options) was sent out to students via Canvas. Concurrently, letters from students – expressing their concerns and seeking clarification on how they will be graded – are being sent to the President, Deans, and Senate.
These issues have been discussed in detail by the Associate Deans, Academic across UBC. We are well-aligned in our thinking that approaches to course grading and concessions ought to be flexible and student-specific, and that we should be responding on a case-by-case basis. Fortunately, the Faculty of Forestry is small and we know most, if not all, of our students. This allows for a nimbleness in our procedures that might not otherwise be possible in larger faculties.
Below, I offer up some guiding principles for how the Faculty of Forestry is approaching course grading and concessions:
- To the best of our ability, we will grade students as they were meant to be graded. Given the current situation, this may mean revising assignments and/or assessment criteria, but our goal is to grade students based on a fair assessment of their ability to meet the learning objectives of the course.
- In some instances, this will not be possible, for a variety of reasons (mostly revolving around students hoping to graduate this term). Hopefully, we have identified most of these cases and have come up with solutions (ranging from exemptions to Aegrotat standing). Please let me know if you think you have a student in this situation.
- One option that is currently being discussed is to convert classes to Credit/D/Fail. This is not our preferred solution, nor is it the preferred option of students who have worked hard to achieve a high grade. However, it is something that we can explore if options (1) and (2) will not work for your course.
- Let us all remember that we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Like us, many students may be feeling anxious or lonely, are taking care of others, or are having a difficult time negotiating this new reality. Others simply lack the computing capacity to meaningfully engage in online learning. Still others are in the midst of moving half-way around the world. Should you encounter a student in your class who you think is withdrawing and/or has reached out to you for help, please get in touch with Student Services or have the student contact us directly. We will explore – on a student-by-student basis – ways of providing concessions that are fair and equitable given the current circumstances.
As always, stay safe and well.
Transition to Online – Course Concession Options
We recognize that the recent transition to online learning has been challenging to all members of the University community. Our intention is to provide an opportunity, wherever possible, for students to complete this term and we want to inform you about options for possible academic concessions.
Within such a diverse academic institution such as UBC, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution to academic assessment and associated regulations, but various options to make changes do exist. Decisions around academic regulations and variances to them (concessions) are primarily the domain of our faculties and their deans, because they are the experts in their disciplines.
If you have any specific concerns regarding your own academic standing, your primary point of contact should be your Home Faculty Academic Advising Office, to explore what options may be available to you. You may have already received details on the best ways to access such advice from your Advising Office or specific information on course concessions processes. If you have not, you will do at the start of next week: please be patient as they adjust to radically different and distributed modes of supporting students in their academic study.