Pass/Fail policy adopted for spring semester

March 24, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

The spring 2020 semester has presented many unprecedented circumstances for Baylor University’s students, faculty and staff as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). In recognition of these challenges, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to elect to convert any of their spring course grades to Pass/Fail at the end of the semester once their final grades have been submitted.

This policy, which has been approved by the Deans and President’s Council, is for the spring 2020 semester only and reflects the University’s prioritization of the health and well-being of our campus community, as well as the ongoing continuity of our academic mission.

I appreciate this recommendation from the Faculty Senate, as well as the input of the Deans and many within the academic advising community. Our discussions were a great model of shared governance, particularly in response to the difficult situation that currently faces our students and faculty.

I ask that you carefully review the policy that is currently posted on the Provost’s website. A few key points for you to consider as you evaluate the Pass/Fail option:

  • At the end of the spring 2020 semester, faculty will submit course grades based upon the grading scale in their syllabi, as they would do at the end of any other semester.
  • Any course in which a student has earned a C- or above is eligible to be converted to “Pass” based on student election.
  • Courses for which “Pass” or “Fail” is elected by the student will not count toward GPA calculations. Please note that some course prerequisites and degree progression standards require a specific grade — for example, a “B” — for progression. The University will allow a grade of “Pass” to satisfy these requirements. However, even though a grade of “Pass” at the end of the spring 2020 semester will allow a student to progress forward within the University’s system, electing a grade of “Pass” does not mean that students — especially those within professional schools that lead to professional licensure/certification — should elect the “Pass” option and move forward within their major. We strongly encourage students to have robust conversations with their respective dean’s office, academic advisor(s), and/or department faculty regarding their preparedness to proceed to subsequent courses.
  • Degree candidates intending to graduate in May 2020 will have between May 12 at 5 p.m. and May 15 at 5 p.m. to identify those courses for which they would like to convert their assigned grade to a Pass/Fail basis.
  • All other undergraduate students will have between May 13 at 5 p.m. and May 20 at 5 p.m. to identify those courses for which they would like to convert their assigned grade to a Pass/Fail basis.
  • A detailed set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is currently being developed and will be posted on the Office of the Registrar website within the week.
Academic Calendar Updates

In recognition of the extended spring break in response to the initial COVID-19 outbreak, we have made the following changes to the spring semester academic calendar:

  • The deadline to drop a course or withdraw from the University has been extended one week, from March 30 to April 6.
  • The beginning of Early Registration for the summer and fall semesters has been moved one week later, from March 31 to April 7.
  • Faculty have the option to use previously scheduled holidays – the Monday following Easter (April 13) and Dia del Oso (April 21) – as additional course instruction days, as needed.
Student Academic Resources
With this semester’s transition to online course instruction, the Paul L. Foster Student Success Center will continue to provide its full array of support services to students and faculty. These services are now offered online using various tools such as Microsoft Teams, Navigate, Zoom, and WebEx. If you are in need of academic assistance, I strongly encourage you visit the Success Center’s website or the many resources found at the KeepLearning and KeepTeaching websites.

Again, thank you for your feedback regarding the new Pass/Fail policy for the spring 2020 semester, as well as for your continued patience and understanding as we work through the days and weeks ahead. It is times such as these when the Baylor Family truly comes together.


Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D.

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