Kevin Goebbert: Temporary Changes to the Honor System, Course Withdrawal, and S/U Deadline

To: Students, Faculty, and Staff
Posted: March 27, 2020 at 8:15 a.m.

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well. In light of the extraordinary circumstances under which the spring 2020 semester is concluding, the Faculty Senate has approved changes to the grading system for the spring 2020 semester and the Honor Council has approved temporary changes to the Honor Council process. An overview of each is provided here, with links to the detailed changes.

Extension of the Course Withdrawal and S/U Deadline

First, the course withdrawal date has been extended from March 20 to April 21. This applies to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Second, the University is extending the undergraduate Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) deadline to April 21, 2020. We have chosen to extend the S/U option because it allows for more flexibility and student control than changing to all-S/U grading for the semester. Students may elect to take any class outside their major or minor as S/U, and may do so for multiple classes. The eForm for requesting Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading is available on the Registrar’s website. Students who anticipate that the disruption to their learning might impact their grades should start consulting with their advisors as soon as possible.

If a student would like to take a major/minor class S/U, they may use the eForm system to file a CAPS petition to convert to S/U after the deadline. Individual departments and colleges will provide guidance to CAPS prior to the review of petitions.
Please note that faculty do not know which students have elected to take the class S/U. Undergraduate courses that now use letter grades will continue to use letter grades, and faculty are encouraged to exhibit maximum flexibility and compassion without sacrificing integrity. However, if a student has opted for an S/U, the final grade will be converted to S/U by the Registrar’s office. As always, a student must achieve at least a C- in order to earn an S. Also, please remember that grades of S/U are not given grade point values or taken into account in computing grade point averages.

The link to the complete policy is here and we encourage the campus community to read it carefully. We strongly recommend that students speak with their advisors before making any decisions about withdrawing from a class or electing to take a class S/U.

Honor Council Process

The Executive Committee of the undergraduate Honor System, with the endorsement of the deans, has decided to implement a modified version of the current graduate school Honor Council process. New undergraduate cases for spring and summer 2020 will be submitted via the Honor Council website. Those cases will then be adjudicated by the dean of the Valparaiso University Law School, David Cleveland. Dean Cleveland will then attempt informal mediation leading to a final decision regarding the disposition of the case. The link to the temporary process is here. Cases pending from before the spring 2020 semester will be resolved according to the normal processes of the Honor System.

In closing, we know this is a time of great uncertainty and stress for the entire campus community. With these adjustments, we hope to assure you that the University continues to be your partner in this academic journey, and we are working in every way we can to support your success.