There is no doubt that the community of Baylor University has been heavily impacted by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, we need our school leadership to support us. Due to the speed of this semester, the change of moving from in-person instruction to online or even both has affected the vast majority of students’ mental health in a negative manner. We, the students of Baylor University are calling on the president, the executive board, the provost, and to whomever it may concern, that our school grants us pass/fail for our courses of the fall 2020 semester. Our academic best has not been put forth due to the drastic change of this semester.
We ask based on the same conditions of the Spring 2020 semester, which entails:
-If a student is to take the final examination (or submit final assessments/papers) they will receive grades according to the principles set out on the course syllabus.
-If a student chose to not (or cannot) take the offered final nor submit the final paper or assessment, they will be assigned a grade based on the coursework you have completed to date.
-If a student does not want to take the chances of the other two options, they can opt for a pass/fail option to be enlisted on your transcript. A pass that would be equated to a C- or better.
We also ask that students transcript express the reason for these choices, stating the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the Fall 2020 semester, which brought significant changes to the students’ approach to learning material. This will help with explaining the final results of certain courses to future employers and graduate schools that students may pursue.
Though we are exceptionally proud of our professors for their endeavors in adjusting to this semester’s change, this has been an entirely new experience for everyone, faculty, students, and staff alike. The mental well-being of the student population has been heavily challenged by this semester. This semester was a lesson to all, to the professors, finding a new way to teach their respective courses through non-traditional channels. As for students it was adapting to a mostly online semester, with no breaks throughout this time period, having very limited access to friends and social gatherings, and also having to find new non-interactive ways of coping with the academic and life stresses; with only a few having the privilege of time to do so. With this, many students have been burdened with an overhaul of assignments, due to the professor’s inability to gauge an appropriate amount of work. Also, with the inability to meet with professors in person for office hours, and online tutoring sessions, it has been especially difficult to fully grasp courses and have an ideal learning experience.
With this being passed, the grading process will greatly lower the stress of students, also the benefits of this administrative change greatly outweigh the risks. Due to the recent adjustments, it is fair to have a safe cushion for students, especially those that are applying to graduate school and job opportunities (whether now, or in the future), that their GPA’s are not negatively affected due to circumstances and the struggle to adjust, negating all the hard work they have done (and will do in the future), and destroying their employment and graduate school prospects.
It is also far more equitable to allow students to maintain their current GPAs than to let them suffer the repercussions of a semester they could not anticipate. With the rigor of an online environment in which both students and instructors are not accustomed, we hope that Baylor University enacts these changes to the benefit of the entire student community.