News, On campus

Tech President approves pass/fail grading option

Tech President Phil Oldham decided undergraduate students with extenuating circumstances may apply to designate a course pass/fail this semester, according to information released by TTU News late Friday.

The “grade accommodation” opportunity comes the week Tech students resumed classes online after school officials extended spring break to two weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tech joins six other public and private universities to implement grade options for their students.

A committee that included Tech SGA President Brad Sells recommended implementing grading accommodations and extension deadlines later approved by Oldham.

Students seeking the designation must consult with their academic adviser and then submit an application to the registrar’s office by May 17. Requests will be accepted starting May 11.

They also may designate a course pass/fail even after final grades are posted, according to additional information posted on Tech’s website.

Passing grades will not contribute to students’ GPA, though failing grades will. There is no restriction on the number of courses designated as pass/fail.

Courses not eligible for this accommodation include:

  • Courses requiring a specific grade for progression in the curriculum/program (e.g., “minimum of C or better” requirement),
  • Courses that are part of programs requiring licensure,
  • Courses that are admission requirements for professional and graduate programs, and other similar long-term pathways.

Tech officials also extended the deadline for dropping class with a “W” to April 15, eliminated spring/summer academic suspension for undergraduates, eliminated entrance exams for graduate school and waived fees for online undergraduate summer courses, according to TTU News.

SGA Treasurer Courtney Fowler said student senators plan to continue working remotely in committees to pass bills and further improve students’ experiences as the semester continues online.

“Our senators have been so amazing on finding ways to continue to help out our students through legislation they are writing,” she said. “Our adviser, Dean Williams has been so amazing with helping us during this time of transition.”

The transition to online classes was “exceptionally smooth,” Provost Lori Bruce said in a letter emailed to faculty members Friday.

“I have heard from many of you throughout the week, as well as from students,” she said. “Overall, the feedback has been very positive.”

Fowler encouraged students to reach out to SGA members with any questions or concerns. Members’ emails, as well as a form for students to voice their opinions on grading accommodations, can be found on the website.

“We are here for students and want to continue to be an advocate for students in any way we can,” she said.

University of Tennessee Knoxville is moving to a pass/fail system for all undergraduate students. Undergraduate students at Vanderbilt University and University of Memphis may choose to continue on the letter grade system or change to pass/fail.

Students at Austin Peay State University, East Tennessee State University and Bethel University also may choose a pass/fail for individual courses.