On January 19 Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, David Hickman and Associated Students President, Kimberly Giangtran, released a statement announcing extended academic accommodations for the Winter and Spring 2021 quarters in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the statement, the deadline to change grading options between letter grades or P/NP has been extended to the end of week 10, and the deadline to withdraw from a class with a “W” grade has been extended to the end of week seven.
Additionally, classes taken as P/NP during Winter and Spring 2021 will not count toward the 25% limit, and students who are not currently in good academic standing are allowed to enroll in P/NP classes. Students will be able to repeat courses with a P/NP if they had previously taken it for a letter grade.
According to Hickman, these accommodations are a result of a months-long process which members of AS started in the early weeks of the Fall 2020 quarter.
Hickman stated that members of AS worked closely with professors on the Academic Senate, specifically the Educational Policy Committee and Representative Assembly, in order to ensure the implementation of these accommodations.
“The Academic Senate has been a great partner in making sure that the student body is able to cope with the challenges of this year and remote-learning, and it was ultimately their votes that allowed for these accommodations to become more than just an AS proposal,” Hickman said in a statement to The Triton.
Hickman believes input from student leaders, including a letter from the AS President, an AS Senate Resolution, and his testimony to the Educational Policy Committee and the Academic Senate, helped persuade professors into supporting the implementation of these accommodations.
Hickman also noted that the survey issued by the Office of Academic Affairs was an integral part of “demonstrating to the faculty members of the Educational Policy Committee that this was a large student ask that had support from nearly every student.”
Lori W. Hullings, Associate Director of the San Diego Division of the Academic Senate, claims that members of AS proposed this resolution to the Academic Senate in December, requesting these accommodations for Winter/Spring 2021. The resolution received input from student representatives of the Senate Educational Policy Committee and advanced to the Senate Council. The resolution was then brought to the Representative Assembly, where it was voted on and approved on January 19.
“There was not a great deal of opposition at any level—the faculty and the Academic Senate at UC San Diego recognize how difficult this year has been for everyone, and we want to support our students however we can,” said Hullings.
Hullings also noted that there “were (and continue to be) some concerns that students might not fully understand the issues associated with choosing to take courses P/NP.”
These concerns include how a student’s choice to take P/NP could impact their graduate and professional school admissions and employment opportunities. Hullings also cautioned that specific departments and colleges will independently determine if P/NP coursework will count toward major and college requirements.
“It’s great to see UC San Diego ahead of the curve in adopting these policies and it could not have been done without faculty support and the work of the AS Office of Academic Affairs,” said Hickman.
Alba Reyes is a staff writer for The Triton. Sarah Naughten is a staff writer for The Triton.