Faculty senate updates for graduate students on academic accommodations for spring 2020

Covid 19 update

Thursday, April 23, 2020 - 11:00 a.m.

Faculty Senate Updates
Due to the rising levels of disruption and stress resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rice Faculty Senate adopted the following additional academic accommodations for Spring 2020. These expand those accommodations previously announced:  

For all graduate students: Faculty Senate has resolved that the COVID-19 pandemic qualifies as an exceptional circumstance for the rules surrounding incomplete grades for all students. Any graduate student requesting an incomplete will be granted one. Students should contact their instructors directly prior to the end of the exam period for that course. Coursework must be completed in time for the instructor to submit the student’s final grade by August 28, 2020. Degree candidates are not eligible for an INC, unless they withdraw their application for degree. For doctoral students, the foundational course work in which you are engaged requires mastery. Faculty Senate determined that doctoral students may not pass/fail a course, doctoral students unable to finish their course work should contact their instructors to request an incomplete prior to the end of the course.

For all graduate students: Graduate students will not be placed on academic probation, academic suspension, or dismissed from the program as a result of course outcomes in Spring 2020 without the explicit approval of the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

For all graduate students: The spring 2020 course drop deadline for all degree candidates has been further extended to May 20 and for continuing students to June 1. You have the option of dropping a course until that deadline.  Course drops after April 24 must be requested here: https://graduate.rice.edu/academic-accommodation-request. Late requests will not be granted. These requests will be held until the grade has been submitted, but will be converted administratively to a grade of “NG” (no grade).  

For terminal master’s and BArch students: Students in terminal masters programs (i.e., students who are earning a master’s degree and not on a path to a doctorate) may designate up to two in progress, letter grade, non-research courses as Pass/Fail for the Spring 2020 semester. Any courses designated Pass/Fail as a result of this motion will still be eligible to have the grades uncovered by the normal deadlines for converting Pass/Fail grades to the letter grade earned (May 20th for Spring 2020 degree candidates and September 4th for continuing students). Additionally, an adjustment and provision will be made within the university’s degree audit system (Degree Works) to allow Spring 2020 courses with a grade of “P” to be eligible towards a terminal master’s student’s degree requirements. Pass/fail requests for terminal master’s students must be also be requested here: https://graduate.rice.edu/academic-accommodation-request

International students should be cognizant of implications to their visas for dropping below full-time; while certain academic requirements have been relaxed, immigration requirements have not. F-1 and J-1 students may NOT drop below full-time (9 credit hours) or change their plans to graduate without prior authorization from OISS. Additional answers to frequently asked questions by internationals can be found here: https://oiss.rice.edu/covid19

We realize everyone has faced significant challenges over the past weeks and will continue to face them in the days ahead. While the measures taken by the Senate are a step to alleviate some of the pressures you’re under, we know there are students who need significantly more support. If you find yourself in this position - whether your concern is academic, medical, or at a more fundamental level of health and safety - please do reach out to your graduate program administrator, your director of graduate studies, or student support specialist Pia Byrd (pia.byrd@rice.edu, 713-348-2617). We want to help.