Last semester’s universal pass/fail system will not continue this fall, administrators wrote in a Monday email to students.
Instead, students will take their largely online courses for letter grades, though the University may change some policies — like those for incomplete work — to account for the pandemic. The email, which was sent by Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Tamar Szabó Gendler and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Lynn Cooley, explained how Yale College faculty members are planning their fall courses in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, mirroring a June 18 message sent to faculty by the same deans.
“We are confident in our colleagues’ ability and commitment to provide an engaging learning experience, and we are grateful for the dedication, energy, and creativity that you will continue
to bring to it,” Chun, Gendler and Cooley wrote. “During these unsettling times, we look forward to working together to help our community flourish.”
As was communicated to faculty last week, courses are being planned on the basis of a “residential/remote” model, which assumes that classes will mostly take place online. Exceptions may be granted for lab- or studio-based courses and discussion sections, but administrators will decide exact policies as the public health situation develops over the coming weeks.
According to the email, faculty and staff are consulting feedback from the spring semester’s Zoom component to “make sure that the courses you take this fall are engaging and meaningful, despite our unusual circumstances.”
The deans also wrote about an altered course selection process, detailed extensively to faculty in the earlier June 18 email. Under the new system, students can register for courses from Aug. 10 to 21, with final course selections due on Aug. 21. Once classes start, students will have a week to shop, drop and add courses before locking their schedules.
Other important dates mentioned in the new email include Aug. 24 as the start date of a “staged arrival period,” though it remains unclear which, if any, students will be permitted to return to campus for the fall. The deans’ email noted that the University will update students in early July with final plans for the upcoming semester.
Yale College’s move toward a hybrid learning environment remains in step with peer institutions, many of which have announced their plans weeks prior. The University of California, Berkeley, announced it would follow a similar model earlier this month.
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