Academic Continuity in Emergency Situations

Authority of a program's curriculum resides with the appropriately constituted curriculum committees within a school or department, in accordance with the Department and School’s bylaws. Recommendations for curricular changes or modifications that have been approved by a curriculum committee are then routed through the Department and School’s governance process, before then being communicated to the Vice President for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs and the University Registrar. Recommendations for changes or modifications to a program’s admissions process are to follow the appropriate comparable governance review and approval process through the Department and School and then to the Vice President for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs and the University Registrar.

In emergency situations of a prolonged duration, substantive changes to the admissions process and substantive changes to the curriculum should be reviewed by local admissions and/or curriculum committees and follow the subsequent approval processes. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. Changes that modify the course requirements to enable students to graduate as scheduled, or as closely as possible to the planned graduation date. Curriculum committees may substitute demonstration of the fulfillment of student learning outcomes and/or competency standards, as applicable. In many cases, professional programs are following guidance sanctioned by their professional accrediting bodies.
  2. Changes in the length of the course terms, and if necessary academic terms, to enable students to fulfill remaining curricular requirements that can only be accomplished through in-person instruction and clinical education.
  3. Changes in grading from a graded scale (A through F) to a pass/fail option for a specific set of courses or for a specific academic term, because of the exceptional limitations applicable to the emergency.
  4. Changes in admissions processes regarding the acceptability of course work completed during emergency situations that alter an institution’s awarding of grades vs. pass/fail options.

All substantive changes enacted by programs to accommodate academic continuity in light of a prolonged emergency must be approved by the Dean of the School and submitted to the Vice President for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs and the University Registrar, for final review prior to adoption.  Documentation submitted to the Dean, Vice President for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs, and the University Registrar must include the dates of the curriculum committee meetings, and other shared governance meetings as appropriate, and executive summaries of the actions taken.

Such changes must articulate the time frame for which the changes are in effect, as the information will need to be communicate in official University records, such as the Catalog and/or program handbooks.