The outside of the Administration Building after campus has shut down. The university has extended pass/no credit deadlines. RABIA GURSOY/THE STATESMAN

The Division of Undergraduate Education discussed the university’s new pass/no credit (PNC) grading guidelines during a Zoom webinar on April 1.

The university announced on March 20 that students would be able to choose PNC grading over a letter grade for a majority of courses. Students have until the last day of finals, May 20, to choose whether they’d like to have a pass or no credit on their transcript; any grade below a C is considered no credit. 

Associate Provost for Academic Success, Rachelle Germana, said that the current GPNC (Grade/Pass/No Credit) guidelines were entirely removed as an option. 

“If you already selected GPNC, it’s not going to carry over,” she said. “You will need to make a different, new selection under the new grading model.”

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The PNC system applies to West Campus undergraduate courses, but not the School of Nursing, the School of Health Technology and Management and the School of Social Welfare. 

This system can be used for more than one, and even all of a student’s courses, Germana emphasized. 

Students raised concerns in the Zoom meeting’s chat over whether PNC would affect financial aid eligibility.

“When you think about taking a PNC for a course, our goal is to get you to complete the course,” Nick Prewett, director of financial aid and scholarship services, said. “So as far as being eligible for financial aid, you need to complete the courses that you start, and we calculate a percentage called your completion percentage. So all of your PNC courses, if you get a P in it count as 100% completion.” 

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Students who need to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) to keep a scholarship or financial aid eligibility were told that choosing PNC would not affect their GPAs.

Prewett said that the Office of Financial Aid would look at situations “case by case.” If any students are unable to complete courses or raise their GPA, he said they should reach out to the office. 

“For this spring semester if you choose to drop a course or if your GPA doesn’t meet the qualifications to qualify for some of the state aid programs, the state has basically agreed to hold the spring semester harmless for you,” he added.

With class registration just around the corner, Academic Advising will now be on Google Hangouts or through Zoom. 

Some pre-health students, who were hoping to volunteer at hospitals or health care facilities over the summer, raised concerns over the coronavirus affecting their ability to work. Lakshmi Ramsoondar-Ahmad, assistant director for re-professional advising, recommended that they reach out to the Career Center and look into virtual ways to help their communities.

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“There’s some ways to volunteer to be trained as an online response counselor,” Ahmad said. “For example on Long Island, there’s a hotline call response on the island. It helps those that are in need to talk to someone, like a suicide mental health hotline.”

The College of Engineering, as well as the Stony Brook Medicine School, are also looking for undergraduate students who want to be involved in community service — specifically “to form interdisciplinary teams to innovate new solutions to some of the challenges that we’re facing with [coronavirus] COVID-19,”  Academic Advisor, Deb Klein, said. 

Students can request to join a Slack conversation to discuss innovative solutions to issues created by the pandemic. 

Germana also noted that incoming students may have the first part of their orientations online.

“It is likely at this point given everything that’s going on that, that we may be moving into a virtual orientation experience for the first part of orientation,” Germana said.  

The orientation team and the Division of Undergraduate Education have already been meeting for the past year to talk about transitioning some of the orientation material online, prior to the pandemic.  

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For part two of orientation, which is opening weekend, administrators are waiting to see how the pandemic evolves, and if a virtual experience is needed then also. 

When asked if classes would be held the same for the Fall 2020 semester as well, Germana responded, “Since this is changing day by day and has the potential to have some long term impacts, there’s all different kinds of contingencies that are being looked at. So I can’t say for sure what the chances are for Fall 2020.”

 

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