pass no pass
Graphic by Dr. Ings, Oak Leaves faculty advisor

MU Amends Pass/No Pass Policy for Spring 2020

Erin Hickle

The date was ripe, but this was no joke: on April 1 Manchester announced that students would be allowed to convert any of their courses to Pass/No Pass. This option represents a change to the university's regular Pass/No Pass policy.

The new guidelines for the spring semester of 2020 say that courses converted this semester will not count toward the usual maximum of four courses converted to Pass/No Pass per semester under the regular policy. The previous restrictions as to what type of courses may be converted have been removed, meaning any course is eligible.

In order to convert a class, though, students will need permission from their academic advisor. Students are encouraged to discuss the implications of converting their courses with their advisors, as it could affect any professional and graduate school plans along with financial aid and athletics.

Students can also choose to convert any course to Pass/No Pass as late as four business days after final grades have been processed, making the due day May 28, 2020. A link containing the online request form for course conversion and instructions will be shared with the university’s faculty, staff and students in May 2020.

Converting a course to Pass/No Pass means that after the faculty has submitted semester grades, the registrar will convert the course to P, or Pass, if the grade is a C or higher, and credit will be earned. A C minus or lower will result in a NP, or No Pass, and no credit will be earned. The conversion is irreversible.

Stacy Erickson-Pesetski, dean of Academic Affairs, serves on the Academic Standards Committee, which is responsible for developing and proposing of this semester’s Pass/No Pass revision for students.

“We really wanted to offer an option for students in this unprecedented and overwhelming time,” she said.

Rick Espeset, the athletic director and head baseball coach, thinks the decision to move to a pass/no pass option is a good idea and the athletic coaches at MU are in support of any decision that supports student success.

Espeset also suggests that student-athletes speak with their coaches and advisors before deciding to convert a course to Pass/No Pass as they want all students to make informed decisions that are in their best interests.

Converting a course to Pass/No Pass can have an impact on athletics as well as academics. The three prongs of athletic eligibility are full-time enrollment, normal progress and good academic standing. The “academic standing” prong is the one most likely to be impacted as GPA determines academic probation. However, GPAs can only be impacted if one receives a letter grade.

“I encourage students to do their best work, stay connected to their classes and communicate with their professors and advocates on campus,” Espeset said. “Manchester supports student success as well as any college in the country. Students should take every opportunity to be supported.”

Some students believe that the Pass/No Pass option will help them with their classes as remote learning has made learning more difficult. The students that wish to focus on their required course work and maintain their GPAs during this time also feel that the Pass/No Pass conversion option is a good idea.

Other students, however, are not in favor of the option. They feel that the option allows students to put minimal effort into their classes and still pass while other students are working hard trying to obtain higher grades.

“Hearing about this pass/fail situation come into play with classes at MU, I didn’t know what to think,” said Aline Reed, sophomore. “In my opinion, I work extremely hard for the grades I have and I take pride in them. The pass/fail system is not my favorite.”

The point of the changes to Manchester's Pass/No Pass policy this spring is to help students succeed. However, how students will use this option has yet to be shown.

Students are encouraged to speak with their advisors and coaches before converting a class and are also encouraged to try to remain healthy and focused during this time.