RECAST | Week 10: announcing credit policies to students

Date: Jun 3, 2020, 3:34 PM -0700
From: Russo, Julie <>

Dear colleagues,

As I field inquiries from students about final projects and deadlines, many with stories of difficult personal circumstances, I’ve been reflecting on how we can balance our responsibilities as educators with extending grace around the exceptional situation we’ve been in this quarter. Earlier in the quarter we had some conversations under the Keep Teaching framework about establishing flexible deadlines and credit policies to accommodate the increased stress and hardship students are experiencing during the pandemic and the hasty transition to remote learning. Now is when these policies are really going to land, and the granting of credit is a moment when faculty have a lot of power over students’ lives. I want to briefly share with you how I’m handing this in hopes that it will contribute to your thinking. I understand that there may be an official announcement on related topics coming to us shortly!

On top of difficulties they may have experienced throughout, at the end of the quarter students may be facing challenges impacting their time and focus for homework:

  1. uncertainty about housing and money for the summer
  2. travel and logistics to move out of the dorms or other student accommodations or to move TO new new housing
  3. worry about their future (if graduating) and their future education (if not)

On top of that, national events over the past week may have compounded these factors and consumed the emotional energy and time of Black students, other students of color and marginalized students, and students involved in antiracist organizing. If you’re not sure how to respond to the current crisis, one thing you can do from our position is support students who are on the front lines in not losing credit.

I would urge my colleagues to express a compassionate awareness of these factors to students and apply any possible leniency around final deadlines and late work so that students have every opportunity to demonstrate their learning and earn credit. I realize that it’s important to emphasize that credit is earned and can be granted only where faculty have evidence of learning to assess, so wording such messages can be delicate. Also, it’s very true that many faculty have been experiencing our own pandemic hardships, and our own needs are worthy of consideration in handing end-of-quarter policies about late work, late portfolios, and incompletes – you could share this perspective or rationale with students as well.

Here is the announcement I sent to students – you’re welcome to copy any part of this, or not:

I realize that you may have faced many challenges and hardships over the duration of this quarter due to remote learning, precarious housing or work situations, health and mental health, family responsibilities, and so on. And life may be particularly stressful right now due to transitions in housing and financial support as we head into summer break. I’m committed to extending you every opportunity to earn credit and minimize the impact of these very exceptional circumstances on your academic progress. On top of that, the context of national protest, social unrest, and police violence over the past week may have compounded these issues for you by causing racialized distress or calling you to urgent antiracist work. I am open to offering further extensions or incompletes if your progress toward final deadlines has been impeded because of these or other factors. Please get in touch if I can support you in this way!


// Julie Levin Russo < SHE pronouns >
/ Media Arts & Studies / Gender & Queer Studies
/ Member of the Faculty / CAT Leader: Food, Art, Media
?info= /

You may also like...