University officials preparing for a possible strike by graduate teaching fellows have issued new guidelines and updates for faculty concerning grading and other classroom issues.
In a message from Barbara Altman and Doug Blandy, senior vice provosts for academic affairs, the university announced it would not use an “X” grade as a temporary placeholder during a strike. While that was seen earlier as a possible solution, it has been determined that an X grade would be considered non-passing for the purpose of financial aid.
While the grade could be appealed later, changing it would be a time-intensive process for students, faculty and financial aid staff, the vice provosts said. The process is manual and cannot be automated.
That means the X grade would put the students with the greatest financial need at the most risk. A total of 10,028 students received federal financial aid in fall term, including 419 students receiving veterans education benefits.
One recommended option is for faculty, after consulting with department heads, to consider assigning a grade based on work completed to date. Those grades can be adjusted later, as necessary.
Also, to ensure that grades can be submitted by the grading deadline, all department heads were added to courses in Blackboard. Departments will be polled early next week about adding additional instructors, in an effort to broaden options for entering grades in each department.
On the question of course coverage, the university recognizes and respects the GTFF’s right to declare a lawful strike and each individual’s right to decide whether or not to participate in a strike. The university’s Academic Continuity Team will conduct a poll this week to determine coverage needs.
The results will be shared with deans and departments for planning needs, and faculty and others are asked not to duplicate the effort.
In addition, the university is preparing a centrally administered attendance tracking system for use during the duration of a strike. The system is still being developed, and more detailed information will be posted soon.
Collected data will be provided to departments, which will not need to develop their own systems for tracking attendance.