The Faculty Senate endorsed a move to give students the option to switch their classes to a pass or fail grading system, instead of a classic A through F grading scale.
The resolution passed unanimously by the Faculty Senate on Tuesday does not guarantee the University of New Mexico will adopt the measure. However, UNM Provost James Holloway signaled his support for the measure during the Faculty Senate meeting, suggesting the option will be approved.
The resolution aims to allow instructors more flexibility in grading during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We also understand that because of COVID-19, students may be experiencing unforeseeable challenges in accessing food, housing, health, family care, employment, and computers and the internet throughout the remainder of the semester,” the resolution said.
Grades given on a pass or fail basis — officially called credit or no credit — have no effect on GPA scores. If administrators approve the faculty’s recommendation, UNM would follow a number of other universities in the U.S. and allow its students to choose the pass or fail option.
The change in grading options came in response to some of the emergency measures UNM has taken due to the coronavirus.
As of March 24, there were at least 100 known cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico, according to the governor's office. In New Mexico’s most populous county, Bernalillo, the governor estimates there are at least 43 cases.
As the global pandemic continues to swell, UNM has canceled or modified its operations, including moving all classes online.
The resolution also asked the administration to extend the deadline by a semester to finish classes denoted as incomplete.
During the discussion on the resolution, Sociology Professor Nancy Lopez introduced an amendment asking UNM to consider a universal pass, a unique grading designation that would pass all students who completed the class, regardless of grades.
Several faculty brought up concerns ranging from program accreditation to unintended consequences.
“The spirit of it is not that it would undermine what has already been voted on,” Lopez said, adding that it would be helpful in future crises.
That amendment failed, 6 to 31.
Two other faculty governance committees will review the resolution before it makes its way to the provost’s desk for final approval.
Justin Garcia is the editor in chief of the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Just516garc