Dear graduate coordinators,

I hope this email finds you and yours healthy and doing well!

As we continue to navigate this pandemic and what it means for our students, we wanted to remind you about the Graduate College coronavirus webpage. It is updated frequently, so please visit it and encourage your students to do the same.

One webpage update that’s of importance to prospective students needing English proficiency testing is that IELTS has introduced the online IELTS Indicator. The IELTS Indicator is only available in select locations where it is not currently possible to deliver in-peron IELTS testing. The IELTS Indicator test will be delivered online once a week at scheduled times. Students can start to schedule appointments on April 22. In other locations where permitted to, IELTS testing is still testing in person with additional precautions in place. Students can check the current status of each country.

I am looking forward to chatting with you during our Graduate Council meeting on Wednesday, April 22 from 1-4 p.m. You can find the draft agenda here. One of our agenda items is electing a new Council Chair for next year. If you'd like to nominate yourself or someone else, please send your (self) nomination to me no later than Tuesday, April 21. Dr. Toni Repetti is also running again.

Finally, here is a clarification of this semester’s S/U grading process from a recent letter from the Provost’s office to Deans. Please note:
Per NSHE Chancellor Reilly, President Meana, and Provost Heavey, all students will have the option to petition for a change in grading basis to S/U grading for any or all of the Spring 2020 courses in which they are enrolled. Graduate students who petition for a change to S/U grading will be assigned “S” grades for any letter grade of “B-” or better. Furthermore, “S” grades issued for Spring 2020 will satisfy all UNLV requirements, including prerequisites and graduation requirements, regardless of the letter grade specified in MyUNLV, or the UNLV Catalog to satisfy those requirements.

We understand that some academic programs have put internal requirements in place to ensure that their students meet the standards of external bodies, such as licensing boards or clinical placement sites. Programs that have graduation requirements or course prerequisites for which specific letter grades are dictated by an external body MUST request an exemption from application of “S” grades to those requirements for the Spring 2020 semester as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, April 22, 2020. We ask that you consult with your Department Chairs/Directors and enter exemption requests in this spreadsheet. If approved, the exemption will prevent students in the program who opt for S/U grading from using “S” grades earned in Spring 2020 to satisfy degree requirements or prerequisites. However, we cannot prevent students from petitioning for S/U grading. Therefore, it is very important that programs with approved exemptions notify their students and advisors that “S” grades will not count, and advise them appropriately. For programs that submit no exemption requests, “S” grades assigned in Spring 2020 will satisfy all graduation requirements and prerequisites.

As a reminder, petitions for a change of grading basis must be initiated by students in consultation with their academic or faculty advisors, who will ensure that students are aware of the potential impact of S/U grading on Grade Point Average (GPA), eligibility for financial aid, prerequisites for future courses, completion of degree requirements, and impacts on future licensure, etc. In addition to advice based on a student’s specific circumstances, students will be advised of the following before submitting a petition for S/U grading:
  • “S” and “U” grades are not included in GPA or grade point balance calculations.
  • Course repeat and maximum course attempt rules still apply.
  • Opting for S/U grading may impact a student’s future admissibility to graduate and professional programs.
  • Although “S” grades may satisfy prerequisites, students are ultimately responsible for preparation for subsequent coursework. Receiving an “S” grade for work below the “C” level could mean that a student is underprepared for more advanced course work.
  • Once changed to S/U, the grading basis cannot be changed back to letter grading.
  • Opting for S/U grading may affect eligibility for some scholarships, awards, loans, and/or other forms of financial aid.
The definitions of “S” and “U” grades described above will apply ONLY to Spring 2020 semester grades. The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Graduate College will continue to consult with the Faculty Senate and Graduate Council, respectively, to develop permanent institutional definitions for “S” grades.
You can find more details about the process for students to apply for S/U grades this semester on our COVID-19 webpage and we will discuss this at Council, too.

As always, we are here if you need anything, so please don’t hesitate to reach out. Or, feel free to drop in to my new Friday lunchtime chats via Webex --- it’s just open, drop-in time to answer questions and speak with faculty and students about anything that’s on your mind. Lastly, if you haven’t taken our flash survey yet, please do --- it’s three questions and will take less than a minute to complete.

Stay safe and be well!
Kate Hausbeck Korgan, Ph.D.
Dean, UNLV Graduate College
UNLV is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504 institution. All qualified applicants to the Graduate College, and admitted students, will receive equal consideration without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or covered US veteran status.