9/18/20 Provost Interview

LSU's Provost, Dr. Stacia Haynie, speaks during an interview on Friday, Sep. 18, 2020 in her office at Thomas Boyd Hall.

After the switch to 100% online instruction in the 2020 spring semester, the University temporarily implemented the pass/no credit option as an alternative to traditional letter grades. “P” indicated the student passed the course and received the designated number of credit hours, while “NC” indicated the student completed the course but won’t receive credit.

For undergraduates, grades between A+ and C- were reported as a “P” while grades between a D+ and F were “NC.” Graduate students had to earn a B- or above to receive a “P.”

A grade reported as a P/NC did not affect a student’s GPA.

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Executive Vice President and Provost Stacia Haynie said the P/NC option was introduced for the spring semester only to help students with the unexpected online transition.

“Typically, syllabi are created at the beginning of the semester, so students and faculty have a plan for the rest of the semester, but that was a two week pivot to an entirely remote schedule. Of course our faculty and students realized that was a challenge for everyone,” Haynie said. “So, the Faculty Senate and the Student Government, both working in partnership, promoted providing that type of flexibility for our students.”

With most students still receiving some of their education via online instruction this semester, some are calling for the continuation of P/NC grades.

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Psychology sophomore Chloe Yava said the University should reimplement the revised grading scale.

“If the University cannot provide equal opportunities for every student to have the same quality of education then they should most definitely have the option,” Yava said.

“There are kids that do not have internet and can’t get on Zoom every day. If people are struggling to get As in the current environment, then that’s a perfect reason to have the option available.”

Haynie said that regardless of if the students’ education is being delivered in-person or digitally, the quality of the education provided by faculty members will remain the same.

“You are certainly still working with the same high-quality faculty that you expected when you arrived, pandemic or not,” Haynie said. “This fall, faculty members had an entire summer to think through what it means to teach online and what would that look like.”

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Interior design sophomore Caroline Smith agrees the P/NC option should be available for this semester and does not think students taking advantage of the option would be a problem.

“I definitely think that [the University] should; it doesn’t hurt anybody if they don’t use it, but some students aren’t getting the education they need. That would really help them,” Smith said. “I think the students that use it are the ones that actually need it.”

The University is open to working with Student Government and the Faculty Senate to determine decisions regarding the addition of the P/NC option for this semester.

“At this point, that has not been something that has arisen from either our Faculty Senate or Student Government,” Haynie said. “We would certainly look to partner with them and look to their guidance in terms of any decision involving that.”

Haynie said the University understands this semester is not ordinary, but believes in the LSU faculty and the preparations they have made for this semester.

“To be sure, this is still not a normal semester, but certainly, students have started adjusting, and faculty have been able to plan for an entire semester of what type of assessments they would have and how they would approach it,” Haynie said. “We certainly are hoping that we don’t have another massive disruption like we did in the spring and shift fully to remote and any of those sort of challenges we faced in the spring.”

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