President's Office

Alternatives for Spring 2020 Grading and Planning Ahead for Extended Virtual Instruction

April 3, 2020

To the Campus Community:

As we conclude our second week of virtual instruction, CSUN continues to come together as a community of learners committed to our academic mission while doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of every student, faculty and staff, as well as our families, friends and neighbors. While I am hopeful that the efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 and brave nurses, doctors and other health care workers caring for the affected will flatten the curve, time and time again, COVID-19 has shown us the importance of planning for every possibility and being proactive in our response.

I am pleased to announce that I have approved an alternative grading structure for Spring 2020undergraduate courses as recommended by our Faculty Senate Executive Committee and with feedback from our Associated Students leaders. As a result of the COVID-19 disruption to Spring 2020, beginning April 8th, students will be allowed to select an alternate grade option for each class in which they are currently enrolled. Students may remain in the current grading mode by taking no action. Alternately, students may opt into one of two alternate grading modes for each course:

(1) Letter Grade of A through C or No Credit (NC); and

(2) Credit or No Credit (CR/NC). 

Please be aware that some classes require a minimum letter grade of C to count for major credit, and graduate level prerequisites may have higher minimums. The alternate option (1) Letter Grade of A through C or No Credit should be considered for majors with grade requirements and prerequisites. All transcripts will include a notation regarding COVID-19 and Spring 2020 grading.

Students are strongly encouraged to consider all implications before switching to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC). Please review the Grade Option FAQs for information on the grading options, limitations and directions for making these changes. Student athletes, veterans, students on academic probation, and international students should contact their academic advisor, Admissions and Records, and/or sponsoring agency before making any changes to the basis of grading. The deadline for making any grade option change is May 1, 2020.

In addition, following the best information and guidance available from federal, state and local officials, I share the news that CSUN will continue virtual instruction through the Summer Term, which begins May 26. Next week, we will communicate updates on summer offerings. All faculty, staff and students should plan on the potential of virtual instruction and operations continuing through the end of Summer Term, ending August 18, and possibly into the fall semester. No final decision has been made for the Fall 2020 semester; we will continue to monitor the situation daily based upon the best evidence and public health guidance available. Our goal is that we will return to normal campus operations as soon as it is safe to do so.

I remain incredibly thankful for the dedication of every member of our campus community, and I want you to know that our community goes far beyond our students, faculty and staff. We put out a call last week for support for the MataCare Emergency Fund that provides emergency help for students facing emergency financial needs. Alumni and friends have already responded to the call in great numbers. Students can apply for a MataCare Emergency Grant online through May 6.

We are making intentional efforts to assist our students who are experiencing more significant barriers to access. This week, we announced the expansion of our Laptop Loaner Program to provide technology to students who are without a computer so that they may continue their education uninterrupted. We also have continued operating the Food Pantry under modified hours and with physical distancing instituted. I ask everyone to understand and appreciate that this pandemic is affecting all of us, but it does not affect all of us equally.

Yesterday, Associate Vice President for Human Resources Kristina de la Vega shared that the California State University has granted the increased use of temporary paid Administrative Leave up to 256 hours, effective March 23, 2020 through December 31, 2020 for CSU (state) employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons. This is just one of the many ways that the CSU and CSUN are supporting faculty and staff as they serve our students.

As our society adapts and comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, we clearly see how we are stronger as one. I thank you once again for your tenacity in the face of the current adversity we face and commitment to our mission. I hope that these changes will benefit our students as they continue their academic journey this semester.

Please visit CSUN’s COVID-19 site and the academic continuity webpage for updates and be well.


Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.