January 29, 2021

SFU Senate approved to launch a pilot Pass/Credit/No Credit (P/CR/NC) grading scheme for electives only, for the 2021 Spring, Summer, and Fall terms. While this is a step in the right direction, it still does not adequately address the needs of students in the midst of a pandemic. 

In the announcement email that SFU sent out, it stated that the P/CR/NC elective only grading scheme was passed in recognition that “the pandemic and the shift to a remote learning environment have affected all students,” and to allow “greater flexibility in grading, withdrawal, academic standing, and continuance policies.” However, this grading scheme has been in place at other institutions like UBC (since 2009) before the pandemic, and SFU implementing this pilot still presents many gaps in providing sustainable relief to students. 

Student senators made an amendment to expand the grading scheme to all courses, but this amendment was defeated by a secret ballot vote at the Senate meeting with a 30% in favour and 70% against. The implications of restricting the grading scheme to just electives are extensive, including:

  • A lack of a clear process for students who switch programs, or who are undeclared;
  • Wasteful of time and resources if students who switch programs have to repeat courses that were once considered an elective, and would not be required for a student’s program;
  • What is considered an “elective” cannot be clearly defined;
  • Creates extra unnecessary work for academic advisors who must ensure students understand how this will impact future decisions within their degree;
  • Many students, especially third and fourth year students, have no more electives to take, which does not help them during the pandemic.

P/CR/NC is a good start, but there is much room for improvement. We are asking the SFU Senate to reconsider expanding the grading scheme to ALL courses, and to allow students to make their own decisions on opting into the grading scheme by sharing ample communication with students, faculties, and departments on how it could impact future decisions made by students within their degree.

Please take the time to email your SFU Senators and let them know you want the P/CR/NC to be extended to ALL COURSES. 

Email template here: http://bit.ly/pass-credit-nocredit 

Senators’ emails: https://www.sfu.ca/content/dam/sfu/senate/membership/Senate%20Membership%20List%20January%202021.pdf