The University of Montevallo will allow students to transition their Spring 2020 grades to a pass/fail system. This decision was announced by Mary Beth Armstrong, UM’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, through a campus wide email.
The changes to the grading system will be optional. After final grades are posted, students will be able to see their final grades at the end of the semester and make a decision with their academic advisor whether or not they want to change their grade.
Grades of a D or above would be considered a “pass” with everything else considered a “fail” and will not impact a student’s overall GPA. According to the Provost, if a student decides to count a course as a pass it will still be able to fulfill course requirements. However, if a course requires the student to receive a C or above this will still be calculated on the student’s letter grade.
This change allows graduating seniors taking required courses to be able to convert their traditional letter grade to a “P” and still be able to graduate.
The email also stipulated that the Dean’s and President’s list will be calculated from the student’s letter grade as recorded by professors.
Late Sunday, March 22, a petition was started by senior music major, Celena McAlpine, asking UM to convert to a pass/fail system.
McAlpine noted that many students would be unable to access the internet and other factors surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. By the time UM announced their decision, over 800 students had signed McAlpine’s petition on Change.org.
McAlpine stated that she started the petition because she was looking for a way to help students who did not have access to resources.
“I have a real passion for fighting for people’s rights,” stated McAlpine. “I would love if this could help people in any way possible.”
Hundreds of students signed the petition in support of the pass/fail system.
Many of the students shared concern about their classes transferring to an online platform, particularly those in the fine arts.
“It will be difficult for many students in degrees that require performance or speaking elements to adapt to an online platform,” said senior music major, Daniel Moore.
Fellow senior music major Elaina McBride expressed concerns about faculty as well as students.
“Many of our faculty have children and young adults that are also having to stay at home for the foreseeable future, and it doesn’t feel right to try to operate as if nothing is wrong,” said McBride. “Most students are still in shock, and why should we be expected to feel this shock and still perform as we normally would?”
Waid Jones was the editor-in-chief of The Alabamian during the 2019–2020 academic year. In 2018, while managing editor of The Alabamian, he received the Veterans of Influence Rising Star Award from the Birmingham Business Journal. Prior to coming to UM he was in the U.S. Marine Corps for two and a half years. Jones graduated with a degree in political science from UM in 2020. He is currently the news editor for the Jackson County Sentinel in Scottsboro, Alabama.