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  • Delaney Hayden

Pass-Fail Policy Proposal

By: Delaney Hayden, Asst. News Editor


In an email correspondence with The Griffin, Dr. Sara Morris, the vice president for Academic Affairs, discussed proposed changes Canisius’s pass-fail system.


In a bid to better support students' academic well-being, Dr. Morris asked the board to consider how the pass-fail policy at Canisius University could be utilized to support students’ academic success. Since March of 2023, the board has been engaged in discussions aimed at reevaluating the longstanding pass-fail policy at Canisius. Dr. Morris stated that the University “saw the many challenges that students were facing during the pandemic and felt it was important to consider changes to the policy that had not changed significantly in more than 25 years.”


The original policy, in place for juniors and seniors exclusively, permitted the use of pass-fail grading for a maximum of one course per semester, limited to four courses in total. Moreover, it was applicable solely to free electives, excluding major, minor or core curriculum courses. Students were required to opt for this grading method in the initial week of the semester, with an option to withdraw before final exam week.


During past discussions, the Academic Program Board (APB) confirmed the cap of only four eligible courses but significantly broadened the scope by extending the option to first- and second-year students.


Additionally, the deadline for opting for pass-fail grading was pushed to mid-semester, allowing students to gauge their progress based on feedback reports.


The ongoing semester has witnessed further deliberation by the APB, contemplating the inclusion of all courses, including those within majors, minors and the core curriculum to fall in the pass-fail grading purview. Additionally, the board is contemplating extending the deadline to opt for this grading method to the last day of the semester.


The primary advantage of the pass-fail system seemingly lies in its impact on GPA, wherein the grading of a course, whether pass or fail, does not influence the overall GPA. This adjustment could potentially alleviate the burden on students struggling in specific courses while enabling them to earn credits toward graduation and maintain full-time status.


These proposed changes are still under discussion and pending formal voting by the APB. The university administration emphasizes that these alterations will not be implemented until a conclusive decision is reached by the board.


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