By Hailey Hensley
College this semester is vastly different from previous semesters for students everywhere, and at many universities across the country, that is being accommodated in the form of pass/fail or pass/no credit grading. However, for many students at Rider that will not be the case.
Kelly Bidle, dean of the college of liberal arts and sciences, has stated that students in her college will not receive pass/no credit grading. Bidle emphasized that she felt faculty and staff were well-prepared for this online semester.
“It was strongly felt by the academic deans and Provost that a return to normal grading for courses was appropriate,” she said. “I recognize that some students still struggle with remote instruction, but encourage them to take advantage of all of the academic support that has been provided by the Academic Success Center, as well as meeting with faculty during office hours.”
In an interview with The Rider News, Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo stated that he wanted to allow for nuance between the colleges with the pass/no credit grading system.
“I think we felt that there was enough flexibility within each of the colleges to deal with it on a case by case basis, as opposed to just doing so as we did in spring with a mass type of a policy because there are there’s a fair degree of flexibility within our college pass/fail system,” Dell’Omo said.
As of Nov. 18, no colleges at Rider will be receiving pass/fail grading.
Students across campus have expressed concerns about the differing course modality this semester, with worries about grades and grade point average being at the forefront of students’ minds.
Senior organizational psychology major Ally Ward highlighted the difficulties she has encountered with online learning such as technical difficulties, problems focusing and issues with faculty who are not used to teaching online.
“This semester has been more challenging and stressful than spring was. There is no reason for the same accommodations to not be offered for this semester and the next one. Just because it has been eight months since the pandemic started it does not make things easier,” Ward said.
At many universities, the pass/fail option remains a possibility for students. One school that has kept it as an option is Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Junior entertainment and arts management major at Drexel University Jamie Hafner underscored her appreciation for her school being understanding of students in these tumultuous times.
“I feel that my university is listening to students and acknowledging how difficult it is to be attending school remotely during a pandemic and this political climate. Drexel implemented pass/fail before the start of spring quarter 2020 and will continue pass/fail until classes resume in person,” Hafner said. “Drexel also maintained or extended our breaks, including Winter and Spring Break this year. It helps to know that our university is listening to our students and staff.”
COVID-19 case numbers have been surging all across the country, with various outbreaks across the country and in New Jersey in particular. When the academic policy committee granted a university-wide pass/fail option in the spring, cases were significantly lower than they are now and the state is currently seeing a large daily increase in cases.
Senior musical theatre major Tessa Douglas enumerated the importance of the pass/fail option for student mental health.
“I feel that by Rider not implementing Pass/Fail, they are causing unnecessary stress on their students especially given everything that has happened this semester. While I did not choose to utilize that Pass/Fail option last semester, just knowing that it was an option helped me to focus more on the quality of work that I submitted to my professors. It also made me feel that the administration had my back as a student and wanted me to succeed,” Douglas said.
Caption: Students are encountering various issues with online learning that may impact their grades.