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This policy incorporates the provost’s directive of March 24, 2020, and applies it to SMAD major
requirements. The provost’s policy, which will allow students to convert letter grades to Credit/No Credit
(CR/NC), is intended to lessen academic pressure and provide an option for students who have difficulty with
the transition to online learning or whose coursework suffers because of high anxiety about the coronavirus
and other circumstances created by this extraordinary moment. However, the SMAD faculty urge students to
be extremely cautious in using this option, which may have unforeseen consequences. SMAD majors
ordinarily are not allowed to use CR/NC grades to course requirements. This exception applies only to Spring 2020.

Important details from the provost’s directive:

  • The CR/NC option is not the same as pass/fail.
    • A grade of CR would replace letter grades of A through C; a three-hour course with a grade ofCR would count toward the 120 hours required for JMU graduation.
    • A grade of NC would replace letter grades of C- thorough F; a three-hour course with a gradeof NC would not count toward the 120 hours required for graduation.
  • The decision to change from a letter grade in a course to CR/NC cannot be reversed.
  • Students may not exercise this option in courses they are retaking as repeat/forgive.
  • Students will be able convert their grades online from April 7 to 5 p.m. May 18. The form will be available on the registrar’s website. Students who wait until after finals week will see their semester grade before they make a decision. Students are strongly advised not to make a decision until then.
  • Students should not convert their letter grades without consulting their academic adviser; however, the decision to convert is the student’s alone.

Other considerations:

  • Students should make sure that their financial aid or scholarships would not be affected by converting to CR/NC. Those questions must be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.
  • Converting to CR/NC may affect students’ eligibility for graduate school.

Students satisfy SMAD major requirements beyond SMAD 101 with a grade of D- or better. The SMAD
curriculum includes prerequisites that must be satisfied before students can take other courses further in the
major. These are considerations in determining whether the CR/NC option is appropriate. The provost’s policy
does not waive prerequisites or the requirement that students pass courses. The following policy will apply:

  • Students who convert a letter grade of A through C to CR will satisfy prerequisites and major requirements in the SMAD curriculum. They will earn three hours credit for a converted course.
  • Students who contemplate converting a letter grade of C- through F to NC should proceed cautiously. An NC will not satisfy prerequisites and major requirements in the SMAD curriculum. Students will not receive credit for their converted course. If the course is a prerequisite or a major requirement, students who opt for an NC, even if their letter grade would have been a C- to D-, will have to retake the course in another semester.
  • Converting the letter grade to NC, which erases credit hours, may extend the time students need to complete the SMAD major. SMAD is not able to override students into courses that are being retakenin another semester. Students in that situation would need to register for the retaken classes during their enrollment appointments and use the waitlist if the classes are full when they register.

In the case of SMAD 101, in which SMAD majors must achieve a grade of C- in two attempts, students who
are not retaking the course for repeat/forgive may exercise the CR/NC option.

  • Students who have a letter grade of A through C can substitute a grade of CR and still proceed with the major.
  • Students who end the semester with a letter grade of C- are advised not to exercise this option but to accept that grade and proceed with the major.
  • Students who have a letter grade in the D through F range may convert to NC — however, they will receive no credit for the course this semester.
  • Students who convert to NC will be able to retake the course next semester, even if this is their second attempt to achieve a C-.

FAQ on CR/NC

If my course grade at the end of the semester is in the range of A through C, what happens if I exercise the CR/NC option?

The letter grade will be replaced by CR. You will receive three hours’ credit toward graduation, though the CR
will not affect your GPA. If the course is a prerequisite for other classes in the SMAD major, you will satisfy
the prerequisite.

Are there negative consequences of using the CR/NC option if my grade will convert to a CR?

Financial aid eligibility may be impacted, along with eligibility for graduate school. These are questions your
SMAD adviser cannot help you answer. Remember that many undergraduates who are not planning on
graduate school change their minds after they have been in the workforce a couple of years.

If my course grade is in the range of C- to D- and I take an NC instead, what are the consequences?

The low grade is not averaged into your GPA, but you won’t receive the credit hours toward graduation or
fulfill a prerequisite. To satisfy a prerequisite in which you receive an NC, you will need to retake the course.
This could extend the time required to graduate. You may, understandably, want to avoid a low grade, but a
grade of D- or above will satisfy a prerequisite or graduation requirement and allow you to move on in the
SMAD curriculum.

What if my course grade will be an F?

Then the NC might clearly make sense for you. If you received an F, you wouldn’t receive hours toward
graduation, and the F would not be averaged into your GPA. You would need to retake the failed course
anyway.

If I take an NC instead of a letter grade, will I be able to get overrides to retake classes in future
semesters?

No. SMAD does not have space in its classes to raise the enrollment caps to accommodate overrides for
students who are doing retakes because they converted a grade to NC. If you take an NC and must retake a
course in a future semester, you will need to register for the course during the regular enrollment period. If the course is full when you try to enroll, you will go on the wait list.

If I convert a letter grade to NC and it delays my graduation date, can I get an override into a class I need to stay on schedule?

No. SMAD does not have space in its classes to raise the enrollment caps to accommodate overrides for
students who are doing retakes because they converted a grade to NC.

If I am taking a class for repeat/forgive, can I convert to CR/NC?

No. The CR/NC option is not available to students retaking a course for repeat/forgive.

If I am in SMAD 101 and I take an NC, does it count as one of my two attempts to get a C-?

No. An NC in Spring 2020 will not count as one of the two attempts to get a C-. You will still need to retake
the class and you will be required to do so in Fall 2020.

If I am in SMAD 101 and I have a C-, should I take an NC in the course to avoid averaging that low
grade into my GPA?

No. If you are admitted to SMAD, you can move on with the major with a C-. That is not the case with an NC.

Is the provost’s CR/NC policy a permanent change?

No. SMAD majors ordinarily are not allowed to apply CR/NC grades to course requirements. This exception
applies only to Spring 2020. The option to convert a letter grade to CR/NC is intended to lessen academic
pressure and provide an option for students who have difficulty with the transition to online learning or whose
coursework suffers because of high anxiety about the coronavirus and other circumstances created by this
extraordinary moment.

If I want to convert, what do I do?

The form will be available after April 7 on the registrar’s website. You are strongly advised to wait until after
grades come out to decide. The option will be available until 5 p.m. May 18.

Can I change my mind later?

No. The change is permanent.

I want my adviser to make the decision for me. Will s/he do that?

No. This decision and responsibility for the consequences are ultimately yours, although you are strongly
urged to consult your adviser.

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