Aug 10, 2022  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Spring Semester 2020 Adjustments per Covid-19 Pandemic

ADDENDUM to the NKU undergraduate Catalog for 2019-2020 year

Spring Semester 2020 adjustments per COVID-19 pandemic


The worldwide health pandemic for the spread of the corona virus (COVID-19) directly impacted the colleges and universities across the United States midway through the Spring Semester 2020 (i.e. during January - May 2020); whereby during Spring break week (March 9-13, 2020), NKU was forced to operate remotely, officially “close” the campus, and complete the course instruction using alternative methods (primarily online instruction). 


Specific impacts:

Approx. 2,200 full semester course sections that were being taught on-campus in a face-to-face manner had to be abruptly converted to an online instruction during the Spring Break week (i.e. so half-way through the semester).  And the Spring Break week of no full semester classes being held was extended to two weeks, to allow for students and faculty to modify and adjust.

Also note there were some 300 course sections already being offered in an online format for the full semester, so they were not as much directly impacted.  The academic sub-sessions of the 1st 7-weeks and the 1st 5-weeks had ended with grades posted before this abrupt change was needed and made.  Further, the 2nd 5-weeks sub-session (MBA courses primarily) was happening during this Spring Break period, but since primarily all online courses, then not as much direct impact on the instruction.

The 2nd 7-weeks sub-session began as scheduled for the approx. 550 course that were already set to be taught in an online manner.  But, there were 60 courses in the 2nd 7-weeks sub-session that had to be converted from face-to-face format to online, so these courses started 1 week later than planned, and thus, these courses operated under a 6-weeks time period.  Also, the 3rd 5-weeks sub-session (MBA courses) was held as planned, from April 6 to May 8, 2020.

The deadline for a student to withdraw from a full-semester course and receive a “W” grade was extended by two weeks - from March 23 to April 6 - so as, to allow for students to adjust to the situation and to the sudden change to all courses being taught “online”.

If an incomplete “I” grade was issued for a course ending in May 2020 for Spring Semester 2020, the deadline for completion (if needed) was extended from the end of Fall Semester 2020 to end of Spring Semester 2021.  

The semester and sub-sessions did end as scheduled with final grades being processed as normal, along with the application of resulting academic standing, class standing, progression, and GPA calculations.


Academic Policy Change:

Special Pass/Fail Spring 2020 Policy

Timeline: An email will be sent from the Registrar’s 0ffice on April 13th that will give students the option to change from a letter grade to pass/fail. This option will remain available until Friday, May 1st at 4:30 pm (the last day of classes, before final exams).

Applicability: This special policy will apply to all undergraduate and graduate courses for the Spring 2020 Semester only and will not apply to Summer 2020. The Spring 2020 policy overrides any other pass/fail policies. These include:

  • Pre-requisites: Going forward, a “P” grade earned in Spring 2020 will satisfy course and program pre-requisites that would otherwise require a letter grade.
  • Pass/Fail Limits: The catalog limits a student to 12 pass/fail credit hours that will count toward graduation. Courses taken for P/F during spring 2020 will not count toward that limit.
  • Academic Standing: Students on academic warning or probation will be held harmless for this academic term and will have another term to improve their academic standing.
  • School Based Scholars: The P/F policy does not apply to SBS students, who must receive a letter grade on their high school transcript.

Criteria for a Pass (P): A grade of D or better (undergraduate courses) or C or better (graduate courses) will be required for a grade of “P”.

Calculation: A “P” grade is not figured into GPA calculations, but an “F” grade will lower a student’s GPA. All courses for which students receive passing (P) grades will count toward degree requirements, which overrides some departmental or college policies unless the department or college has evidence that their accrediting agency will not allow P/F grades.

No limit on P/F courses: There is no limit on the number of courses students can convert to pass/fail grading for this Spring 2020 Semester.

Implementation:  Once a student chooses the P/F option, faculty will be able to identify which students have elected the special P/F option, via their faculty access to their class list within the myNKU portal.

At the end of the term, faculty will enter a letter grade for all students and the Registrar will convert those letter grades to P/F for students who have chosen that option. The P/F grade is what will appear on the student’s academic record transcript, though the actual A-F letter grade will be stored in SAP (Student Information System) for future reference in advising, degree audit, grade change requests, etc.

Grade changes: After electing the P/F option and receiving their final grade, a student may still request a grade change from the faculty member back to a letter grade. The Registrar Office will handle these student requests and change the P grade to the faculty submitted letter grade that is already on record in SAP.

Advising: Please speak with your advisor prior to requesting a pass/fail option, especially in cases where a “Pass” grade may not qualify as an entrance requirement to a graduate or professional program or where academic progression or graduation may require the achievement of a certain GPA. Advisors and departments/schools can help students understand which courses should not be taken using the P/F option.

Clarification:  (made via Provost email on 5/13/2020)

In an effort to provide further clarification on the Spring 2020 pass/fail policy that was sent out in a previous communication and referenced in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of the COVID-19 student resource website, please note the following:

  • A grade of “P” earned in the Spring 2020 academic term will satisfy course and program prerequisites that would otherwise require a certain minimum grade.


  • A grade of “D” or better earned in the Spring 2020 academic term will also satisfy course and program prerequisites that would otherwise require a certain minimum grade.


Reference Note:

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is the main accrediting body for NKU, extended temporary flexibility to universities to institute distance learning solutions across the campus as well as conferring “pass/fail” grades as a reasonable exception. Colleges and programs at NKU are consulting with individual accrediting agencies to ascertain their acceptance of pass/fail grades, and the deans or chairs/directors will notify students in these cases if P/F is not an option.