April 14th, 2020
Dear Bobcat parent and family members,
As we enter the last three remaining weeks of classes at MSU, I want to make sure you're aware of another accommodation we adopted this spring, along with the shift to online course delivery. Montana State University has implemented a new policy for an optional pass/fail grading structure for spring semester 2020. This policy aims to help students continue their educational interests with minimal risk to their overall progress toward their degrees.
These temporary emergency accommodations to the MSU pass/fail policy will allow undergraduate students the option to transition courses to a P/F grade at the end of the semester. Students not wishing to transition to P/F will still receive the letter grade assigned by their instructor. Undergraduate students who choose to receive a P/F grade for one or more of their courses can do so by submitting an electronic form no later than five days after final grades are posted (grades are expected to be posted May 13).
More information is available on the University Registrar's website. Final details and specific guidelines for these emergency accommodations will be available on the Registrar's web page at least two weeks prior to the end of Spring Semester.
I also want to give you a heads-up about two excellent academic resources for your student that are now fully available online. Please encourage your student to take advantage of these services.
First, the MSU Writing Center is offering online tutoring for all students. The Writing Center staff will work with students on any of their writing projects--lab reports, final research papers or presentations, graduate applications, personal statements, discussion posts, etc. My colleague and friend, Michelle Miley, the Center's director, likes to say that they offer support on student writing from "invention to revision." To make an appointment, students should visit the Writing Center's website.
Second, if your student has never utilized the services of MSU's Math Learning Center (MLC), there has never been a better time to ask for additional help with their math. As students work on their assignments, help from the MLC is only a message away. While a lot of the tutoring is being done via chat (IM), some problems are easier to work on face-to-face. The MLC's video-chatting feature allows tutors and students to collaborate together visually. It's also easy for students to "join-in" a call that is already taking place if they are working on the same question. So, not only do students benefit from the social contact with the tutor, they have the opportunity to collaborate with other students in their course. This peer-to-peer collaboration can help students feel more connected to their shared experience during this time. More information about the MLC and how to access support, can be found on the Math Learning Center's website.
I appreciate all of the emails and questions from our parent and family members. I may not have all of the answers, but I will forward your inquiries and requests to other appropriate departments and MSU colleagues. We're all here to support you and your student during this time.
To your health,
Matthew R. Caires
P.S. ASMSU general student elections began today. If you have a chance, please encourage your student to participate at montana.edu/vote.