When the university administration makes a commitment to students, the Students’ Union (SU) expects that promise to be fulfilled. The university has failed to honour promises made to students around allowing the Credit Granted (CG) option to be applicable to all undergraduate students regardless of faculty.
With the CG option, a student who receives at least a C- in a course can instead take a CG and not have that grade impact their GPA. The SU advocated for the creation of the Credit Received (CR) option early in the pandemic.
We have since worked with the university to ensure that permanent flexible grading would be introduced to benefit student wellness and give opportunities to students to explore new academic fields. We were informed that undergraduate students would be able to take a CG on up to three semester-long courses over the course of their degree.
Over the summer, university administration promised that all students would have reasonable access to a CG option, but that each faculty would determine what that looked like for their students.
The SU is not against reasonable restrictions for CG. For example, certain prerequisite or required core courses may need a letter grade instead of a CG to ensure students are successful in upper year courses, or to ensure that University of Calgary students are competitive when applying to professional or graduate programs. Reasonable restrictions here make sense.
Despite a commitment from administration, the SU has learned that the Faculty of Engineering and several other faculties will completely restrict students from using the CG grading option, even on exploratory courses or those being taken to fulfil option requirements.
Reasons for this include faculties being concerned about credits that may be needed in order to transfer to a new program, be admitted into a professional faculty or be admitted to grad school. These are all legitimate concerns. However, what many faculties are now proposing goes beyond a reasonable response to these concerns.
Students deserve the opportunity to explore courses outside of their faculties and will be less likely to do so if they arbitrarily cannot use a CG to remove the GPA risk of academic exploration. Even courses within a student’s major should be eligible for a CG unless the faculty is able to share a compelling argument as to why it shouldn’t.
University and faculty administration ought to take a permissible approach to CG rather than a restrictive one.
Faculties should have to meet a specific threshold in order to disallow a course from being CG eligible. The university has not put forward any minimum criteria to guide individual faculties, which has resulted in huge variation in CG models and will cause very different access, eligibility, and experiences for students in different faculties.
The bottom line is that the university has agreed to offer CG as an option for students and has gone so far as to promise access to it in some form for all students. The university should follow through on the commitment that it made to students.
—Students’ Union President Nicole Schmidt, and Vice-President Academic, Renzo Pereyra
Letters to the Editor published in the Gauntlet‘s opinion section do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board. The Gauntlet retains the right to edit submissions for brevity and clarity.