By Sophia Lopez, December 28 2021—
The University of Calgary’s Students’ Union (SU) recently announced that the university has failed to keep its promise to offer all undergraduates a Credit Granted (CG) option, in a recent statement.
In an interview with SU President Nicole Schmidt, she discussed the work the SU had been doing over the summer with the university to ensure that all undergraduate students would have the option to not let a grade affect their overall GPA.
Since then, the university has now allowed for faculties such as the Schulich School of Engineering to restrict a CG option. Schmidt said verbal commitment was given to the SU, but the university is now failing to stay true to its word.
“Despite this commitment from the administration, the Students’ Union 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 fulfill option requirements –– which we don’t think is acceptable in any way,” said Schmidt.
In addition to the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Nursing and the Cumming School of Medicine will entirely restrict the CG option. While there are departments such as economics in the Faculty of Arts that is looking to restrict CG as well, final confirmation has yet to be made.
The CG option provides students with a way to broaden their university experience, while staying mindful of the mental health effects the pandemic has brought upon students academically. Schmidt explains that the SU has been advocating for this CG option because of the mental health and exploratory components of it.
“Initially, the CG option was intended to be implemented for mental health purposes. It was supposed to give students that flexibility to take credit given on a course, as opposed to having to take a lower grade on that course,” said Schmidt. “So there was that aspect of it, but also the exploratory component where students were able to potentially take a course outside of their degree or outside of their program of study to see if they enjoy the course, or to just have that option available to them.
“So there’s the mental health component, but also the exploratory component,” she continued. “And the university hasn’t addressed our concerns on either one of those things with restricting the CG options, so we’re still waiting for more information from them on how they’re actually going to address those concerns.”
Schmidt expanded on the point of why the CG option is so valuable for students, and that it softens the blow of online learning.
“If something happens to [students] in the semester, personal-wise or health-wise, CG was really sort of a security blanket in the sense that they could take a CG on their transcript and not have that grade show up and impact their overall GPA,” said Schmidt.
While Schmidt and Vice-President Academic Renzo Pereyra, have been making efforts since the summer to implement a CG option for all faculties, restrictions have been passed to prevent students from taking advantage of this opportunity.
“Both myself and our VP Academic have had multiple meetings with different representatives from the Faculty of Engineering to discuss our concerns. This has fallen on deaf ears and the CG policy and the CG restrictions have passed at the calendar and curriculum subcommittee as of last week,” she said. “So our next steps are going to be looking at seeing if we can appeal or amend these policies at all to make them less restrictive for students. We’ll also be having further conversations with members of the executive leadership team at the U of C to voice our displeasure with the approval of these restrictions.”
Overall, Schmidt said that the SU is very disappointed with the university’s lack of integrity regarding the CG option, and they will continue to fight for this opportunity to be available for all undergraduate students.
“The SU will continue to call on the university to honour its word in this matter. We encourage the university and the Faculty of Engineering to reconsider its restrictive and ill-conceived approach to CG, and instead prioritize the mental health of students,” read the statement.
To read the full statement and learn about what else the SU is doing to help students, visit the SU’s website.