Cherry Blossoms

Message from Dean Stacey to Chairs and Faculty

March 24, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for the herculean efforts all of you are making to finish up winter quarter and to launch a remote spring quarter in these extraordinary circumstances.  Your dedication to the educational best interests of our students has never been in doubt, but it has never been more clearly on display or more inspiring than it is right now.  You are truly the heart and soul of this great university.  Thank you for all you are doing at this difficult time.

I write to offer just a few clarifying additions to the statements President Cauce, Provost Richards, and Vice Provosts Reid and Lidstrom sent out to the entire University community last week (all chronicled via 

  1. First, with respect to grading.  We strongly urge instructors in Arts & Sciences not to make use of the Credit/No Credit (C/NC) option for your spring quarter classes unless absolutely necessary.  And if this is necessary, let your students know as soon as possible, and certainly no later than the first week of classes, that you will be grading them C/NC rather than with numeric grades.  Some students HAVE to have numeric grades, and will not be able to enroll in a class that is graded C/NC.  We need to let those students know right away so they can switch to a different class.  Keep in mind also that UW rules prohibit you from using a mixture of numeric and CR/NC grades in a single class.  You must grade your entire class using one system or the other.  We also strongly discourage you from switching from one grading system to the other once the term begins.   Some such switching was unavoidable in winter quarter, because we had to change to online instruction without warning late in the quarter.  We know, however, that all of spring quarter will be taught remotely.  So there should not be a need to switch from one grading system to the other unless something wholly unexpected occurs.  In that case, further instructions will follow.
  2. All ASE’s with spring quarter appointments will remain on payroll unless an ASE should choose to resign or is dismissed for cause. However, the University and UAW 4121 have agreed that, for spring quarter 2020, ASE’s may be reasonably reassigned to duties different from those originally assigned to them in their initial letters of offer.  In the event that such a change of ASE assignment is necessary, the ASE whose appointment is being changed must receive notice of the change and a description of the revised course and/or research expectations no later than the first day of spring quarter (March 30, 2020).  
  3. Regarding any experiential learning opportunities in spring quarter — such as internships, service learning programs, and/or 499 research credits — it is essential that such work be completed remotely.  Instructors and advisors should also have contingency plans in place for such students, should modifications to such experiential learning programs become necessary over the course of the semester.
  4. Graduating seniors may find it difficult under the present circumstances to fulfill all their requirements for graduation.  We encourage you to be flexible in accommodating such students so that they can graduate on time. Please note:
    • Departments have the authority to waive major requirements, and can approve substitutions of one course for another so as to allow students to meet major requirements. 
    • College-level requirements, however, such as the foreign-language proficiency requirement and A&S-specific general education requirements that exceed the UW general education requirements (such as the 10 credit “W” course requirement), can only be waived by the A&S Dean’s Office. 
    • University-level requirements, including the 180-credit requirement for a bachelor’s degree, are in the hands of the Registrar and cannot be waived at either the departmental or the college level.

Further information on these and many other matters may be found at

With renewed thanks, Bob

Robert Stacey, Dean
College of Arts and Sciences

Return to Coronavirus Response and Resources