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WCU extends optional satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system for spring semester

By Brian Mullengrades


Western Carolina University’s Faculty Senate passed a resolution to extend its satisfactory/unsatisfactory guidelines for the 2021 spring semester due to the prolonged strain of non-standard teaching modalities at a primarily residential instruction institution.  

Within the guidelines, faculty members will provide traditional letter grades as usual at the end of the semester. Students may accept their letter grade for a course or may request grades of satisfactory or unsatisfactory. A grade of satisfactory will be awarded, if requested, for any letter grade from A to C, and a grade of unsatisfactory will be awarded for any letter grade from C-minus to F. 

Students can still earn Chancellor's List and Dean's List commendations for spring 2021 as long as they retain traditional A-F grading for all courses. Students who take grades of satisfactory or unsatifactory for any course will be ineligible for those lists.

Courses that are graded satisfactory or unsatisfactory will not be factored into a student’s GPA, but they will count toward completion of the degree and required number of hours.  

Students will have the option to petition the Registrar’s Office to shift any or all of their courses to satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading by completing a grade change form that will be posted at on April 30. All student transcripts will include a note regarding the unusual circumstances of the semester. 

Last semester, the Office of the Registrar reported the conversion of 1,759 letter grades to a satisfactory or unsatisfactory out of 51,234 grades needed and that 45 students from a student body of more than 12,000 improved their academic standing by using this option. 

Our faculty continue to showcase their dedication to the success and safety of our students while encouraging them and teaching with poise during a very difficult time in all of our lives,” said Richard Starnes, WCU provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs. “Our students are working passionately and tirelessly despite the ongoing pandemic and we are grateful for their commitment to WCU.”  

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