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Message from Laurie M. Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students) – December 10

December 14, 2020 — 

A Message from Laurie M. Schnarr, Vice-Provost (Students):

We are so close to the end of Fall Term! You have worked hard and persisted – great work! It’s been an unusual year, and you have handled it with grace and tenacity. As you complete final assignments and enter the final exam period, I encourage you to remain focused on your studies. The holiday break is right around the corner!

I’m writing today to provide an important update, to share resources that have been developed to support your academic success, and to wish you well in the last weeks of the Fall Term.

Last week, grading accommodations recommended by the UM’s Covid-19 Recovery Steering Committee and sub-committees, which include representatives from UMSU and UMGSA, were approved by Senate. These grading accommodations were established in recognition of the potential impact that increased stresses and challenges associated with remote learning may have on academic performance, particularly during this prolonged Code Red period in Winnipeg.

What are the grading accommodations for Fall Term 2020 and Winter Term 2021? 

You may choose to exclude from your UM GPA either:

a)      up to one (1) grade received in Fall Term, and up to one (1) grade received in Winter Term,


b) up to one (1) grade received in a spanned course which runs through both Fall and Winter terms.

Your adjusted GPA resulting from exclusion of one or two grades will be used for all GPA-based performance requirements including program progression, probation, suspension, and requirements to withdraw, and to determine eligibility for UM bursaries and scholarships.

The ‘excluded’ grade will remain on your UM transcript. It will be used for progression and prerequisite regulations that specifically reference minimum letter grade requirements, and will continue to be included in the GPA used for admission to advanced entry, professional, and graduate programs.

You have lots of time to make your decision.

You will have until the end of Winter Term 2021 to make your exclusion decisions for both Fall Term 2020 and Winter Term 2021.  More details concerning the process will be communicated in January.

How could these grading accommodations help you?

The goal is to provide students with some accommodation for potential negative effects on academic performance arising from the increased stresses and challenges associated with remote learning, which have been exacerbated by the increasingly serious pandemic situation in Winnipeg.

You will be able to reduce possible negative impacts of the current situation without compromising UM academic standards or integrity.

This approach benefits students equally, including those who must maintain enrolment in a minimum number of credit-hours in order to remain eligible for funding.

Get informed about the implications of your choice, before your make your final decision.

Choosing to exclude one grade from your UM GPA could have implications for your academic trajectory, particularly if you are considering furthering your studies beyond your current target degree.

In the coming days we will share more information and answers, including how and why to exclude a grade on your UM GPA on our student social media channels and in the Student Weeklies. Please stay tuned to those channels. You can also find more information and some questions and answers on our COVID-19 website for students.

There will be a virtual event Conversation for Success: Are you ready for the Winter Term? on Friday, December 11 from 9 am to 10 am, where you can hear from academic advisors and ask questions. You can register for the event, here .

Finally, as we move into the Fall Term exam period, I encourage you to review Getting Ready for December Final Exams, an important resource that has been developed by UM’s Centre for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning, to help you prepare for exams in this remote learning environment.

Please remember that an online exam is still an official university exam, and that the same academic integrity expectations apply. Final exam support for students is available here and resources for remote learning are available here

We’ve come a long way, and the end is in sight. As I mentioned earlier in this message, decisions regarding grading accommodations can be made later. Meanwhile, I encourage you to remain focused on the tasks at hand. Here is a video from some of your peers as motivation!

I am sending you positive thoughts and best wishes for a successful end to the term, and a happy, healthy holiday.

My best,


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