Letter from the President of Brookdale

Dr. David Stout, President Brookdale Community College

Dear Students,

We’re now about to begin our second full week of remote learning. Feedback that I’ve received regarding our transition last week has been largely positive — we so appreciate your patience as we have worked to fix problems that were discovered along the way. Universally, our faculty have told me how happy they were to reconnect with you.

I write today to wish you continued success in your classes, to encourage you to try your absolute best in your courses, and to give you some information about things that we’re working on.

Last week, I submitted a proposal to modify our grading system regulation to allow students to select a Pass/No Credit option for a final grade in any class being taught this semester. The option to select a Pass/No Credit grade has existed at Brookdale for many years, but the deadline for selecting this option passed weeks before COVID-19 forced us out of our classrooms. So, I proposed to our internal committee that oversees our Academic Standards, the opportunity to re-open a window of time for students to select a Pass/No Credit grade for this semester only. I believe the committee will accept my proposal this week. However, there are a few issues with Pass/No Credit grades that I want you to be aware of before you consider this option:
Students must achieve the equivalent of a “C” grade or higher in order to earn a final grade of “Pass;” Students performing at the “D” or below level in a class would earn a “No Credit” final grade;
“Pass” and “No Credit” final grades do not count toward your final grade point average (GPA);
There is currently no guarantee that transfer colleges in New Jersey (or outside of New Jersey) will accept credits for courses earned with a final grade of “Pass;”
Students earning a final grade of “No Credit” will not earn credits for the course toward graduation, pre-requisites, or transfer;
The decision to switch from an A-F grading system to a Pass/No Credit grading system in any or all classes being taken during Spring 2020 will rest with the student alone;
The decision to change grading systems for any courses enrolled in Spring 2020 will not be reversible at any time in the future, and Students will be required to sign a disclaimer expressing their understanding of the above points at the time of changing grading systems.
I’m working with the other presidents of NJ county colleges to have the presidents of all colleges in New Jersey sign an agreement that recommends that “Pass” grades are considered equivalent to at least a “C” across the whole state so that the credits can transfer. I’ll be fighting for this position at the NJ Presidents Council meeting on April 6, 2020 and I’ll update you about the result after the meeting. To be clear, even if the agreement is signed by all colleges, you could still encounter problems with transferring these credits, so there is some risk to choosing a Pass/No Credit grading option. All of these factors should be considered very carefully.

I also submitted a proposal to the Academic Standards committee to enable faculty to assign a grade of “In Progress (IP)” at the end of the Spring semester for students enrolled in select classes with a heavy requirement for in-person learning experiences that cannot be completed online. This grading option will be limited to courses in programs such as Automotive Technology, Nursing (preceptorship), Culinary Arts, Radiologic Technology, Television Production, Ceramics, Digital Animation, and 3D Design. A full list of classes will be available when the Academic Standards committee approves the proposal.

As we continue to progress toward the end of the semester, many of you are thinking about your graduation. I want you to rest assured that we will be celebrating your achievements in person. We may need to postpone these events until June or later in the summer, so we will be polling our graduating students this week to identify dates that work best. The Nursing Department will align the Spring pinning ceremony date with week that graduation is scheduled. You have all worked hard for this. You deserve a proper celebration and I’m very much looking forward to handing you your diploma.

While we’re all doing our best to honor the Governor’s executive orders to maintain a safe social distance, we also want you to remember that we’re still here for you. You can stay engaged in Student Life & Activities by visiting https://www.brookdalecc.edu/student-life-activities/student-life-virtual-activities/. Our student FAQ page can be found here. Our One-Stop Call Center can be reached at 732-224-2020, Monday-Friday from 8:30am – 5:00pm. Our Academic Advising Department can be reached at 732-224-2555, Monday-Friday from 8:30am – 5:00pm, or you can visit: https://www.brookdalecc.edu/academic-advising/. Our Student Success Coaches are currently available to help you register for summer and fall classes.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected] and a member of the Brookdale team will be there to help you.

Above all, please stay well.

David Stout, Ph.D.
Brookdale Community College