COVID-19 accommodations and support
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Dear Berkeley Engineering students,
As you may already know, our faculty and student instructors have been working tirelessly since the summer to adapt the content of their courses and to create online resources in order to facilitate remote learning this semester. They also have made adjustments to course assignments and exams so that letter grades can be assigned meaningfully this semester, in contrast to the emergency situation in Spring 2020 that motivated the Academic Senate to allow students to take all courses on a P/NP basis.
We are keenly aware, however, that many students are finding it harder to focus on their studies this semester, even with the adjustments that instructors have made. Therefore, the College of Engineering (CoE) has been and will continue to accommodate requests to carry a reduced course load — including less than two technical courses, and even dropping below 12 units — for students with COVID-19 or remote-learning concerns.
The college offers many resources to help you excel in technical courses, because your success in subsequent (more advanced) courses or in gaining admission to graduate school — and ultimately in your engineering career — depends on your mastery of technical knowledge and skills. This mastery is critical for engineering leaders to succeed in a society that is increasingly dependent on engineered devices, systems and processes that must be reliable, safe and secure. Therefore, we encourage you to promptly adjust your course load as needed to ensure that you can excel academically given your personal circumstances. This practice of supporting course load reductions for impacted students is in line with the spirit of the Berkeley Academic Senate Divisional Council’s Recommendations on Pandemic Grading issued on November 2nd.
Please do not hesitate to make an appointment with your ESS adviser to discuss pursuing a reduced course load or to take advantage of the following campus resources to support your well-being:
- UHS Be Well website
- Stress and Anxiety Management
- UHS Mental Health Resources website
- Counseling and Psychological Services
The CoE Undergraduate Study Committee (UGSC) is continuing its careful discussion of potential additional accommodations for students who have exhausted all avenues for load reduction. The CoE faculty will discuss and vote on the UGSC’s recommendations during the week of December 7th, so that any policy changes effective for the Spring 2021 semester are set before that semester begins. The results of this faculty vote will be announced soon afterward.
Lisa Pruitt, Associate Dean for Students (Fall 2020)
Evan Variano, Associate Dean for Students (Spring 2021)
Anant Sahai, Chair of the CoE Undergraduate Studies Committee
Tsu-Jae King Liu, Dean, College of Engineering